Are Moral Values Subjective?

We are told, by the Left, that matters of right and wrong are situational.  They change with the times, with cultures, or with other conditions.  They reject the idea that there are eternal, objective standards to which we are all obliged to conform, regardless of our personal opinions or preferences.

I recall having seen online a videotaped debate on this between two teams of participants.  One of them included a prominent atheist (either Hitchens or Dawkins), while the other team was composed of recognized advocates of religious values. 

The reason I was searching for the video is because I remember that, throughout the debate, the atheist side of it centered on claims that they are supported by science, not by opinion and not by faith.

Then a curious thing happened.  Near the end of his presentation, one of the supposedly scientific atheists launched into a tirade against people who oppose same-sex "marriage."  This was one of the same people who had been asserting that questions of morality are entirely subjective, with no basis in science.  Obviously, this esteemed scientific atheist did not really believe his own pronouncements.  He did not disbelieve in morality; he simply believed in his own version of it.  As do so many others on the social Left, he seemed to believe that his standards should be enforced on the rest of us.

Judging from this, most people seem to intuitively believe that there really is such a thing as morality.  We just disagree on which standards, if any, to uphold.  So the question becomes more important: is there an objective, perhaps scientific, standard of morality independent of our personal opinions?

Modern science is underpinned by a philosophy called by various names, including "physicalism."  That philosophy says that nothing objectively exists except that which is explained in terms of physics.  It rejects any notions of spirit, soul, or God.  That rejection is well and fine for a philosophy, but it is entirely unscientific.  A purely physicalist view of reality has no place for notions of good or evil, right or wrong, justice or injustice.  It is entirely neutral, neither preferring nor disdaining either side. 

Therefore, to assert that there is an objective standard of morality is not unscientific; it is merely non-physicalist. 

Is there, then, some way to prove the matter, one way or the other?

Yes, there is, but society is so complex, the human mind so inscrutable, that it takes years, even centuries, for a social experiment to produce verifiable results.  Oftentimes, the outcomes of social policies are completely opposite those predicted by the experts.

The following bit of recent history provides an example.

Up until the 1960s, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in most segments of society was very small, despite there being no reliable contraceptives available.  One overwhelming reason for the low incidence of premarital pregnancy was social opprobrium.  For a young, unmarried woman to be known not to be a virgin was considered shameful.  For her to become pregnant was scandalous.  The prospect of being humiliated was a powerful inducement, for women, to delay sexual intercourse until marriage.

The advent of the birth control pill changed all that, and as history shows, the incidence of out-of-wedlock motherhood, which was supposed to have been dramatically reduced, instead increased, and did so intensely.  Why?

The birth control pill helped to reduce the stigma of losing one's virginity before marriage.  This, in turn, indirectly reduced the stigma of premarital pregnancy.  This, in turn, reduced the perceived need for the birth control pill.  Once the initial phase of these events had occurred, the flood gates were opened, and what quickly followed was what is called the Sexual Revolution.

This revolution was supposed to free women from the injustice of sexual repression.  Instead, it led to millions of women becoming pregnant and abandoned, left on their own, to raise their fatherless children.  Many of them were, as a result, raised in poverty and amid crime.   The welfare state sought to correct this mistake by subsidizing single motherhood.  This, in turn, predictably increased what it subsidized.

Today, the harm wrought by the abandonment of sexual morality has left us with a society that cannot even recognize the good and natural differences between the sexes, even to the point of denying that there are two complementary sexes, and certainly denying that they are a naturally ordained partnership, one without which society suffers consequences so pervasive that many people call them good.

The illusion is now deeply ingrained that sexual morality is an antiquated notion and that its violations have no harmful consequence.

Worse yet, casual acceptance of homosexuality and transsexuality has morphed from one of mere tolerance to the present state of enforcement.  Small, confused children can be subjected to the radical procedure of so-called transitioning from their birth sex to a chosen sex.  This can be done in opposition to the parents' wishes, as, indeed, pregnant teenage girls can have their pregnancies aborted with neither the knowledge nor consent of her parents.

To interfere is to be accused of child abuse.  Even to openly advocate Judeo-Christian standards of morality can bring about significant penalties.

We are now at the point where pedophilia itself is gaining traction as a so-called sexual orientation.

Where will all this end?  The expesrts say, a Utopian society.  When have they been right?

