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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
There's nothing wrong with his logic. But WLC's moral argument are only for people who hold that somethings are actually wrong regardless of what an individual person thinks. Those sort of people (pretty much, the normal, everyday person) are those who say things like raping, torturing and then murdering a child for personal pleasure is wrong no matter what you think about it.

So for people who have personal experience or observation of objective moral realities, and therefore hold to its existence as true, this argument suffices. The only way out of its theological conclusion, then, is to rescind objective morality, and to affirm implicitly that the rape, torture and murder of children is not actually evil or wrong or bad.

It's a bit funny to me, to watch someone do that. They would rather say that such actions are not wrong than to say that God exists. So strange.


I think this is the problem with the argument. From my point of view, it doesn't seem to work as an argument for God's existence, but as an argument to say that objective moral values don't exist. Luckily, most atheists don't find it very convincing.


Well whatever your pov is, it most certainly does work as an argument for God's existence. If it is true that Objective morals exist (and the proof for that is the same sort of proof that mathematics or empirical values exist -- our collective personal observation) then, coupled with the first premise, it is unavoidable to come to the final conclusion that God does exist.

If you refuse the second premise then that's your problem. Just like someone refusing to believe that 2+2=4 and that its just our personal interpretation, such an argument would have no effect on them. That isn't to say that the argument is flawed, but it is to say that for people who don't believe in objective morality -- for example, for people who don't think it is objectively wrong to rape and torture a child for fun -- moral arguments would be completely useless for that specific individual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Hitler is the most Hitlerlike being, and actual Hitler is way more Hitlerlike than imaginary Hitler, so Hitler necessarily exists.

[...great explanation for saying this follows...]


Is this supposed to be an analogous reasoning for the moral argument, in order to prove how both are flawed?
Reply with quote  #32 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightfoot

You can't derive a proper ontological argument from Hitler. You can from God. The greatest of being and perfect, fits the criteria for the ground of morality.


A perfection can be objectively defined without reference to a perfect being. 'Omniscience' e.g., one of God's so-called perfections, can be defined as: knowing everything that is logically possible to know.
For goodness to be objective, it must be definable without reference to a good being.
It is clear that goodness (or morality) cannot be defined that way, therefore morality cannot be objective.

Quote:
God isn't something that just happens to exist, but existence happens to ground itself in the very nature of God himself. God has to exist metaphysically. His character and attributes are eternal and not arbitrary and therefore God is the good.


That something has to exist is not relevant here.
What is important here is that if god has to exist metaphysically, then it must be impossible for God to be any other way than He is. IOW 'God condemns X' must be a necssary truth and you must be able to prove that 'God does not condemn X' leadsto a logical contradiction. But you cannot do that without some external standard by which to judge 'X'.

Perhaps my 'God candidate' analogy will make this clear.
Three beings show up on your doorstep and claim that are God.
How do you assess who is the true God?
You could test for omniscience. If there is one question that one of the three cannot answer, he is not God. The same holds for omnipotence or any other objective perfection you can think of. But you cannot use morality because if A says X is Good, and Y says X is bad, you simply do not have an objective criterion to judge who is right.
And this is not an epistemic problem. It is true in principle, because a standard simply cannot be a concrete object, as Plato already realised. Instead, a standard is an abstract object, and we can discuss the nature of abstract objects but one this is certain: God, as usually defined, is definitely NOT an abstract object, so he cannot be the standard of anything. There is a difference between being a perfect example of something and being the standard of something. God can be a perfect example of omniscience, e.g. but God is NOT omniscience. Likewise, God can be a perfect example of morality but God is NOT perfect morality.

What Craig does in his argument is confusing the law with the law-giver.
While a prefect law-giver will only give perfect laws, the perfection of those laws does not depend on the law-giver any more than the truth of 1 + 1 = 2 depends on a perfect mathematician.
Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
If you refuse the second premise then that's your problem. Just like someone refusing to believe that 2+2=4 and that its just our personal interpretation, such an argument would have no effect on them. That isn't to say that the argument is flawed, but it is to say that for people who don't believe in objective morality -- for example, for people who don't think it is objectively wrong to rape and torture a child for fun -- moral arguments would be completely useless for that specific individual


Does this analogy seem right to you?

