Date: October 22, 2021 09:02AM
"Another is the notion that humans need to get their morality from somewhere: atheism, religion, or some other source. The truth is that the fundamentals of morality/altruism are instinctive, as is the case to one degree or another with all social animals, and can be seen in the moral rules that most religions share."
COMMENT: I agree that morality/altruism are instinctive. Moreover, I agree that a moral society relies upon such moral intuitions to establish and enforce civil laws and social mores. But, you miss the point on two important ways:
First, moral intuitions of themselves do not establish moral authority; i.e. the authority that dictates what behavior the moral "ought" demands. Your moral instincts and my moral instincts might be entirely different, and outside a metaphysical worldview, there is no way to decide just what morality demands--particularly in the hard cases.
Second, you cannot send your kids to college, generation after generation, to be taught (1) that the universe has no meaning; and (2) that human beings are just mechanistic biological machines; and (3) that free will is just an illusion, without eventually eroding the very moral intuitions that you expect them to follow in their personal lives. In short, the materialist worldview is manifestly inconsistent with any grounding of such moral intuitions. Sooner or later, a generation will arise where morality is nothing more that what the civil law requires. (This is essentially what was suggested in the purpose of life thread I alluded to.)
I will end with two quotes: The first is from the introductory paragraph from philosopher Patricia Churchland's book "Brain-wise," which she used in her undergraduate philosophy classes at UCSD:
"Bit by experimental bit, neuroscience is morphing our conception of what we are. The weight of evidence now implies that it is the *brain*, rather than some nonphysical stuff, that feels, thinks, and decides. That means there is no soul to fall in love. We do still fall in love, certainly, and passion is as real as it ever was. The difference is that now we understand those important feelings to be events happening in the physical brain. It means that there is no soul to spend its postmortem eternity blissful in Heaven or miserable in Hell. Stranger yet, it means that the introspective *inside* -- one's own subjectivity -- is *itself* a brain-dependent way of making sense of neural events. In addition, it means that the brain's *knowledge* that this is so is likewise brain-based business.
"Given what is known about the brain, it also appears highly doubtful that there is a special nonphysical module, the *will*, operating in a causal vacuum to create voluntary choices -- choices to be courageous in the face of danger, or to run away and fight another day. In all probability, one's decisions and plans, one's self-restraint and self-indulgences, as well as one's unique individual character traits, moods, and temperaments, are all features of the brain's general causal organization. The self-control one thinks one has in anchored by neural pathways and neurochemicals. The mind that we are assured can dominate over matter is in fact certain brain patterns interacting with and interpreted by other brain patterns. Moreover, one's *self*, as apprehended introspectively and represented incessantly, is a brain-dependent construct, susceptible to change as the brain changes, and is gone when the brain is gone." (Page 1)
This is an example from neuro-philosophy. There are similar examples of such moral nihilism in other undergraduate texts and popular writings in evolutionary biology; evolutionary psychology, sociobiology; and even physics. These are not exceptions; they are the mainstream rule. This is where materialist science is taking us.
In 1993, Bryan Appleyard wrote a very controversial book called "Understanding the Present: Science and the Soul of Modern Man." There he stated:
"I wrote this book in the conviction that science, more than anything else, has made us who we are; science is our faith and our age's unique signature. My conclusion is equally simple: we must resist and the time to do so is now.
. . . . Persuading you to accept my conclusion require something more. . . . It requires an understanding of the appalling spiritual damage that science has done and how much more it can still do. Science, quietly and inexplicitly, is talking us into abandoning ourselves, our true selves. It is doing so today more effectively than ever before. Of course, my case is not that scientists are evil, nor that science itself is evil. Rather I wish to show that it has gone too far, that it is potentially out of control, and that it now threatens to throw our civilization out of balance." (p. xiv)
Appleyard was widely criticized and even ridiculed by scientists and theists alike--primarily because he allegedly failed to distinguish between "science" and "scientism" and failed to properly acknowledge that importance of science as an arbiter of truth. At the time, science was still in the lingering grips of the anti-science onslaught of the radical sociologists. (Another story) Thus, it was important to defend the objectivity of science. But, now, nearly 30 years later, that "science war" has been entirely won by science. Now, science, having conquered the humanities, has been left alone to establish, shape, and dominant young worldviews--moral intuitions not withstanding.
So, yes, we have our precious intuitions. But, we are already seeing the erosion of such intuitions in civil society, for example in interactions on social media. The religious right--with all its irrationality and overreaching--is hellbent on preserving the traditional status quo against the arrogance of science; not knowing when science should be respected (pandemics and climate change) and when it should be rejected (scientific materialism).
So, you were talking about "blind spots?"