Objective Morality and God

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HJCarden
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Objective Morality and God

Post by HJCarden » February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm

I am a theist, and I believe in objective morality, but I believe that I have justification for objective morality in God's existence. This is not a new claim, but I feel as if my defense of it satisfies a certain collection of objections that I'll lump together under the umbrella of cultural/evolutionary moral relativism. Broadly speaking I categorize these objections as objections that nullify the Truth value of morality and make it into a tool for building a better society or a way to oppress the masses, whatever it may be that morality's function is described as.

Of course a theist could say that they believe that God handed down morality, in a some way like handing Moses the 10 Commandments, or that our rational reflection could discover God's intended moral laws. While I believe these are plausible arguments, I believe that there are also many plausible arguments against these views. Many of these views point towards science as showing that what we believe is moral really is just something that creates a positive reaction in our brain, or helps our community run smoothly, so while morality is good, it is not objective because different things could create happiness or different situations might make communities acquire different moral principles.

I believe that these arguments, at first, counter the theists belief well, but if these ideas are pursued further, that they actually contribute to the theist's argument.

Take for instance the idea that morality is not objective because it is entirely influenced by evolutionary forces, and could have given us a number of rules. To this I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality? Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon? The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God. And I do believe that we do not have, nor can we develop, satisfactory grounding principles with our purely physical and scientific universe. Therefore, we must reach outside of these fields to find their justification. And here is where my theism steps in.

So, I believe that there must only be one ungrounded principle in existence to prove the existence of God. Now, I do not believe that this is the case, but my broader strategy is to prove that even if one is to reject objective morality as a justification for God because they believe it is related to something else, a broad swath of their counter-arguments are invalid in my opinion.

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Sy Borg
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by Sy Borg » February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm

I am agnostic. What the heck do we know about the most fundamental aspects of reality, glued to the surface of one planet amongst an estimated minimum 700,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe?
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
... I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality?
The Earth and the Sun.
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon?
The contingencies of social living.

A group that cooperates is more likely to survive - and its members pass on those proclivities - than a group that does not cooperate. So cooperativeness is selected. This is not the case for non-social animals, that need not cooperate until mating. Again, mating and rearing of offspring require cooperation from the caring parent animals.

An essential part of group living in sharing and perceived fairness. Without that, a group will fall part. An example of simple morality in animals is seen when a capuchin monkey rejects what it sees as an unfair reward:



BobS
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by BobS » February 16th, 2021, 7:22 pm

HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm

The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God.
Whatever a "principle in the universe" happens to refer to, why isn't it a contradiction in terms to say that an "ungrounded" principle "has to" have "grounding" in something else? Why not just say that if it's a fact, it's a brute fact? Without further explanation, that's what I'd be inclined to think that "ungrounded" means.

evolution
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by evolution » February 16th, 2021, 11:24 pm

Greta wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm
I am agnostic. What the heck do we know about the most fundamental aspects of reality, glued to the surface of one planet amongst an estimated minimum 700,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe?

KNOWING about the most fundamental aspects of the Universe, and of God, can be and has been ALREADY done and achieved. But, What does the " most fundamental aspects of 'reality' " actually mean or refer to exactly?

What does the word 'reality' here mean and refer to, to 'you', "greta"? What do you think 'reality' actually IS?

The most fundamental aspects of the Universe are there is just 'matter' and a distance/'space' between matter. Both co-exist eternally and together are infinite, which is generally known as the Universe, and which is what God IS, as the Creator of ALL 'things' fundamentally IS.

However, 'reality' is NOT some 'thing' that has fundamental aspects to 'it' other than 'reality' is just a concept and perception from within a human brain.
Greta wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
... I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality?
The Earth and the Sun.
What about the wind, the water, the fire, AND absolutely EVERY 'thing' else, which was NEEDED BEFORE a being could have come along, that could come up with the idea known as 'morality'?
Greta wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon?
The contingencies of social living.

A group that cooperates is more likely to survive - and its members pass on those proclivities - than a group that does not cooperate. So cooperativeness is selected. This is not the case for non-social animals, that need not cooperate until mating. Again, mating and rearing of offspring require cooperation from the caring parent animals.

