That is a very interesting question to ask. Of course there are several questions that they forget to ask, especially if they are naturalistic materialists, such as:
- Do these flow logically from our worldview?
- What authority exists to enforce these “commandments”?
- Why should anyone pay attention to them?
These are simple questions that need to be answered.
There have been several iterations of these “commandments”, which are meant to demonstrate that atheists have a sense good sense of morality, that they can be “good without God”. Of course, what they often miss is that they are borrowing , sometimes outright stealing their ideas from religious sources. I guess the writer of Ecclesiastes was correct, there is nothing new under the son. I’m drawing this post from a post on addicting info, and I’m going to divide it into a number of posts in order to analyze and critique them more thoroughly.
The post begins,
Authors Le Bayer and John Figdor have just completed a very daunting task. The two have created a new list of ten commandments for the 21st century. The two have authored the book Atheist Mind Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments For the Twenty First Century. The authors wrote the book in hopes that it will show that religion does not hold a monopoly on ethical codes of conducts for living life in a virtuous manner.
I’m not even going to get through the first paragraph without stopping to ask a few questions:
What do Bayer and Figdor mean by “ethics” and “virtue”? What do they mean by “religion“? I’m sure that they take time to answer those questions in their book, but basic questions that need to be answered. Anyway…
Bayer and Figdor have created a list of ten “non-commandments” that they view exemplify those with a humanist perspective. They are referred to as non-commandments because the authors would like them to be non-dogmatic and have the ability to change based upon new evidence.
So, they want them to be “non-dogmatic” and be able to change “based upon new evidence“. New evidence of what? I’m wondering what evidence they had to believe that their “non-commandments” are valid to begin with? I guess we’ll see.
They then decided to take the idea of putting together a list of non-commandments and used it to create a contest where people would send in their own suggestions for what the new list should be. The suggestions where then voted on by people online. Those that got the most votes where then selected by thirteen judges who decided the final ten winners.
Oh, so they held a contest, I see. And the ten “non-commandments” were decided upon by “thirteen judges“. So these “non-dogmatic” “non-commandments” were decided on by judges who were probably dogmatic. Let’s take a few of the “non- commandments” and see just how they stack up.
The first was submitted by a Jeremy Jimenez, it reads,
1. Be open minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
Why: It is essential in order for us to be able to collaboratively work together to find common solutions to pressing world problems.
That’s actually pretty sound advice, and sound reasoning behind it. No real issues with this one.
A Matthew M., submitted this one,
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
Why: We’re more likely to believe what we wish to be true over what we wish not to be true, regardless of veracity. If we’re interested in learning the truth, then we need to actively separate our beliefs from our desires.
Wow, truly a double-edged sword. Of course there are different kinds of truth, so exactly what kind of truth is being argued for is up in the air. Also notice that the objective put forward is to “understand” and not accept what is true. Truth is as much a matter of belief as it is a matter of accepting the truth.
Last, for now, is this one by a Zay Jackson,
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
Why: Every time humans have questions this method is used to solve them. If we don’t know, we don’t know but instead of making up the answer we use this method to reach a conclusion/answer.
Really? Can we test the validity of this assertion using the scientific method? No, this is a philosophical position. Further, not every question that humans have can be answered by applying the scientific method. Such as, should I have coffee or hot cocoa? That is why such assertions simply fall apart.
Okay, we are beginning to see that things are starting to spin a little out of control, but that’s for another post.