The Loss of Human Dignity with a Naturalistic World

Topics: Human, Morality, Species Pages: 12 (4889 words) Published: July 17, 2012
The loss of Human Dignity with a Naturalistic World
        Throughout the centuries there have been various theories that have tried unsuccessfully to account for human dignity and intrinsic value without God.  However, this paper will only focus on the theory of naturalism and its lack of a strong argument for the existence of either.  Therefore there must be a successful accounting of the presence of God within the theory of naturalism to argue the existence of human dignity and intrinsic value successfully according to JP Moreland.         One cannot argue against philosophical theory without first opening their eyes to the opposing debate.  This argument is not about Christianity or the existence of a particular religion but the belief that we must have God in any argument or debate concerning human dignity, for without God there can be no human dignity or intrinsic value.         In order to proceed with the argument against the lack of human dignity and intrinsic value within a naturalistic perspective one must define some key terms within the argument: naturalism, the Grand Story, the atomic theory, personhood, intrinsic value, and human dignity.  To ease the transition from definitions to critique I will only discuss the terms briefly as to give the reader an educated understanding of the terms that support the theory of naturalism and leave human dignity and inherent value struggling for existence.         According to Moreland, naturalism is defined as the belief that all things, living or not, originate from mindless, meaningless, restricted, irrational, brute, physical particles. To further elaborate on naturalism, one must realize that the theory accounts for our creation by physical matter only.  All of creation, to include humans, is based solely on the physical properties matter may contain and any passive reaction that may result.   Simply put, naturalism is just another name for atheism or the belief that there is no God.         The basic meaning behind the grand story is that all phenomena are essentially physical or composed of physical parts, and can in principle be explained by causal or emergent principals. The grand story sums up how sub-atomic particles develop into more complex properties and as they continue to grow and form, they develop into our universe and planet as we know it and eventually into mankind as we know it today.   The atomic theory and the Big Bang Theory reinforce this idea of the Grand story by their basic ideas.   The atomic theory basically states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms, as opposed to the obsolete notion that matter could be divided into any arbitrarily small quantity while the Big Bang Theory states that the universe, originally in an extremely hot and dense state, that expanded rapidly, has since cooled by expanding to the present diluted state, and continues to expand today. Personhood is the obtainment of human dignity from a naturalistic perspective. In order for a individual to achieve personhood there is a certain criteria that must be met. Two very important characteristics of personhood are the obtainment of reason and logic and consciousness; once achieved, human dignity is made available in a naturalistic setting. The last term to be defined from within the naturalistic theory is the concept of human dignity.  Moreland states that naturalist would argue that we have no human dignity; we are only matter and recognize the ideas of Joel Feinberg and Michael Ruse.  As mentioned in Moreland’s book, Joel Feinberg separates human dignity into two categories:   human rights and human merit.   According to Feinberg, human rights apply to all humans equally; while human merit relates more to our possession of talent, skills, character, and personality which would then be applied to a grading scale.  This scale would then judge or rank each person based upon their personal talents, skill, etc., ranking them within society and eliminating...
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