Author Topic: Moral Argument for God  (Read 3158 times)

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2012, 06:49:49 PM »
I know I'm not the best at philosophy, but I don't understand something.

If morals are objective, where is the moral "object"?

The concept comes from the idea that there is a realm of reality, or ontological realm of objects and facts that exists independant of the conscious mind.

In the case of your question the "object" would be the morals in general (ie. morals being the object, they exist in the objective realm). Something must be able to exist as it is independant of conscious thought or perception in order to be objective. For example gravity exists as it is outside of the "object" that is conscious thought. No matter we personally think or see with our own eyes, gravity operates in exactly the same way. Thus it is an objective force.

This is what theists like Phil want to claim about their morality. That it simply exists self-evidently. It's one of the necessary cornerstones of their worldview because otherwise they have to question why their morals are the way they are, instead of just assuming that they're there.

The problem with such a view is that in order for something to be objective it must exist outside of any and all conscious forces. Which also rules out morals coming from god. Even worse, it means that god must also be subject to those same morals. So if killing is objectively wrong, then god must be evil because he kills people. They can't excuse it by claiming that he's god and therefore above morality, because if god is above morality then morals cannot be objective.

It's a very twisted game theists like Phil play.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 06:52:31 PM by Alzael »
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #59 on: April 30, 2012, 06:51:05 PM »
When I say moral values are objective it means that moral statements contain truth values that are independent of human beliefs or thoughts and that correspond to reality..

Yet, you rather clearly stated that chimps couldn't be moral, and that only humans are moral.
Sounds like you are very confused!

the same as a statement about the physical world corresponds to reality independent of human belief.  “The apple is red” and “Murder is wrong” are both statements that correspond to reality and are true independent of human thought and perception. Additionally, when we use such statements, we are saying that the subject contains a particular property, such that the apple has the property of redness and the act of murder contains the property of “wrong-ness”. If the act of murder contains the property of “wrongness”, it cannot also contain the property of “right-ness”; therefore, any act defined as murder would be wrong, in itself.

Except of course that both of those examples are subjective. You have failed to find example of any objective "wrongness", which is crucial to your theory. When are you going to find this needed example for us?

Alternatively, while most of the discussion has rightly revolved around objectivity, it is necessary to address the case for subjective morality. If morality is subjective, there is no foundation for determining when an act is truly moral or immoral, good or evil. If someone thinks killing babies for enjoyment is good and another holds the contradictory position, by what standard are we to decide who is right? Further, how do we know that the standard we would decide to use is, in fact, the correct standard?
There is plenty of foundation, it is learned from group think in a herd society. We don't enjoy killing babies because we evolved to love and nurture creatures with big doe like eyes and a "baby-like" face. Ever wonder why kittens and puppies and other baby animals are so cute to us? Why does killing a lamb seem so much worse than killing a full grown sheep. Why do we feel so much more hurt when a child dies than when an old man dies, when the only real difference is a factor of time? There is no objective standard nor objective "justice" out there. If you take human herd conditioning out of the equation, there is nothing left. If there were no one else in the world except jew hating Nazis, then there would be no feeling of "wrongness" about the Holocaust anywhere. Thus the acts at Auschwitz would not be evil. The only reason you or anyone else has a problem with it is because of our herd mentality in which we have compassion on the suffering of the jews and know that we fear this action happening to us. If everyone thought of the jews as the same station in life as the germs that inhabit a toilet bowl, then we would feel no moral compunction to save or care more than we do when I clean my toilet with caustic bowl cleaner.

A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?
We are subjectively disagreeing with genocide. As herd animals we have learned what happens to our brethren, could happen to us.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 06:54:03 PM by Brakeman »
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Offline HAL

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #60 on: April 30, 2012, 06:57:49 PM »
The problem with such a view is that in order for something to be objective it must exist outside of any and all conscious forces. Which also rules out morals coming from god.

Good, that makes sense to me. I just wanted to make sure my thinking wasn't off. That's what I was thinking - objective morals don't really exist "on their own". Thanks for explaining it

Offline Alzael

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #61 on: April 30, 2012, 07:02:33 PM »
Good, that makes sense to me. I just wanted to make sure my thinking wasn't off. That's what I was thinking - objective morals don't really exist "on their own". Thanks for explaining it

No not on their own. They just can't be influenced by any conscious thought or perception. There are different uses of objectivity if you're talking in terms of journalism. But in terms of philosophy and science that is what objective entails.

You're welcome.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2012, 07:34:39 PM »
When I say moral values are objective it means that moral statements contain truth values that are independent of human beliefs or thoughts and that correspond to reality, the same as a statement about the physical world corresponds to reality independent of human belief.

However this is still not what the word actually means. You're redefining it to suit your argument. I've allowed you that much so far to keep the conversation going but don't forget this. You are not actually arguing for objectivity. You are arguing for something that you have made up and decided to call objectivity. To actually claim that you're arguing for objectivity is wrong.

“The apple is red”

No it isn't. Colour is based on our perceptions of the light that reflects off of an object and hits our lenses. Different animals see different spectrums of light (sometimes different people as well) and to them those colours are entirely different. There is no objective "red".

“Murder is wrong” are both statements that correspond to reality and are true independent of human thought and perception.

Again, this is a statement based on an assumption. You CANNOT state this as a fact as you keep doing. Not until you actually form a valid argument to demonstrate it and provide evidence.

If the act of murder contains the property of “wrongness”, it cannot also contain the property of “right-ness”; therefore, any act defined as murder would be wrong, in itself.

Again IF.

Moral values and duties are independent of even God’s beliefs since they are rooted in his unchanging nature. Even if it was possible for God to have beliefs or commands that differed from his perfect nature, those beliefs would morally subject to God’s perfect nature (but this is, of course, a hypothetical absurdity and not viable in any possible world scenario. God will always act perfectly in every possible world.)

If they are independant of gods beliefs then god did not create them. It doesn't matter if his beliefs differ, that's irrelevant. Something cannot be objective if it was created by a conscious entity. That's why you had to redefine the word in order to make your argument. This statement is simply nonsense on your part.

If objective morality exists, acts can be classified as truly moral or immoral, good or evil regardless of public consensus or personal opinions. If one person says “Killing babies for personal enjoyment is evil” and another, contradictorily, believes “Killing babies for personal enjoyment is good”, an objective morality allows us to state that one of these individuals is objectively wrong.

Again, IF.

If morality is subjective, there is no foundation for determining when an act is truly moral or immoral, good or evil.

Of course there is. We use logic, we use reason, we use our own empathy as human beings, we use what will be in the interests of the greater good. There are many ways of determining such things. People have pointed out many of them. You've just ignored them.

If someone thinks killing babies for enjoyment is good and another holds the contradictory position, by what standard are we to decide who is right?

Same as above.

Further, how do we know that the standard we would decide to use is, in fact, the correct standard?

We don't but that's life.

More to the point, this is still irrelevant to the conversation.

Phil, let me explain something to you bluntly since you don't seem to grasp this when I say it subtly. Even if you had a point with that paragraph (which you didn't) it has absolutely NO BEARING OF ANY KIND ON WHETHER YOUR ARGUMENT IS TRUE. All that paragraph does is indicate that you don't like the idea of morals being subjective. But here's the thing, REALITY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, IT WILL NOT CHANGE TO SUIT YOUR WHIMS. Your statements in that paragraph are pure fallacy. Nothing in there is an argument for objective morality. It's a complaint from you that the world would suck if it wasn't objective.

