I came across a post from Jerry Coyne, anticreationist extraordinaire, which exemplifies for me and reminds me just how bankrupt the materialist, secularist view of humanity really is.
When a male lion invades another group and kills the cubs, when a chimp tears another chimp to bits, those are just bits of nature, and aren’t seen as wrong. And the amorality of nature is touted even by those who realize that our primate relatives show rudiments of morality, . . . . is it really true that all of nature, including primate societies, must be seen as amoral, while human actions must be judged by this thing called “morality”?In Jerry's world, if I smack him in the face for saying ridiculous things, it's something that can't be helped; and when he hits me back that's something poor Jerry can't help either.
Why, if a male lion has no more choice about killing step-cubs than a human does about killing stepchildren, do we hold the human morally responsible but the lion not? (The ability of humans to foresee consequences and take in a variety of inputs seems to me irrelevant here). Should we punish cub-killing lions, given that they cause enormous pain and terror to the cubs and their mothers?
Jerry enquires, "What I’d like to ask here, though, is when humans supposedly became morally responsible—if that’s what you believe." Jerry is arguing that if we can't hold animals responsible, then how can we hold humans responsible. And poor Jerry doesn't believe that people that do wrong to other people should be punished, only rehabilitated.
What I'd like to ask here, of those who don't believe that humans are unique in morality, is why we don't send policemen into the bush to incarcerate those chimps and rehabilitate them. If you can't rehabilitate them, is it really "humane" to let them loose to tear more chimps to bits? Perhaps the humans-are-just-smart-animals crowd believe that that would be intruding on a sovereign "chimp culture," which is as valuable as any other culture.
Also, if we were to accept Jerry's logic, what is wrong with the rest of society disapproving of Jerry's beliefs and locking him up until he is rehabilitated? Or for executing him, for that matter. Has Jerry Coyne never written against religious people with fierce righteous indignation? How can Jerry believe that religion or any of the acts done in the name of religion that he seems to find so reprehensible are wrong in any way? It wouldn't be wrong for an antimaterialist society to incarcerate Jerry for his beliefs because it wouldn't be wrong for an animal group to do whatever was in their brains to do.
In fact, not only can Jerry not say that anything that the Nazis did during WWII was immoral, I don't see how he can say it was wrong. If the Nazis had won, it would have been bad for many non-Germans (and for some Germans as well), but if winning would have benefited them, it is no more wrong than it is wrong for an animal to do anything that doesn't ultimately harm its own self.
In the immoral world of Nature, might is right. Certainly, there is cooperation and altruism. But, again by Coyne's logic, there is nothing wrong with humans that reject cooperation and altruism, even to the point of doing things that he feels are reprehensible, because that is all they are. And in Jerry's world, the only antidote to protect himself from those who don't live in a way that he approves is to coerce them to do so, which he prefers to do through incarceration and rehabilitation. And Jerry seems to believe that the State should rehabilitate "bad behavior"--presumably behavior some people prefer not to happen.