Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fistbump of the Day - Faithful Thinkers: Evolution, Morality, and Transformers

Luke has written a great post inspired by Transformer: Dark of the Moon. I liked everything about the post just like I liked the movie. I think anyone interested in morality and it's underpinnings should read it. I would like to point out that although the movie is fictional it includes many important things about "about worldviews, philosophy, or apologetics." Luke Nix wrote the following:

Near the end of the movie a specific line caught my ear. Sentinal Prime and Optimus Prime were in a battle over Sential's betrayal of the Autobots to the Decepticons, that put the survival of the human species in jeopardy. Sential informed Optimus that "All I wanted was the survival of our species- that's why I had to betray you." If the survival of a specific species is the determining factor of objective morality, then we have the survival of two species in direct odds with one another, which means that we have two "objective" moralities in direct conflict with on another. On a naturalistic worldview, there is no factor to break such a tie. Which means ultimately, morality is relative to the species. Any morality that is based on a species' survival, is ultimately relative; it is not objective.

On what grounds is Optimus Prime mad at Sential Prime? There are two possibilities: Survival of a species makes right or betrayal is always wrong.

I agree that the questions brought up are important and as Luke points out a Naturalistic worldview cannot answer them. However I think that there is third possibility. Optimus Prime has an objective moral standard. I can't remember if it was in this movie or one of the previous movies, but Optimus Prime quotes his famous saying to explain why he protect humans even it means his life: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings". I've been a Transformers fan since I was eight years-old - 28 years and one consistent thing about Optimus Prime's character - no matter the media or series - is that Optimus Prime values all life. He doesn't fight and kill Decepticons because he likes it. He fights because he has taken it upon himself to protect everyone - humans, Autobots, and other lifeforms. At times I have to admit that he almost portrayed in messianic terms.

Luke further writes:

Many wish to say that objective morality can exist in a naturalistic universe. But, on which of the three grounds presented here is objective morality established? Is it even possible to establish objective morality in a world without God?

Optimus Prime is a fictional character that embodies all the heroic attributes that we know we instinctively admire but fall short: power, self-sacrifice, wisdom, and kindness. Optimus Prime and Transformers are just as popular in Japan, China, and Europe as it is in the Americas. I see no way we can explain these objective values without God.

Faithful Thinkers: Evolution, Morality, and Transformers
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