|Let me get this straight: You believe that Chimp Jesus is both fully God and fully Chimp, but you think my worldview is inconsistent?|
Following the recent purge of dissenting voices over at Uncommon Descent, cock-of-the-walk lawyer Barry Arrington implies that materialists either don't know or don't care about the supposed inconsistencies in their worldview:
Do Materialists Believe Rape is Wrong?The whole topic is disingenuous. After provoking the remaining materialists able to post, Arrington later says: "I am glad materialists rarely act as if what they say they believe is true. Instead, the vast majority of them coast along on the ethical system bestowed upon them by the Christian tradition while at the same time furiously chopping away at the root of that system. Ironic, huh?"
I have a question for our materialist friends. Let’s imagine a group of chimpanzees. Say one of the male chimps approaches one of the female chimps and makes chimp signals that he wants to have sexual relations with her, but for whatever reason she’s not interested and refuses. Is it morally wrong for the male chimp to force the female chimp to have sex with him against her will?
If you answer “no it is not morally wrong,” imagine further a group of humans. On the materialist view, a human is just a jumped up hairless ape. Is it morally wrong for a human male to force a human female to have sex with him against her will? If you answer “yes, it is morally wrong,” I certainly agree with you. But please explain why on the materialist view it is not wrong for a hairy ape to force a female to have sex with him, but it is wrong for a hairless ape to force a female to have sex with him.
Arrington's play is, of course, what we know it was all along: to show the befuddled materialists/atheists that they don't actually believe materialism or atheism. Deep down, materialists and atheists are rebellious children who really do believe in God and Jesus and Mohammed and really want to be reconciled to their Maker.
Succumbing to acute SIWOTI, I finally commented
“Is it morally wrong for the male chimp to force the female chimp to have sex with him against her will?”This comment received almost no response. I later commented:
I’ll say “yes” because if I believed one animal was harming another and it was in my power to stop it or to prevent it beforehand, I would do so.
Thus it is “morally wrong” from my perspective. Whether it is morally wrong from the perspective of the chimp, and whether another chimp has a “will” to be violated–or even a sense to think it has a will–is something I don’t know.
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that materialism is not a basis for morality. The surprising thing is that people seem to think materialism’s amorality is surprising.
You might want a follow-up question: Since you do not base your moral values on materialism, on what do you base them?
“Again, the question is: Why do materialist have different moral expectations for chimps than they do for humans when, on their premises, chimps and humans are pretty much the same thing? Care to take a shot at that?”This comment generated two responses, neither of which was central to the Arrington's original post. I responded to the second remark directed to my comment with this:
Materialists have different moral expectations for chimps than for humans because materialists base their moral expectations on something other than materialism.
Chimps and humans are “pretty much the same,” as you say. But they are not exactly the same. Their brains work differently. Their societies work differently. Their tools and technologies are different in number, power, and scope. Their sense of self and species-identity lead to different behaviors and natural attitudes.
Since materialism is amoral, as I think we all agree, and cannot be the basis of sustained communal living, then materialists must base their moral expectations on something else. I can’t speak for all materialists or for anyone but myself, but I think it is broadly true that materialists base their moral expectations on learned and reasoned ideas of human-specific “good” in human-dominated societies.
“Generally, materialists seem to be satisfied in explaining away morality through sociobiological evolution.”It's tiring and disheartening to have god-botherers repeatedly assert materialists don't really understand what materialism and atheism mean. This argument is the converse of the old standby: "If you really understood Christianity, you would believe. Since you are not a believer, you must not really 'get it.'"
Maybe, but the point is that materialism is amoral. It is not a basis for morality, yet it does not preclude morality either.
In any event, the questions of the OP have been answered:
Do materialists believe rape is wrong? Yes.
Is it morally wrong for the male chimp to force the female chimp to have sex with him against her will? I answered “yes” in comment 40 and explained why. However, I explained there and in comment 66 that our view of moral chimp behavior is entirely separate from our view of moral human behavior.
If the point of the OP is that materialists are inconsistent to give chimps a free pass on rape but not humans, then that point has been demonstrated false because of (1) materialism’s neutrality w/r/t morality and (2) the difference–already mentioned a few times–between human assessment of its own species versus other species.
Other questions, such as objective morality, are peripheral to the topic introduced in the OP, and so should be dealt with separately. In post 40, I suggested this question as a potential OP: “To materialists: Since you do not base your moral values on materialism, on what do you base them?”
We get materialism. We understand it. We know what it "implies" and doesn't. Same with atheism.
And we mean it.