Massimo Pigliucci on Metaethics, Part 1

William Lane Craig and Massimo Pigliucci debated the existence of God in 1998. (Click here to read the transcript.) In his opening statement, Craig presented his standard moral argument for God's existence. (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. (2) Objective values do exist. (3) Therefore, God exists. In his opening statement, Pigliucci denied (2). Finally, the problem of morality, which I'm sure we'll have more to say about--oh yeah, I agree with Dr. Craig when he … [Read more...]

William Provine on Evolutionary Naturalism and Morality

Cornell University biologist William Provine debated UC Berkeley law professor in 1998. (Click here for a link to the transcript.) In his opening statement, Provine made the following provocative assertion. Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead … [Read more...]

Another Failed Defense of “The Inevitable Consequences of an Atheist Worldview”

Steve Hays has commented on my previous post, "Fact Checking the Inevitable Consequences of an Atheist Worldview." That post was a detailed summary and refutation of eight specific claims. Hays does not interact with any of the specific claims. Rather, he makes general points about my post as a whole. Here is Hays: Over at the Secular outpost, Jeff Lowder took issue with what an ostensible atheist said about “The Inevitable Consequences of an Atheist Worldview”. Jeff's attempted rebuttal is mud … [Read more...]

Fact-Checking “The Inevitable Consequences of an Atheist Worldview”

Earlier this year, J. Warner Wallace reposted on his blog something written by an anonymous writer which describes "the inevitable consequence of an atheist worldview." Wallace gives the writer the nickname "John." I want to comment on "John's" comments as well as Wallace's commentary.Before I address "John's" remarks, I first need to point out a fundamental error in the title of the post. Like many theistic non-philosophers who do apologetics, Wallace misuses the expression "inevitable co … [Read more...]

Matthew Flannagan on The Arbitrariness Objection to Divine Command Ethics

There is a standard objection to the divine command theory (DCT) that runs as follows:Either God’s commands are arbitrary or they are grounded in reasons. Arbitrary commands cannot ground moral obligations. If God’s commands are grounded in reasons, then it is those reasons, rather than God’s commands, that ground moral obligations. Either way, God’s commands are superfluous; they do not ground moral obligations.I’ll call this the Arbitrariness Argument (AA).  You can find versions … [Read more...]

Does Darwinism Make Morality Fictional?

Larry Arnhart always writes terrific blog posts; this one from 2013 is no exception. (If you're a regular reader of the Secular Outpost but not of his blog, then you should start reading his blog.) In this post, he takes issue with (among others) Michael Ruse's claim that evolutionary naturalism undermines the foundations of morality. Aside: isn't it amazing how apologists like William Lane Craig will quote Michael Ruse to make an argument from authority to support the claim that atheism leads t … [Read more...]

Atheism, Morality, and Divine Nature Theories vs. Ideal Observer Theories

This another item I found while organizing material on my hard drive. I think I am the author, but I am not certain of that. What is the advantage of divine nature theories over ideal observer theories?  Consider, for example, a divine nature theory of moral value.  On such a view, God’s nature, not God, is the source of moral value.  But what is the distinction between God and His nature?  Presumably, God’s nature is simply the collection of God’s properties or attributes (e.g., the property of … [Read more...]

Quentin Smith’s Argument for Moral Realism

I am summarizing Smith's argument here, without comment pro or con, for interested readers. Feel free to debate in the combox.In his history of 20th century moral philosophy, Ethical and Religious Thought, Quentin Smith draws the following distinction between first-level and second-level ethical beliefs: A first-level ethical belief is that something is good or evil or that something is of equal or greater value than something else, for example, that philosophical understanding is at least a … [Read more...]


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