I'm still waiting for a valid point. And tobe quite frank it's getting very tiresome going around in your circles.

A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner?

By my own moral standards. And the moral standards of the society I live in.


Before anyone or any action can be defined as truly moral or immoral, good or evil, an objective morality must be assumed.

Why? You have yet to give a valid reason for this or anything so far. Why must an objective morality be assumed?

Before we say God has committed truly evil acts, we must posit the existence of an objective moral standard to measure him against. Otherwise, it’s one opinion against other, one society’s rules versus another society, one culture opposed to another culture. Good and evil become nothing more than shifting sands. If you are not willing to accept objective morals, then criticism of immorality toward God or any act fall into the category of subjective opinion. Either objective morals exist therefore you can begin to reason God is truly immoral, or objective morals don't exist and you simply disagree with what God has done. It cannot be held that moral are subjective and that God is truly immoral.

It is just one opinion against another. Just like everything else in life that we talk about. God can be judged as evil by my own standards. Just as I judge that my little sister is a good person. I can judge god as immoral because he does not even conform to his own stated morality. I can judge god immoral because I disagree with him. I can say that he has committed many evil acts, and yes they are all my opinion but so what? If a lot of other people agree with me then it's more than just my opinion, isn't it? It's a consensus, and that's how we decide on what good and evil is. You still have not made an argument saying why there must be an objective morality. At least not a valid one. You are still arguing about the implications of the claim, not its truth.

Phil, I'll ask you directly. Do you have a rational argument or evidence for why morals are objective. Not a speech on how you think the world should be. Or a speech saying "If morals aren't objective then something bad will happen" these are not valid arguments. They are fallacies. Do you have something valid?
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Offline Timo

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #63 on: April 30, 2012, 09:30:09 PM »
I don't think you understood the points that I was making.  Let me clarify:


A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?

I can't speak for anyone else, but when I referenced the conquest of Canaan, I was not appealing to any standard of morality, subjective or otherwise.  Nor was I calling it or God evil.  Rather, I was expressing my exasperation with your debating tactics.  I'm annoyed with the fact that you're attempting to use the Holocaust as a rhetorical bludgeon against anyone with the audacity to claim that moral values are subjective.  All the while, you're exalting the Christian god, the god of the Bible as this morally perfect being....even though this being is said to have compelled His people to pursue the same sorts of actions.  It's absurd.

Timo mentions that I have overlooked much the great suffering and evils that have occurred in North America specifically the ongoing drug war and the atrocities committed against Blacks to which he has personal connections to. But on what grounds are we saying that such acts were truly evil and not just differing opinions or societies?

Again, you misunderstood.  The point of bringing these things up is to fill a gap in your understanding of what has gone on and what still goes on in North America.  I was responding to this:

This a tough post to respond because it appears so obviously false and yet reflects the fact that we in North America have so little experience with true evil. I have a hard time believing that a Holocaust survivor would be able to type such words or that such words could be spoken to a Holocaust survivor without a twinge of how truly wrong we would be.

In other words, you apparently weren't aware of all of the things, and were therefore writing confidently but from a place of ignorance.  Or, I suppose, you simply don't count them as evil.  I don't know.  The point wasn't to take a stand and call these things evil (though I certainly would).  The point was that plenty of us in North America have had first hand experience with what we might call evil.  And you should be aware of that before you make sweeping generalizations.  In other words, you need to know what you're talking about.

Timo, on which moral foundation are you appealing to when you say I should (or ought) to apologize for my supposed sleight?

Common decency.  It's not nice to assume things about people, as you did in your response to JeffPT.

But nah, as far as my views go, personally, without getting too deep into it, my views on morality are something of a confused Rawlsian mess.  So when you find me condemning things like our drug war, racial segregation, misogyny, and sexual violence as morally wrong, what I tend to appeal to fairness, as a principle.  That's the long and short of it.  So yeah...

Also, you didn't address my question about "obligations."  I'd be very interested in your response.  I think it's kind of important.  So let me ask you again:

 
Would it be right to say that we have an obligation to act morally or that we are accountible to God even if God didn't provide that "ultimate justice"?  In other words, if there is no heaven or no hell, no anihilation of the eternal soul, or whatever variation you happen to believe happens to our soul when our bodies die, would it still make sense to say that we have an obligation to act morally?


So???????

An inquiring mind would like to know.
Nah son...

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #64 on: April 30, 2012, 09:54:56 PM »
Note to atheists:

Christians have to PROVE that morals could not have come from man's intellectual bumblings. As a by-product, they have to demonstrate that they have no idea what the moral laws are for. So, they have to be totally perplexed about the law for murder. No idea why we have it. Can't see why murder could be a moral, but we will follow it blindly anyway, because God tells us to. Total mystery.

The law against torturing babies is different to laws against theft and murder, because there is no compelling reason to torture babies, whereas there are dire reasons why we need to thieve and kill. This makes the laws "controversial", so they need lots of discliamers/exceptions. In the current age, the law against torturing babies is moot. Nobody disagrees with the proposition that we should not do it, because nobody gains money by doing it. This is why there is universal agreement that we should not do it - not that we have some attraction to baby faces, or care about babies. We are quite happy to pith cute baby seals. If we lived in a culture that believed that demons inhabited babies for the first year of their lives, and the demon needed to be tortured out of the baby, we would have no qualms. This is also why it's a straw man.





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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #65 on: April 30, 2012, 10:09:04 PM »
Alternatively, while most of the discussion has rightly revolved around objectivity, it is necessary to address the case for subjective morality.

I'm glad you asked.  Here is some evidence for the theory that all morality is subjective. 

1. Every single person in the world has different moral viewpoints.  There are no 2 people who would act in exactly the same way in every single scenario.
2. Individuals within cultures have similar moral viewpoints to those of their ancestors and neighbors, yet those could differ widely between other cultures.
3. Morality can change over time in the individual level.
4. Morality changes over time in societies.
5. As evolved social animals, it would have given us a significant survival advantage to have evolved a sense of fair play and empathy.

That's a good starting point. 

If morality is subjective, there is no foundation for determining when an act is truly moral or immoral, good or evil.

Yes, we know you don't like it.  We get that.  Please stop with this.  It's going past annoying now. 

If someone thinks killing babies for enjoyment is good and another holds the contradictory position, by what standard are we to decide who is right?

Our own.  The same way we determine whether or not green is the best color.  Why is it that you can understand that, but not the baby killing thing?  There is just a lot of agreement with the idea of killing babies.  Billions of people have that in common.  So what?  That doesn't make it objective, it just means lots of people think the same thing.   

A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?

First of all, God is fictional.  We realize that God is a character from a book in much the same way Darth Vader is a character in a book. The only reason we talk about how evil God is, is because we have to step into your delusion to show you how nutty it is from the inside; else this argument would just go back and forth with "God is real", "no He's not", "yes He is" , etc etc.  Boooring.  We don't like that we have to step into your delusion, but it's necessary for the process. 

