Secular Morality

“Empiricism cannot establish any norm of morality. I am not saying that secular morality and Christian morality are different. A recent defense of abortion, a TV interview, was that the government should enforce only rational morality and not revelational morality. My point is that so-called “rational morality” does not exist. The reason should be easily understandable. Empirical philosophy claims to base all its truth on observation. Therefore any evaluations or moral judgements that empiricism makes must be inferred from observation. Now observations, at best, can only give statistical information as to what is the case.  It can record how many murders occurred in Philadelphia last month, how many divorces were granted in Washington, and how many cases of arson there was in Boston.    But a simple logical principle prevents the empiricist from concluding that murder is unjustifiable.  One of the essential requirements for a valid argument is the presence in the premises of every term found in the conclusion.  If any term in the conclusion is missing from the premises the argument is a fallacy.   Empirical premises contain nothing but statements of empirical facts.  They give observational data. They state what is.  Hence, nothing but observational data can be placed in the conclusions.  If the premise state only what is the conclusion can what ought to be.  There is no way of deriving a normative principle from an empirical observation.”

-Gordon H. Clark, Empiricism Lecture, Min 24-26


About douglasdouma

I am a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSME), Wake Forest University (MBA), and Sangre de Cristo Seminary (Mdiv). I've learned far more from books than in school. I'm particularly in debt to Martin Luther, Ludwig von Mises, and Gordon H. Clark for any thoughts I have.
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One Response to Secular Morality

  1. Seamus says:

    Not having morality might be the best part of being an atheist 😉 I do not worry about having to make it right with the big guy. I only have to contend with the laws of man, which is a lot easier. Especially when I do not have to follow rules like keeping the sabbath holy and not eating pork. Thank God for free will 🙂 Keep on preaching brother Doug, you may one day save my soul from eternal hell fire. One last thing, if I die and find out there is a God, I will come back and haunt you just to tell you that you were right. Hope school is going well. If you are ever in Austin again let me know, so we can hang out and wax intellectual. Maybe by then I will be at UT finishing my engineering degree.

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