1) If Platonic Forms of numbers do not exist, 2 + 2 != 4.
2) 2 + 2 = 4.
3) Ergo Platonic Forms of numbers exist.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Hitler is the most Hitlerlike being, and actual Hitler is way more Hitlerlike than imaginary Hitler, so Hitler necessarily exists.

[...great explanation for saying this follows...]


Is this supposed to be an analogous reasoning for the moral argument, in order to prove how both are flawed?


Not precisely, or only in an indirect way. It's more directly an attempt to undermine ontological argument-like justifications raised here for considering God privileged in this kind of reasoning. (Of course if the ontological argument works then we don't need the moral.)
Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
A perfection can be objectively defined without reference to a perfect being. 'Omniscience' e.g., one of God's so-called perfections, can be defined as: knowing everything that is logically possible to know.
For goodness to be objective, it must be definable without reference to a good being. 
It is clear that goodness (or morality) cannot be defined that way, therefore morality cannot be objective.

For a being to be omnipotent it would hold that that being be capable of performing any logically possible task. For a being to be omniscient it would hold that that being know all necessary truths and believe no falsehoods. For a being to be morally perfect it would hold that that being performs no sinful acts, or holds any sinful belief.

The definition of what "sinful acts" are is, again, to misunderstand the epistemology versus ontology debate. Much in the same way that Christians do not know what the perfect moral values are, we also do not know what all necessary truths are, nor do we know what every logically possible task is.
Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawlessone777
...For a being to be morally perfect it would hold that that being performs no sinful acts, or holds any sinful belief.

The definition of what "sinful acts" are is, again, to misunderstand the epistemology versus ontology debate. Much in the same way that Christians do not know what the perfect moral values are, we also do not know what all necessary truths are, nor do we know what every logically possible task is.

Actually, this is the same nonsense that Craig talks about in order to get out of this dilemma. If you say that your God is maximally moral (i.e. that he doesn't hold any sinful beliefs) then you need to know what sinful is. Otherwise, your description that 'God is maximally moral' is utterly meaningless, since the term 'maximally moral' is actually completely undefined. This is at worst deceitful wordplay and at best an argument from ignorance. 


Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Actually, this is the same nonsense that Craig talks about in order to get out of this dilemma. If you say that your God is maximally moral (i.e. that he doesn't hold any sinful beliefs) then you need to know what sinful is. Otherwise, your description that God is maximally moral is utterly meaningless, since the term 'maximally moral' is actually completely undefined. This is at worst deceitful wordplay and at best an argument from ignorance. 

It's really not. Again, this is moral ontology versus moral epistemology. Discussing the objective reality of something does not require that one know absolutely every facet of that subject's existence. Like I said in the post that you quoted, we can hold to God being defined as an omnipotent being and define him as such by saying that he is capable of performing all logically possible tasks. Now if you were to ask me to tell you what every conceivable logically possible task is, of course I wouldn't be able to tell it to you.

To say that one must have a complete epistemological knowledge of something before discussing the ontological reality of that thing is to completely undermine the idea of "theorizing" something. Let's take a scientific example. We have discussions on this forum about potential alternate universes in the "multiverse" theory. Suppose I were to ask you to tell me exactly what these alternate universes were, what they looked like, how they are formed, what their constants and quantities are, etc. Now suppose I told you that being unable to provide a description of these theoretical alternate universes meant that belief in them was "worthless" or "utterly meaningless", and that you needed to abandon them as a theoretical answer to the fine tuning problem.

Again, you're confusing epistemology and ontology.
Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
If you refuse the second premise then that's your problem. Just like someone refusing to believe that 2+2=4 and that its just our personal interpretation, such an argument would have no effect on them. That isn't to say that the argument is flawed, but it is to say that for people who don't believe in objective morality -- for example, for people who don't think it is objectively wrong to rape and torture a child for fun -- moral arguments would be completely useless for that specific individual


Does this analogy seem right to you?

