In a previous post I postulated that just as philosophically a worldview must account for the problem of evil it must also account for the existence of the good and the beautiful.
Account for evil is something which I think all worldviews, not just theistic ones, must do; this in agreement with Susan Neiman. But one doesn't need a sophisticated argument. On a methodological level, if your worldview is going to be adequate to the data, then it must account for evil and suffering. Neiman's point is that all rational worldviews possess the problems, theistic worldviews just a special case of it.
I claimed, somewhat too briefly, that there is a corresponding problem of beauty and encountered wonderful disagreement (I miss the philosophical blog debates of 2004-5). On a methodological level, again, this is merely part of the data which must be accounted for. My point was that an atheistic worldview has a special problem with this problem. VeganTrav disagreed.
Later, I had expanded by giving Whitehead's statement of the problem.
To be more precise, certain materialist or physicalist views of the world possess the problem in a special way. How does the good, the beautiful, the sublime, or really any valuation arise?
Santayana, who was not a believer, concludes his book The Sense of Beauty, with what I take to be a good presentation of the problem.
Beauty therefore seems to be the clearest manifestation of perfection, and the best evidence of its possibility. If perfection is, as it should be, the ultimate justification of being, we may understand the ground of the moral dignity of beauty. Beauty is a pledge of the possible conformity between the soul and nature, and consequently a ground of faith in the supremacy of the good.
There are those who account for this problem without appeal to God. Frederick Ferre, for instance. He is a Process philosopher. He words the problem thus, "Why should a startling, highly localized increase in quality of this sort have come about?" He believes that the production of beauty is a fundamental aspect of actuality. He does not resort to God to explain this, but he does say that he might be wrong. He seems to entertain that a worldview including God might answer the problem more simply. In the process he explores Whitehead's reasons for postulating God-- more on that later, I have to run in a bit.
Notice, however, that even those who do not resort to God, like Santayana and Ferre, are not reductive or eliminativist materialists/physicalists. Their concepts of matter and the physical include an element of the subjective as fundamental (My recollection of the details of Santayana's worldview are weak, so I might get him wrong. Though I have surveyed a couple of his books this week). They can only explain the good and beauty by this aspect of fundamental actuality.
What Whitehead would argue is that that subjective pole of the physical will metaphysically require a deity.