"With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside."
Wow! Something near and dear to Christianity -- the imago dei -- can be safely put aside (not argued down or shown inconsistent, but politely put away). Such truths are hard to take, but the deference the author has shown to my sensibilities helps . . .
Why can it be put aside? Well, the editor tells us:
"But the suggestion that any entity capable of creating the Universe has a mind encumbered with the same emotional structures and perceptual framework as that of an upright ape adapted to living in small, intensely social peer-groups on the African savannah seems a priori unlikely."
That might very well be a priori unlikely, but who said that being made in the image of God meant that God had a mind encumbered with the same emotional structures and perceptual framework as an upright ape?
One last thing the erudite editor says is:
Moral philosophers often put great store by their rejection of the ‘naturalistic fallacy’, the belief that because something is a particular way, it ought to be that way. Now we learn that untutored beliefs about ‘what ought to be’ do, in fact, reflect an ‘is’: the state of the human mind as an evolved entity. Accepting this represents a challenge that few as yet have really grappled with.
This is one of those claims I hate to see in my intro papers, because there are so many things wrong with it I don't know where to begin. The presentation of the naturalistic argument is wrong (the naturalistic fallacy goes further than just rejecting the deontic conclusion of p from p). But, even if the portrayal of the naturalist fallacy were spot on, what's with the "reflecting an 'is'" business? Suppose our moral judgments do reflect our evolved state. Then what? So what? Suppose we are superstitious, religious dualists. Wouldn't our moral judgments reflect our immaterial non-evolved state? There's a reason that few moral philosophers have really grappled with this challenge.
How can it be that such things get published?