1) If Platonic Forms of numbers do not exist, 2 + 2 != 4.
2) 2 + 2 = 4.
3) Ergo Platonic Forms of numbers exist.


I'm not sure I could say either way -- I don't know what '"Platonic Forms" of numbers mean'...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattias
Hitler is the most Hitlerlike being, and actual Hitler is way more Hitlerlike than imaginary Hitler, so Hitler necessarily exists.

[...great explanation for saying this follows...]


Is this supposed to be an analogous reasoning for the moral argument, in order to prove how both are flawed?


Not precisely, or only in an indirect way. It's more directly an attempt to undermine ontological argument-like justifications raised here for considering God privileged in this kind of reasoning. (Of course if the ontological argument works then we don't need the moral.)


Ontological... okay, that's why I was confused. I thought this was more for questioning the moral argument. I'm not really good with the ontological argument myself, so I have nothing to really support or accuse from your post. But it was a good post nonetheless, I think.
Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Does this analogy seem right to you?

1) If Platonic Forms of numbers do not exist, 2 + 2 != 4.
2) 2 + 2 = 4.
3) Ergo Platonic Forms of numbers exist.


I'm not sure I could say either way -- I don't know what '"Platonic Forms" of numbers mean'...
The words people use to describe the Forms of numbers are things like "the number four, in itself, existing fundamentally/ontically." I don't know what that means either, really, but if you're still confused then you know how I feel about maximally perfect beings or objective moral values.
Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
The words people use to describe the Forms of numbers are things like "the number four, in itself, existing fundamentally/ontically." I don't know what that means either, really, but if you're still confused then you know how I feel about maximally perfect beings or objective moral values.

What that means is the "Platonic realm". Plato theorized a place where all conceptualizations, numbers, and abstract objects existed. He believed this place to be an actual place where these abstract objects physically existed in perfection. So Plato viewed the real world as actually a very shadowy and dim place compared to this platonic realm. So to say that, to use your example, the number four exists Platonically is to say that the number four honestly and truly exists as a real being in some other realm.

Platonism is in and of itself a whole different basket of problems and confusing issues.

But when it comes to objective moral values, the philosopher isn't speaking of them in any sort of Platonic sense. What they're talking about when they say "Objective Moral Values exist" is that there are things which are right, or wrong, regardless of whose opinion it is. So for example: raping a six year old girl and taking sadistic pleasure in it is evil and wrong, there is no amount of debate or discussion that could ever make this action anything less than a moral abomination.
Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawlessone777
Discussing the objective reality of something does not require that one know absolutely every facet of that subject's existence. ...Again, you're confusing epistemology and ontology.


Again, you're not understanding. I am dealing only with ontological matters here. If you say that God is omnipotent since he is capable of performing all logical tasks, great! We know exactly what logic is, and what a logical task would be. We have a pre-established scale of power: the ability to do logical tasks. As you said, the question of determining every 'logical task' would be an epistemological one, and not one that neither you or I care about. 

Now, you say God is morally perfect, since... what? You haven't even defined morality, unlike the case for omnipotence or omni-benevolence. It's not a matter of knowing if a particular action is sinful or not (epistemological), you actually don't even know what sin is (ontological issue).

At no point did I even imply any epistemological issue.
Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage


You're grazing a whole slew of topics here, but you're not really addressing my question.

In order for something to be objective, it must be grounded within an actual reality. A scale of "Elvisness" is objective because Elvis is an actual reality. A scale of brightness is objective because intensity of light is an actual reality. A scale of height is objective because the second spatial dimension is an actual reality. The only way for morality to be objective, then, is if it has an actually real grounding or foundation. God, in the Christian theistic sense, is defined that way.

So I find it strange that you can say that even if the actually real foundation of morality (God) existed, then morality still wouldn't be objective.

In a sense, you are correct.  If you define God as the founding of objective morality, then of course if God exists, then objective morality exists.

