“Atheism prides itself on truth and rationality. This video seeks to prove that neo-nihilism is the correct stance for we atheists to adopt regarding ethics. Attacked, therefore, are the ethics of cultural relativism, utilitarianism, social contract theory, evolutionary psychology’s general stance on ethics, and humanism. Morality, like religion, is an illusion; though feelings are not.”

3 thoughts on “Atheist Meta-Ethics: Neo-Nihilism

  1. 4 days; 0 comments. I blame the background music, frankly; What is this, “The Ten Commandments?”
    1) All concepts of ethics are cultural.
    2) And can thus be dismissed.
    3) Because you can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’.
    4) But he commends his views to others as if they ‘ought’ to adopt them, or as if truth and rationality were things to be proud of.
    He seems to be saying that no-one can strengthen any ethics beyond the level of a preference. But if he gave up a intellectual ethics (as something more than a preference) he’d have to give up the Olympic-level elitism displayed in this video.
    In Christian Humanism moral thought may be revealed or may be developed and improved in the course out of human experience, and then preserved in culture. Both humanisms hold that real knowledge about human beings can be derived from subjective experience, and that human progress aggregates this into internally consistent bodies of moral logic. Hence honesty, equality, compassion and altruism share a rational consistency that a person of developed humane sentiment ought to perceive.
    The speaker denies that any worthwhile knowledge is subjective; or that any inculturation is better than any other. Both points seem easily falsified by human life experience, if one is open to it. He sees objectivity as a master key to knowledge rather than a set of safeguards against a few characteristic failings we experience (e.g. limited perspective; existential risk; emotion and psychology).
    Christian theology grows with this progress in knowledge (teh difference between the early OT and the NT is a sufficient demonstration of this), and Christ’s example radically transcends it.
    I’ll agree with the author that ‘Objective Moral Values’ refers to nothing existing in reality. Only persons (incl. God, in Theism) have morals; the objective-and-impersonal does not.


  2. Hi Steve — Which quote? Mine or Matt’s? Matt’s was in the video, and I offered no quote, just a summary of the key points as I saw them. It was a bit late at night and doesn’t read very clearly in retrospect. 😛


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