I’ve written a more sophisticated debunking of his argument, click here to read that.
Let this post be the record that Fake_Andrew’s Nazi argument has been destroyed.
The argument is as follows:
An atheist has no basis for their morality, therefore, they cannot say they are any better than a Nazi.
My morality does have a basis, though it isn’t an absolute or objective basis, as Andrew claims (but cannot prove) that he has. The basis is “The avoidance of net-suffering”.
In order to use this as a metric for comparing my morality to that of a Nazi, it has to be axiomatic, that is, it has to be accepted as true by both sides. Axioms are statements which are so naturally assumed to be true, that there is no reason to argue them, such as the validity and efficacy of the scientific method in a discussion about a specific area of science between scientists.
I responded when he posited the Nazi argument once again by saying:
do we agree that net suffering is bad?
After a lot of evading the question, he finally answered:
This is the point when Andrew agrees, and my moral basis becomes axiomatic.
Now that we had agreed on this principle (which is, in similar words, my basis), all I had left to do was explain the superiority of my moral system compared to that of a Nazi based on that principle. Here is what I said:
alright, your moral system and my moral system agree on that axiom, since that’s established, that is our metric for judging whether I am morally better to a Nazi, and since I do not cause anywhere near as much net suffering as the Nazis do, I am significantly better morally than they are. You never need to ask that stupid question again, now debunked.
I then added:
just to be clear: I have defeated you on this subject. If you choose to raise the subject again, it will demonstrate that you are dishonest.
This matter is now settled. But hear this: Andrew will raise this argument again, and probably even with me.
Edit (2015/11/6): Andrew has mostly ignored this post and has made the same argument again many times. His only refutation so far has been (paraphrasing): “You can’t use my moral basis to justify your morality”. I’m not, Andrew, we just agree on the same basic moral principle, and by that principle, I am morally better than a Nazi. You have hoisted your own petard.
Doctor, Heal Thyself
Of course, even aside from this, the important thing to remember is that Andrew cannot meet his own standard. He claims that a moral relativist cannot claim to be better than a Nazi, whereas I claim that a moral absolutist is no different from a Nazi in moral structure.
A moral relativist bases their morality on their own standards for what is right and wrong, usually based on consequence and empathy.
A moral absolutist bases their morality on the word of a supposed absolute authority.
The Nazis were, therefore, moral absolutists, with their authority being Hitler (or the Nazi party in general). This means their moral system functioned in the same way as Andrew’s, susceptible to the same unforgivable actions being performed by its adherents, due to the immorality of its leader.
The fact that they were mostly Christian is just icing on the cake.
This is what happens, folks, when your morality is absolutist:
“I would absolutely kill babies and women if it was ordered directly by God.” -Fake_Andrew
So, let’s stick with relative morality, and not rely on a great leader to tell us what’s right from wrong.
Edit (2015/11/6): To clarify, when I say “relative morality”, I mean only to contrast it to a moral system which assumes an absolute authority. I strongly disagree with those who believe that morality should be thought of as culturally relative, and I do condemn barbarous acts committed by other cultures. I am also in emphatic agreement with Sam Harris that morality can be objectively analysed and defined. I go into more detail in this article.
Andrew’s morality argument is done. If he raises it again, link him here.