Index: Atheist Error Theorists

Many atheists have claimed that atheism entails that moral realism is false; many theistic apologists gleefully quote those atheists. But how do those atheists support their claim? This page provides an index to other Secular Outpost posts which discuss specific atheists' arguments for the claim that atheism somehow supports moral nihilism or error theory.Coyne, Jerry (see here; cf. here, here, here) "John" (see here and here) Mackie, J.L. (see here) Provine, William (see here … [Read more...]

What *Is* the Logical Structure of Mackie’s Anti-Moral Realism Argument?

Although the contemporary metaethics literature contains many references to (and discussions of) the late J.L. Mackie's arguments against moral realism, I've never seen anyone formally analyze its logical structure. (If I'm mistaken and someone has done that, please provide a citation in the combox.) The goal of this post is to try to take first step towards filling that lacuna.The primary source of Mackie's argument(s) against moral realism may be found in his classic book, Ethics: … [Read more...]

Michael Ruse’s Argument against Moral Realism and for Error Theory

Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology and an atheist who is well-known for his writings about evolution. In various writings, Ruse has argued against moral realism by appealing to (Darwinian) evolution. Instead, he argues, the scientific facts about evolution justify the conclusion that moral error theory is correct. In this post, I want to assess Ruse's argument against moral realism and for error theory.In his 1989 book, The Darwinian Paradigm, Michael Ruse argues that evolution, … [Read more...]

Hard-Hitting Critique of WLC’s Moral Argument by John Danaher “Necessary Moral Truths and Theistic Metaethics”

To be precise, this paper applies to WLC's moral argument for God's existence as follows.1. WLC argues that God exists because objective moral values and duties exist.2. Critics (theist, agnostic, and atheist) of WLC's moral argument have pointed out that, according to one version of moral realism, moral truths are necessary truths. Necessary truths neither have nor need an explanation. Therefore, God isn't needed to explain necessary moral truths and, hence, isn't needed to explain o … [Read more...]

Does Evolution “Explain” Objective Morality? A Reply to Jerry Coyne

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne recently wrote about Leah Libresco's conversion from atheism to Catholicism based on a moral argument for God's existence. In his article, Coyne promotes the idea, which he has done many times before, that biological evolution somehow "explains" objective morality. While there is a sense in which Coyne is correct, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the kind of moral argument which Libresco finds persuasive. So while I join Coyne in rejecting Libresco's … [Read more...]

Amoral Atheism Part 2

Physics cannot justify why anything is morally right or wrong. No one says that is a defect of physics because that's not what physics is about.Like physics, atheism is also not about morality. So why should it be a defect of atheism that it cannot justify why anything is morally right or wrong? … [Read more...]

An F-Inductive Moral Argument for Theism

Here is an F-inductive argument for theism based on ontologically objective moral values. Note that this argument assumes that such things exist. If you don't think they exist, then you may want to skip reading this post.As usual, let B be our background information; E be the evidence to be explained (in this case, the existence of ontologically objective moral values); T be theism; and N be naturalism. Here is the explanatory argument.1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1. … [Read more...]

Stan on Materialism and Morality

A reader named Stan recently posted many comments on another page on this blog about materialism and morality. I'm going to copy and paste several of his comments together to provide a convenient summary of his argument. Stan's Definitions Here is a summary of Stan's definitions. Materialism: functional materialism is the set of constraints on science; Philosophical Materialism claims that there is no possible existence which is not physical or derived straight from physical … [Read more...]


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