Let me make this as blunt as I can for you here about genocide, rape, Nazi's, baby killing, etc.  They are all bad as far as I am concerned.  Really bad.  I am judging them bad based on my own impression of what good and bad are, just like I judge what foods are good and bad. The only difference is the label I put on them (moral or non-moral).  Moral opinions are more important for me in terms of right and wrong, but they are still nothing more than opinion.  What don't you get here?  I know you don't like it, but where does it fall apart logically for you?  What fact that we are presented with in reality does not fit with subjective morality?  Seriously.  What? 
 
Before anyone or any action can be defined as truly moral or immoral, good or evil, an objective morality must be assumed.

Wrong.  Just wrong.  That's simply not the case.  Good or bad are in the eyes of the observer. 

Before we say God has committed truly evil acts, we must posit the existence of an objective moral standard to measure him against.

Ridiculous.  This is like trying to say there must be an objective taste standard to measure food by before you can say something truly tastes bad.  I am allowed to personally judge the actions of the God of the bible in exactly the same way I am allowed to judge the actions of any character in any book I've ever read.     

Otherwise, it’s one opinion against other, one society’s rules versus another society, one culture opposed to another culture.

And this differs from reality in what way?  This is EXACTLY how reality works.  For thousands of years, what has it been?  Society versus society.  Culture versus culture.  What has been at the very heart of that division?  You guessed it.  Religion. "My God is better than your God.  My God wants infidels killed.  My God wants to conquer more land.  My God wants me to be rich and powerful. " 

What about the world around you does not fit with the notion that it's one opinion versus another?  Yes, we know you don't like the implications, but what can you see as factually wrong with the idea?   

Good and evil become nothing more than shifting sands.

Cry me a river.  Emotional appeal yet again.  You should give up on that.  You're losing that battle.  You aren't going to guilt us into buying your nonsense because we have nothing to feel guilty for.  I feel just as much as you do about those things we've talked about, but I understand that those are my feelings alone. 

If you are not willing to accept objective morals, then criticism of immorality toward God or any act fall into the category of subjective opinion.

Now you're getting it. 

Either objective morals exist therefore you can begin to reason God is truly immoral, or objective morals don't exist and you simply disagree with what God has done.

God isn't real.  If you want to talk about the God character in the bible, then I am going to use the normal standards by which I judge characters I read about in ANY book, and obviously judge God as a horrible being that I am pleased to report does not exist.  So yes, I disagree with what God is said to have done in the Bible. 

(As some have commented, extreme moral or immoral cases are used in these kinds of discussion because they present the most clear cut examples. If agreement cannot be reach on whether the Holocaust was truly objectively evil or not, there is no point in discussing less clear situations.)

You mean, you can't generate as much of an emotional appeal for things like table manners and fingernail length on men, so you'd just rather ignore it?  You mean you don't want to take the time to formulate a several paragraph post that wrongfully conflates the idea that just because we don't call farting in the bathtub objectively wrong, that we are somehow missing the glaring obviousness of how objective it is?  Please....

Don't you wonder why those types of issues can't generate the same sort of response as talk of the Nazi's does from you?  It's because they're not emotional! 


   
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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #66 on: May 01, 2012, 01:19:28 AM »
Note to theists:

A false dichotomy is when you present two false statements, and then appeal to the user to rule one out. I've noticed a tendency to use the idea that if something is not moral, it must be immoral. In the case of any act; unless it's totally evil, it must contain elements of non-evil. Eg: killing babies is moral if over-population is imminent, God tells you to, or in a universe when some babies explode soon after birth, taking out whole cities.

The opinion that there is an absolute morality is very chauvinistic, because it assumes that other life forms would have the same constraints. Eg: in a world where the inhabitants had 3 sexes, and required fertilization from several hosts, our marriage laws would make little sense. In a world where inhabitants had evolved to mostly eat members of their own species, because there was nothing else to eat, murder would not be considered evil. In a world where the female only became fertile due to the terror of being raped....  An absolute morality requires absolute faith that we are the only life forms in the universe, and also ignores the way spiders and praying mantises eat their mates. To cling to absolute morality theory, you have to ignore animal behavior, and presume that there is only one life form in the universe.

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #67 on: May 01, 2012, 03:56:00 AM »
.....“Murder is wrong” (ia a) statement that corresponds to reality and (is) true independent of human thought and perception......

I read through your post quite carefully, a couple times, but I couldn't find anything you said that actually supported this opinion.  In what way IS murder wrong?

And, I'm afraid, you DO have to explain why it is wrong, always wrong, always has been and always will be wrong.  To take the route of "well, if you think murder is right there's nothing more I can say" may well feel like a response, but it will unfortunately also mean the ruination of your argument.  If someone legitimately cannot comprehend your claim that "murder is wrong", then it can clearly not be objective.

Further to that, is this point:

If morality is subjective, there is no foundation for determining when an act is truly moral or immoral, good or evil. If someone thinks killing ..... is good and another holds the contradictory position, by what standard are we to decide who is right? ..... A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?

Quite correct: someone who does not accept objective morality cannot make this claim.  But unless I'm mistaken, you DO hold that objective morality exists, and so you DO have to take a stand on whether the Canaanite genocide was evil or not - and explain and difference in the moral classification of that massacre compared to any other massacre.

And again we come back to the question: WHY is murder objectively wrong?  You need to demonstrate why that statement is true, not just pass it off as self-evident.  If it were truly self-evident this discussion would never have started in the first place.

Final point of clarification: I'm sure you will be feeling strongly about me at the moment, with the temptation to regard me as an amoral atheist scumbag who doesn't think killing is wrong.  I DO think killing is wrong.  But I accept that I am a product of my era and society and upbringing, and had I been raised in many other cultures and times I would be quite confident that killing was not only a Good Thing, but also perhaps something I should aspire to having done TO me by my High Priest.  The arguments you are hearing are NOT people arguing that killing is right - they are arguments that killing cannot be shown to be objectively wrong.

That's your job.  So far I've not seen even the beginnings of an argument.  Sorry.
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Offline Nodak

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #68 on: May 01, 2012, 06:27:43 AM »
Re: torturing babies is wrong as an objective moral.

When doctors are treating sick babies, the baby is likely feeling the effects of torture with needles being poked in him, isolation from human contact, medicines making him feel bad.  The doctor is feeling good about this "torture" since she thinks she is saving his life. 

Is that an objectively immoral act then?

Offline velkyn

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #69 on: May 01, 2012, 08:57:02 AM »
To clear up a possible misstatement, I am not arguing that morality is objective because they are based on God’s nature. This would imply a priori that God exists. Rather, I am attempting to show that the existence of objective morality necessitates the existence of God.
And I showed that yoru claims work with any god/gods.  you've failed to show your god is anything special or "needed". 

Quote
A common argument is against God is the amount of evil he has supposedly sanctioned or personally committed. But by what standard are you saying God has acted in an evil manner? Was a true, objective evil committed with the genocide of the Canaanites or are you subjectively disagreeing with genocide?
Hmmm, well, dear, your bible says we know good and evil just as well as yoru god supposedly does.  So, can I claim that I kown that this god is an evil asshole citing your own holy book?  Why or why not?  And I love how you want some genocides to be okay.  More might equals right from a cowering Christian.
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Offline Historicity

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #70 on: May 01, 2012, 09:27:35 AM »
I haven't read the whole thread but from what Velkyn says I think there is a point that has been missed:

Buddhism.

