Author Topic: Moral Argument for God  (Read 2580 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Moral Argument for God
« on: April 29, 2012, 12:58:58 AM »
 In a different thread, the challenge was presented to show evidence for the existence of God. Certainly, many lines of argumentation have been proposed: historical, moral, cosmological, teleological, ontological. While these arguments should be viewed as whole providing a cumulative case for God, addressing them all in one thread is not feasible (particularly from my end). So to start the conversation, I would like to begin with the moral argument for God, since in many recent threads, God has not appeared to fare well. Also, to clarify my position, I will be arguing for the God of Christianity.

To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral values exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

This argument does not define what those moral values and duties may be but simply states that moral values and duties do, in fact, exist and that they exist objectively, meaning acts are inherently good or evil regardless on one's personal opinion. The objectivity of moral values requires a measurement or standard that is unchanging as opposed to an ever-changing subjective measurement or standard. Objective moral values and duties cannot be based in the material or natural reality since nothing in such a context provides the necessarily unchanging standard or obligation. Therefore, the standard for objective moral values must be either supernatural or abstract. An abstract foundation does not qualify since such a standard does not provide an form of obligation in regard to moral duties; just as the exist of the number 5 does not obligate us to any particular act, similarly the abstract foundation for "do not murder others" does not compel or obligate us to act accordingly. Therefore, the foundation for objective moral values and duties must be supernatural, that is, God, who is both unchanging and to whom we are obligated.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive presentation of the moral argument but simply to start the discussion.


(On a completely different note, is there any way to increase line spacing (besides using enter) for these posts to make it more readable?)

Offline Timo

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +89/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • oyeme
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 03:11:00 AM »
One question:

What exactly do you mean by "obligation."  I really don't see the difference in claiming that there is some abstract notion that ought to compel you to do or to not do something and claiming that there is some supernatural being with rules that you ought to follow, leaving aside the possible merits of whatever proposed abstraction or being that's being appealed to.  Is it the fact that such a being can punish or reward us for our behavior?  If that's the case, then aren't we just reducing morality to might makes right?
pero ya tu sabes...

Online dloubet

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1278
  • Darwins +53/-1
  • Gender: Male
    • Denisloubet.com
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 03:17:43 AM »
Quote
Objective moral values and duties cannot be based in the material or natural reality since nothing in such a context provides the necessarily unchanging standard or obligation.

Please back that statement up. It appears to be merely an opinion.

If material and natural reality have made us the way we are, then it has established our sense of fair play, our sense of right and wrong, our judgments of good and evil.

What constitutes unchanging? 100 years? 2000 years? How about the duration of the existence of the human race? Would that constitute a human context for unchanging?
Denis Loubet

Online dloubet

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1278
  • Darwins +53/-1
  • Gender: Male
    • Denisloubet.com
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 03:38:19 AM »
Come to think of it, if there is a god, and it created the universe, that act precludes the possibility of an objective anything. If the god simply decided what's right and wrong, then that is by definition a subjective judgment. In that scenario, the god's moral laws are contrived.

Only if you assume that the universe is not a creation, not an artificial construct designed by a god, can there be anything called objective in the sense you mean.

So I agree that there are objective moral values, but that their existence means a creator god cannot exist.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 03:41:32 AM by dloubet »
Denis Loubet

Offline Timo

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +89/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • oyeme
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 03:54:58 AM »
Come to think of it, if there is a god, and it created the universe, that act precludes the possibility of an objective anything. If the god simply decided what's right and wrong, then that is by definition a subjective judgment. In that scenario, the god's moral laws are contrived.

I think that his view would be that insofar as god's moral laws are a standard that is independent of humanity and of the universe in which we exist, they're objective.  You could still claim that, being based on the views of a being, these rules are by definition subjective.  But if I understand the moral argument, and I'm not saying I do, this is kind of a semantic point since what's being argued is really just that the standard for morality needs to be outside of our subjective experience or the experience of beings like us....or something.

In any case, most believers that I've seen run this type of argument attempt to sweep this concern under the rug by arguing that moral values are something that flows from God's unchanging nature and are something that is just like...a fact of God, rather than an opinion or preference.  I think that for adherents to the Abrahamic faiths, this is complicated by the shifting ways that God is portrayed in their respective holy books.
pero ya tu sabes...

Offline pianodwarf

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4350
  • Darwins +206/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappé
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 06:30:01 AM »
To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral values exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

You need not feel obligated to respond to this (at least, not in any kind of depth), but I'm curious: have you ever read Kant?  Backstory as to the reason I ask:

I majored in philosophy, and when I was in college, there was a group of some fifteen or twenty of us who started off together and saw each other in most of the same classes (it was a small college).  Most of them were ethical relativists; that is, they believed that objective moral values did not exist.  I was one of only two exceptions in the group that I can recall, the other being a Bible-thumper.  As we progressed thru our studies, examining different philosophers throughout the course of Western philosophy, these relativists would typically respond to each system by saying, "Well, OK, that sounds good, and if it works for you, then that's fine, but it's not absolute... morals are subjective."  Then, in our junior year, we read Kant, and something very interesting happened: all of the relativists, every single one of them, ceased to be relativists.  Their reaction, to a man, was essentially, "Wow, I never thought of it that way.  He's right -- there is an objective basis for morality."  And Kant's ethics are not based on theistic considerations at all.

