Here we observe once again the patented Kraussian 'bait and switch' dialectical ploy. Note the scare quotes around 'wrong.' Krauss is switching from the relevant normative sense of the word to an irrelevant nonnormative sense. That is the same type of trick he pulled with respect to the Leibnizian question why there is something rather than nothing. He baited us with a promise to answer the Leibnizian question but all he did was switch from the standard meaning of 'nothing' to a special meaning all his own according to which nothing is something. So instead of answering the question he baited us with -- the old Leibniz question -- he substituted a different physically tractable question and then either stupidly or dishonestly passed off the answer to the physically tractable question as the answer to the philosophical question.
He is doing the same thing with the homosexuality question. He is equivocating on 'right' and 'wrong' as between nonnormative and normative senses of the term. Avoid that confusion and you will be able to see that a practice cannot be shown to be morally acceptable by showing that the practice is engaged in. Slavery and ethnic cleansing are practices which have proven to be be very effective by nonnormative criteria. World War II in the Pacific was ended by the nuclear slaughter of noncombatants. Questions about moral acceptability and unacceptability cut perpendicular to questions about effectiveness, survival value and the like.
Joel Hunter responds:
. . . this causes me to wonder, in a charitable vein, whether Krauss is not, after all, performing an intentional bait-and-switch in his theorizing about "nothing," morality, and the will. Rather, because of his unassailable prior commitment to naturalize all phenomena, perhaps he's engaged in simply translating away genuine philosophical problems in much the same way that an emotivist translates away the propositional content of general moral principles. There's a logic to the naturalizing procedure whereby concepts of the nonphysical must be translated as something physical. That's the only way "nothing" is intelligible given his ground convictions. Of course, this doesn't excuse his equivocation on such matters. But if he had proposed something like the following, perhaps the bait-and-switch charge wouldn't stick: "The Leibniz question is a real puzzler. But in its classic form it is unanswerable because it is unintelligible using the explanatory tools we have at our disposal. The good news is that we can make it intelligible by translating physically nebulous terms into terms with definite physical meaning." As we both know, he is unlikely to speak this way because it is too intellectually humble, an indulgence of virtue he cannot afford since the more important aim of the translation project is to ghettoize the religious.
If I understand Professor Hunter, he is, with admirable exegetical charity, raising the question whether Krauss, rather than engaging in an intellectually dishonest 'bait and switch' ploy, is instead proposing that intractable philosophical questions such as the one Leibniz famously raised be replaced by tractable scientific ones. Accordingly, Krauss is not trying to the answer the questions of philosophy using empirical science, but is instead aiming to replace the philosophical questions with different ones, questions that are amenable to scientific solutions. Clearly, the following strategies are different:
1. Answer the traditional questions of philosophy using scientific methods.
2. Replace the traditional questions with scientifically tractable ones since the former have proven intractable.
On (1), the traditional questions can be answered, but not by the 'arm chair' methods of philosophy, but empirically. Science comes to occupy the domain of philosophy. On (2), the traditional questions cannot be answered and so must be replaced by questions that can be scientifically answered. Science does not come to occupy the domain of philosophy; it establishes its own domain. (Here is an example that would require a separate post to exfoliate. When psychology first broke away from philosophy, it ceased to concern itself with the topics philosophers of mind treated: it changed the subject to observable behavior. It is not just that psychology abandoned the method of introspection; it also abandoned the subject matter that introspection was thought to reveal.)
Consider the Kraussian metaphor of "growing up and leaving home." When a young person does this he does so without prejudice to his diachronic identity: it is not as if the person-at-home perishes to be replaced by a numerically different person-away-from-home. One and the same person is first at home and then away. So the metaphor suggests that Krauss' strategy is (1). That is also the impression one gets from his awful book on something and nothing. But there is also evidence that his strategy is (2).
I suggest that the man is just not clear as to what he is up to. Hence the impression of 'bait and switch.' He baits us with a traditional questions as if he is out to solve it scientifically; but then he switches to a different question, replacing the philosophical question with a different one.
For example, instead of answering (or rejecting as senseless) the Leibniz question as to why anything at all exists, he substitutes an entirely different question about how the physical universe has evolved from an initial material state (which is obviously not nothing). Not that there is anything wrong with the second question; it is just not the question he baited us with. Krauss' how-question and its answer are simply irrelevant to the why-question. And yet our man thinks that somehow they are relevant. Hence I say he is, if not intellectually dishonest, then badly confused.