Buddhism also postulates an objective morality that is supernatural.  It is karma.  But Buddhism states that the claim that this means God is a jump to conclusion, a non-sequitur.   Karma is part of the functionality of the cosmos.   God is an anthropomorphism. 

So that is another reason that the statement "1. If objective moral values and duties exist, then God exists" is not an axiom.


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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #71 on: May 01, 2012, 09:32:10 AM »
Recapping:

objective morality
a god
YHWY/Elohim
Jesus existed
Jesus was the son of God
Faith vs works

Still only 5 things to prove, before you get anywhere.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #72 on: May 01, 2012, 10:48:42 PM »
Okay I am trying to grasp the meaning of all this debate.  I belive I undertand PhilosoB's stance.  But as for subjective morality.  Please clarify.

If the majority of a culture views something as immoral then it's immoral?
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.

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #73 on: May 02, 2012, 12:30:00 AM »
Okay I am trying to grasp the meaning of all this debate.  I belive I undertand PhilosoB's stance.  But as for subjective morality.  Please clarify.

It's very simple. Something is subjective because it changes based on the person or perspective looking at it. If you asked ten people their stance on the morality of abortion you would get many different opinions. This is because everyone looks at the issue in a certain way and from a certain perspective.

Phil, like most Christians and theists in general wants to try and claim that the morals of the bible are objective. That there is a universal morality that everyone is held to or shares which exists as a standard by which all right and wrong can be judged by. This is what they claim about the morals taught by their god and it's one the more glaring and irrational flaws in their thinking.

The problem with theists like Phil is that they never actually stop to learn what the words they're using actually mean. Or stop to give real consideration to their position. That's why the only argument he can offer to support his view is either to just arbitrarily claim it's true. Or to make arguments that are essentially him saying "I don't like the alternative so my way must be reality" in endless repetition.

If the majority of a culture views something as immoral then it's immoral?

Morality is just a word that we use to describe what we feel is right and wrong. This will be different for each individual. It will also be different for each society. Several hundred years ago the society in America thought that it was perfectly moral to keep people as slaves because they happened to be black. Until enough people started to think that this was wrong. Then the idea spread until the majority of the consensus became that slavery is not a moral thing. At which point it became immoral to American society.

Some morals are more natural to us than others. These are usually the morals that we need to function as a group.

For example we need to function together if we're to survive as a species. And if we're to function well there are obviously certain things that we can't be doing to one another. For example killing one another. If you and I start trying to kill each other that negatively impacts our ability to work together and also has a negative effect on our ability to survive. So we agree that we won't try to kill each other. Then we add Jetson and Quesi to our group and they bring along PP and Velkyn. So now we have six people in our group and our odds of survival have gone up considerably. We have a larger workforce, we have enough people so that we can have multiple important tasks being done at once, etc. but our survival still depends on us working together. So you and I have the new guys agree with our pact of not killing each other. But Jetson might not want to agree with the that. He may think that he should have the right to kill one of us under certain circumstances. However since the other five of us agree with the "no killing" pact we make him abide by it as well, even though he himself has no problem with killing someone who gets in his way. And just to ensure that he does as told we make an addition to the pact. If Jetson does try to kill one of us, the others will catch and punish him. This way we ensure that the common values of the group are followed. In this way we keep the group functioning smoothly.

At its most basic level this is what morals are. They are the rules that we made up to allow our society to function. Of course overtime we have become much more complex both mentally and in terms of our society. So our morals have become more complex too. They have changed to suit the times, to suit new information, new ideas, and the different perspectives and experiences that each individual has aquired over our lifetimes.
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Offline PhilosoB

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #74 on: May 02, 2012, 03:00:57 AM »
David Hume writes in The Enquiry Concerning Morals, "The notion of morals implies some sentiment common to all mankind which recommends the same object to general approbation and makes every man or most men agree in the same opinion or same discussion concerning it. It also implies some sentiments so universal and comprehensive as to extend to all mankind."

If morals exist, they exist objectively. Objective morals cannot be denied without implying the existence of some universal, objective moral value. Most in this thread have communicated that morals are simply subjective opinions. This position assumes some objective and universal moral statements such "I have a right to decide what is moral", "I have a right to express my opinion", "It is a good thing for the species to survive" or "It is good to cooperate for the survival of the species". These are some of the objective moral statements that are assumed when you take the position of subjective morality and these are moral statements that you expect others to abide by. Even Michael Ruse states objectively and universally, "The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5." (Darwinism Defended, p. 275)  So unless you want to accept that morals don't exist and words like good and evil, moral and immoral are meaningless, objective moral values exist.

Further, if objective morals did not exist, moral dilemmas or disagreements would not exist. In a subjective moral world, everyone (or society) is free to choose their own moral values. Since no position is wrong or right, making moral decisions could be done by flipping a coin. Consequences may differ but then again we get to decide if those consequences are good and bad with no one being wrong whichever decision they make because it will be right to them. Of course, moral dilemmas do exist and even within ourselves we may agonize over what is the right or wrong decision. This indicates the exist of objectivity, not subjectivity.

Some suggest that objective morals are ruled out because morality comes from evolutionary conditioning creating a "herd morality" functioning for the survival of the species. First, this naturalistic explanation makes humans just another animal and animals are not moral agents (having the capacity to decide between right and wrong). Under this view a mother who runs into a burning house to save her children is doing nothing moral or brave. She is simply acting according to biological conditioning for the sake of the species just as a bird may sound a warning to the flock about a predator to its own endangerment. So it's not an explanation of moral behavior but simply describing herd behavior. Second, thousands of other species have developed a "herd morality" that are different from humans. So why how is our "herd morality" superior to any other species that continues to survive? That fact is it's not since all have achieved the goal of survival. "Herd morality" is either a description of herd behavior or a by-product of evolutionary condition that could have taken any number of forms. In either case, "herd morality" in no way excludes the possibility of objective moral values and does not possess the minimum necessary requirements to be considered as a moral thesis.

Many have have asked for a rational argument for the existence of objective morals (and I have just presented a couple such examples). When you ask for a rational argument, I am assuming that you accept that the law of logic are objective. Of course, we do for it would make philosophical (and I imagine, all other) conversations impossible if we could subjectively decide what rules of logic to follow. Just as we used our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend the objectivity of logic, we also apprehend the objectivity of morality. Until we are given adequate reason to distrust our sensory and cognitive abilities, we are right to trust such abilities for this is how we interact and understand all of reality. Objective moral values corresponds to and more adequately explains reality as humans apprehend it than does the alternatives.

Since very little is 100% provable, the best that can be done is to compare the probabilities of competing theories. I have given adequate reason to accept not only the possibility that objective morality exists but that it is more probable than the alternatives. 

Offline PhilosoB

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #75 on: May 02, 2012, 03:08:40 AM »
 
Would it be right to say that we have an obligation to act morally or that we are accountible to God even if God didn't provide that "ultimate justice"?  In other words, if there is no heaven or no hell, no anihilation of the eternal soul, or whatever variation you happen to believe happens to our soul when our bodies die, would it still make sense to say that we have an obligation to act morally?

