So I'll try to fill that gap by presenting my view as a candidate solution to the main problems and requirements that were presented in this debate: to account for the existence of an objective morality while avoiding the flaws of the Christian god-model.
Trying to sum up my view: very roughly I can express it as agreeing with atheists on a majority of issues, namely almost all practical issues, but not on metaphysics where I'd find myself closer to some form of theism or pantheism. Globally, the whole position is roughly a form of Deism - but I must define it more precisely. I did it in short here, and with long details on metaphysics there. I'll try to explain that again independently in this thread, to be roughly understandable, not too long and not just repeat what I wrote there, but it will still be a bit long.
Sorry but I disagree. Well this disagreement is not easy to explain but I'll try to sum it up. You mentioned that "atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts". I agree with the latter so much that I think its problem is much worse than this : atheism (naturalism) finally offers no framework for any fact at all except the mathematical "facts". Because the reduction of all things to material objects described and ruled by mathematically expressible laws, somehow reduce them to mathematical entities. Thus it leaves to framework to make any sense of claimed "facts" or "existence" except the mathematical ones. The argument could be made in abstract generality, but it appears even clearer as expressed by the paradoxes of quantum physics, which I analyzed here in another thread. Namely, quantum theory, which is the best scientific description of the nature of "material reality" at our disposal, faces an internal conflict between 2 forms or interpretations:Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence,
- The "pure" theoretical form (Everett's parallel universes) where each measurement somehow splits the universe into as many copies as there are possible results of the measurement, and thus shares the "quality of being real" of the initial universe, between all of possible final universes with each its own weight, just like a quantity is divided into a sum of smaller quantities. This process is purely deterministic, while these "measurements" do not really happen, but are mere emergent processes only defined by the fact that the different components of the abstract division of the final state into "possible results", happen to no more interfere in the future.
- The "effective" form (Copehagen interpretation), according to which only one of these possibilities becomes real, while these "weights" are said to define the respective probabilities for each measurement result to receive this quality of being real. However, the "wavefunction collapse", that is the actual "switching" from the unobserved final state (Everett's interpretation with merely potential probabilities) to the selection of only one possible result (actual probabilities) escapes all description by the theory itself (it is a "non-event" on a physical level).
Now the problem with the naturalistic view, is not only "how does the collapse happen", but it is "how can it make any objective sense to claim that the collapse actually happens". Indeed, it can be argued that the claim of the reality of this collapse only makes a relative sense: the disappearance of any interference between the respective future evolutions starting from each "possible final state", results in the separation of the different possible perceptions of a material "observer" inside the universe, himself divided between the different copies, and each copy of the observer has the subjective impression that only his own observed result turned out to be factually real, while other possible results, which he can no more observe are not real; however they would each be real as viewed by the evolving observers in the respective parallel universes.
So here is the problem: can it make any meaningful, objective, absolute sense, to say that only one of the possible measurement results (and the resulting universe) becomes factually real, while others aren't real ? If yes, how, and how can this be articulated with the heavily problematic nature of locating the "collapsing process" in physical space-time (especially with the necessary violation by this collapse, of the relativistic invariance otherwise preserved by all the rest of physics) ? If no, how can the "quality of being real" be divided, like a positive real number may be arbitrarily divided into a sum of positive real numbers, with possibly irrational ratios, given by the quantum theoretical calculations of "probabilities" ?
This problem is one of the possible expressions of my reasons to reject naturalism as unable to offer the necessary framework for conceiving facts or existence at all.
Instead of that, I consider that the physical universe receives its "factual reality" from another realm, that is the realm of conciousness. The reality of the physical universe consists in happening to be observed by this conciousness (while it would otherwise only have a mathematical existence as one possible universe among uncalculable numbers of alternative possible universes that equally exist in a mathematical sense).
Such "facts" come here as relative to the given definition, which faces competition with other possible definitions. For example, what about the following non-exhaustive list of possible alternative definitions for morality:I define morality as the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize overall human well-being. There is no reason that moral facts could not be derived from this definition, sans God.
1) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of Roman citizens (in the context of the Roman Empire), or of American citizens (as the effects of global warming on the rest of the world do not seem to exist in the moral values of Americans).
2) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of male humans
3) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of humans and animals
4) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of humans, animals and robots
5) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of the present but also the future generations of humans (that may inherit the debt of our current public deficits, as well as a planet spoiled by the global warming and other environmental destructions we are causing, but which many people's morality seems to be ignoring)
6) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall human present and post-mortem well-being (salvation)
7) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize God's glory
8) the social norms and individual behaviors which maximize the overall well-being of humans, animals and gods (or angels)
Now, if we want morality to be considered as an objective fact, then it should not be relative to a choice of arbitrary definition among such a list of possible variants. It must be considered that only one of such alternative "definitions" can be the objective truth, excluding all variants. But this requires to first answer the question: whose well-being should be considered objectively real ? If a robot was programmed to behave like a human, would its well-being be qualified to be counted as a component of the sum of moral facts ?
My position is that humans and animals have a material soul which makes them fundamentally different from robots, and makes them behave fundamentally differently (non-algorithmically), so that robots don't have any "well-being" qualified to enter the morality calculations.
I'll continue writing later as it will be quite long to complete what I wanted to explain....