An essential part of group living in sharing and perceived fairness.
'Sharing' is obviously an essential part of group living. But, 'perceived fairness' can be a COMPLETELY and UTTERLY TWISTED and DISTORTED perception of 'things', which in NO WAY necessarily reflects with what thee ACTUAL Truth of 'things' IS.
Greta wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm
Without that, a group will fall part. An example of simple morality in animals is seen when a capuchin monkey rejects what it sees as an unfair reward:


LOL Human being trickery and foolery interception, influenced by what is KNOWINGLY 'wanted', laid onto other animals does NOT prove ABSOLUTELY ANY thing in regards to 'morality' nor 'moral issues'. NOTHING in that video was about 'morality'. Other than, OBVIOUSLY, that human beings are SO CRUEL that they will LOCK UP and CAGE other, previously FREE, species of animals, and even their OWN species, for their OWN testing, experimenting, and JUDGING.

The only thing that video PROVES is just how CRUEL human beings can be, and how they even 'try to' "justify" their CRUELTY as being an all right behavior.

evolution
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by evolution » February 16th, 2021, 11:30 pm

HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
I am a theist, and I believe in objective morality, but I believe that I have justification for objective morality in God's existence. This is not a new claim, but I feel as if my defense of it satisfies a certain collection of objections that I'll lump together under the umbrella of cultural/evolutionary moral relativism. Broadly speaking I categorize these objections as objections that nullify the Truth value of morality and make it into a tool for building a better society or a way to oppress the masses, whatever it may be that morality's function is described as.

Of course a theist could say that they believe that God handed down morality, in a some way like handing Moses the 10 Commandments, or that our rational reflection could discover God's intended moral laws. While I believe these are plausible arguments, I believe that there are also many plausible arguments against these views. Many of these views point towards science as showing that what we believe is moral really is just something that creates a positive reaction in our brain, or helps our community run smoothly, so while morality is good, it is not objective because different things could create happiness or different situations might make communities acquire different moral principles.

I believe that these arguments, at first, counter the theists belief well, but if these ideas are pursued further, that they actually contribute to the theist's argument.

Take for instance the idea that morality is not objective because it is entirely influenced by evolutionary forces, and could have given us a number of rules. To this I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality? Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon? The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God.
It does NOT 'HAVE TO BE' God.

But 'God' is just a word used that already describes such a thing.
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
And I do believe that we do not have, nor can we develop, satisfactory grounding principles with our purely physical and scientific universe. Therefore, we must reach outside of these fields to find their justification. And here is where my theism steps in.

So, I believe that there must only be one ungrounded principle in existence to prove the existence of God. Now, I do not believe that this is the case, but my broader strategy is to prove that even if one is to reject objective morality as a justification for God because they believe it is related to something else, a broad swath of their counter-arguments are invalid in my opinion.

HJCarden
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by HJCarden » February 17th, 2021, 10:49 am

Greta wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:21 pm
I am agnostic. What the heck do we know about the most fundamental aspects of reality, glued to the surface of one planet amongst an estimated minimum 700,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe?
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
... I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality?
The Earth and the Sun.
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon?
The contingencies of social living.

A group that cooperates is more likely to survive - and its members pass on those proclivities - than a group that does not cooperate. So cooperativeness is selected. This is not the case for non-social animals, that need not cooperate until mating. Again, mating and rearing of offspring require cooperation from the caring parent animals.

An essential part of group living in sharing and perceived fairness. Without that, a group will fall part. An example of simple morality in animals is seen when a capuchin monkey rejects what it sees as an unfair reward:


My argument is meant to show that even if morality is taken to be only as what you are showing with the monkeys and describing as the need of a group to survive, that it is still based in something else, and if we follow the origins of this we will eventually reach something that cannot be described with any scientific law. The earth and the sun can contribute to our biology, but what is the force that holds our atoms together? And what drives this force? I admit this seems like begging the question, but science constantly questions itself, so I believe it is only fair play. I believe that if science questions itself enough, it will be forced to throw up its hands and admit to a non-physical grounding for its principles or singular principle. And this, although this is a discussion for another day, would be God.

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by Gertie » February 17th, 2021, 10:51 am

We're beginning to get a broad picture of how the evolved predispositions of our complex social species came up with our particular notions of right and wrong. This gives a brief outline -

https://moralfoundations.org/

This means we don't need to invoke God to explain human morality. The argument for God from morality has turned out to be another god of the gaps argument which has been debunked as we learn more.