I've mentioned this story a few times in the past here on WWGHA, and a few of the ethical subjectivists have occasionally messaged me asking for further information, often expressing their interest because they are uncomfortable with the notion of a subjective morality and would like to believe in an objective one but have never found any persuasive evidence.  After reading Kant, their reactions have almost all been the same as my former classmates', the one exception being the guy who said, "Well, I'm not sure I'm convinced, at least not yet, but his argument is definitely persuasive.  I'm going to have to give this more thought."  Since these were private messages, I name no names, but of course they're free to "out" themselves if they wish.

I've been tempted in the past to start a separate thread, asking the relativists here if they've ever read Kant's treatise on ethics, and, if they haven't, whether they'd be willing to do so.  (It's a rather "meaty" read, requiring a fair amount of time and effort to digest, though, so I wouldn't really want to impose on anyone.)  I've been reluctant to bring it up, though, because I'm somewhat "rusty" in this department and am not sure I'd be able to commit to responding in the thread giving the topic the treatment it deserves.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Quesi

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1986
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Female
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 07:00:46 AM »
You see, here is the thing about morality. Monotheists seem to think that they get their morality from their scriptures.  And the scriptures sure do have a lot to say about moral conduct.  But at the end of the day, you pick and chose which guidelines and mandates you embrace, and which you dismiss. 

Everybody gets to pick and choose. Followers of the God of Abraham swear up and down that their scriptures are the source of their moral codes.

But let’s be serious.

There is stuff in your scriptures that you really embrace. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Respect your parents. This is good stuff. Most people, whether they are Christians or Muslims or Hindus or Sikhs or atheists agree.

But you cherry pick your scriptures. I know you think you don’t, but you really do.


Let’s take the abominations, for example.

Abominations are really really bad, right?  I agree. A lot of the abominations represent a violation of my moral code.  The scriptures offer no hierarchy of abominations, and so it seems that we should treat them all as equally offensive to god. 

But we don’t. 

Let’s say that one day you come home and find your 15 year old son speaking arrogantly to his big sister.  You don’t like it.  That’s not the way you raised him.  You probably put a stop to it.  Have a talk with him about it.  Depending on your parenting style, maybe a little more serious action.  Maybe a little less.

Arrogance is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Let’s say another day you come home and find your 15 year old son having sexual relations with the family dog. 

Would you feel the same way about these two abominations?

Of course not. 

The Bible does not distinguish between the abomination of arrogance and the abomination of bestiality.  But you do. 

You probably don’t put a lot of parenting effort into assuring that your children don’t sacrifice oxen with blemishes to the Lord, because that is not part of your culture.  You probably do put a lot of parenting effort into assuring that your kids grow up to be honest and kind and hard working and maybe even joyful. 

But you didn’t get those values from the Bible.  Hindus have those values.  Atheists have those values.  Rural Nigerians who practice the Yoruba belief system have those values. 

I’m going to leave it to others who are more qualified than I to discuss theories of ethics and morality.  But I just had to start out with a modest challenge to your premise. 

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 08:31:09 AM »
Does the chimpanzee have the same "objective moral obligations?"  Why or why not?
Could you prove a Chimp god by their morals? 
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 09:06:01 AM »
Piano,

Many people do enjoy philosophy, and take it in college. They used to come back from class with all kinds of new "discoveries." My scientific social group in college used to hound them and make fun of them. So I admit a strong "anti-philosophical" bias.

The definitions of philosophy by google are :

phi·los·o·phy/f??läs?f?/
Noun:   

   1. The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline.
   2. A set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an aspect of it.



fun·da·men·tal/?f?nd??mentl/
Adjective:   
Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.


na·ture/?n?CH?r/
Noun:   

   1. The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the...
   2. The physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena: "it is impossible to change the laws of nature".


As you can see from the definition of philosopy, it is predisposing an existence of core importances.
Nothing in the real world has a quality called "importance." This is a human construct. In chemistry, Hydrogen is no more or less important than oxygen. They just are, they simply exist.

I tried reading your Kant link, but I couldn't stomach it as I have always called bullshit to philosophy in general. Real physics, doesn't give a shit what mankind thinks of it. We are simply a bunch of evolved bio-robots and how our mind perceives and reacts to our world is all self contained in our brains. Aesthetics and neuroses. delusions and hallucinations are all tricks of our perceptions and there can never be anything "profound" in them.

Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Alzael

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3577
  • Darwins +112/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2012, 09:26:57 AM »
To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.

Firstly, you need to make a valid case of this. How does the presence of objective morals equal a god. As it stands this is just an unsupported opinion.

Also you need to show how objective morals can exist if they are given by a god. If given by a god then they cannot actually be objective. As it stands what you are talking about describes an absolute moral system, not an objective one.

2. Objective moral values exist.

Again, there is no reason given to think this. It's merely an assumption as it stands.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Again, this does not logically follow.


I tried reading your Kant link, but I couldn't stomach it as I have always called bullshit to philosophy in general.

Then you're calling bullshit on most aspects of human thought.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 09:28:28 AM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline relativetruth

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 574
  • Darwins +7/-0
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2012, 09:52:55 AM »
To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral values exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

I've been tempted in the past to start a separate thread, asking the relativists here if they've ever read Kant's treatise on ethics, and, if they haven't, whether they'd be willing to do so.  (It's a rather "meaty" read, requiring a fair amount of time and effort to digest, though, so I wouldn't really want to impose on anyone.)  I've been reluctant to bring it up, though, because I'm somewhat "rusty" in this department and am not sure I'd be able to commit to responding in the thread giving the topic the treatment it deserves.

