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The Existence of God and Objective Morality

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Spiral
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The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Spiral » April 28th, 2018, 9:54 pm

I have watched a multitude of debates where the Christian William Lane Craig has argued that one of the pieces of evidence supporting the existence of God is the existence of objective morality.

Craig's argument goes like this:

[1] If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

[2] Objective morality exists.

Therefore, God exists.

Premise [1] is a little confusing because of the two negatives. So, if one were to remove both negatives in premise [1], Craig's argument would look like this:

[1] If objective morality exists, God exists.

[2] Objective morality exists.

Therefore, God exists.

Craig goes on to argue that objective morality exists because all of us know right from wrong in our hearts. Has Craig made his case? I think not. Craig seems to think that saying something makes it a fact, saying that it is in God's nature to be good, just and merciful. Also, it is often asserted that God is perfectly knowledgeable about morality.

But is this really the best explanation for the morality that Craig describes? When Craig says that all of us know right from wrong in our hearts, this raises some questions:

How do we know that all of us know in our hearts right from wrong?

Do we know right from wrong in all situations or just the easy cases (like whether or not it's right or wrong to torture children for sport)?

If all of us in our hearts know right from wrong, why is there so much human behavior that most people would classify as being clearly wrong?

Why is there no consensus on the rightness or wrongness of certain human behaviors, such as engaging in non-marital sex, or hunting animals or basing college admissions partially based on the applicant's ethnic/racial background or male genital mutilation (circumcision)?

What say you on the issue of God and objective morality? Does any God provide objective morality, even a God that simply created all matter within the universe and then took early retirement? Or do we need an "active God" to provide us objective morality, a God that roots for good human behavior and roots against bad human behavior?

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Thinking critical
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Thinking critical » April 29th, 2018, 3:37 am

The majority of WLC,s arguments rest on an assumption that not only god, but the Christian god he subscribes to, actually exists. This argument fails the same way his teleological argument fails, it asserts that a certain function could only be possible if a god had some how intervened.
At best all the argument could attempt to prove is that objective morality exists because we know right from wrong. The argument offers no evidence for the existence of gods unless we accept objective morality isn't possible any other way? So first we ought to define objective morality.
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Spiral
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Spiral » April 29th, 2018, 8:25 am

Thinking critical wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 3:37 am
So first we ought to define objective morality.
In some sense, I think William Lane Craig might define objective morality as a tautology, that any morality derived from human experience, human desires, human emotions is not objective.

Craig sees God has a referee. Imagine a referee in a sports contest and then imagine that the referee has perfect knowledge of what all the players are doing. In that case, this referee will never miss a call and will never make an incorrect call. Craig thinks that without this impartial referee there can be no objective morality. All you have is the players in the game trying to determine when fouls should be called and when points have been scored. But since the players have an interest in the contest, they can't be objective.

An alternative view of objective morality would say that even without a perfect referee, there is a difference between a well refereed sports contest and a badly refereed sports contest and that certain actions do represent fouls and other actions represent points scored even if the referee fails to notice.

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Eduk » April 29th, 2018, 12:04 pm

In my opinion, Spiral, you are talking about logic and WLC is not (even when he says he is).
It is like the environmentalist who damages the environment by supporting organic farming and opposing GMOs. They may say they take a science based approach but they cannot follow the science. They can follow a narrative though. A narrative where evil corporations destroy pure and wise mother nature.
Likewise someone may damage their own morality while claiming to be moral, but they dont really understand the philosophy. Again though they can follow a narrative. One where they are looked after by something greater than themselves.
You could absolutely prove something was immoral but it's not going to change the narrative. To many people their God is the most important belief they have.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Fooloso4 » April 29th, 2018, 5:55 pm

Spiral:
[1] If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

So, if one were to remove both negatives in premise [1], Craig's argument would look like this:

[1] If objective morality exists, God exists.
Craig’s [1] make the existence of morality contingent on the existence of God. Your restatement of [1] is the conclusion of the argument.

There are a number of obvious problems with his argument.

[1] If Santa Claus does not exist, Christmas does not exist.

[2] Christmas exists.

Therefore, Santa Claus exists.

Or how about this one:

[1] If WLC does not exist, deceitful proofs of God do not exist.

[2] Deceitful proofs of God exist

Therefore WLC exists.

Each of these arguments are valid, but none of them are sound.

With regard to his argument, a moral realist may reject premise [1] a moral relativist would reject premise [2].

Craig knows the difference but is counting on those he hopes to “persuade” (dupe) of not knowing. The appearance of inescapable logical necessity leads them to believe it must be true.

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Spiral » April 29th, 2018, 6:13 pm

I saw one debate featuring William Lane Craig where a philosophy major in the audience got into a discussion with Craig over whether or not objective morality exists. The philosophy major stated that she believes that rape is wrong but as a philosophy major she does not know if she can demonstrate that her opposition to rape is "objective."

