When discussing the origins of morality, most Atheists are willing to offer evolution as a viable option. However, I believe it is obvious that the evolutionary process could not have produced moral imparitives. If there is no afterlife, we should eat, drink, and be merry — for tomorrow we die. naturalism seems to entail self-informed moral freedom, which isn’t really morality at all, but is entirely consistent with there being no God, is it not? I think so, but I can’t even begin to count the number of times Atheists have come here and told me I am mistaken that an atheistic worldview does not have grounded within it actions free from ultimate consequences.
The fact remains, however, that if we do exist in a Godless universe with no transcendent moral impositions or eternal consequences, our only worries about our actions are the personal discomforts associated with getting caught: imprisonment, public shame, loss of friendship, etc.
A cursory reflection on our own interactions with others should make this obvious. We punish those who would exploit the weak. We look down on those who put their own self interest before others. We rebuke our children for not sharing their personal belongings (a trait found in every child).
How does the person who would accept that morality can be explained through the evolutionary process explain the fact that we actively condition ourselves to fight our base instincts which we possess because the naturalistic process has placed it in us? Why do we not trust evolution’s outworkings in ourselves as it relates to morality that we have to fight it? Did evolution get human instinct wrong?
Why should someone do the morally good thing? If the answer employs culture or society, that is relativism, which isn’t morality, it’s preference. If the answer appeals to flourishing, that is a form of utilitarianism, again not morality. On an aside, I find Atheists become upset when I persist in asking why. I understand that behaving aids in flourishing, but why should I care beyond my own self and immediate progeny?
The video below re-frames this otherwise academic debate and puts it into perspective.