I would like to take you up on that challenge!

I will be going to and reading your link with interest!

Since joining WWGHA years ago and continuing to be a lurker I have often thought about the thread that I should have started expousing my relativistic views that my name implies.

I have several Word documents containing my various attempts on this subject (none of which were ever posted).

I had hoped to use Godel's incompleteness , Heisenberg's uncertainty, Einstein's theories, Schodinger's cat among others to show that science has a better explanation for things like the 'indivisibility of matter and/or time' than the likes of Hume et al.

Likewise I also think that science shows better results when trying to answer 'Absolute' questions.

I think the way that Mathematics deals with infinity and singularities are more articulate that those of the philosophers'.

But then I have never really read Kant.

I will be doing so now. 
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline Seppuku

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3849
  • Darwins +124/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • I am gay for Fred Phelps
    • Seppuku Arts
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2012, 09:58:20 AM »
You do raise a good point Pianodwarf that objective morality is not a perspective that only exists for God-botherers, whilst Kant was a God-botherer himself, his basis for moral was not derived from scripture. We studied Kant's Categorical Imperative when I studied philosophy and whilst there are many things Kant wrote I found myself at tune with. However, I did not acquire his views on morality. Whilst I can appreciate how the Categorical Imperative works and I think to a degree it is a sensible approach as far as absolutism goes. But it still, I believe, suffers from what any system of moral objectivity suffers from is that a situation may surpass whether those object morals can apply.

Bear in mind I am using Wikipedia to refresh my memory as the last time I read anything to do with the Categorical Imperative was 5 years ago (Christ, now I'm feeling old). Kant talks about Perfect Duty and Imperfect Duty, the former being logical statements that cannot be contradicted when we universalise them. For example, if we universalise theft then there would be no property, therefore it's illogical. Or if we universalise murder then there would be no lives, therefore it's illogical. Imperfect duty is more subjective, because you cannot logically exist in a constant state of performing that duty. Obviously you know what these mean, but I am summarising them in case anybody wants to pitch in. ;) That's obviously just the 'first formulation'.

Quote from: Kant
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction.


The second formulation talks more about free will and that every action should not only have a principle but also be an end.

Quote from: Kant
Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.

And the third formulation. He talks about the 'kingdom of ends'. I'll quote the wikipedia article here because it offers a short and clear explanation:

Quote from: Wiki
Because a truly autonomous will would not be subjugated to any interest, it would only be subject to those laws it makes for itself — but it must also regard those laws as if they would be bound to others, or they would not be universalizable, and hence they would not be laws of conduct at all. Thus Kant presents the notion of the hypothetical Kingdom of Ends of which he suggests all people should consider themselves both means and ends.

Kant tries to cover all of his bases, but unfortunately situations arise where a maxim may be contradictory.

Murder is illogical because according to the first formulation and our perfect duty, to universalise murder would result in everybody dying, without life it is impossible to murder. On the second formulation, killing somebody denies their freedom unless they consent to it.

On the other hand:
Allowing another to murder is illogical because according to the first formulation and because it is not reasonable to 'universally stop murder', it would be an imperfect duty.

But on the second formulation. NOT allowing somebody to murder would be denying the murderer their freedom. Whilst, yes, the murderer is also denying their victim freedom, but stopping the murderer would then be using the murderer as a means to an end.

Say (a common hypothetical situation in ethical philosophy it seems) a terrorist about to blow up a school. It would be our imperfect duty to stop him, but we couldn't because stopping him would affect his freedom of choice. Say if it were permissible and if the only foreseeable way to stop him was to kill him then because murder is illogical and therefore wrong according to the categorical imperative then 'killing him' would not be a viable option. You're not getting his permission to kill him and killing him is a means to an end - ending his life to prevent him from killing lots of innocent children.

Kants criticises people, on their 'hypothetical imperative' (like Utilitarianism). However, a Utilitarian is able to reason that stopping a terrorist from blowing up a school full of children is a good idea. Because of how they judge morality based on what causes the great good for the greatest number and the least suffering for the smallest number - a large number of children's lives are saved and only 1 person dies in that scenario. I myself am not a utilitarian though, but I believe David Hume was a philosopher around the same period, so I think it's perhaps relevant.

Interestingly Kant and Hume were both empiricists.


Of course, I accept the possibility I have misunderstand Kant's philosophy. But I got an A on all my ethics exams I swear! ;) You do have the upper hand in having a better qualification in philosophy than I, so I am expecting all of my criticisms of Kant's ethics to be absolutely blown to smithereens.  :P
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline pianodwarf

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4350
  • Darwins +206/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappé
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2012, 10:46:54 AM »
You do have the upper hand in having a better qualification in philosophy than I

After what I just read, I'm not sure I'd agree!  :-)  You clearly have a good understanding of this topic, at least (and probably others as well).  Plus, as I've said before, I'm rusty.  The last time I gave ethics any serious study and scrutiny was almost twenty years ago, which is one of the many reasons I generally prefer not to discuss it here.  To address it in any meaningful way, I'd have to pick up at least three of my old textbooks that I'm aware of (and probably others as well), and I've got more important things to do.

