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Here’s food for thought from Robert Tracinski:

This gives the lie to the central promise of the religious conservatives: that they will provide a solid foundation for morality. Subjectivism, they point out, unleashes men to commit any atrocity, while religion offers men the safety of unquestionable moral rules. But what protection is really offered by moral rules backed by faith–rules on which men cannot ever agree? History offers the answer, recent history most particularly. The headline of a brilliantly conceived satire from The Onion captures it nicely: “War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace in Religion.” The Middle East, and especially the Muslim world, is famous for the intensity of its religious belief–and also infamous for the intensity of its bloodshed and suffering.

Religious conservatives warn that a morality based on reason and observation is not sufficient, because men will not all agree on what reason and the evidence proves. But when have men ever agreed on religion? And without reason and evidence to settle the argument, they usually resort to force.

The real alternative to secular subjectivism is not religious faith, but observation of the natural world–the world that can be seen and understood through reason. Despite a confused dismissal of “natural law,” Heather Mac Donald is correct when she suggests that “reason and a commitment to evidence provide ample grounds for leading a moral, responsible life.” But she seems to have something of pragmatist view of morality, arguing, for example, that marriage should be encouraged because sociological studies say that children are better off with two parents.

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