Open Question to All Atheists: Can You Answer This?

In a recent editorial commenting on “New Atheists” Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, Michael Gerlson presents the following purportedly unanswerable objection to atheism:

But there is a problem. Human nature, in other circumstances, is also clearly constructed for cruel exploitation, uncontrollable rage, icy selfishness and a range of other less desirable traits.

So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: “Obey your evolutionary instincts” because those instincts are conflicted. “Respect your brain chemistry” or “follow your mental wiring” don’t seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: “To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I’m going to do whatever I please.” C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: “When all that says ‘it is good’ has been debunked, what says ‘I want’ remains.”

Interested readers can read the entire editorial to read the rest of the argument….

Rather than comment on this directly, I’ll leave this as an exercise for the (nontheistic) reader: can you answer this?

LINK (HT: Ebon Musings)

What is Atheism?
The Slaughter of the Canaanites - The Grand Inquisitor Jones
What is Philosophy? - Part 1
Six Findings from Experimental Science Which Disconfirm Theism
About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.