Dr. William Vallicella calls our attention to a post by Dr. Alan Rhoda in which Dr. Rhoda argues that the “problem of evil” is as much a difficulty for the atheist as for the theist. But Dr. Rhoda’s post, which Dr. V. calls a “good solid crack at it”, rests on the unwarranted assumption that the atheist will be as troubled as the theist by the notion that there might not be an objective basis for morality.
This is simply not the case, as I argue in this recent post, and as can be multiply confirmed by reading the positions staked out by such prominent atheist activists as Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. There is a perfectly reasonable evolutionary account that can be given for why we have the moral intuitions we have — intuitions that are so strong, and so universal across cultural boundaries, that they can appear, evidently even to highly sophisticated thinkers, to have the weight of a priori truths. In a sense they could, I suppose, even be argued actually to have an objective existence — not in the theistic sense that Drs. Rhoda and Vallicella are plumping for, however, but rather in the sense that the adaptive advantage conferred by such moral intuitions, which is described more succinctly by game theory than theology, might be expected to apply quite repeatably to the evolutionary development of any sufficiently intelligent and social organisms. But that, in itself, is nothing more than an interesting fact about the world, and need not bear upon our moral judgments, which, as always, are up to us.