Michael Ruse – “God is dead. Long live morality” (even though “Morality is flimflam”), part 1 of 2

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Michael Ruse has gone quite a ways towards establishing a one world atheist religion—the Allunimati.
Too much, too paranoid, too conspiratorial, too hyperbolic you say? Consider his words (emphasis added):

only by recognising the death of God can we possibly…behave properly to our fellow humans and perhaps save the planet…

Behold—Ruse the Soter!

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Considering that Dan Barker, of the Freedom From Religion Foundation declared that “Darwin has bequeathed what is good” it is rather refreshing, in a sort of way, that The Guardian is asking “What can Darwin teach us about morality?”:

Is it merely a trick played on us by our genes, a meaningless by-product of evolution?
One of the most tragic and interesting scientific stories of the late 20th century was that of George Price, a fiercely atheist and idealistic socialist who discovered the early work of WD Hamilton, showing how altruism might evolve if it was advantageous to the relatives of altruists. Price went more or less mad under the burden of the discovery, for it suggests that we have moral sentiments only because they were advantageous to our ancestors. According to Hamilton and his fellow sociobiologists, altruism is real, but only to the extent that it is not in fact disinterested. What’s left of morality in such a world?
Is it merely a trick played on us by our genes? Or is that in turn an incoherent idea? Can science naturalise morality, and show that there are certain good ends which come naturally to the sort of animals we are? Where, in that case, is the belief that we are free too [sic] choose our own ends? Does an evolutionary account of human nature challenge liberalism as much as it challenges conservatism?

We certainly get a taste of what happens when one field of science attempts to become all things to all people and pretends that it has purview well beyond its intended scope.

Philosopher of biology Michael Ruse was one of the respondents and he has laid out the issue for us in his article, “Michael Ruse, God is dead. Long live morality” (March 15, 2010 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010). As you will see, Ruse argues that atheism is our “only” salvation.
Atheists such as Michael Ruse need to stop claiming to be referencing “morality” in such musings and instead stick to that which their view truly is: Darwinian survival tactics expressed via benefiting others in expectation of benefiting the self (reciprocal altruism)—morality is not about survival or reproduction of genes; if that is your view then refer to it as “morality” no more.

Michael Ruse asked, “Am I now giving the game away?” well, it has been given away for some time but yes, he is promulgating the continued employment of the term “morality” whilst defining it in terms of Darwinian survival—and he does so amidst quite a few assumptions and engaging in defining Darwinism and atheism as anti-Judeo-Christianity.

He writes,

Morality is something fashioned by natural selection. That doesn’t diminish its usefulness, or its comfort…God is dead, so why should I be good? The answer is that there are no grounds whatsoever for being good. There is no celestial headmaster who is going to give you six (or six billion, billion, billion) of the best if you are bad. Morality is flimflam.

This is from the subtitle and the very first sentence. We instantly run into assertions, presuppositions and anti-Judeo-Christianity.
Firstly, he asserts that “Morality is something fashioned by natural selection.” Yet, we should ask:
1. Is something moral because nature proclaims it to be moral?
2. Or, does nature proclaim something to be moral because it is moral?

This is nature’s Euthyphro Dilemma and yet, it is a no issue since nature is not a being and thus, has no will and no volition; nature is not a moral agent and so morality is simply irrelevant to nature, it is a non-issue. What nature cares about, if we may anthropomorphize, is survival: your survival, or my survival, human survival, or chinchilla survival—it matters not. Nature is not interested in any particular organism’s or specie’s survival but survival in general; the survival of the fittest. Now, you may survive as the fittest by, for example, ascertaining empirical facts or my living in utter delusion—it matters not.

Note that he correlates the question “why should I be good?” with the concept of a “celestial headmaster who is going to give you six (or six billion, billion, billion) of the best if you are bad.” While this is a very popular and ubiquitously repeated atheist talking point it is very confused and presumptive. Why correlate the two? Why think that those who believe in a “celestial headmaster” are moral out of fear? Because such erroneous attempts at discerning motivation via mind reading are useful in promulgating well-within-the-box-atheist-group-think-talking-points. Succinctly stated, what belief in the “celestial headmaster” does is provide extrinsic human value/worth/dignity. Since humans have extrinsic human value/worth/dignity we have no right to violate anyone and should love everyone; even our enemies as we do not have to love that which our enemies are doing but have to love the person.

For now, also keep in mind that he has used the terms “Morality” and “good,” let us see if he defines these.

Note also that he positively affirms God’s non-existence (without evidence), “God is dead…There is no celestial headmaster” and later “the death of God.” It may do him well to at least open the window atop his imitation ivory tower and let in some fresh air.

Michael Ruse continues:

Does this mean that you can just go out and rape and pillage…Not at all. I said that there are no grounds for being good. It doesn’t follow that you should be bad.
Indeed, there are those – and I am one – who argue that only by recognising the death of God can we possibly do that which we should, and behave properly to our fellow humans and perhaps save the planet that we all share. We can give up all of that nonsense about women and gay people being inferior, about fertilised ova being human beings, and about the earth being ours to exploit and destroy.

Sadly, this philosopher of biology goes far afield and merely lists a few more favorite talking points.
Let us consider them in turn:
Does this mean that you can just go out and rape and pillage…Not at all:
But why not? If I can survive as the fittest by engaging in rape and pillage then why not, because Ruse can concoct some arbitrary and abstract concept—a concept with not imperatives and not accountability? In fact, Ruse, Sam Harris, et al, affirm that rape played a beneficial role in human evolution (details here).

only by recognising the death of God can we possibly…behave properly…and perhaps save the planet:
Forget the atheist complaint that Christianity is exclusivistic (as it logically should be; see here and here) now the pseudo-gospel of Michael Ruse doeth bequeath that atheism is the “only” way to proper behavior and the very salvation of the planet which is the salvation of all that lives on the planet as well.

We can give up all of that nonsense about…
Why he thinks that the list that follows will no longer be an issue if we recognize the death of God is certainly mysterious. He seems to be falling into the Dawkinsian imagine a world with no religion fallacy which envisages an atheist utopia—this runs contrary to all evidence of human nature and the most secular and bloodiest century in human history.

women and gay people being inferior
The death of some pseudo-gods would be helpful in this area but not the one true Judeo-Christian God who created both males and females in His image—see Biblical Women.
As for gays; being in sin does not make one “inferior,” it makes them sinful like us all—repentance is necessary, not demeaning (see here for more on this).

fertilised ova being human beings
Note that he does not define “human beings.” The fact is that a fertilised ova is a stage in human life just as is infancy, being a toddler, adolescent, elderly, etc.

the earth being ours to exploit and destroy
The death of some pseudo-gods would be helpful in this area but not the one true Judeo-Christian God who stated (to both a male and female):

Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28).

That this has nothing to do with exploitation and destruction is elucidated in Philip J. Sampson’s truly excellent book 6 Modern Myths About Christianity and Western Civilization. If you thought that God gave you a gift, created a planet upon which you were to live, gave you charge over it; exploitation and destruction would not factor into your thinking.

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