Steven Novella on morality
I was perusing Neurologica after referencing it for yesterday's post, and found a nice discussion on theistic vs. naturalistic morality. The de facto argument is that without God, there are no absolute moral proscriptions, and we're reduced to moral nihilism. Dr. Novella nicely summarizes my feelings on the problems inherent to such claims:
Whether or not God exists, no one has objective direct access to God or his moral code. All we have are people’s interpretation of what they think God’s moral code is. This is evidenced by the fact that there are hundreds of such interpretations in the world. We can also take a historical view and see that the morals that people ascribe to God or their gods tend to follow our evolved moral sense, but also the local culture and history. In more primitive times, God’s morality was also primitive and barbaric. As cultures evolved, so did our concept of God and deific morality
So even if an objective supernatural morality existed, no one knows what it is. And of course no one can demonstrate that such a code exists. So in reality the entire discussion is moot – because in the end we are left to figure morality out for ourselves. The fact that ancient texts like the bible prescribe a moral code is not helpful, because such sources are ambiguous, self contradictory, and allow for endless interpretations.This is exactly correct, and it's why a naturalistic view of morality is the only game in town. Read Dr. Novella's full post here.