What’s wrong with theistic objective morality–in 60 seconds

In what seems like a proof of Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence, the “is morality objective or subjective” debates are playing out yet again at UD.

Here, in 60 seconds or less, is why theistic objective morality doesn’t get off the ground:

[Results not guaranteed.  May vary with individual reading speed.]

1. For objective morality to have an impact, we need to a) know that it exists, b) know what it requires, and c) know that we have reliable access to it.  We don’t know any of those things.

2.  Lacking access to objective morality, all we have left is subjective morality — what each person thinks is right or wrong. This is just as true for the objectivist as it is for the subjectivist.

3. Even if God existed and we knew exactly what he expected of us, there would be no reason to regard his will as morally binding.  His morality would be just as subjective as ours.

A look at Keiths paper

So, here is the link to a paper which Keiths claims says something about income inequality, and I say is another example of the proliferation of shoddy science.


The highlight of the paper is this claim:

“We found that of the 40 search terms used more frequently in states with greater income inequality, more than 70% were classified as referring to status goods (e.g., designer brands, expensive jewelry, and luxury clothing). In contrast, 0% of the 40 search terms used more frequently in states with less income inequality were classified as referring to status goods.”

Where does one begin to critique the ridiculousness of this claim? 70% of the majority of searches are for luxury goods in some states, 0% of the most searched items in other states?

If one claims the difference in search patterns from one state to another is that dramatic, shouldn’t ones bs detector already be ringing alarm bells?

And what is considered a luxury good? What is the cut-off for equal states and unequal states? Did they decide the luxury terms before or after they viewed the data? Who do they claim is doing all this searching for luxury, the haves or the have nots?

The red flags are everywhere. Isn’t it likely that they had a conclusion that they wished to reach, and that they fulfilled their own prophecy?

Expensive watches and other Veblen goods

A few months ago, my trusty old Seiko died and I found myself in the market for a new watch.  I ended up buying a $100 Seiko, solar-powered this time so that I don’t have to change the battery. It looks good and keeps time perfectly.  Why spend $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 on a watch that does nothing more than my $100 Seiko?

The answer, of course, is status. Thorstein Veblen got it right in his classic Theory of the Leisure Class:

Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.


Since the consumption of these more excellent goods is an evidence of wealth, it becomes honorific; and conversely, the failure to consume in due quantity and quality becomes a mark of inferiority and demerit.

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Questions for Christians and other theists, part 3: The Atonement


This weekend, millions of Christians will express gratitude to Jesus Christ for saving them through his sacrifice.  Few of them will be asking the obvious follow-up question: “How does that work, exactly?”

Here’s Christianity’s dirty secret: No one has a good explanation of how atonement works. There is no consensus among Christians, and none of the theories offered actually make sense.

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Questions for Christians and other theists, part 2: Samson

In Judges 13-16, the Bible tells the bizarre story of Samson. YouTube contributor DarkMatter2525 has produced an excellent 3-part animated version of the story.

Please read the story first and then watch the three videos. If you do it the other way around, you’ll be asking yourself over and over: “Wait — does the Bible really say that?”

In the comments, I’ll pose some questions to believers regarding the story.

Samson Da Barbarian Part 2

Samson Da Barbarian Part 3