Consider this post by David Friedman: Duck Dynasty, Medieval Islam, and Moral Philosophy. Specifically, consider carefully his opening paragraph --
There was a recent public flap, brought to my attention by a post on my favorite blog, over a speech by Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty. Its claim was that an atheist had no basis for moral judgement, no ground on which to describe horrific acts (described in some detail in the talk) as bad.I have no idea what Mr Robertson did or did not say, but what Mr Friedman wrote as representing what he said is a fairly common argument and/or claim; so, I have no reason to even suspect that Friedman is misrepresenting Robertson. So, let's go with that statement as being the gist of Robertson's position.
Now, consider Friedman's third paragraph, wherein he imagines he has spotted a logical flaw in Robertson's position --
I see a logical problem with both Robertson's position and the position of his Ash'arite predecessors. You encounter a powerful supernatural being. If you have no ability to distinguish good from evil on your own, how can you tell whether he is God, the Devil, or, like the Greek and Norse gods, a morally ambiguous being, no more consistently good than the rest of us?Friedman isn't even talking about the same thing Robertson is talking about.
When you get down to it, Friedman is merely making the same old, tired "rebuttal" to Robertson that the village atheists with ethernet cables always make, to wit: "Robertson is asserting that I can't be moral" ... which accusation has no relationship to what Robertson actually said.
And let's not even start with Mr Friedman's supercilious final paragraph.