Friday, 08 April 2011
Theodore Beale (Vox Day) deals with the problem of evil by proposing a lesser god most Christians wouldn't accept. The only reason he seems to believe in theism at all is because he believes evil is so darn real (the exact opposite reaction many atheists have, see my extensive argument map on "The Logical Problem of Evil"). William Lane Craig, as I recall in the debate with Sam Harris, made the "evil therefore God" argument as well (in addition to falling victim to the same definitional circularity issue that Beale does which I noted that Harris successfully used against Craig ftw).
No, we cannot simply accept that "moral" can reasonably be considered "well-being" because it is not true to say that which is "of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong" is more than remotely synonymous with "that which fosters well-being in one or more human beings." One might as reasonably substitute "wealth" or "physical attractiveness" for "well-being".
Of course, Harris already addressed this point in the debate itself when discussing how we can be wrong about the facts of well being and noting that it is possible to not know what we are missing when it comes to deeper virtues. So if you arbitrarily substitute in "wealth" or "physical attractiveness" you have not actually provided a "just as good" account of the human condition on its own terms.
On any other day of the week (when not trying to desperately seize morality for only their worldview) Christians will make haste to deride the superficial life of the heathen based on trite interests like looks and money (the exact things Beale uses as "alternatives") and brag about the unending blessings of the deeper Christian virtues that unrepentant sinners would agree with them about if only they would have faith and be obedient to their god's commands. But they can't have it both ways. We live in the same universe with the same facts of basic psychology as the same species. Faith and gods are not required to understand the human condition when all you need is experience with those virtues on their own terms. Some unseen divine nature has nothing necessarily to do with it and this is a millions times more easy to verify than anything important about Craig's or Beale's differing conceptions of gods.
So is Vox Day just that shallow in a morally Dunning-Kruger effect kind of way or is he being a defensive hypocrite who conveniently refuses to devote his whole brain to the conversation about morality at the same time when his views are threatened? Either way is pretty pathetic.