However, I do not believe that either of us use the term objective morality to simply mean 'God-like'.  If we did, the the moral argument would read:

1) If God does not exist then Godlikeness does not exist.
2) Godlikeness exists.

Therefore God exists.

Clearly this is not what is meant by the moral argument and, furthermore, by defining morality in this way we lose any useful method of establishing the second premise.  We can not say that allowing the holocaust is immoral because immoral now just means 'unGodlike'.  But God did allow the holocaust.

So by good, and morality, we clearly seem to mean more than simple 'founded in God'.  This is why you and I can coherently discuss the concept of good, despite the fact that I have absolutely no connotation of, or even relation to, God in my meaning of it.
Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archsage
Ontological... okay, that's why I was confused. I thought this was more for questioning the moral argument. I'm not really good with the ontological argument myself, so I have nothing to really support or accuse from your post. But it was a good post nonetheless, I think.

It requires a rudimentary understanding of modal logic, but otherwise it's not as difficult as it seems.

Basically, a property of God includes existence in every possible world, and there's at least one possible world where God exists.  But if there's one possible world that includes a being whose existence extends to all possible worlds, then it follows that such a being exists in the actual world; therefore, God must exist.  This is based on a modal logic theorem in system known as "S5."  

Simply put, the existence of God is either a tautology or a logical contradiction.
Reply with quote  #43 
Crash bro, I urge you to fully read, and re-read my post before responding. To be honest, this post of yours nearly made me admit that the Moral Argument was completely erroneous (good job, too, for atheism's sake). However, instead of giving up, I actually spent a long, long time reasoning through everything. And I finally was able to find an "oh, I got it", moment and address your concerns. You made me feel like I was in high-school again facing a tough calculus problem, lol.

But thank you, my moral argument is much stronger now, and you now have a very strong objection here that you can use against theists with a weaker grasp of the moral argument than I. Anyway, please make sure to read my post carefully, it's very well thought out, and I don't think I can explain myself much simpler that I have -- I'm just a layman, and I'm not paid to think...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrashTestAuto
In a sense, you are correct.  If you define God as the founding of objective morality, then of course if God exists, then objective morality exists.

However, I do not believe that either of us use the term objective morality to simply mean 'God-like'.  If we did, the the moral argument would read:

1) If God does not exist then Godlikeness does not exist.
2) Godlikeness exists.

Therefore God exists.

Clearly this is not what is meant by the moral argument and, furthermore, by defining morality in this way we lose any useful method of establishing the second premise.  We can not say that allowing the holocaust is immoral because immoral now just means 'unGodlike'.  But God did allow the holocaust.

So by good, and morality, we clearly seem to mean more than simple 'founded in God'.  This is why you and I can coherently discuss the concept of good, despite the fact that I have absolutely no connotation of, or even relation to, God in my meaning of it.


I think there is a misunderstanding here. By saying that something is objective because it is rooted in an actual existence, it means that all values have objective meaning because of the things' existence. Epistemic concerns, about how we know whether some action is good or bad, or to what degree, are irrelevant to the argument. Furthermore, God allowing an action to happen says nothing about the morality of such an event. For morality isn't said to be grounded in God's actions or allowance, but within His very nature. To say that something is right or wrong because God would/wouldn't allow it would be to say that morality is grounded in God's actions -- something that would make morality subjective and wholly inapplicable to us who have not the qualities of God.

Keep in mind that we are defining morality to be rooted in the existence of God. We aren't saying that if you are like God you are moral -- while that may or may not be true, that isn't what the argument claims. In the same way, the 2D (second dimension) has height rooted in its existence. That isn't to say you have to be like the 2D in order to be tall -- while it may be true that the more of the 2D you are, the taller you are. It is to say that because of the 2D you can be tall or short. In the same way, because of God you can be morally good or bad.

