Sample clip of my debate with an
atheist on the issue of morality.
Find the whole debate at this link
Atheism and Rape - Walter Sinnott-Armstrong Elucidates
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong notes,
If God did not forbid rape, what make rape immoral objectively? This question is supposed to be hard for atheists to answer…
Certainly, it will be easy to answer for Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong who is a “Distinguished Research Fellow,” the “Chauncey Stillman Professor in Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Prior to that he was Professor of Philosophy and Hardy Professor of Legal Studies at Dartmouth College, where he had taught since 1981 after receiving a B.A. from Amherst College and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He is Vice-Chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association and Co-director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Program. He has published extensively on ethics (theoretical and applied), philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. His current research focuses on empirical moral psychology as well as law and neuroscience.”
Here is the good professor’s answer,
What makes rape immoral is that rape harms the victim in terrible ways. The victim feels pain, loses freedom, feels subordinated, and so on. These harms are not justified by any benefits to anyone.
Next, he rhetorically states what an opponent may state and offers his succinct response,
What's immoral about causing serious harms to people without justification? Animals do this all the time. Forcible sexual copulation goes on all the time in the animal kingdom.
What's wrong with causing harm? It simply is, objectively, don't you agree?
This is a classic case of piling assertion upon assertion upon assertion as he begs the question over and over again.
“What makes rape immoral is”:
1) It “harms the victim”
2) Who “feels pain”
3) “loses freedom”
4) “feels subordinated, and so on”
5) “These harms are not justified by any benefits to anyone”
Thus and clearly, the assertion that rape is immoral is premised upon 1-5. But he needs to dig deeper and answer as to:
1) Why is it immoral to harm?
2) Why is it immoral to cause pain?
3) Why is it immoral to cause loss of freedom?
4) Why is it immoral to cause feelings of subordination, and so on?
5) Why are these not justified by any benefits to anyone? (Dan Barker argues that rape is not absolutely immoral and does so by appealing to a scenario via benefits to some)
Well, he answers these by stating “What's wrong with causing harm? It simply is, objectively, don't you agree?” Yet, this is not an argument but as presumptuous assertion. If you answer, “No, I do not agree” then he is done for. Millions of rapists answer “No, I do not agree” and so his easy answer is null and void as he says “Yes” and they say “No.”
In fact, I may argue that it is the very knowledge of that which harms, causes pain, takes away freedom and makes someone feel subordinated that alters me as to which buttons to push; I learn how to take advantage of, manipulate and control others. This is very beneficial to my and mine and so why is this not justifiable; because some 21st century adherent to the politically correct notion de jour doeth declare?
Imagine a situation in which A is in a position to impose his will on B (by raping and murdering her, say) and that A will “get away with it.” (No one cares about B, they are far off in the wild, etc. We may imagine that A will die in a month from cancer.)
In this situation, does A have a reason not to rape and murder B, a reason to not gratify himself? If there is no God, and no surivival [sic] of physical death, what reason could A have? Because it is wrong in the abstract for A to rape and murder? That will strike A as a joke.
“You are going to oppose to my real and furious lust an abstract moral demand that hangs in the air with no way of being enforced??” This is one way to focus the question that people like [Sam] Harris and [Michael] Shermer apparaently [sic] don't grasp.
In fact, Sam Harris argues that rape played a beneficial role in human evolution. We may wonder if in places of low population levels, such as the recently largely depopulated Haiti, rape may make a moral and evolutionary comeback.
Thus, yes, of course, if I agree then we agree. Yet, if our agreement is merely premised upon unfounded assertions, personal preferences, PC de jour, or seeking to butters a point for atheist morality then I could change my mind tomorrow and then what? Then he offers his 1-5 which are premised upon his assumption that I will agree and since I do not then he is out of argumentative steam.
What Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s erudite elucidation succeeds in doing very, very well is not the successful atheist answer to this problem but that the ultimate—I say ultimate—atheist answer to anything and everything is “It simply is.”
Indeed, “It just is,” “It just happened,” “It just happens to have happened,” “If it was not so then we would not be,” any variation on the, devoid of substance, atheist gap fillers are applicable.
The fact is that the rapist enjoys themselves.
If they are caught (assuming that the law of the land condemns rape) they are subject to finite/temporal/earthly justice which generally amounts to being fed and housed at tax payer expense.
If they are not caught then they enjoyed themselves and simply get away with it.
Atheism offers no ultimate justice and is therefore morally bankrupt and unjust itself.
Thus, atheism makes evil and suffering even worse:
1) Because, being a mere impotent concept; it does nothing about evil and suffering except complain.
2) By guaranteeing that it is for nothing—no higher purpose or meaning.
3) By guaranteeing that it cannot be redeemed.
4) By making it so that it is not actually, as in 1), for nothing but for the benefit of the evildoer.
5) By guaranteeing no ultimate justice (and also cannot guarantee finite/temporal/earthly justice).
Therefore, the fact of evil in the world is perhaps the very best reason for rejecting atheism.
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