What difference could it possibly make what one random collection of electrons does to another? He harbors some subjective notion that things ought not be done that way? Well tough darts. It boils down to his meaningless assertion vs. their equally meaningless one. Furthermore, if there is no such thing as free will, then what sense does it make to blame anyone for any action whatsoever? "I felt like it" or "I couldn't help myself" should be considered perfectly reasonable defenses to any "wrong-doing." In fact, the most sensible and logically consistent outgrowth of the atheist worldview should be permission to get for one's self whatever one's heart desires at any moment (assuming that you can get away with it). Why not have that affair? Why not take a few bucks from the Alzheimer victim's purse -- as it can not possibly have any meaning either way. Did not Richard Dawkins teach us that selfishness was built into our very genes? To live a "moral" life, the atheist must choose to live a willful illusion as the true nature of the world contains, as Dawkins suggests, "no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." It boggles the mind how anyone with this worldview even bothers to get up in the morning only to suffer through another bleak and meaningless day. Freud summed this up well when he said, "the moment a man questions the meaning and value of life he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence."
In an '07 lecture at Sewanee University, Christopher Hitchens gave an oxymoronically entitled talk called "The Moral Necessity of Atheism." In it, he argued that racism was illogical due to our common "relationship to ground worms and other creatures." An original case for equality to be sure. In as much as we're all like earthworms we really ought to treat each other well. Strange. Is not Hitchens an ardent supporter of the tenets of Neo-Darwinism that necessitates the perpetual death struggle within all species at all times? Shouldn't he in fact believe the precise opposite of what he claims? Survival of the fittest does not suggest social harmony. Furthermore, doesn't Darwinism suggest that certain groups within a given population will develop beneficial mutations, essentially making them "better" than other groups? It would seem that racism would again be a natural conclusion of this worldview -- quite unlike the theistic approach which would suggest that people have intrinsic value do to their creation in the "image of God." (Hat tip: Moshe Averick, Nonsense of a High Order) And yet, like Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens is very often engaged in explaining "morality" to the world. What gives?
At the end of the day, the reason that I can agree with many of the moral assertions that these atheists make is because they are not truly outgrowths of their purported philosophies, but rather of mine. I would suspect that the great majority of the atheistic understanding of morality comes directly or indirectly from what is commonly referred to as the Judeo-Christian ethic. I have not yet found an atheist who is willing to follow his or her convictions through to their logical conclusions (outside of sociopaths like Jeffrey Dahmer who was at least honest enough to say, "I always believed the theory of evolution as truth that we all just came from the slime ... if a person doesn't think there is a God to be accountable to then what's the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?"
Through my private conversations with atheists, most of whom I would describe as very good people, I am becoming convinced that they don't really buy the party line when it comes to ethics. Like it or not, they seem to have an objective sense that certain things are "just wrong" and it's almost as if those things are built into the fabric of reality. Objective morality requires an absolute standard by which to judge it. The alternative is amorality. As Dr. Joel Marks said, "the long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality..."