by Brett Kunkle
Two years ago, I had the chance to debate an atheist professor at Weber State University in Utah on the best explanation for the existence of objective moral values. The writings of Bill Craig and Paul Copan have shaped a lot of my thinking in this area, as I'm sure you'll see below. In my opening argument, I made the case for God as the ontological foundation for objective morality. Then I raised five problems for an evolutionary view of ethics that make it an implausible alternative. Here are the problems I outlined in the debate:
(1) Evolution cannot account for moral values: Moral values do not fit in the ontology of naturalism. On a naturalistic view, our moral values are the result of biological evolution, purely for the purpose of survival and reproduction. But how would such a herd morality be binding and true?
Atheists recognize the unnatural fit. Philosopher of science Michael Ruse writes:
The position of the modern evolutionist...is that humans have an awareness of morality...because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth.... Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” they think they are referring above and beyond themselves.... Nevertheless...such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction...and any deeper meaning is illusory…. 
J.L. Mackie, one of the most prominent atheist philosophers of the 20th century, said this: “Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of qualities and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events, without an all-powerful god to create them.” 
(2) Evolution cannot account for moral obligations: If humans are simply more developed animals, why think there are moral duties to which they are obligated? Male great white sharks are under no obligation to refrain from forcibly copulating with female great whites. Male lions are under no obligation to refrain from killing all the young lion cubs in a pride they have just taken over. Notice, we do NOT use moral terms to describe such behavior. We do not call the shark’s behavior “rape” and we do not call the lion’s behavior “infanticide.”
Natural science is a descriptive enterprise, only telling us what is the case, not what ought to be the case. For example, nature can describe what it is to be healthy, but it cannot generate a moral obligation to be healthy.
Prominent American philosopher Richard Taylor recognizes this problem for naturalism…
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