I would like to share something I read in the recent issue of Skeptic that I think may fit in with the conversation. It is from a book review by Norman Levitt, the book under review is Darwin Loves You. The title of the piece is, Theodicy for Atheist (he gives the book thumbs down). I have read similar ideas to what I will present, but Norman really lays it out well here I think.
I have to type it out, so the grammatical errors are probably mine.
~ “Virtually all of us moralize from time to time, if only to ourselves. Typically, our moralizing springs forth with a deep and passionate subjective sense of the hard-and-fast rightness of our position. Yet considered from the materialist worldview, our moral convictions cannot be accounted facts about the material universe - the only universe there is. Immanuel Kant Famously remarked, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe – the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” Of course, Kant understood this to mean that the “moral law” has the status of a priori truth whose certainty the undamaged and uncorrupted mind instinctively grasps. Like geometry, it is a fact embedded in the very tissue of the universe, thereby authorizing the objective truth of correct moral judgments. But if we play the deconstructionist jokester just for a moment, might we not find in Kant’s pronouncement an opposite and unnerving truth? The moral law exists “within me” because that’s the only place it can exist – within my altogether private, subjective, and idiosyncratic realm of opinions and prejudices. It reposes on nothing more objective than my own subjectivity; it certainly does not encode moral fact in the sense that the periodic table of elements encodes physical fact.
As I say, we judge and act on our moral values reflexively as though we fully accepted their status as fact. We do so because we are human and can do no other, just as we judge and behave in the midst of life as though free will were an unquestionable reality. Literally, we can’t help it. Nonetheless, reflection on the implications of materialism show us, I think, that the notion of “moral fact” is an oxymoron. Among philosophers, the logical positivist were famous, or perhaps notorious for insisting on this point. But the logical positivists weren’t original in this respect, merely unusually blunt. Indeed, evolutionary thought, starting with Darwin himself, not only assents to the sweeping implication that materialism renders moral fact illusory, but goes further in that it accounts, quite plausibly, for the material fact that we deceive ourselves into thinking of morality as factual. We are animals who erect moral codes precisely because we are social animals whose very survival, given our hypertrophied cognitive apparatus, necessitates a degree of altruism, generosity, and honesty.” ~