Mailvox: the falsifiability of moral parasitism

R meets with a preemptive objection to TIA:

A young friend of ours has, after my recommending he read “The Irrational Atheist”, said this:

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Day insist atheists are moral parasites? He says that atheists inherit their morality from a foundation already established by Christianity. The problem with this stance is that it is unfalsifyable. It suggests that a society lacking Christian influence would be incapable of developing a similar morality. Well we live in a world which has had religious influence (mostly Abrahamic faiths) permeated throughout it, so where can we test the notion? We cannot. The argument cannot be tested. It therefore holds little weight.

I will read this book, i promise you that as a friend, and we may or may not have a discussion about it. My concern with approaching the work is that it will be littered with similar logic. But like I said I will read it. We’ll see if my concerns are founded.”

It’s always so cute when young atheists attempt to construct logical arguments on the basis of foundations they don’t understand with reason they utilize improperly. There are numerous problems with this attempt to preemptively rebut my arguments without even reading them; I continue to find it astonishing how many atheists observably believe that it is possible to provide substantive criticism in complete and self-admitted ignorance.

First, my argument concerning moral parasitism is that atheists tend to inherit or absorb their moralities from the dominant society in which they dwell rather than reasoning them out from first principles or developing them from science as many of them claim to have done.  That is why it is meaningful to identify someone as a Catholic atheist, a Jewish atheist, or a Muslim atheist; their moral standards tend to be Catholic morality less whatever the atheist doesn’t like, Jewish morality less whatever the atheist doesn’t like, etc.

It is true that in the West, which was once known as Christendom, most atheists are Christian moral parasites. But this is considerably less true in other parts of the world, despite Christianity’s current global reach.

Second, the young atheist’s objection underlines my point about the remarkable atheist ignorance of history.  Where can we test the notion? My suggestion would be to look at pre-Christian societies and compare the differences between the moralities advocated by the atheists in those societies and those to which modern Christian atheists subscribe.  Is he truly unaware that we are privy to a considerable amount of ideas from philosophers untouched by the Abrahamic faiths? Alternatively, we could look at the moralities espoused by atheists raised in current religious traditions such as Islam, Judaism, the Chinese pagan folk religion, Buddhism, and the myriad of less popular religions.

We know, from history, that societies lacking Christian influence do not develop Christian morality.  In fact, we can go much farther, as we know that societies lacking Christian influence did not develop modern science.  It would be going too far to definitely claim that Christianity is a prerequisite for the development of scientody, but it cannot be denied that none of the hundreds of non-Christian societiesever independently developed the scientific method.

It is theoretically possible to claim my observation is incorrect, but it is not even remotely credible to claim that it is unfalsifiable. The fact that it has not been tested does not mean that it cannot be tested. As it happens, the hypothesis can be tested on an experimental basis with proper control groups; one wonders if the young atheist is consistent and rejects both evolution by natural selection and string theory on the same basis he has ventured here.  Based on the level of logic-mastery he has demonstrated here, I would tend to doubt it.