Quote
so I am expecting all of my criticisms of Kant's ethics to be absolutely blown to smithereens.  :P

So far as I could tell, the only thing you got wrong was Kant being an empiricist, and even at that, you're only "half-wrong", as it were.  Kant's epistemology was an attempt to end the debate between the empiricists and the rationalists by synthesizing the two into an entirely new system in which knowledge began with sense perception but did not end there.  (I'd also add that I don't completely embrace Kant's ethics, either.  My own view, briefly, is that Kant laid the foundation, and Schopenhauer built the house.)

This is all off-topic, though.  I want to leave this thread to PhilosoB's original subject, as it should be.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:49:27 AM by pianodwarf »
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline pianodwarf

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4350
  • Darwins +206/-5
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappé
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2012, 10:48:39 AM »
To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.
2. Objective moral values exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

I've been tempted in the past to start a separate thread, asking the relativists here if they've ever read Kant's treatise on ethics, and, if they haven't, whether they'd be willing to do so.  (It's a rather "meaty" read, requiring a fair amount of time and effort to digest, though, so I wouldn't really want to impose on anyone.)  I've been reluctant to bring it up, though, because I'm somewhat "rusty" in this department and am not sure I'd be able to commit to responding in the thread giving the topic the treatment it deserves.

I would like to take you up on that challenge!

Eeep... no, please don't!  Or if you want to read it for your own purposes, go ahead, but as I said, I've refrained from asking about that precisely because:

1)  It's a tough read, requiring a lot of time and effort, and I don't want to burden anyone, and
2)  It's not a topic I can promise I'll even participate in, so asking anyone to read the essay and digest it would be pretty shabby on my part.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6100
  • Darwins +681/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Hide and Seek World Champion since 1958!
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2012, 11:04:27 AM »
Just a heads up to all who have responded or want to respond to PhilosoB's OP. I know from what he said on another thread yesterday that he is working today. Which means he won't be able to respond until this afternoon or evening. It may be wise to let him respond to the things some of us have already said before hitting him with more disagreements/arguments, etc. This thread has the makings of a good discussion, but we have to keep the theist involved or it won't be any fun. We lost him last October because we overwhelmed him with responses. I for one would like to avoid a repeat of that.

Assuming his profile is accurate, he lives in the Central Time Zone in the U.S. Which may mean we may not hear from him for another six hours or so. (I don't know his schedule, so that is a guess.)

This isn't a requirement. It is just a suggestion from one of your friendly local mods.
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Seppuku

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3849
  • Darwins +124/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • I am gay for Fred Phelps
    • Seppuku Arts
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2012, 11:19:01 AM »
<snip>

Assuming his profile is accurate, he lives in the Central Time Zone in the U.S. Which may mean we may not hear from him for another six hours or so. (I don't know his schedule, so that is a guess.)

This isn't a requirement. It is just a suggestion from one of your friendly local mods.


Note taken. I think all the points I can make have been made in demonstration (discussion of objective morality from a stand point where God doesn't have to exist) and the fact I am moral relativist. ;)

Quote from: pianodwarf
Plus, as I've said before, I'm rusty.  The last time I gave ethics any serious study and scrutiny was almost twenty years ago, which is one of the many reasons I generally prefer not to discuss it here.  To address it in any meaningful way, I'd have to pick up at least three of my old textbooks that I'm aware of (and probably others as well), and I've got more important things to do.

I think that's understandable. I've only picked up my psychology textbooks up in other discussions because I have the time to spare to do it. Saying that, I really don't fancy picking up Kant's Critique of Pure Reason off of my shelf, it really isn't an easy read (admittedly, I've avoided reading the entire thing), so even if you had the time to do I, I can understand why you might be unwilling.  ;)

Quote from: pianodwarf
So far as I could tell, the only thing you got wrong was Kant being an empiricist, and even at that, you're only "half-wrong", as it were.  Kant's epistemology was an attempt to end the debate between the empiricists and the rationalists by synthesizing the two into an entirely new system in which knowledge began with sense perception but did not end there.  (I'd also add that I don't completely embrace Kant's ethics, either.  My own view, briefly, is that Kant laid the foundation, and Schopenhauer built the house.)

Ah I see where I got my misconception. Thanks for clearing that up. I generally took his discussion on a posteriori statements to suggest he's an Empiricist and some of the things he mentions about knowledge coming from experience. Can't say I've read Schopenhauer.

Quote from: ParkingPlaces
Feeling OLD! HAHAHAHA.

I'm 23 next month! ;)

Anyway, that's enough hijackery from me.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 12:21:22 PM by Seppuku »
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2012, 11:26:53 AM »
To clarify, I am using “objective moral values” to mean that the definition of moral values is independent of human thought or beliefs. This is, moral values are not dependent on what people may think is good or evil (subjective).


One question:

What exactly do you mean by "obligation."  I really don't see the difference in claiming that there is some abstract notion that ought to compel you to do or to not do something and claiming that there is some supernatural being with rules that you ought to follow, leaving aside the possible merits of whatever proposed abstraction or being that's being appealed to.  Is it the fact that such a being can punish or reward us for our behavior?  If that's the case, then aren't we just reducing morality to might makes right?