It's good question. If you are assuming that morality is subjective, then I don't see why anyone would be obligated to follow any moral standard other than the one they have decided for themselves. Of course, there may be consequences for not following the accepted moral values of a society in which one lives, but those consequences are themselves subjective punishments decided by the society. There is no inherent obligation to follow a subjective standard. You may subjectively believe that racism is wrong and chocolate ice cream is the best, but I would be under no obligation to adhere to either of those beliefs.

One reason for this is because when you express your subjective belief that racism is wrong, you have not said that racism itself is actually wrong. Rather, you have communicated that you do not agree or you do not like racism. You have described your own beliefs toward racism without actually passing judgment on racism itself. Therefore, I am free to decide for myself.

Now if objective moral values simply existed without God, I still see no reason why I would be obliged to follow or adhere to this moral value. Abstract objective moral values are not commands that ought to be followed or do they convey any necessary obedience. Ethicist and nontheist Richard Taylor writes, "A duty is something that is owed...But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as duty in isolation." He continues, "Our moral obligations can...be understood as those that are imposed by God...But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation...still make sense?...the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone." (Ethics, Faith and Reason, 1985, p. 83-84). Rephrased, if morals are not based on God, there is no moral obligation to follow any moral value. Right and wrong is up to you.

Just a quick correction, it is not because we will be morally accountable to God that we are obligated to follow his moral commands. Rather, we are obligated by the fact that the moral values are perfect commands emanating from God's perfect nature.

Hope that answers your question. And I am sorry. It was not my intention to make light of the suffering you, JeffPT, or anyone else has gone through.

Offline PhilosoB

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2012, 03:34:09 AM »
And I showed that yoru claims work with any god/gods.  you've failed to show your god is anything special or "needed".

Though I have identified myself as someone who believes in the Christian God, not once have I argued that the moral argument leads to the Christian God in particular. The only attributes I have assigned to The God in the argument are commonly accepted attributes associated to a God by definition should he exist. Please read carefully. The point is simply to show that objective morals exist and that the best explanation for objective morals existing is due to a supernatural transcendent being, commonly referred to as God.
 
Hmmm, well, dear, your bible says we know good and evil just as well as yoru god supposedly does.  So, can I claim that I kown that this god is an evil asshole citing your own holy book?  Why or why not?  And I love how you want some genocides to be okay.  More might equals right from a cowering Christian.

I'm pretty sure I know what "cowering" means and I don't think any such Christians would post on this forum. I will try to respond to your objections once they take on the form of civility and honest inquiry.

Online One Above All

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2012, 03:48:47 AM »
*cracks knuckles* Time for me to get in on this.

Though I have identified myself as someone who believes in the Christian God, not once have I argued that the moral argument leads to the Christian God in particular. The only attributes I have assigned to The God in the argument are commonly accepted attributes associated to a God by definition should he exist. Please read carefully.

Then why do you keep capitalizing "god" every time you write it? You know there's only one god that's actually called "God", right? You know him as "Allah". You also don't add the article "a" before saying "god". That indicates you're talking about one specific god, and completely ignore the pantheons of gods that are older than the one you believe in. In fact, those are the ones your god "came from".

The point is simply to show that objective morals exist and that the best explanation for objective morals existing is due to a supernatural transcendent being, commonly referred to as God.

You have not proven anything, but if we assume the connection to be true, then gods cannot exist, per your own logic.
You said that the existence of objective morality isn't enough for you to follow them.[1] It would also require the existence of a deity to enforce them. Then you go on to preach about how your god is "perfect" and whatnot, but let's ignore that for now. I'll smite you for that later.
Since no human being is compelled to adhere to any particular set of morals except their own, the existence of objective morality DISPROVES the existence of a deity.

I'm pretty sure I know what "cowering" means and I don't think any such Christians would post on this forum.

All christians fear their imaginary friends, death, punishment, et cetera. It's how religion controls people - fear.
 1. Nice morals there, BTW. I think we call your kind "sociopaths".
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 04:05:28 AM by Lucifer »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2012, 04:36:23 AM »
I have given adequate reason to accept not only the possibility that objective morality exists but that it is more probable than the alternatives.

No sir, you have not.

You have yet to describe one single objective moral.
You have yet to describe how we can differentiate an objective moral from a widely-held but subjective moral.

I think these failings are because you simply don't appear to understand the difference between an objective moral, and a unanimously-held-among-mankind moral.

if objective morals did not exist, moral dilemmas or disagreements would not exist. In a subjective moral world, everyone (or society) is free to choose their own moral values.
Utter bunk.  If the vast majority of a society agree that "X" is moral, it becomes a de-facto moral standard for that society, and (as you evidence) many people will presume that because most people agree, it is therefore "objectively" moral.  We DO like in a subjective moral world, and everyone IS free to choose their own moral values.....but the widely held societal values, held by those who claim without evidence to follow an objective moral, will hold those others as outcasts......until the minority becomes the majority, and in time that new majority will come to think of their moral code as self-evidently objective.

Objective morals cannot be denied without implying the existence of some universal, objective moral value. Most in this thread have communicated that morals are simply subjective opinions. This position assumes some objective and universal moral statements such "I have a right to decide what is moral"

Had to laugh here - because in order to make your case, you've had to posit an objective moral of "I have a right to decide what is moral" - which presumably would have been created by your god, a complete contradiction of your position.  If your god determines morality, how can it be moral for someone ELSE to decide morality?  That's quite apart from the fact that you've clearly decided to ignore the fact that "I have a right to decide what is moral" could quite easily be a subjective moral statement itself.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2012, 08:51:04 AM »
And I showed that yoru claims work with any god/gods.  you've failed to show your god is anything special or "needed".
Though I have identified myself as someone who believes in the Christian God, not once have I argued that the moral argument leads to the Christian God in particular. The only attributes I have assigned to The God in the argument are commonly accepted attributes associated to a God by definition should he exist. Please read carefully. The point is simply to show that objective morals exist and that the best explanation for objective morals existing is due to a supernatural transcendent being, commonly referred to as God.
really? 
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.
  Hmmmmm…..

 I just have to laugh at your attempts to be deceitful.  Here we go with you claiming that your version of god is the only right one.  That with your claim that you are a Christian shows that you are indeed claiming that your arguments are for only your god.  I do love how Christians try this occasionally,  such "clever sheep" in their attempts to show that their god is the only one but they think they're being "subtle" about it.

Your claims work for pantheons of gods.  Your claim that there is just "one" god, aka "The God", and that your nonsense supports only this "one god" aka your Christian god are so transparent.   
Hmmm, well, dear, your bible says we know good and evil just as well as yoru god supposedly does.  So, can I claim that I kown that this god is an evil asshole citing your own holy book?  Why or why not?  And I love how you want some genocides to be okay.  More might equals right from a cowering Christian.
Quote
I'm pretty sure I know what "cowering" means and I don't think any such Christians would post on this forum. I will try to respond to your objections once they take on the form of civility and honest inquiry.
No dear, I mean you are cowering to your god, not anyone actually real.  You must claim that genocides are just peachy keen since you are afraid of your god and saying anything bad about it.

but you didn’t answer my question, Phil.  Your magic book says that all humans know evil and good just as well as your god.  I find that genocide for any reason is evil, thus I can say I know it.  Your god does evil things and assuming it is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolenet as many Christians say, it would never ever have to do this.  You want to claim that yoru god is the font of objective morals, but there is no evidence for this.  Your god is okay with genocide.  Happily, most humans have gone beyond that and find it repulsive.  Your god is stuck with being no more than one more man-made god that was created in a much more primitive and violent era.  It is only by the energetic acrobatics of apologists that try to change this fact and make up how this god’s actions should be acquiesced to no matter what simply because it’s powerful.  Such a pathetically primitive notion, but common to Christians. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 09:54:12 AM by velkyn »
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #80 on: May 02, 2012, 08:58:57 AM »
PhilosoB:

Quote
Rephrased, if morals are not based on God, there is no moral obligation to follow any moral value. Right and wrong is up to you.