If you want to take it back a step and argue there is something fundamental about the universe which has some inherent teleological drive towards morality, that's a difficult argument to make without relying on untestable premises. It could be true, but in effect it's retreating to a deeper remaining gap.

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by HJCarden » February 17th, 2021, 10:59 am

BobS wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 7:22 pm
HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm

The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God.
Whatever a "principle in the universe" happens to refer to, why isn't it a contradiction in terms to say that an "ungrounded" principle "has to" have "grounding" in something else? Why not just say that if it's a fact, it's a brute fact? Without further explanation, that's what I'd be inclined to think that "ungrounded" means.
Brute facts are one way to look at this, however I find their explanatory value lacking. Anything can be declared a "brute fact" without realistic parameters to describe it. One of the potential qualifications for a brute fact could be that it is infinite, one of the attributes I would ascribe to God. I will not claim to be able to derive all of the characteristics that I associate with God from this idea, but this is my general thought on brute facts vs ungrounded principles.

HJCarden
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by HJCarden » February 17th, 2021, 11:04 am

Gertie wrote:
February 17th, 2021, 10:51 am
We're beginning to get a broad picture of how the evolved predispositions of our complex social species came up with our particular notions of right and wrong. This gives a brief outline -

https://moralfoundations.org/

This means we don't need to invoke God to explain human morality. The argument for God from morality has turned out to be another god of the gaps argument which has been debunked as we learn more.

If you want to take it back a step and argue there is something fundamental about the universe which has some inherent teleological drive towards morality, that's a difficult argument to make without relying on untestable premises. It could be true, but in effect it's retreating to a deeper remaining gap.
I totally agree that this is a plausible explanation to why we have our normative moral practices. However, truthfully I do believe that God is the law giver for moral practices, but that is not the point of this thread.

The process of evolution is one driven by biology, psychology, whatever disciplines you would like to ascribe to it, I won't argue that. However, what I will argue is that if you were to successively question what each of these rely upon for their explanatory value, you will eventually land on something that has no explanatory value in itself. Another commenter referred to these potentially being referred to as brute facts, and my question to them was if these brute facts share attributes that you would ascribe to God. I believe that a good portion of the attributes of God and these brute facts can align, and that is the reasoning for my argument.

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Steve3007
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by Steve3007 » February 17th, 2021, 11:06 am

HJCarden wrote:Take for instance the idea that morality is not objective because it is entirely influenced by evolutionary forces, and could have given us a number of rules. To this I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality?
I think it's worth noting that what you've described here is not generally used as an argument that morality is subjective (not objective). If anything, it would be used to argue the opposite. The argument that morality is subjective is that it is based on the subjective personal tastes/desires of people. The theistic argument for the objectivity of morality generally simply asserts that there is a God and that this God's personal tastes and desire constitute objective morality.

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by Steve3007 » February 17th, 2021, 11:14 am

HJCarden wrote:The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God. And I do believe that we do not have, nor can we develop, satisfactory grounding principles with our purely physical and scientific universe. Therefore, we must reach outside of these fields to find their justification. And here is where my theism steps in.
What do you mean by an "ungrounded principle"? Do you mean something happening in the universe for which we don't (yet) have a descriptive theory? Are you talking about what is often referred to as "the god of the gaps"?

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by Pattern-chaser » February 17th, 2021, 1:04 pm

HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
I am a theist, and I believe in objective morality [...] Many of these views point towards science as showing that what we believe is moral really is just something that creates a positive reaction in our brain, or helps our community run smoothly, so while morality is good, it is not objective because different things could create happiness or different situations might make communities acquire different moral principles.

Objective morality, a morality that is universal, and applies to everything and everyone, seems difficult to justify. You have mentioned some of the drawbacks yourself, in the above text. These things, and others like them, make it difficult or impossible for morality to be objective, I think. Why is it that you believe otherwise, I wonder?

My point is not directly about morality, but about that morality being "objective". I can't see how it can be; I can't see a plausible justification for it. Presumably, you can. What is it? 🤔
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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by LuckyR » February 17th, 2021, 1:30 pm

Basically the metaphysical was invented when there was relatively little physical knowledge. Over time the amount of physical knowledge expanded and the metaphysical shrank. The OP is merely a modern application of the original standard, except that the slice of the metaphysical is quite tiny and far removed from everyday life (by necessity).