I think, for the sake of defending your point Crash, you're seeing something like this:
1) If Fairies do not exist, then fairy-likeness does not exist
2) Fairy-likeness does exist
Therefore Fairies exist.
And you are seeing that to be analogous with the Moral Argument. Now the problem with the connection between this the fairy-argument, and your god-likeness argument, as you may know, is with premise (1). In that something only needs to be defined and conceivable, not actually existent, in order to have its likeness actualized. And yet, those conceptions are a mere collection of actually existent qualities wrapped together and named as a certain thing. A fairy is defined as a miniature person with wings that glows with the ability to grant a wish; that is, use their volition to make true a premise that utters out of the wishful mouth of its subject. But those things -- they are objective. Wings, flight, light, short size, volition, people's wishes, etc.. Merely collecting them together allows for someone to create a "likeness" that can be attributed out of a conception. But because a fairy is a conception, it is not to say that Fairies exist, but that which the fairy is conceived upon exists.

So what is your god-likeness saying? Is it doing the same thing? No, in fact it cannot. Because fairy-likeness can be derived to its base qualities of actual existence, and then can be seen to be objective or not. But God-likeness, in terms of morality, cannot be a conception -- it cannot be derived from any other actually existent thing. Which is why, in order for morality to be objective, God could not be a mere conception but an actualization.

I hope that clears up things a bit.

Now, for the sake of addressing your comments regarding the fact that God allowed the holocaust to happen, it is also important to bear in mind what exactly the argument is trying to say. We aren't saying that morality is founded upon God's actions, but that it is founded upon God's nature. If morality gets its meaning based on what God allowed to happen, then morality would not only be non-objective, but every event that actually existed, no matter how contrary, would be of the same moral value. Such a view of morality is implicitly incoherent. And no one holds to that. So don't worry about going farther with that angle of inquiry. God's allowance of events isn't what morality is grounded upon. It is the nature of God that the argument claims morality finds its objective basis.
Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawlessone777
But when it comes to objective moral values, the philosopher isn't speaking of them in any sort of Platonic sense. What they're talking about when they say "Objective Moral Values exist" is that there are things which are right, or wrong, regardless of whose opinion it is. So for example: raping a six year old girl and taking sadistic pleasure in it is evil and wrong, there is no amount of debate or discussion that could ever make this action anything less than a moral abomination.


This concentrates a great deal of ambiguity within the word "opinion." when a human calls something "immoral" she's employing an incredibly complex concept defined by family resemblance, and which is important to her despite (I contend, and whether she knows it or not) not being metaphysically fundamental. (Almost all concepts used in and important to daily life are like this; even if philosophy doesn't as often get tripped up over them.) Whether something is aptly predicated by that is not a matter of opinion but of fact for at least some cases, just as "pigs are alive" is true even if someone thinks they're animate rocks and "are viruses alive or not?" is not always a meaningful question. In principle people may not have the same concepts in mind when they use words like "immoral," but they overlap at least enough for us to use it to successfully communicate (much more often in real life than philosophical inquiry.) There are good game-theoretic reasons to believe that intelligent social creatures a galaxy away would employ a pretty similar set of concepts but that's hardly a matter of necessity.

I hope that clears things up some?
Reply with quote  #45 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawlessone777

For a being to be omnipotent it would hold that that being be capable of performing any logically possible task. For a being to be omniscient it would hold that that being know all necessary truths and believe no falsehoods. For a being to be morally perfect it would hold that that being performs no sinful acts, or holds any sinful belief.

The definition of what "sinful acts" are is, again, to misunderstand the epistemology versus ontology debate. Much in the same way that Christians do not know what the perfect moral values are, we also do not know what all necessary truths are, nor do we know what every logically possible task is.

No, it is not a misunderstanding. If 'sinful acts' are objective, it must at least be possible to objectively define them. We may not know what every logically possible task is, but this can, in principle be known. 
If what a sinful act is can be known, then sinful acts can be objectively defined, in which case the moral arguemnt fails, and if sinful acts cannot be objectively defined, there are not objective, in which case the moral argument fails.

The moral argument fails in any case because the premise 'If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist' cannot be proved. I fully agree with Stephen Law here: the theists who makes this claim has the burden to prove it. If he can't, the argument fails. 

So be my guest and prove it.
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