By obligation, I mean that we have a moral duty to act according to objective moral values and to do otherwise is morally wrong. If the moral statement “do not steal” exists abstractly, there is nothing to make anyone obligated or accountable to it beyond what humans may subjectively decide. Contrary to this, moral values that originate in the nature of God also come with the moral responsibility and accountability to God. God provides the appropriate authority to provide accountability for moral values and duties.

Relatedly, this is not “might makes right” in the sense of God’s moral commands being arbitrary. As I am sure many know already, the common understanding is that God’s moral commands emanate from his nature which is, by definition, perfect in love, mercy, justice, etc. Rather, from another perspective, it is through God’s might that he is able to provide ultimate justice regarding moral evils.


Does the chimpanzee have the same "objective moral obligations?"  Why or why not?
Could you prove a Chimp god by their morals? 

Generally, it is not thought that animals do not behave morally or immorally; rather, they act amorally. When one animal kills another animal, we do not perceive that one animal has “murdered” another animal. Obviously, this is not the case between humans who can and do murder each other. The fact that humans perceive moral values and duties is a significant defining factor between humans and animals. If we erase this distinction and group humans as simply another animal, then we must also erase the idea that murder (among many others) is an objectivity immoral act.


Quote
Objective moral values and duties cannot be based in the material or natural reality since nothing in such a context provides the necessarily unchanging standard or obligation.

Please back that statement up. It appears to be merely an opinion.

If material and natural reality have made us the way we are, then it has established our sense of fair play, our sense of right and wrong, our judgments of good and evil.

What constitutes unchanging? 100 years? 2000 years? How about the duration of the existence of the human race? Would that constitute a human context for unchanging?

Unchanging simply means the same, never different. Using this definition, it seems obvious that the world has changed, it is not identical to when it started. This is based simply on observation. In the human and moral context, my point is to illustrate moral standards based on humans or society or behaviour that is continually changing or different does not provide the necessarily firm foundation to define objective moral values and duties.


To begin, the moral argument often revolves around the following syllogism:
1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists.

Firstly, you need to make a valid case of this. How does the presence of objective morals equal a god. As it stands this is just an unsupported opinion.

Also you need to show how objective morals can exist if they are given by a god. If given by a god then they cannot actually be objective. As it stands what you are talking about describes an absolute moral system, not an objective one.

I have attempted to lay down a foundation for this argument in my OP. In presenting the existence of objective moral values and duties, I have briefly ruled out other possible foundations leaving God as the sole possibility (though, once again, in a brief manner). This, at least, demonstrates that if objective moral values exist and God is the sole foundation for objective moral values, it stands to reason that God exists. (I have also clarified what I mean by “objective”. In the end, I believe that moral values are absolute because of the unchanging foundation for moral values in God. However, for this discussion, I will use the term objective).

2. Objective moral values exist.

Again, there is no reason given to think this. It's merely an assumption as it stands.

Denying the existence of objective moral values requires a lot of courage. By denying such existence, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are not objectively immoral or evil acts. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them. If you deny objective moral values, subjectivity is the only recourse.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Again, this does not logically follow.

Even if you don’t agree with the conclusion of my syllogism or disagree on the premises, the argument is a logically valid modus ponens argument (if A, then B; A; Therefore B).



Got up early to respond to some of the posts. Thanks for the post, PP. Now off to work. I'll be back this evening (Mountain time, I'll try to update my profile later)

Offline Alzael

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3577
  • Darwins +112/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2012, 12:02:21 PM »

I have attempted to lay down a foundation for this argument in my OP.

You haven't. Your OP states that objective morals exists. It does not provide any justification for the claim though. Your OP makes the claim that objective morals exist, it then goes on to say that objective morals cannot be based in the natural world (which is wrong, but I'll get to that later). Then you say that the foundation for morals must then be either supernatural or abstract, then you rule out them being abstract and claim they must come from god.

However your OP does not at any point address whether morals actually are objective. It assumes the existence of objective morals and then tries to argue that god is responsible for them.

Another glaring flaw is that your post assumes that if objective morals exist they must come from god. Even if we accept your train of logic, at best all you've done is point to a supernatural source for morality. You've simply chosen to arbitrarily designate that source as "god". You've also decided that its your particular version of god without providing reason.

Lastly there's also the fact that you're using the fallacy of a false dichotomy. You have claimed that objective morals must either be from the supernatural or the abstract, however you have neglected other options. For example they could simply be. There could be no actual source that created objetctive morals and they could just exist. You also rule out natural occurence because you claim that it does not provide the unchanging standard that is needed. However there is much about the natural world that is constant, such as the various laws of physics. Objectivity does not require a lack of change. Simply a lack of conscious change.

Also gods standards are hardly unchanging either.

This, at least, demonstrates that if objective moral values exist and God is the sole foundation for objective moral values, it stands to reason that God exists. (I have also clarified what I mean by “objective”.

The key word however is "if".

I'll have to respond to the rest of this after work.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 12:04:33 PM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline Brakeman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1242
  • Darwins +47/-3
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 04:08:30 PM »
Does the chimpanzee have the same "objective moral obligations?"  Why or why not?
Could you prove a Chimp god by their morals? 

Generally, it is not thought that animals do not behave morally or immorally; rather, they act amorally. When one animal kills another animal, we do not perceive that one animal has “murdered” another animal. Obviously, this is not the case between humans who can and do murder each other.
So the grieving of the murdered chimps family is not real and is of no importance to the clan? They can feel no emotion or have clan standards A.K.A. "morals" because they're just animals..

