Grey Thoughts
Humanism and Morals
Last night, the 'Spoonman' on Triple M, a secular humanist, was defending the claim that he could have a solid moral foundation without the bible. I'd have to agree. In fact the bible is not a solid foundation for morality. It may be a revelation of moral rules, but a foundation is a different thing. The foundation must be the source of the moral rules, not the moral rules themselves.

Spoonman's defense of his own moral foundation amounted to empathy. Empathy is a feeling, 'the understanding and entering into another's feelings '. As such, Spoonman's morality is based on a subjective feeling. Each person shares a different level of empathy for a different range of objects and situations. Some people empathise very strongly with cats, some with dogs, some with babies, some with girls. This is a simple and obvious observation.

This opens up three questions

1) how can someone, using Spoonman's moral foundation, criticise or argue with another persons morality? Jeffrey Dalhmer, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Lenin. All these people thought they were acting morally, and their empathy was obviously vastly different to the Spoonman's. But if subjective feelings are the foundation, then there is no rational reason to say one person's actions are moral and another's are not.

2) Why is it that empathy is the foundation for morality? Why not other feelings?

3) If Spoonman's moral foundation is a feeling, it is not a rational morality, but an emotional one. How then can Spoonman criticise other people for their own irrationality, as he did on the show?

Finally, Spoonman seemed to think that his atheistic, secular humanist morality was superior to any religious morality, yet atheistic morality has been responsible for more deaths is less time than theistic morality.
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