It is not surprising that the Laws of Physics don't have anything to say about right and wrong, given that the world they describe is an abstraction from our own. Physics describes the world in one aspect, as a pattern of interlocking relationships, but it doesn't tell us what are the actual entities in those relationships, and what their meaning and signficance is.
If there are any moral truths at all, then reality has to combine them with other facts in a unified way. Physical truths and moral truths, considered in isolation, are just abstractions from the actual reality, but real situations contain elements of both. Furthermore, since you can't derive an “Ought” statement from a a purely factual “Is” statement, the moral aspects of reality must be present in the fundamental principles of reality, whatever they are. (Here I am using Hume's Is-Ought dictum in a manner which he would have thoroughly disapproved of!) This type of argument is a form of the Argument from Ethics (also called the Moral Argument) for the existence of God. It is similar to the Cosmological Argument except that it involves tracing back ethical reasons rather than physical causes.
Notice also that the concept of good is more fundamental than the concept of evil. There is an asymmetry here. In every situation where we identify something as evil, there is some good behind it which is perverted or threatened by that evil. For example, if it is wrong to inflict unnecessary pain on a dog, that is because the dog is itself something good and valuable, so that something which harms it is an evil. Existence, sensation, consciousness, will, and knowledge are all themselves inherently good and desirable things. It is only when these things exist that evil can also exist, parasitically.
This lends support to something like the Platonic view of reality, in which all goodness is derivative from a fundamental type of goodness. Although aspects of a Kantian or Aristotelian outlook could be included as well, both men being theists after all. (This “Platonic” view of Ethics should be distinguished from another idea attributed to Plato, that all abstract concepts correspond to their own “Platonic Form”. Here I am only concerned only with the transcendent reality of goodness.)
But now observe that morality is at least a little bit like a mind, insofar as it approves or favors certain things, and disapproves or disfavors other things. So a fundamental morality would have something analogous to will or desire, and in that respect it would be more like a mind than like an equation, as in Theism.
And indeed, if we are Monotheists, then it is not possible to have one Ultimate Fact, and a distinct Ultimate Goodness, as two separate and independent principles not joined together by any common tie. They must be rooted in one and the same Ultimate Being.
Conversely, if we conclude for other reasons (e.g. the Argument from Consciousness) that the Ultimate Being is something like a mind, then this being's desires would be rooted in the fundamental nature of reality, and would therefore be objective in a way that our desires are not. Such a being's desires would therefore potentially be capable of grounding morality, since there would be a notion of ought that transcends our own wishes and desires, and exists necessarily.
Before anyone even tries to throw the Euthyphro dilemma at me, let me observe that this dilemma was introduced into philosophy by Plato, as an (indirect, Socratic) argument for Platonic Monotheism! When Socrates asked whether good actions are pious because the gods love them, or whether the gods love them because they are pious, he was highlighting an absurdity in the idea that morality could be connected to the collective will of multiple, finite beings who (like us) are not the most fundamental entity in the Universe. How the dilemma mutated into its current existence as a standard tool in the arsenal of Atheism, I don't know. But if God IS the fundamental principle of goodness, then he neither commands it arbitrarily, nor is he beholden to any more fundamental ethical principle outside of himself. God is the Good; indeed in a certain sense he is the only Good, all other goods being images or reflections of his splendor.
If this conclusion is correct, this forms a secondary argument against Pantheism, since the world, and we ourselves if we examine our consciences, contain much evil. Freedom from immorality is thus a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to be divine.
Of course, the evils in the world are also a powerful prima facie argument against the idea that the world comes from a being that is essentially good. This is the Argument from Evil. How could a good God produce a creation which has any evil in it at all, let alone the amount which we see? This isn't the place for an extended theodicy, but I think something must be said here lest the Argument from Ethics be drained of all credibility whatsoever.
If we view God as merely an impersonal source, out of which goodness flows, like water from the tap or light from the sun, then perhaps the problem is insoluable. But if God is conceived of as being like a mind, then he is allowed to use long-term planning: in particular he can allow evil so long as it contributes to the greater good. So if there is some good which cannot be had without evil (e.g. if it turns out that suffering is the best way to build character—a thesis I find, with some regret, to be quite plausible) then God might be expected to allow the evil in question.
Secondly, the moral philosophy associated with the Platonic view is not quite so unconducive to the existence of evil as it is supposed. I said above that God is the only Good; all other things are good only as they participate in his goodness. That means that any created thing, not being God, could potentially be turned away from God and become evil. For human beings in particular, the possible temptation to idolatry, seeking our final goodness in created things rather than in the (necessarily invisible) Creator, is built into the very nature of a world containing lesser goods, reflecting God's more perfect yet less accessible goodness. Indeed, the better a created thing is, the more easily it can be turned into an idol.
God could, of course, act to prevent anything from “going bad” in this way, but since the whole point of Creation is to make a Universe which is, to some extent, independent from God, this would plausibly sabotage the artistic integrity of his work. Even in the realm of fiction, few of us are interested in reading stories where nothing bad ever happens.
Finally, note that the existence of evil is part of the very premises of the Argument from Ethics! When you indignantly condemn the evil in the world, are you appealing to real objective ethical truths or merely to your own personal private sensibilities? If the world really contains evil, then it contains moral facts, and the Argument from Ethics says that the fundamental reality must be capable of grounding ethical truths. Then who are you, O man, to think you know more about goodness than Reality itself does?
On the other hand, if you say it is merely your own subjective feeling about the world adapted to the needs of primate communites, then you undercut not only the Argument from Ethics but also the Argument from Evil along with it. In that case, God is merely indulging his own personal preferences in creating a world with butterflies and mosquitos, cancer and laughter. Then who are you, O ape, to judge Reality based on your own standard of right and wrong?
Next: Surprised by Something