That humanity has an intrinsic ‘moral sense’, few deny. Even physicalists (i.e. Jesse J. Prinz) gratingly concede that “Like language, religion, and art, morality seems to be a human universal.”1 Of course, such persons, in zealous piety to their naturalist dogma, repudiate this universal attribute as having any objective reality. Like the religious ‘instinct’, such devotees advance unsubstantiated (or spuriously substantiated) claims that morality “is a [mere] byproduct of capacities that were evolved for other purposes. Morality is a spandrel…The fact that our lives are thoroughly permeated by norms may be an accident.”1 However, in light of the universality of this ‘moral sense’, at scientific levels of confidence, the ‘supposedly’ rationalist and empirically minded demonstrate an astounding abundance of irrationality.
Any skepticism as to the universality of knowledge of the concept of sin and transgression, conscience, judgment and all the other accruements of ‘moral sense’ in this Postmodernist (or Post-Postmodernist) era might be quickly laid to rest by a nasty little work by a British climate change organization 10:10. A little video clip called “No Pressure”, produced by “Britain’s top comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis”2 (Four Weddings an a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually, and the Mr. Bean sitcom) would have all individuals, of all ages, self-exploding with blood splattering, for failing to commit to and practice a reduction of their carbon footprint by 10%.
It is interesting that the reporter and many of the comments posted in a left-wing newsmedia’s website a left-wing newsmedia’s website (The Guardian) excused, welcomed and applauded the sentiments in the video. That is, prior to the public opprobrium that caused the original 10:10 organization to withdraw the video from public view within hours. For, one can detect in the deep recesses of the heart of such dogmatic disciples of AGW, a ‘moral sense’ that could legitimately be labeled pathological; lacking proportionality over the issue and towards their fellow man.
Nevertheless, the gory fantasy contained all the elements of ‘moral sense’; of an ideal or standard to aspire towards, of rules and regulations engineered to attain that idea, of violations and transgressors, of judgment, condemnation and the punishment of extermination out of opprobrium and intent to deter others. Even the retraction of this politically-obtuse AGW political organization, ostensibly contained elements of “moral sense” and acknowledgement of ‘sin’.
At 10:10 we’re all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.2
Even the cult of tolerance and intellectual/moral/cultural equivalence finds it impossible to escape ‘moral sense’ in not willing to tolerate the intolerant; that is; in condemning those who fail to acknowledge and abide by their ethical ideal and standard and their definition of tolerance.
It is not a matter that the current era does not understand the concept of sin and transgression. It is merely that their ethic/ethos differs from Christian, classical and traditional norms. Contained in the 10:10 organization’s retraction, the very clause missed the mark is the very essence of the definition of sin. Neither sin (definition: coming short, missing the mark) nor transgression (definition: overstepping a boundary/limit) are alien concepts to the mind of humanity. It is simply impossible for humans, being in the image of God, to escape this psychological propensity and studiously remain morally-neutral for long.
- Jesse J. Prinz, “Against Moral Nativism”, September 2004
- Damian Carrington, “There will be blood – watch exclusive of 10:10 campaign’s ‘No Pressure’ film”, The Guardian, Thursday, 30 September 2010, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317079/Richard-Curtis-exploding-schoolchildren-climate-change-video-withdrawn.html