It always is fascinating to me when people will try to refute a theistic claim and then turn around and make a claim based on the very logic they are trying to use to refute the other’s claim. An example of this came up during a recent debate with Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Lawrence Krauss. The topic of the debate was “Is there Evidence for God?”
It seemed to me, while listening to the debate, that a good portion of the problem between both parties was that they appeared to be arguing based on two different understandings of “evidence.” Dr. Craig seemed to view the idea of “evidence” with a more broad definition of the term, including any concept or idea that can be discerned using the laws of logic in addition to empirical evidence. Dr. Krauss’ concept of “evidence” seemed to only include empirical, or material, evidence.
During the course of the arguments, one of the more interesting things that I noticed was Dr. Krauss’ admonition of Dr. Craig’s use of “evidence” was not a valid theory on the grounds that he was proposing arguments which were “unfalsifiable.” The irony of this is that, only moments later, Dr. Krauss argued for the existence of the “multi-verse.” This was immensely ironic as there is not only no empirical evidence, but there really isn’t any plausible philosophical evidence, either.
It seems that this is a rather common theme. In a similar fashion, I have heard other debates in which non-theists will claim to hold to a relativistic moral code and yet they will then make moral judgments and can be some of the most outspoken social critics. On the one hand, they will claim that morality is based on some subjective source such as natural selection or “social contracts,” and then they smuggle in objective morality by claiming some action or behavior to be immoral regardless of the country or culture in which it takes place.
How is it that someone can claim, on the one hand, that morality is a social construct of some sort, but then denounce a society for doing what, to that society, is perfectly acceptable. Am I the only one who sees this as inconsistent? I guess that is one of the reasons why I love the subtitle of Greg Koukl’s book, Relativism, “Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air.” On relativism, there is no grounding for any kind of objective morality. On atheism, there is very rarely anything other than materialism.
Materialism, to a large degree, leads to determinism. This is the view that everything that happens is based on event causation. That everything is just a matter of molecules banging into each other, “determining” the course of action of the molecule it bangs into. This extends not only to such things as rocks, planets, clouds, water, etc. but also human behaviors…even thoughts. After all, on materialism, brains and minds are one and the same thing.
If a mind is just a brain and a brain is a material object, then our thoughts are simply the results of chemical reactions. They are physically determined based on how the molecules bang into one another.
How can we get morality from physical determinism? If one is physically determined to behave a certain way, how can they be culpable for their actions? After all, they are just responding to the way the molecules are acting. You can’t hold someone responsible for something that they are physically determined to do. Yet, atheists continually point to “moral” atrocities committed by the Church.
What other double standards do you see among the atheist arguments?
Grace, love and peace?
Daniel is an Elite Trainer at (ISSA) International Sports Sciences Association. He has been working in IT since 1995 primarily in Windows environments with TCP/IP networking through 2012, shifted to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in 2012 and AWS in 2017.