RE: [asa] Francis Collins shows mild signs of dementia, NA snark

From: Thomas Pearson <>
Date: Mon Oct 19 2009 - 14:49:41 EDT

On Monday, October 19, 2009, George Murphy wrote:


>>>& one weakness of the position of many atheists is that they have no clear basis for their ethics. Of course that doesn't mean that they can't be nice people but their worldview provides no reason why they should be nice.<<<


I've found that this is a very difficult position to sustain. It would require that neither Plato nor Aristotle had a clear basis for their ethics, or that the Stoics, Epicureans and Neoplatonists possessed worldviews that provided no reason why they should be nice. That claim is simply absurd. There is a philosophical basis for ethics that is perfectly legitimate, perfectly sound and perfectly available to Christians.


I suppose much of this disagreement might turn out to depend first on how the term "atheist" is being deployed (would that term include non-theists, like Buddhists or Taoists? Would it include skeptics and agnostics? Does it simply refer to anyone who is not a Christian?), and second on what the word "basis" entails (does a "basis" for ethics require a source that is a personal intelligence and will that promulgates a moral law?).


Depending on how those questions are answered, perhaps the prior question might be: what is ethics? Wrestling with that question might separate the sheep from the goats, as it were.


Tom Pearson




Thomas D. Pearson

Department of History & Philosophy

The University of Texas-Pan American

Edinburg, Texas













To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Oct 19 14:53:15 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Oct 19 2009 - 14:53:15 EDT