The Reason for No God

The Reason for No God (The Grand “Who Sez?”)

In this section the unspoken premise from the previous post just becomes spoken, so there’s not too much more to say. The thrust of this section is that everyone knows that human rights exist, but that without god there is no external justification for any moral statement. Keller says without god there can be no “good” only things that you like or don’t like.

As I said previously I don’t agree with Keller’s premise that human rights exist externally to humanity somehow, that we discovered rather than created them. I also don’t agree that without god there is no justification for determining right or wrong. It is true in a philosophical sense that there would be no “true” right or wrong, it would just be what we’ve decided is right and wrong. I think this is how we operate already, some people just don’t know it.

Keller acts as if the alternative to god handing down morality is majority rule. He says this is a problem for anyone who thinks it is wrong for the majority to exterminate a minority, since apparently the majority think that it’s okay. This is extremely over simplified and ignores many alternative scenarios.

On a basic level, all people like the same things. Life is better than death, happiness is better than sadness, wealth is better than scarcity, health is better than sickness, etc. etc. People that disagree with these are in such a minority that they are considered ill and are treated or locked up. Now, clearly people disagree on how best to achieve happiness and health and such, but they are empirical things. They can be measured on a population scale, and therefor can be experimented with. For example, you could, as people have, go around the world and measure how well various populations are doing on these measures (happiness, health, etc.) and score them on variables of interest (women’s rights, wealth gap, etc.) and determine if there are any correlations. This would give a basis for what is right and wrong. If there is a known correlation between women’s rights and happiness, that would empirically suggest women should have rights. Further evidence could be gathered by active study of populations who switch between status of women’s right, one way or the other.

I admit that such a system would be far from perfect, but it seems to me to be a fairly viable third option that Keller ignores, and if there’s a third option, there are likely more.

If you think, as Keller believes everyone does, that human rights were discovered and not created, then how do you know? And how sure can you be? I realize a zealot can convince themselves of anything to 100% certainty, but most people don’t do that. If you’re 90% sure that something 100% evil, then isn’t that same as being 100% sure that the same thing has a 90% chance of being evil? Keller’s implied promise of perfect morality is betrayed because he offers no way of knowing what that perfect morality is. I mean, god, obviously, but as has been discussed previously in his book people disagree greatly on what god is, says, wants, etc.

The conclusion that human rights are universal and external comes from the belief in god, and therefor cannot be used as evidence for a god. Keller’s universe and my universe look the same. There’s no reason to choose his way of thinking unless one already believes in god. If you start with the null hypothesis that there is no god and look about the universe, there is nothing to suggest universal human rights. Keller is taking a mistake brought on by belief in god as evidence for god. Nothing more.