Subject: America’s Battleground Part 3: Planned Parenthood, Ben Carson & Objective Morality
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”
Do objective moral values and duties exist? Let’s first define “objective”. We mean “independent of people’s (including my own) opinion.” The opposite of “objective” is “subjective”, which means “it’s just a matter of personal opinion.” If objective moral values and obligations do exist, then everyone would be obligated or forbidden from doing certain actions, regardless of what we think.
An example of an objective moral value is taken from humanist professor Peter Cave, who explains that killing innocent children is always wrong: “Whatever skeptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound… torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong.” There is no possible world where torturing innocent babies for fun could be argued as a matter of personal opinion (i.e., subjective). It is morally wrong for all persons everywhere and at all times and in every situation.
The latest videos on Planned Parenthood’s medical doctors joking over the tearing apart of dead babies in order to harvest their organs is why there is a national moral outcry against the organization. People have been confronted on live television with the reality that anyone who finds humor in dismembering dead human babies is guilty of objectively immoral behavior.
Dr. Ben Carson, former Director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University medical school, takes the objective moral argument beyond the dismembering of dead babies. He condemns the casual discussion by Planned Parenthood’s Deborah Nucatola, on using an aborted “17-weeker”’s body parts for medical research. Dr. Carson makes the point that aborting a 17-week baby is morally equivalent to murdering an innocent human being: “At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating. It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that’s just an irrelevant mass of cells? That’s what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being,”
Carson then challenges how people want to protect species like “snail darters and little spiders,” while being so vocal to leave an innocent unborn baby exposed to the moral issue we agree is true – torture: “Yet the human being inside of that mother’s womb, just beyond 10 weeks, is much more sophisticated than many of these creatures that they’re trying to preserve. The mother is the protector of that baby and we’ve distorted things to the point where people believe that if the mother can’t kill the baby, then anybody who is advocating that is an enemy of women. How can we be so foolish to believe such a thing?”
This horrific exposure of Planned Parenthood’s actions leads to one of the most compelling arguments for the existence of God – the reality of objective moral values and duties, which is the focus of our verse this week out of the book of Isaiah. The argument, taken from Professor William Lane Craig, goes like this: Premise #1 = ‘If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.’ Premise #2 = ‘Objective moral values and duties do exist.’ Conclusion = ‘Therefore, God exists.’ In order to deny the conclusion, one must reject either Premise #1 or #2.
The argument made by Dr. Craig isn’t that belief in objective moral values is based on believing God exists. His point is that our own moral experience confirms that Premise #2 (objective moral values and duties do exist) is true. As Louise Antony, Professor of Philosophy at University of Massachusetts and a non-theist, explains, denying the existence of objective morality can never be justified: “Any argument for moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious than the evidence of objective moral values themselves.” The fact is we all apprehend objective moral values – and we know it.
This leads us to Premise #1. If there is no God, then our moral experience, and the outrage over Planned Parenthood, is illusory. Without God as the foundation for our innate knowledge of what is right vs. wrong, we are left with naturalism, the belief that our morals originating from evolutionary programming. But why think that is true? There is no empirical evidence for such a belief – only wishful thinking.
As American culture ignores the reality of objective morality as evidence for the God of the Bible, Dr. Carson again warns us how blind we have become to the value of human life: “It is disturbing that some people don’t even realize the callousness with which we are treating human life.”