This is of course, anticipated but entirely unconnected to the status of morality; the objectiveness of which is not only unproven but which doesn't even have a theoretical pathway to being proven.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by BobS » February 17th, 2021, 1:32 pm

HJCarden wrote:
February 17th, 2021, 10:59 am

Brute facts are one way to look at this, however I find their explanatory value lacking. Anything can be declared a "brute fact" without realistic parameters to describe it. One of the potential qualifications for a brute fact could be that it is infinite, one of the attributes I would ascribe to God.
Saying that "anything" can be called a brute fact contradicts your original statement, which addressed what you think has to be the case "if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe" (emphasis added).

My reference to "brute fact" simply meant that once you've reached "the single ungrounded principle in the universe," you've reached the end of your causal explanations. By definition. If there's no end, then it's turtles all the way down.

What you seem to be claiming is that God is the brute fact, with the added attraction that (you believe that) "infinite" is an attribute that he can have, and you're going to ascribe it to him. Just because. So now, instead of a universe that simply happens to exist, the ultimate arbitrary fact happens to be that there's some "infinite" guy running the show.

Which of course leaves the problem of just what "infinite" is supposed to mean in this context.

Let's leave aside whether it's coherent for you to claim that being infinite is "one attribute" (emphasis added) that God has. I have a hard time imagining what other attributes "infinite" could possibly leave out, but maybe I'm being pedantic.

Since this is a thread on morality, let's start with whether God is infinitely good or infinitely evil. Do you claim that God, as you define him, is necessarily good, because "infinitely good" necessarily is "greater" than "infinitely evil"? If so, how do you know that?

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Re: Objective Morality and God

Post by NickGaspar » February 17th, 2021, 6:51 pm

HJCarden wrote:
February 16th, 2021, 5:55 pm
I am a theist, and I believe in objective morality, but I believe that I have justification for objective morality in God's existence. This is not a new claim, but I feel as if my defense of it satisfies a certain collection of objections that I'll lump together under the umbrella of cultural/evolutionary moral relativism. Broadly speaking I categorize these objections as objections that nullify the Truth value of morality and make it into a tool for building a better society or a way to oppress the masses, whatever it may be that morality's function is described as.

Of course a theist could say that they believe that God handed down morality, in a some way like handing Moses the 10 Commandments, or that our rational reflection could discover God's intended moral laws. While I believe these are plausible arguments, I believe that there are also many plausible arguments against these views. Many of these views point towards science as showing that what we believe is moral really is just something that creates a positive reaction in our brain, or helps our community run smoothly, so while morality is good, it is not objective because different things could create happiness or different situations might make communities acquire different moral principles.

I believe that these arguments, at first, counter the theists belief well, but if these ideas are pursued further, that they actually contribute to the theist's argument.

Take for instance the idea that morality is not objective because it is entirely influenced by evolutionary forces, and could have given us a number of rules. To this I would ask, what creates the biology or psychology necessary to create ideas such as morality? Some could say that the fields of chemistry and physics ground these ideas, but if so, what do these ideas rest upon? The main idea behind my argument is then that if there is a single ungrounded principle in the universe, then its grounding would have to be God. And I do believe that we do not have, nor can we develop, satisfactory grounding principles with our purely physical and scientific universe. Therefore, we must reach outside of these fields to find their justification. And here is where my theism steps in.

So, I believe that there must only be one ungrounded principle in existence to prove the existence of God. Now, I do not believe that this is the case, but my broader strategy is to prove that even if one is to reject objective morality as a justification for God because they believe it is related to something else, a broad swath of their counter-arguments are invalid in my opinion.
First of all, what do you mean with the term "objective morality,"?
Do you mean that an act is either objectively moral or immoral independent of the consequences?
i.e Killing an other human being is an objective immoral act
A guy was forced to kill a burglar and this is how he managed to save his wife's life. Or better he let the burglar kill his wife because he believes killing is immoral. Which decision is the moral one?

Now, it is irrational to use an indemonstrable existential claim for an agent as a justification for objective morality. Secondly, by default, morality decided by a single thinking agent(legislator or god) is by definition subjective.
A moral evaluation needs to be based on objective values and criteria in order to be objective.
A "guy" said so, is not how we make objective moral evaluations and its not what renders a act moral or not.

So objective moral evaluations can only be a product of a system based on objective values. The assumption of a god doesn't really guarantees our acts or judgments to be moral. Religions created in the name of their god(s) have historically failed to make correct and objective moral evaluations.

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