Since the evidence for a god is unavailable, we can conclude that it does not necessarily exist, and it logically follows then that a universally independent moral standard that emanates from such a nonexistent being cannot possibly exist either.

Moral standards preexisted the god idea. So then you are correct in your assumption PhilosoB that judgements of right and wrong are up to the individual. However, it just so happens that evolution has given our brain/mind system the ability to cooperate and agree on such subjective moral judgements and therefore a majority can deem that we owe it to each other to abide by human moral standards for the sake of a healthy community and personal survival. The majority can then at this point also create laws to ensure such standards are kept.

Back to morality however....

Morality is based on personal or societal sets of standards for our actions and is constructed by individuals at the first and are then adopted by groups-- and, as pointed out above, morals cannot be universally independent of us as you're trying to suggest. 

Your claim that morality is a "thing" that is apart from us, but is for us, and preexisted us, is unreasonable. Rational thinking clearly shows us that morals are judgements of right and wrong and that such decisions can only be made with the physicality and reasoning abilities of the brain/mind complex. But you would have us believe that a perfect mind exists that is eternal, invisible, unnatural, immaterial, and without any physical construction and form, and that this nonphysical and brainless mind gives dictates and demands obligations. This is an absurdity.

We have no evidence or reasons whatsoever to think that conscious "perfect" minds can exist apart from material brains. To do so is to violate all standards of human logic. Its simply not allowed.

So you must accept then, that morals exist as a result of and are constructed by the natural and chemical processes and workings of the material brain and its byproduct the mind, and is done so through observation and experience.

Your appeal to authority on this one is shameful. Can you not figure this one out on your own ?

Cheers 

 
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #81 on: May 02, 2012, 01:22:27 PM »
David Hume writes in The Enquiry Concerning Morals, "The notion of morals implies some sentiment common to all mankind which recommends the same object to general approbation and makes every man or most men agree in the same opinion or same discussion concerning it. It also implies some sentiments so universal and comprehensive as to extend to all mankind."

So what?  Hume saying it does not make it true.

If morals exist, they exist objectively.

This is a lie. You have not made any argument that shows this. It's also still a fallacy of assertion. You have not ruled out many different possibilities of where morals come from.


Objective morals cannot be denied without implying the existence of some universal, objective moral value.

This is just ridiculous. And only partially sensical.


Most in this thread have communicated that morals are simply subjective opinions. This position assumes some objective and universal moral statements such "I have a right to decide what is moral", "I have a right to express my opinion", "It is a good thing for the species to survive" or "It is good to cooperate for the survival of the species". 

No they aren't. Do you even have even the most basic idea of what you are talking about by this point? They are not objective statements. Absolute statements, maybe, but they are not in anyway objective. Stating something as an absolute does not make it objective. The fact that you can't even grasp what the word objective entails after all of this time makes me wonder if you're just being purposefully deceitful. Because the only other explanation I can think of is just poor education. There is no excuse at all for an intelligent person to still be making this same mistake after you've been corrected on it this many times.


These are some of the objective moral statements that are assumed when you take the position of subjective morality and these are moral statements that you expect others to abide by.

If they are assumed then they are not objective statements. Seriously, do you actually speak the english language?


Even Michael Ruse states objectively and universally, "The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5." (Darwinism Defended, p. 275)  So unless you want to accept that morals don't exist and words like good and evil, moral and immoral are meaningless, objective moral values exist.

This is just the same bullshit argument that you've been making repackaged. The argument that he doesn't like it, so it must not be true. We get that, you want to believe that everything in the world is the exact way that you want it. Unfortunately you constantly fail to demonstrate in anyway that reality adheres to this.

Seriously, did you read that argument? His argument is that people use the word moral, therefore objective morals must objectively exist. That is such a monumentally stupid line of reasoning that it's embarrassing for you to even put that forth. It's a wishful thinking argument. It has no basis in reality. You can keep making it as much as you want and it will keep failing until you actually JUSTIFY IT.


Further, if objective morals did not exist, moral dilemmas or disagreements would not exist.

WTF? This is completely illogical.

In a subjective moral world, everyone (or society) is free to choose their own moral values. Since no position is wrong or right, making moral decisions could be done by flipping a coin.

No, because that wouldn't be morality. A moral is a held belief of right and wrong.

Consequences may differ but then again we get to decide if those consequences are good and bad with no one being wrong whichever decision they make because it will be right to them. Of course, moral dilemmas do exist and even within ourselves we may agonize over what is the right or wrong decision.

Of course moral dilemmas exist in subjective morality. They exist when two people with different morals collide. It exists when one person has to choose between two morals. For example a cop who arrests a hungry child stealing food to eat. On one hand his moral duty as an officer would bring him in, but on the other hand his moral feelings of empathy might want him to let the child go out of sympathy. Either action is moral to him, the conflict becomes a matter of which moral is more important.

This indicates the exist of objectivity, not subjectivity.

No it doesn't. You still haven't made any logical argument or provided evidence to support for the idea.

Some suggest that objective morals are ruled out because morality comes from evolutionary conditioning creating a "herd morality" functioning for the survival of the species. First, this naturalistic explanation makes humans just another animal and animals are not moral agents (having the capacity to decide between right and wrong).

First off, we are animals. Second, what makes you think that animals don't have a sense of right and wrong? Again you're ruling things out arbitrarily because they don't fit what you want them to be. Just like how you had to completely redefine what the word "objective" means in order to make your position even remotely attainable. Here's a thought, Phil, if you have to change the english language in order to make your case that might be a fairly good sign that you have nothing to work with.

Under this view a mother who runs into a burning house to save her children is doing nothing moral or brave.

Yes she is, because we decide that it is moral and brave to do such a thing.

She is simply acting according to biological conditioning for the sake of the species just as a bird may sound a warning to the flock about a predator to its own endangerment. So it's not an explanation of moral behavior but simply describing herd behavior.

That's what most morality is. Again, you not liking it does not make it untrue.

Second, thousands of other species have developed a "herd morality" that are different from humans. So why how is our "herd morality" superior to any other species that continues to survive?

Who says it is? The only ones who hold humans as being somehow superior to every other living thing are you arrogant theists. Just because we're no different than the other animals doesn't somehow make us less than we are. It just means that we accept who and what we are rather than inventing special platitudes to make us better.

That fact is it's not since all have achieved the goal of survival. "Herd morality" is either a description of herd behavior or a by-product of evolutionary condition that could have taken any number of forms. In either case, "herd morality" in no way excludes the possibility of objective moral values and does not possess the minimum necessary requirements to be considered as a moral thesis.

It does not exclude the possibility but it is a mark against it. As for it not being a moral thesis, who said it was. "Herd morality" is a term you've just pulled out of your ass. Our morals are developed from the basic herd mentality we once had. They are not the herd mentality we once had. Again, you're misusing words and terms to make your argument rather than just forminh an honest defense.

Many have have asked for a rational argument for the existence of objective morals (and I have just presented a couple such examples).

No you haven't. It was loaded with fallacies.

When you ask for a rational argument, I am assuming that you accept that the law of logic are objective.

No. We created the laws of logic. We created them as a guideline to help us filter out the irrational thought patterns of our brains so that we could understand the world without the disadvantages of our primitive monkey brains holding us back.

Of course, we do for it would make philosophical (and I imagine, all other) conversations impossible if we could subjectively decide what rules of logic to follow.

Not really. We had conversations for millions of years before we decided on logic. Theists certainly managed to make it by subjectively determining what rules of logic to follow. You seem to manage ok.

You really have no clue what you're talking about. Do you?

Just as we used our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend the objectivity of logic, we also apprehend the objectivity of morality.

Logic is not objective. Neither is morality.

Until we are given adequate reason to distrust our sensory and cognitive abilities, we are right to trust such abilities for this is how we interact and understand all of reality.

Until we are given adequate reason............you.......you........you can't be serious. We invented logic, science, and modern philosophy specifically BECAUSE we can't trust our sensory and cognitive abilities. If those were all we needed to understand reality then we never would have had to invent such things to compensate. I honestly don't know what else to say to such a mind-blowingly ignorant statement.

Objective moral values corresponds to and more adequately explains reality as humans apprehend it than does the alternatives.

Then why do you avoid the explanations? Why have people always followed different moral values at different times? Why can't Christians agree on what gods moral message is? Why do some people completely lack any moral compass at all?

If morals were objective these things cannot happen. And yet they do. So why do they?

Since very little is 100% provable, the best that can be done is to compare the probabilities of competing theories. I have given adequate reason to accept not only the possibility that objective morality exists but that it is more probable than the alternatives.

No you haven't. This isn't even remotely rational or logical. You've redefined words, misused terms, made claims based on a stunning level of lack of information and formed a long string of fallacy that would take me another two pages of posting to go through.

This whole post just reaks of desperation. The desperation of someone who can't make an argument, but can't accept that his argument is false so he's willing to do whatever it takes to try and make it. It seems that now all you're doing is trying to get us to validate you and your position by patting you on the head and telling you that you're onto something. But you're not. Your arguments are still as hollow and fallacious as when we started.
"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

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Spartan Reply: If.

Offline Timo

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #82 on: May 02, 2012, 09:02:30 PM »
Peace PhilosoB

Now if objective moral values simply existed without God, I still see no reason why I would be obliged to follow or adhere to this moral value. Abstract objective moral values are not commands that ought to be followed or do they convey any necessary obedience. Ethicist and nontheist Richard Taylor writes, "A duty is something that is owed...But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as duty in isolation." He continues, "Our moral obligations can...be understood as those that are imposed by God...But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation...still make sense?...the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone." (Ethics, Faith and Reason, 1985, p. 83-84). Rephrased, if morals are not based on God, there is no moral obligation to follow any moral value. Right and wrong is up to you.

I think I can sort of understand where you're coming from, but I'm not completely clear.  See, in your previous post you wrote this:

When you ask for a rational argument, I am assuming that you accept that the law of logic are objective. Of course, we do for it would make philosophical (and I imagine, all other) conversations impossible if we could subjectively decide what rules of logic to follow. Just as we used our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend the objectivity of logic, we also apprehend the objectivity of morality.

But do we need to appeal to a God to agree that there is such a thing as logic? Does objective logic need to emenate from some supreme logician to be meaningful?  Or better, is logic required because we owe it to that supreme logician to be logical?

What about math?  You quoted Michael Ruse as saying:

"The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5." (Darwinism Defended, p. 275)

But can we do math without appealing to God?

I ask because it seems to me that the answer in both cases is yes.  And if the answer is yes in either case, then it is indeed possible for there to be abstract objects that are indeed compelling or useful in some way.  Why can't morality be like that?  In other words, as you wrote in your first post, you don't owe it to the number 5 to treat it as the number 5 when you're doing a math problem.  That's absurd.  But if you want to do math correctly you need to treat it as such.  Similarly, it wouldn't make sense to say that you owe it to the principle of "fairness" to be fair.  But it would make sense to say that if you want to act morally you need to be fair.
 
As for obligations:

Just a quick correction, it is not because we will be morally accountable to God that we are obligated to follow his moral commands. Rather, we are obligated by the fact that the moral values are perfect commands emanating from God's perfect nature.

I'm not sure I understand your reasoning here.  What is it about God's being perfect that makes us owe it to Him to behave in a certain way?  On your view, God is also all knowing and all powerful, do we need to become as knowledgable and as influential as possible out of an obligation to God's perfect power or knowledge? 

And to go back to the Bible, does it really make sense to call God's commands perfect if they sometimes include the slaughter of children or the stoning of homosexuals?  I understand that this argument is not designed to prove the existence of the Christian god in particular.  (I take it you are a follower of Bill Craig's school of apologetics, in which case you probably have a few historical and theological arguments for that.)  But that is the god that you are affirming.  And I just don't think this argument makes sense in light of what your god is said to have done in the Bible.

But leaving God aside, why can't the obligation in that equation be to ourselves or to our communities?  In other words, I owe it to myself and to those around me to be a moral person. 

Hope that answers your question. And I am sorry. It was not my intention to make light of the suffering you, JeffPT, or anyone else has gone through.

I wasn't annoyed that you were making light of anyone's suffering.  I don't think you really even did that.  I think the problem was that it never even occurred to you that he or any of us in North America might have suffered in some way.  In other words, I had a problem with the fact that you were making assumptions about JeffPT and people in North America generally.  I also had a problem with you asserting things about North America in a way that made it abundantly clear that you didn't really know much about its history or its current happenings.  And in any case, people from privilaged backgrouds can still be subject to all sorts of evils.  There are, for example, abusive parents in every income group.  And class privilage does not spare from the horror of sexual assault. 

So yeah

I know you've got a lot on your plate, so take your time, fam.


Peace
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Moral Argument for God
« Reply #83 on: May 02, 2012, 11:47:13 PM »
David Hume writes in The Enquiry Concerning Morals, "The notion of morals implies some sentiment common to all mankind which recommends the same object to general approbation and makes every man or most men agree in the same opinion or same discussion concerning it. It also implies some sentiments so universal and comprehensive as to extend to all mankind."

The term 'most men' kills the entire thing here.  If it's most men, its not objective. 

Most in this thread have communicated that morals are simply subjective opinions. This position assumes some objective and universal moral statements such "I have a right to decide what is moral", "I have a right to express my opinion", "It is a good thing for the species to survive" or "It is good to cooperate for the survival of the species". These are some of the objective moral statements that are assumed when you take the position of subjective morality and these are moral statements that you expect others to abide by.

I do have the right to decide what is moral, and although I think everyone should agree with me (so does every other person on the planet), I have to respect your right to disagree.  Having evolved from similar ancestors, and having been born and raised in likely similar ways, we would probably agree on many moral issues.  And yes, I have the right to express my opinion and it is also my opinion that you have the right to express YOUR opinion. 

Even Michael Ruse states objectively and universally, "The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5."

You know, there are people in the world who, upon seeing their newly born son, decide it is in their best interest to take a sharp knife and chop off a piece of their child's penis.  So I will put it to you this way... "The man who says that is is morally acceptable to chop off a portion of a baby boy's penis for no other reason than their fucking retarded superstitious beliefs is just as mistaken as the man who says 2 + 2 = 5."  Do you agree with that?  Because that is ALL Mr. Ruse did there.  He put up something that is so abhorrent to most of us that he thinks EVERYONE would agree with it, and then compares and contrasts it with a provable mathematical fact as if they are one and the same.  They are not.  Not at all.  Not even close to the same. 

If you grow up in a culture that accepts things like circumcision as routine non-medical based procedures, then they will not seem repulsive to you unless you pull yourself back and really look at what is going on.  It IS repulsive.  It's outright disgusting and brutal child abuse.  Yet you probably don't see it that way, do you?  If you grew up in a culture that accepts things like child rape (just like a culture that accepts circumcision, foot binding, lip piercing, neck extenders, female genital mutilation, or even something like the ancient Spartans who would toss defective babies off a cliff) as the norm, then you wouldn't agree with Mr. Ruse.  You would think he was totally wrong.  I don't see how you can deny this.  If you think circumcision is OK, you've proven the point. 

In a few hundred more years, I believe humanity will look back on circumcision as the barbarity it is.  Yet it's still the norm.  Thanks be to ignorance. 

BTW, you left out Mr. Ruse's conclusion on morality...  Here it is...

It has to appear to be objective, even though really it is subjective. "Why should I be good? Why should you be good? Because that is what morality demands of us. It is bigger than the both of us. It is laid on us and we must accept it, just like we must accept that 2 + 2 = 4. I am not saying that we always are moral, but that we always know that we should be moral.

That's from the same book.  It sounds like 2 different opinions.  I would love to see the context of the one you quoted. 

So unless you want to accept that morals don't exist and words like good and evil, moral and immoral are meaningless, objective moral values exist.

Good and evil are adjectives, not nouns.  They describe things; they are not things in and of themselves. 

Further, if objective morals did not exist, moral dilemmas or disagreements would not exist.

Uh... what? 

In a subjective moral world, everyone (or society) is free to choose their own moral values.

And sometimes they would disagree... yeah. 

Since no position is wrong or right, making moral decisions could be done by flipping a coin.

In the same way we decide which ice cream is the best, right?  Yeah...  uh... you're losing me here. 

Consequences may differ but then again we get to decide if those consequences are good and bad with no one being wrong whichever decision they make because it will be right to them. Of course, moral dilemmas do exist and even within ourselves we may agonize over what is the right or wrong decision. This indicates the exist of objectivity, not subjectivity.

I'm starting to think you're completely losing your mind now.  Are you literally trying to argue that if we all had differing opinions on what was right or wrong, then we would never disagree on what was right or wrong? 

Some suggest that objective morals are ruled out because morality comes from evolutionary conditioning creating a "herd morality" functioning for the survival of the species.

Evolution gives us a basis for it. Culture and experience does the rest. There is an inherent benefit to working together with other members of our species rather than apart. 

First, this naturalistic explanation makes humans just another animal and animals are not moral agents (having the capacity to decide between right and wrong).

Another emotional appeal?  ugh.  Humans are just another animal. 

Under this view a mother who runs into a burning house to save her children is doing nothing moral or brave. She is simply acting according to biological conditioning for the sake of the species just as a bird may sound a warning to the flock about a predator to its own endangerment. So it's not an explanation of moral behavior but simply describing herd behavior.

Do you know why you don't think the bird is being brave in that situation?  Because you're not a fucking bird.  Birds care about birds, they don't care about people.  People care about people, they don't care about birds.  If the woman ran into a burning house to save her pet bird, we'd probably think she was being an idiot.  If the bird had the ability to rationally judge human actions, do you think it would give a shit if the woman ran into the burning house to save her kids?  It would probably care about her as much as you do about the bird giving the warning.     

This is still nothing but an emotional plea.  It's really getting old. 

Second, thousands of other species have developed a "herd morality" that are different from humans. So why how is our "herd morality" superior to any other species that continues to survive? That fact is it's not since all have achieved the goal of survival.

You mean to say that other species of social animal have found different ways to survive in a given environment?  Shocking.   &)

Many have have asked for a rational argument for the existence of objective morals (and I have just presented a couple such examples).

No you have not.  All you have done is stated a few things (with no evidence to back it up) such as 'Objective morals cannot be denied without implying the existence of some universal, objective moral value', and shown examples as to why you don't like the alternative.  Your example of the woman and the fire shows that you don't LIKE the idea of subjective morality.  Your example of the herd mentality again shows that you don't LIKE the implications that we are just another animal.  You have made no rational argument.  A rational argument would begin with possibly a list of facts that back up your theory, such as I gave you in reply #65 to back up my theory of subjective morality. A fact that would back up the idea of objective morality might be some sort of proof for a deity.  Or how about a moral position that every single person who has ever lived would agree on.  Or how about a moral position that not even chemical or mechanical brain changes could impact. 

You have made no such argument.   

When you ask for a rational argument, I am assuming that you accept that the law of logic are objective.

You're just trying to confuse the issue now by using the same word to mean something different.  What does the word 'objective' mean in your statement above?  Do you mean that they come from a deity, or that we all are pre-programmed with logic in exactly the same way? 

If you are trying to make the case that everyone follows the same logical pathways to come to conclusions, then I would never, not even for a second, agree with that. 

Just as we used our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend the objectivity of logic, we also apprehend the objectivity of morality.

And don't forget the objectivity of which ice cream flavors are the best too.  We use our sensory and cognitive abilities to apprehend that as well. 

Until we are given adequate reason to distrust our sensory and cognitive abilities, we are right to trust such abilities for this is how we interact and understand all of reality.

We trust our sensory and cognitive abilities to tell us things, but when we lack sufficient information, or if we have been fed bad information, or if we allow our  emotions to get the better of us, then our sensory and cognitive abilities can and often do arrive at incorrect conclusions.  Your emotional attachment to the notion of objective morality, coupled with your God belief has led you to where you are today.  Only when you have set both of those aside are you fully capable of analyzing both sides of this argument.  Since you can't do that, you are forced into your conclusion.  That's why it's so hard to reason with you here.  It's almost as if you take personal offense to it.  Emotions are great for lots of things, but they are not good barometers for truth. 

As an agnostic atheist, my position starts with the idea that a deity of some kind is a possibility.  Remote, but possible.  Then I look at the facts and see which theory seems to be more explanatory of the world around me.  The facts support subjective morality.  Hands down they do.  It's not close.   

Objective moral values corresponds to and more adequately explains reality as humans apprehend it than does the alternatives.

Please back that up with facts or stop saying it.  The FACTS back up subjective morality. 

Since very little is 100% provable, the best that can be done is to compare the probabilities of competing theories. I have given adequate reason to accept not only the possibility that objective morality exists but that it is more probable than the alternatives.

This is a false statement.  No you have not.  Not even close. 
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