The fact that humans perceive moral values and duties is a significant defining factor between humans and animals. If we erase this distinction and group humans as simply another animal, then we must also erase the idea that murder (among many others) is an objectivity immoral act.
Bullshit! Scientists do no such thing. No-one but a puffed up theist would espouse such a thing.

Murder is not an objectively immoral act because one can easily come up with scenarios where it  does not cross social mores.

Murdering a man who is dying a painful lingering death.
Murdering a man who is about to kill your family.
Murdering a man who has a terrible contagious disease that could kill many.
Murdering a man who cannot kill himself because of disabilities.
Murdering a man who is hated by a large section of society, (Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden)

Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Alzael

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3577
  • Darwins +112/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 04:35:50 PM »
Denying the existence of objective moral values requires a lot of courage. By denying such existence, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are not objectively immoral or evil acts. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them. If you deny objective moral values, subjectivity is the only recourse.


This is irrelevant. It's just another fallacy. None of this has anything to do with whether objective morals exist. This is simply a statement of why you want objective morals to exist.

To address the pragraph itself, what does it matter if such acts are objectively immoral or not? Even if subjective they are immoral to the majority of humans, and we punish people who do these things accordingly. That's what societies do. We come to a consensus on what is right or wrong and then make laws to codify the consequences for doing wrong things. If morals were objective then everyone would agree on what is right and what is wrong. Which is exactly what we don't see. Morals vary form person to person, society to society, and time period to time period.

You're just saying that you don't like to think of it like that. However reality doesn't take what you want into consideration.

Even if you don’t agree with the conclusion of my syllogism or disagree on the premises, the argument is a logically valid modus ponens argument (if A, then B; A; Therefore B).

This is true. I should have been more clear with what I meant by it doesn't follow. It is unsound and has nothing to support it but several fallacies. While the argument is certainly valid that has no real relevance as everything that holds it up is clearly false.

There's also an underlying flaw in your argument that needs to be addressed. As I mentioned what you have decided to call "objective morals" are not actually objective by the meaning of the word. So this adds one further complication in that you're also assuming that gods morals should even be followed in the first place. If there was an objective (by your use of the word) set of morals......so what? Why should anyone care what god thinks about good and evil? All you've done is say that we should let god decide what is right and wrong rather than decide ourselves. But why in the world would we want to do that? Especially since we don't know why god wants us to do these things.

Edit: One other thing that I wanted to mention in regards to something that I had previously addressed of yours.

Denying the existence of objective moral values requires a lot of courage. By denying such existence, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are not objectively immoral or evil acts. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them.

This already happens with objective morals. Or at least your version of objective morals. Almost every religious person believes that morality is handed down from a god that gives them objective morals. However all of them come up with a different set of morals. Some only slightly different, some radically different, but always different. Even within the same faith you won't get two different people who agree on what gods morals actually are. What no one seems to be able to do is to come up with a means of proving who's right and who's wrong about gods will. Meaning that everyone who makes the claim of objective morality (your way) is equally right because they are all using the same basis (religious faith) for their arguments and the same evidence (none).

By claiming that morals come from god, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are ok as long as you believe god agrees with you. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them.

All your position does is shift the blame around a little. Instead of a person being responsible for their own actions good or bad, you're pinning the moral burden on a god.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:10:26 PM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline 12 Monkeys

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4374
  • Darwins +96/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • Dii hau dang ijii
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2012, 07:18:27 PM »
what about the 6 billion plus people who fail to follow the Christian God,where do there objective morals come from?
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Gnu Ordure

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3832
  • Darwins +109/-9
  • Gender: Male
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2012, 08:41:54 PM »
To clarify, I am using “objective moral values” to mean that the definition of moral values is independent of human thought or beliefs.
All definitions are the products of human minds, human thinking.

If the Earth were destroyed by a giant asteroid tomorrow, objective moral values would also disappear.

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2012, 08:52:40 PM »

You haven't. Your OP states that objective morals exists. It does not provide any justification for the claim though. Your OP makes the claim that objective morals exist, it then goes on to say that objective morals cannot be based in the natural world (which is wrong, but I'll get to that later). Then you say that the foundation for morals must then be either supernatural or abstract, then you rule out them being abstract and claim they must come from god.

However your OP does not at any point address whether morals actually are objective. It assumes the existence of objective morals and then tries to argue that god is responsible for them.
 

I agree that I failed to provide any argumentation for the existence of objective moral values and duties.

First, I don’t think most people have an issue with assuming objective moral values exist. Humans are able to recognize or perceive immoral actions particularly in extreme cases such as the Holocaust or torturing babies for pure enjoyment. Humans perceive these acts as immoral not in the sense that they simply disagree with it like opinions or dislike it similar to disliking a particular food or because it goes against the prevailing societal norms. Acts like the Holocaust or torturing babies is recognized as objectively wrong beyond all opinion or norms.

Secondly, and closely related, moral values are perceived just as the physical world is. Just as through sensory experience we perceive the existence of the physical world, our moral experience allows us to perceive the existence of moral values. It should also be noted that neither the existence of the physical world nor moral values are completely provable since we cannot step outside own experiences to verify either’s existence. It makes no more sense to deny the existence of the physical world than it does to deny the existence of moral values.