We are told, by the Left, that matters of right and wrong are situational.  They change with the times, with cultures, or with other conditions.  They reject the idea that there are eternal, objective standards to which we are all obliged to conform, regardless of our personal opinions or preferences.

I recall having seen online a videotaped debate on this between two teams of participants.  One of them included a prominent atheist (either Hitchens or Dawkins), while the other team was composed of recognized advocates of religious values. 

The reason I was searching for the video is because I remember that, throughout the debate, the atheist side of it centered on claims that they are supported by science, not by opinion and not by faith.

Then a curious thing happened.  Near the end of his presentation, one of the supposedly scientific atheists launched into a tirade against people who oppose same-sex "marriage."  This was one of the same people who had been asserting that questions of morality are entirely subjective, with no basis in science.  Obviously, this esteemed scientific atheist did not really believe his own pronouncements.  He did not disbelieve in morality; he simply believed in his own version of it.  As do so many others on the social Left, he seemed to believe that his standards should be enforced on the rest of us.

Judging from this, most people seem to intuitively believe that there really is such a thing as morality.  We just disagree on which standards, if any, to uphold.  So the question becomes more important: is there an objective, perhaps scientific, standard of morality independent of our personal opinions?

Modern science is underpinned by a philosophy called by various names, including "physicalism."  That philosophy says that nothing objectively exists except that which is explained in terms of physics.  It rejects any notions of spirit, soul, or God.  That rejection is well and fine for a philosophy, but it is entirely unscientific.  A purely physicalist view of reality has no place for notions of good or evil, right or wrong, justice or injustice.  It is entirely neutral, neither preferring nor disdaining either side. 

Therefore, to assert that there is an objective standard of morality is not unscientific; it is merely non-physicalist. 

Is there, then, some way to prove the matter, one way or the other?

Yes, there is, but society is so complex, the human mind so inscrutable, that it takes years, even centuries, for a social experiment to produce verifiable results.  Oftentimes, the outcomes of social policies are completely opposite those predicted by the experts.

The following bit of recent history provides an example.

Up until the 1960s, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in most segments of society was very small, despite there being no reliable contraceptives available.  One overwhelming reason for the low incidence of premarital pregnancy was social opprobrium.  For a young, unmarried woman to be known not to be a virgin was considered shameful.  For her to become pregnant was scandalous.  The prospect of being humiliated was a powerful inducement, for women, to delay sexual intercourse until marriage.

The advent of the birth control pill changed all that, and as history shows, the incidence of out-of-wedlock motherhood, which was supposed to have been dramatically reduced, instead increased, and did so intensely.  Why?

The birth control pill helped to reduce the stigma of losing one's virginity before marriage.  This, in turn, indirectly reduced the stigma of premarital pregnancy.  This, in turn, reduced the perceived need for the birth control pill.  Once the initial phase of these events had occurred, the flood gates were opened, and what quickly followed was what is called the Sexual Revolution.

This revolution was supposed to free women from the injustice of sexual repression.  Instead, it led to millions of women becoming pregnant and abandoned, left on their own, to raise their fatherless children.  Many of them were, as a result, raised in poverty and amid crime.   The welfare state sought to correct this mistake by subsidizing single motherhood.  This, in turn, predictably increased what it subsidized.

Today, the harm wrought by the abandonment of sexual morality has left us with a society that cannot even recognize the good and natural differences between the sexes, even to the point of denying that there are two complementary sexes, and certainly denying that they are a naturally ordained partnership, one without which society suffers consequences so pervasive that many people call them good.

The illusion is now deeply ingrained that sexual morality is an antiquated notion and that its violations have no harmful consequence.

Worse yet, casual acceptance of homosexuality and transsexuality has morphed from one of mere tolerance to the present state of enforcement.  Small, confused children can be subjected to the radical procedure of so-called transitioning from their birth sex to a chosen sex.  This can be done in opposition to the parents' wishes, as, indeed, pregnant teenage girls can have their pregnancies aborted with neither the knowledge nor consent of her parents.

To interfere is to be accused of child abuse.  Even to openly advocate Judeo-Christian standards of morality can bring about significant penalties.

We are now at the point where pedophilia itself is gaining traction as a so-called sexual orientation.

Where will all this end?  The expesrts say, a Utopian society.  When have they been right?