Are there atheists other than Emery who make a case for "objective" values, in particular any who are well-known?
If so, I'd like to hear or read what they have to say, but as of now I'm not aware of them.
Emery's argument either doesn't quite make sense or is way over my head. The second of those possibilities is not at all unlikely.
But FWIW, my computer dictionary defines "objective" as follows (the relevant definitions, anyway):
1 (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts : historians try to be objective and impartial. Contrasted with subjective .
• not dependent on the mind for existence; actual : a matter of objective fact.
Based on those definitions, I'd have to agree with DU and NHB. It seems to me that values, morals, and ethics must either be,
1) Provided by an aware, purposeful being outside the realm of earthly existence, or
2) Solely the result of human considerations, i.e., dependent on our minds - our personal opinions in considering and representing facts, which is all to say subjective.
Theists, notably from the podcasts the insufferable Mr. Turek, of course advocate the former, which seems to offer them a sense of comfort and security. Comfort and security seem to be the prime motivators for theism in general, but that's another discussion. Anyway, beyond their unsupported assertions that such a being exists, virtually everything we observe points to the second possibility, does it not?
Contra also to the circular theist position**, the fact that values change and are not intrinsic in no way lessens their importance and necessity. In fact, if they couldn't change appropriately and with changing circumstances, they would become less useful over time, wouldn't they - ummm, rather like the laws put forth in that Hebrew book - what's it called again?
Then there is also the issue of exactly what are
the values promoted by whichever deity happens to be favored. If values were truly objective, wouldn't clarity be one of their hallmarks?
Obviously, theists, not least Christians, say
there is clarity in notions such as "love thy neighbor," but when you start asking them to apply such concepts, as someone mentioned above, the clarity quickly evaporates, thereby keeping theologians off food stamps and paving the way for impressive sounding terms like my recent pet word, "hermeneutic."
Given there is now and has always been constant disagreement among theists as to what those values are and which need be followed (see the ever-growing splits among the major religions), the values said to be objective are at best not very well described, which means the deity is either non-existent or incompetent, no?
Then comes the debate over whether "incompetent God" is an impossible oxymoron, and if not whether an incompetent God might be worthy of worship.
And if we are made in God's image, does that mean God looks like Moe or Curly?
And so forth.
**Our god exists. Therefore values and morals come from our god. We know that values and morals come from our god because our god exists.
Those who know the most of nature believe the least about theology. - Robert Ingersoll