Another glaring flaw is that your post assumes that if objective morals exist they must come from god. Even if we accept your train of logic, at best all you've done is point to a supernatural source for morality. You've simply chosen to arbitrarily designate that source as "god". You've also decided that its your particular version of god without providing reason.
 

I have not made the assumption that objective moral values come from God. Having ruled out other viable options, I concluded that God is remains a plausible foundation. Furthermore, though I have stated I am arguing as someone who accepts the existence of the Christian God, I have not used the moral argument as yet to define which God is the moral foundation. I have simply argued that moral values are most plausibly found in a supernatural being commonly referred to as God.

Lastly there's also the fact that you're using the fallacy of a false dichotomy. You have claimed that objective morals must either be from the supernatural or the abstract, however you have neglected other options. For example they could simply be. There could be no actual source that created objetctive morals and they could just exist. You also rule out natural occurence because you claim that it does not provide the unchanging standard that is needed. However there is much about the natural world that is constant, such as the various laws of physics. Objectivity does not require a lack of change. Simply a lack of conscious change.

I have not intentionally tried to exclude other possible source of moral values. As for your two possible candidates, moral values that simply just exist is how I would define existing abstractly, beyond physical or material world. This I have ruled it out as it does not provide the obligating factor necessary to compel moral duties. As for constants in nature, if you are able to discover a moral framework from natural laws, I would like to hear it. Remember, a moral law does not describe how things are or came to be; it must prescribe the way things ought to be.


Also gods standards are hardly unchanging either.
 

By definition, God is a perfect being, therefore any changes would mean he was not perfect to begin with.




Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2012, 08:59:34 PM »
Denying the existence of objective moral values requires a lot of courage. By denying such existence, you are implicitly stating that murder or rape or child abuse are not objectively immoral or evil acts. Such behaviour may not be something you would do but someone else may think otherwise, which would make these acts acceptable to them. If you deny objective moral values, subjectivity is the only recourse.

To address the pragraph itself, what does it matter if such acts are objectively immoral or not? Even if subjective they are immoral to the majority of humans, and we punish people who do these things accordingly. That's what societies do. We come to a consensus on what is right or wrong and then make laws to codify the consequences for doing wrong things.

Ancient civilizations thought that child sacrifices were a good thing. So long as such actions are acceptable to a given society, this makes child sacrifice ok? I think this conclusion goes against the moral perception of most people.


If morals were objective then everyone would agree on what is right and what is wrong. Which is exactly what we don't see. Morals vary form person to person, society to society, and time period to time period.

I’m not sure what argument you are using to back up this claim. I fail to see how objectivity implies universal consensus. The world is objectively round yet that has not always been the consensus.


Even if you don’t agree with the conclusion of my syllogism or disagree on the premises, the argument is a logically valid modus ponens argument (if A, then B; A; Therefore B).

This is true. I should have been more clear with what I meant by it doesn't follow. It is unsound and has nothing to support it but several fallacies. While the argument is certainly valid that has no real relevance as everything that holds it up is clearly false.



There's also an underlying flaw in your argument that needs to be addressed. As I mentioned what you have decided to call "objective morals" are not actually objective by the meaning of the word. So this adds one further complication in that you're also assuming that gods morals should even be followed in the first place.

 I believe I am using the common definition of objective. Something that is objective is exists independently of human opinion or perception. Therefore, objective moral values exist independently of human thought or perception. If moral values and duties originate in the nature of God, then they exist outside of human thought and are consequently objective.



If there was an objective (by your use of the word) set of morals......so what? Why should anyone care what god thinks about good and evil? All you've done is say that we should let god decide what is right and wrong rather than decide ourselves. But why in the world would we want to do that? Especially since we don't know why god wants us to do these things.

To answer briefly, once again, God, by definition, is perfect in nature, therefore, any commands from God would also be perfect, particularly within the context of when the commands where given. It seems reasonable that if we know moral values come from God, that those commands should be preferable to those from man.


Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2012, 09:03:15 PM »
So the grieving of the murdered chimps family is not real and is of no importance to the clan? They can feel no emotion or have clan standards A.K.A. "morals" because they're just animals..

While animals may experience emotion, emotion or clan (societal) standards do not provide a basis for objective morals, assuming animals even have a moral capacity, for society and emotion are subjective to its members.


The fact that humans perceive moral values and duties is a significant defining factor between humans and animals. If we erase this distinction and group humans as simply another animal, then we must also erase the idea that murder (among many others) is an objectivity immoral act.
Bullshit! Scientists do no such thing. No-one but a puffed up theist would espouse such a thing.

Murder is not an objectively immoral act because one can easily come up with scenarios where it  does not cross social mores.

Murdering a man who is dying a painful lingering death.
Murdering a man who is about to kill your family.
Murdering a man who has a terrible contagious disease that could kill many.
Murdering a man who cannot kill himself because of disabilities.
Murdering a man who is hated by a large section of society, (Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden.

You touch on an important distinction here that applies to other posts in this thread. I am arguing for the existence of objective moral values. In philosophical terms, I am referring to moral ontology, the reality of moral values. My purpose is show that moral values do objectively exist.

