Re: [asa] morals/ethics (was: Francis Collins shows mild signs of dementia, NA snark)

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Oct 19 2009 - 15:32:07 EDT

> "Here is my challenge to YOU, Bernie:  Assuming that you equally disapprove of their atheistic misbehavior, what do you go and challenge them with?  What basis do you give them for saying:  "what you are doing is wrong"?  "
> I think this can only be discussed given a specific example, so please provide one.
> Most likely, I bet a thoughtful Christian and atheist can agree on many things because of decency and logic.
> I think the gay issue won't work because last time it was tried the discussion filters deleted/blocked messages, etc.
> So what is the most important pressing moral issue that Christians and atheists will have differing opinions on?

I don't know what would be the most important pressing moral issue,
but a suitable example would be "You shall not bear false witness."

Of course, hardly any atheist would assert that one ought to be
dishonest. But all an atheist can legitimately say are "I have
decided that I think honesty is good" or "I know negative consequences
that are likely to arise from being untruthful." Christianity, on the
other hand, can assert that lying is wrong as a moral absolute. The
former is rather more conducive to allowing exceptions whenever it is
convenient (the latter of course does not prevent violations but makes
it rather more difficult to excuse them).

Not just on the quesiton of morality, asking "Why is there this loud,
clearly negative example not obviously being met with louder
rejection?" is not a good basis to cast aspersions. A poorly-thought
out dogmatic commitment to a particular position is much better as a
base for making lots of noise and getting publicity than a nuanced,
well-considered one; correspondingly, holders of the latter are less
likely to be able to live off supporters in full-time publicity. I
suspect more atheists regard Dawkins as an embarassment than as a good
example, but precisely those who aren't obnoxious about their atheism
and so don't get as much attention.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Oct 19 15:33:16 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Oct 19 2009 - 15:33:16 EDT