More on Dawkins and Morality-No absolutes

Previously we noted in an interview with Richard Dawkins, when asked for his definition of morality he responded “Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist.” In short, society defines whatever it believes is right and wrong. That is, of course, value relativism where nothing is right or wrong—absolute morality doesn’t exist according to Dawkins.

The interviewer noticed this, and when prompted to respond Dawkins replied “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?”.

A bizarre place to find yourself in to be sure; Dawkins expresses such contempt for religion and God he finds himself in the strange place in justifying his atheism he can’t even say Hitler was evil. Our previous article pointed that problem out, and asked why Dawkins isn’t troubled by his strange conclusion.

After some discussion of this on Twitter, a person sent the following:

@darrinyeager Here is his response to that question. I hope this clears it up for you

That’s another interview with Dawkins when he was asked again the atheism and morality question. Would Dawkins offer a different view or clear up what he stated? Is it possible in his previous interview he simply didn’t express himself clearly?

Here’s part of the exchange:

Question: Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of absolute morality, would it not then be an irrational leap of faith (which atheists themselves so harshly condemn), for an atheist to decide between right and wrong?

And Dawkins replied:

Dawkins: The absolute morality that the religious person might profess would include what, stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath; these are all things which are religiously based absolute moralities.

I don’t think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought-out, reasoned, argued, discussed—based upon, almost say—intelligent design. Can we not design our society which has the sort of morality, the sort of society we want to live in?

First off, his first idea contains the classic “Ignoratio elenchi” logical fallacy, more commonly known as Red Herring—it’s an attempt to change the question, or make yourself look good against a straw man which isn’t relevant to the question. “Look at how bad those religious people are, thus my solution must be better”.

If a God exists, and if He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, and so on, by definition His morality must be exactly what Dawkins wants—thought-out and reasoned. Since Dawkins recoils and the mere thought of God, this possibility doesn’t make sense to him.

Dawkins is so overwhelmed by God-denying he simply can’t help but commit logical errors in his response, involving religion even when the question had nothing to do with it. It’s surprising for a man who desperately wants to eliminate religion and God from all thought he injects it into a question which doesn’t involve religion and God at all; his first thoughts reveal much about his bias, lack of free-thinking, and poor logic.

But on to his response on morality, which doesn’t differ from his previous answer (“Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist”). Dawkins doesn’t want absolute morality, only a morality which shifts and changes as society desires. Thus, as Dawkins said previously, “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?”—it completely agrees with his moral view.

In other words, if a society wants to exterminate six million Jews, Dawkins can’t say it’s wrong, as if a policy was thought-out, reasoned (in a perverse way), argued, and discussed (it also was legal and popular), it must be acceptable to Dawkins, which is why Dawkins remains unable to state Hitler was wrong. After all, if a society wants to live without Jews, that’s fine using Dawkins moral process, as long as it’s thought-out and discussed.

That’s a bizarre world to live in, and unlike Dawkins, we’ll state Hitler was wrong and evil, and it’s unacceptable to exterminate six million people. Absolutely. Additionally, any view of morality unable to state evil as evil isn’t a system for morality at all—simply philosophical justification (i.e. handwaving) for mob rule (or has been said, without God, anything is possible—including justifying attempted genocide).

As we concluded before (and this interview didn’t offer anything different from the previous interview):

Naturally, Dawkins’ suggestion about Hitler likely repulses most (all?) people, but while many atheists might attempt verbal twister to avoid the conclusion, Dawkins gets credit for not denying the logical conclusion of his atheist position and the lack of standard morality it spawns.

Why this position doesn’t bother him remains troubling.

Far from changing his view, this interview reinforced Dawkins’ previous statement nothing he views nothing in his atheist bubble as absolutely right or wrong, only “Moral philosophic reasoning and a shifting zeitgeist”, more commonly known as value relativism.

Why this doesn’t bother him still remains troubling.

Filed Under: Atheism

Recommended Citation:
Yeager, Darrin "More on Dawkins and Morality-No absolutes" (2024-05-19 17:20),
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