Reader Kurt sent me this video with the note,
“Sending you this for your listening pleasure in the hope you’ll never post anything from the execrable ‘Prager U'” again.”
Sorry, Kurt: here it is.
In fact, in this video Dennis Prager himself asks the burning question, “How do you know murder is wrong?” Science, he says gives no facts to answer this, and, says Prager, “in a secular world there can be only opinions about morality.” Prager, of course, says the answer is God (the Judeo-Christian god, naturally): “If there is no God, there is no objective morality.”
Here he’s using the Divine Command theory beloved of William Lane Craig: Whatever God says is good or evil makes it so.
The flaws in this view are manifold, beginning with all the odious dictates of God in the Old Testament and the Qur’an (if you include the Abrahamic God). If what God said was moral, then it is right to kill your children when they curse you, slaughter anyone working on the Sabbath, and so on ad infinitum.
In the end Prager, like everyone else, confects his own version of “God’s morality”, and does that on extra-Biblical grounds. Would he think it moral to kill his children for no good reason should God, as he did to Abraham, dictate such an act?
Prager in fact has his own opinions about which of God’s Biblical dictates to follow, and which to reject. That comes, as for all believers, from secular feelings (many of which may have been instilled in us by evolution)—yes, opinions, but opinions informed by a notion of what kind of society you’d like. Of course, even that choice of a desirable society is ultimately a preference. There is nothing objective in any morality—except for choosing the best means to create a society you prefer.
Finally, Prager trots out the Hitler/Stalin-were-atheists argument. He doesn’t mention the Inquisition or ISIS, or the notion that Hitler and Stalin weren’t acting out of pure atheism, but out of a desire to create a religious-like ideological cult (complete with God figure) in which no dissent could be tolerated.
When you watch this non-dumb man make a totally dumb argument, remember that not EVERYTHING from Prager University is bad. It’s a serious mistake to reject every video proffered by this place just because most of them are conservative and religious.
If there’s one lesson I’d like to impart to readers, that is this: never write off a source of news or opinion permanently just because it’s generally wrong, right-wing, or religious. Sometimes conservatives are right, and even if they’re wrong, you can use them as whetstones to hone your opinion. That is why conservative Ben Shapiro regularly destroys Leftist college students: they haven’t done their homework to back up their arguments, but rely on mantras, slogans, and what their Facebook friends say. Shapiro has done his homework, though I disagree strongly with what he concludes from it.
Likewise, I’ve seen many people, even on this site, dismiss Sam Harris’s opinions tout court simply because they think he favors torture or profiling, even though his views are far more nuanced than that. But even if he was in favor of these things applied on a wholesale scale, that doesn’t mean we can reject out of hand everything he says. I don’t want to see that kind of lazy dismissal used on this website! Always go after the arguments themselves, and don’t rely on ad homs.
And remember, the news about suppression of freedom of speech comes mainly from conservative sources.
And with that, I’m off to Greymouth to find keas.