What I am NOT trying to demonstrate at this point is what those moral values may be. This is moral epistemology. I am not trying to sidestep any objections but make an important distinction. It is possible to accept that moral values exist objectively even if we don’t know what all those values may be. We can agree that murder is objectively immoral and then converse on what actually qualifies as murder. However, it becomes more difficult to have such a discussion about specific moral values if we cannot first agree that moral values due, in fact, exist.


Offline Jstwebbrowsing

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1304
  • Darwins +20/-95
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2012, 09:09:59 PM »
Why should anyone care what god thinks about good and evil? All you've done is say that we should let god decide what is right and wrong rather than decide ourselves. But why in the world would we want to do that? Especially since we don't know why god wants us to do these things.

I shouldn't do this.  But I just can't help myself. 

If Genesis is true then I bet this is exactly what the serpent said to Eve!

God did tell her why however.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline PhilosoB

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Darwins +3/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2012, 09:17:48 PM »
To clarify, I am using “objective moral values” to mean that the definition of moral values is independent of human thought or beliefs.
All definitions are the products of human minds, human thinking.

If the Earth were destroyed by a giant asteroid tomorrow, objective moral values would also disappear.

Definitions are products of humans minds, but definitions are not the object itself. Therefore, even if humans are extinct objects will exist, including moral values. Furthermore, since I have not based moral values and duties on human thought or material objects, moral values are not contingent to the existence of humans or the physical world. Consequently, moral values exist whether humans do or not.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6100
  • Darwins +681/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Hide and Seek World Champion since 1958!
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2012, 09:34:51 PM »
As a person with a single digit IQ, I have to ask a question here.

What is the reason for arguing whether a moral value is objective or relative?

Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that the prohibition of killing is indeed an objective moral value. That is, it comes from somewhere else than the society in which it is honored. It is not a relative moral value, it is accepted as and defined as an objective one.

What would the difference be? I ask this because I had a recent discussion about the death penalty with several people, including two I know to be church-going christians. Both of them were very much in favor of the death penalty.

So if their stance against killing others is objective yet they are supportive of killing others, why is the difference important. Five or six years ago I was talking to one of those men and brought up the subject of collateral casualties and civilians being killed in wartime Iraq. He shrugged his shoulders and said that stuff like that happens. He wasn't concerned. And yet I've no doubt that he would very much support the existence of objective moral values. In his case, handed down by his God.

So, if objective moral values are subject to change at the convenience of the follower of such things, how are they any different in the real world than a relative moral value? If one who thinks his moral values are objective and come from outside his or her mind and society can shrug their shoulders at the news of a car full of children being killed at a military roadblock, are they still supposed to be somehow superior to those who shrug their shoulders for reasons of relative morality, so to speak?

And those of us who are horrified about unnecessary death but who aren't really sure where our morality comes from: are we inferior beings?
Not everyone is entitled to their opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1984
  • Darwins +185/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2012, 09:44:25 PM »
First, I don’t think most people have an issue with assuming objective moral values exist. Humans are able to recognize or perceive immoral actions particularly in extreme cases such as the Holocaust or torturing babies for pure enjoyment. Humans perceive these acts as immoral not in the sense that they simply disagree with it like opinions or dislike it similar to disliking a particular food or because it goes against the prevailing societal norms. Acts like the Holocaust or torturing babies is recognized as objectively wrong beyond all opinion or norms.

Disagree completely.  This is nothing more than an emotional plea.  Your entire argument here is based off the fact that we have more powerful emotional ties to thoughts of torturing babies and the Holocaust than we do to other, more mundane things; and thus they differ from simple opinions.  Why do you think that even matters here?  It does not.  Strip away the emotional attachment you have to it, and the phrase "The color blue is the best color in the world" is an opinion in exactly the same way that "Killing babies is wrong" is an opinion.  BOTH of those statements give the impression of objectivity, when no such thing exists, nor is it required to exist in order to understand how it works in the real world.  I could also say, "I think the color blue is the best color in the world" and know that it is an opinion in exactly the same way as I can say "I think killing is wrong" and know that it is an opinion.  My emotional attachment to one over the other is the only distinguishing characteristic between the two.  And quite frankly, I don't why you think the universe gives a shit about yours or my feelings on the matter.

Secondly, and closely related, moral values are perceived just as the physical world is. Just as through sensory experience we perceive the existence of the physical world, our moral experience allows us to perceive the existence of moral values.

Since our sensory experiences happen at the individual level, and thus our moral experiences occur at the individual level, wouldn't that simply be more evidence that they are subjective? 

It should also be noted that neither the existence of the physical world nor moral values are completely provable since we cannot step outside own experiences to verify either’s existence. It makes no more sense to deny the existence of the physical world than it does to deny the existence of moral values.

I don't think you've done anything here that moves you closer to the idea that they are objective.  This would work equally whether they are objective or subjective. 

I don't actually know what your bottom line is here PhilosoB.  It seems like you are just trying to say that objective morals exist and that's that, and if we can't accept it, then the conversation is over. 

Sorry; but no, they don't exist. Not until you can reasonably prove that they do.  The theory of subjective morality is a FAR more explanatory than the objective morality theory. 

If Genesis is true then I bet this is exactly what the serpent said to Eve!

I'm sorry, Jstwebbrowsing, but my 7 year old is smart enough to know that the whole Adam and Eve, garden of Eden thing never really happened.  Nobody really thinks it happened anymore, do they?  I mean seriously?  Come on.  Nobody believes in that now. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT