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MathIsCool



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Ugh.

CuriousGirl's latest post exemplifies an annoying trait I've noticed when discussing the morality argument with (some) atheists - an inability (or unwillingness?) to follow a basic argument.[1]  L-Chaim presented the William Lane Craig[2] version of the moral argument:

(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
(2) Objective moral values & duties do exist.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

A couple things to note here.  First, the contrapositive Wiki of (1) is "If objective moral values and duties exists, God exists."  Ergo, we have (1) "If objective moral values and duties exists, God exists." and (2) "Objective moral values and duties exist."  1 and 2 form a SyllogismWiki which conclusion is "God exists."  CuriousGirl therefore has to prove either 1 or 2 false to show that the moral argument is invalid.

To refute (1), If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist, CuriousGirl would have to show that (1) is false. In other words, she must show that, contrary to L-Chaim's claim, If God does not exist, objective moral values do exist. [3]  This is the famed "naturalistic basis for morality" that other apologists like me natter on about.  She writes:

There is a problem with this premise. I would say that unfortunately, you have it backwards if you think that God is the source of morality. If one looks at the Bible, which is supposed to be the source for evidence of God's "morality," one might be able to tell that the Biblical laws were due to the Self-Projection as God (SPAG) of Biblical authors.
...
Instead of concluding that your loving God made this law as part of his objective moral value system, it is more logical to conclude that the Biblical authors thought of women as property (hence the silver-paying) and they made a law that enabled men to treat women as such. Here in the modern-day US (where I am located), this would be thought of by society as abhorrent and archaic.

Look carefully at what happened here.  Instead of engaging with premise (1), CuriousGirl picks a verse out of the bible that she doesn't like, shows how a cursory surface look disagrees with current cultural values in the US, and then tell us that the point is won.  Clearly, it's not.  It's not even engaged.  It's not even discussed.  Just a bit of Bible-bashing, a conclusion with a link to an evolutionary just-so story about how morality might have evolved, and then she moves on.

Attempting to refute (2), Objective moral values & duties do exist, would entail CuriousGirl showing that objective moral values do not exist.  This has nothing to do with God.  She must show that the nihilistic (or, more technically, the Non-cognitivismWiki) position of morals not actually existing is correct.  Instead, she invokes the Euthyphro dilemna, which certainly has it's place in these kinds of discussions.... but this is not it.  Again, (2) has nothing to do with God, so why invoke the Euthyphro dilemna?  The Euthyphro dilemna deals with the supposed dilemna of the ontological foundation of morality and how God cannot be it.  It's fairly easy to split the horns of said dilemna, but again, L-Chaim need not even do that.  This discussion has no point when one is attempting to show the statement "Objective moral values & duties do exist" is false.  Again, the point isn't even discussed. It's as if L-Chaim said "Chickens are the greatest back-yard fowl ever!" and CuriousGirl responded with "no, weasels have five legs, not four."  The status of chickens reigning as kings over the backyard as the greatest fowl ever isn't really addressed by weasels, even if they do have five legs.  (And L-Chaim would be well served to not get into a discussion about how many legs weasels have, just as he can ignore CuriousGirls point about Euthyphro and his dilemna here because it doesn't engage with his original point at all.)

Therefore L-Chaim's point stands.  2 posts into this debate and he has effectivley won this debate.  CuriousGirl has failed to defend (by failing to even address) premises (1) and (2), and these lead inescapably to (3), God exists, by the rules of logical syllogisms.  Unfortunately, his victory isn't really based on strong arguments of his point. (Sorry, L-Chaim.)  It's just that CuriousGirl failed to engage in the points being discussed.  Instead she threw some Bible verses out there that she doesn't like, mentioned SPAG, duly invoked Euthyphro, mixed in some pop evolutionary thought about how morals evolved, and called it a day.  Almost certainly, I can expect most atheists on this board (with a few probable exceptions) to respond with the same treatment when replying to this post.

This isn't argumentation.  This is babble.  To call this a "debate" is akin to calling the talking head cacaphony on cable TV today "political discourse."[4]

Ugh.
 1. Some.  Not all.  I feel like I should give a shout-out here to Timo for his well reasoned responses in our debate on this board.
 2. I don't know if it's actually his.  I just know he uses it rather extensively.
 3. Technically, to prove this false, it would be enough to show objective moral values might exist if God does not.  L-Chaim is at the disadvantage here since CuriousGirl has such a wide range of positions to take.
 4. But then again, I guess we (here in the US anyways) do that too, don't we?
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L-Chaim first positive rep :) October 05, 2011, 06:58:26 AM