• Answering the New Atheism, by Scott Hahn & Benjamin Wiker: A Refutation, Part 4

    Chapter 7: Dawkins Dismantled

    This chapter continues in the same vein as the last two chapters with their moral arguments, claiming that materialists have no moral foundation, as I’ve quoted the authors in the previous chapters. This chapter, however, examines Dawkins’ views about specific moral issues. This chapter is essentially arguing that despite Dawkins’ argument that atheists and christians have a similar moral foundation (our biology) the authors claim that our morality is actually different and examines some moral issues to contrast the materialist versus the christian views.

    The authors begin by saying the following:

    “By Dawkins’ own admission, he invokes ‘super niceness’ as a kind of moral goal that, while it may have some original traces in the evolution of altruism, is ultimately defined against our evolutionary origin. Given his approving words about the ethics of Jesus, it would seem that, although he began at a radically different cosmological beginning, he ends up at roughly the same moral end as Christians.

    What is the source of this alleged commonality? And more importantly, is there really common moral ground between Dawkins and Christianity? He makes some effort to show that there is common ground, although the argument is in the service of his belief that since there is common moral ground, then ‘we do not need God in order to be good – or evil.’

    Dawkins offers one proof of common ground in a study that revealed that people from many different cultures gives roughly the same responses to contrived moral dilemmas (very contrived, we should note: the dubious runaway-trolly-with-several-people-on-the-tracks-and-will-you-throw-the-switch-if-it-diverts-the-train-into-another-innocent-bystander type quandaries). His conclusion: since atheists, believers, and non-Westerners give about the same responses, then evolution must have been the cause of uniformity, not religion.” […]

    “Although Dawkins isn’t quite clear, we assume that the ethics of Jesus, super niceness, and the advancing moral Zeitgeist march more or less together. He is also not clear how we sort out having a common humanity on one end, and races of human beings branching off into different species on the other.

    However, even though he fails to sort all that out, [Dawkins] happily maintains that we now enjoy a growing ‘broad liberal consensus of ethical principles.’ Most of us won’t cause needless suffering, we believe in free speech, we pay taxes, we don’t cheat, kill, or commit incest, and we generally follow the golden rule.

    While this might all look fairly cheery – so that there is no radical moral disagreement between Christians and atheists – a closer look reveals otherwise. Despite the surface similarity, the fundamental disagreement that exists between a universe with and without a supernatural Creator also manifests those fundamental differences in rival, irreconcilable moral views.” [57]

    The authors later on discuss the following moral issues: abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, bestiality, and cannibalism.

    Above Hahn and Wiker claimed‭ ‬that “[Dawkins] is also not clear how we sort out having a common humanity on one end, and races of human beings branching off into different species on the other.”

    The authors once again demonstrate their lack of knowledge of evolution. All of humanity right now is of one species: Homo sapiens. All the other species on our branch have died off long ago, so I have no idea what Hahn and Wiker are talking about. So, there is no reason for us all not to share a common evolutionary morality.

    I find it funny, however, that out of all of the moral issues available that these authors could have chosen, they found only five issues – only two of which are even much of an issue. Infanticide is surely condemned by most – if not all – atheists, as well as cannibalism – at least the eating of someone who has died, but was not murdered – as in an accident where many individuals are stranded. And I’m also sure bestiality isn’t much of an issue either, and most would probably see it as a disgusting act. I know I do.

    Regardless, out of the thousands of moral issues, the authors chose only these, which really doesn’t help their case because there are many other things both atheists and christians agree on. In fact, many atheists are also against abortion.

    Despite the authors’ attempts to somehow show christians and atheists have different moral views, the majority of issues both sides can agree on, however, as I’ve stated previously, morality is relative and there is bound to be disagreements, but there is no reason why, as a society, we cannot work out these disagreements. The authors did nothing to show the lack of commonality between atheists and christians, because it’s only natural for a large group of people to have differing views on moral matters, despite with our instincts that have been shaped by natural selection. Even the evolutionary moral test that Dawkins mentions showed that not everyone agreed on all moral choices, though a large percentage did.

    57. Answering the New Atheism, by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker; 133-135

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    Article by: Arizona Atheist