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Paul Copan on Naturalism and Ethics

Yes, many naturalists deny that objective moral values exist — that our moral impulse is nothing more than the product of a blind evolutionary process that selects out traits that enhance survival and reproduction. I such a case, morality is merely subjective. However, non-theists can and do endorse objective moral values — that rape or child abuse is wrong. These nontheistic moral realists will tell us, “You don’t need God to be good.” Yet the deeper question is, how did we come to be morally responsible, rights-bearing beings? Since all human beings are God’s image-bearers, they not surprisingly recognize the same sorts of moral values theist do. The basic issue, tough, is this: why think humans have rights and dignity if they’re products of valueless, physical processes in a cause-and-effect series from the bing bang until now? The more plausible context or scenario is that human value and moral responsibility come from a good God who created us as intrinsically valuable, morally responsible creatures.


In:
Metaethics
Naturalism and Scientism

About Paul Copan

Paul Copan is Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has authored and edited a variety of books including Loving Wisdom: Christian Philosophy of Religion (2007), The Rationality of Theism (with Paul Moser, 2003), and Creation out of Nothing (with William Lane Craig, 2004).


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