What is objective? Impartial? If I say that rape is wrong regardless of the identity of the victim and perpetrator, that is impartial.

That's why some people who debate William Lane Craig say up front, "Throw out that word 'objective.' It causes all kinds of confusion."

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 6th, 2018, 6:07 am

Spiral wrote:
April 28th, 2018, 9:54 pm
I have watched a multitude of debates where the Christian William Lane Craig has argued that one of the pieces of evidence supporting the existence of God is the existence of objective morality.

Craig's argument goes like this:

[1] If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

[2] Objective morality exists.

Therefore, God exists.

Premise [1] is a little confusing because of the two negatives. So, if one were to remove both negatives in premise [1], Craig's argument would look like this:

[1] If objective morality exists, God exists.

[2] Objective morality exists.

Therefore, God exists.

Craig goes on to argue that objective morality exists because all of us know right from wrong in our hearts. Has Craig made his case? I think not. Craig seems to think that saying something makes it a fact, saying that it is in God's nature to be good, just and merciful. Also, it is often asserted that God is perfectly knowledgeable about morality.

But is this really the best explanation for the morality that Craig describes? When Craig says that all of us know right from wrong in our hearts, this raises some questions:

How do we know that all of us know in our hearts right from wrong?

Do we know right from wrong in all situations or just the easy cases (like whether or not it's right or wrong to torture children for sport)?

If all of us in our hearts know right from wrong, why is there so much human behavior that most people would classify as being clearly wrong?

Why is there no consensus on the rightness or wrongness of certain human behaviors, such as engaging in non-marital sex, or hunting animals or basing college admissions partially based on the applicant's ethnic/racial background or male genital mutilation (circumcision)?

What say you on the issue of God and objective morality? Does any God provide objective morality, even a God that simply created all matter within the universe and then took early retirement? Or do we need an "active God" to provide us objective morality, a God that roots for good human behavior and roots against bad human behavior?

Since objective morality clearly does not exist, then does it follow that God does not exist?

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Spiral » May 6th, 2018, 7:15 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 6:07 am
Since objective morality clearly does not exist, then does it follow that God does not exist?
I suppose God could still exist even if objective morality does not exist. In fact, the God of the Bible often appears not to subscribe to any consistent moral playbook.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 8th, 2018, 5:19 am

Spiral wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 7:15 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 6:07 am
Since objective morality clearly does not exist, then does it follow that God does not exist?
I suppose God could still exist even if objective morality does not exist. In fact, the God of the Bible often appears not to subscribe to any consistent moral playbook.
Then why call it god?
What's the point of it?

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chewybrian
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by chewybrian » May 14th, 2018, 7:06 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 6:07 am
Spiral wrote:
April 28th, 2018, 9:54 pm
Craig's argument goes like this:

[1] If God does not exist, objective morality does not exist.

Since objective morality clearly does not exist, then does it follow that God does not exist?
Not from Craig's argument[1]:

(Not having four legs implies not a dog, yet, not a dog does not imply not four legs).

How do you mean "objective morality clearly does not exist"? This seems worthy of a thread. I admit I am struggling to come up with any universal rule that would result in the right choice in all situations. Yet, there is all manner of dogma that is useful in living better ("murder is wrong"), and results in broad agreement until you attack it with something like: "Would it be wrong to murder Hitler?".

You could make the case that all facts are opinions, no matter how broad the agreement. Everything must be perceived and understood, and we will never perceive or understand anything perfectly, since we are not perfect.

Can we define objective as "resulting in near-universal agreement and usefulness", or is the word objective always a lie? Perhaps we can say that objective truth exists, but we will never know for sure if we are getting it right. Could we say the same for objective morality? Is there a different standard for fact or morality?
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 8th, 2018, 5:19 am
Spiral wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 7:15 pm

I suppose God could still exist even if objective morality does not exist. In fact, the God of the Bible often appears not to subscribe to any consistent moral playbook.
Then why call it god?
What's the point of it?
I consistently act in my dog's best interest, yet my choices may seem inconsistent to her, if she can't always see what is good for her. I suppose a similar relationship could exist between us and God. Our perception of inconsistency or unfairness could simply reflect our poor understanding.

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by Eduk » May 14th, 2018, 3:26 pm

The word objective is used in different senses.
Scientists axiomatically define reality to be consistent. Therefore instruments can be built which objectively measure reality. My pen will fall at the same speed each time I drop it and not sometimes decide to hover. This speed can be measured objectively.
Day to day people use it to usually mean lots of other people they identify with believe it. This of course is incorrect usage technically but generally considered ok.
Then some people claim the capitalised Objective. The absolute Objective. The perfect Objective. All these people are plain lying as capital Objective is impossible for a human.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm

chewybrian wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 7:06 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 6:07 am



Since objective morality clearly does not exist, then does it follow that God does not exist?
Not from Craig's argument[1]:

(Not having four legs implies not a dog, yet, not a dog does not imply not four legs).
I am asking a question you will note. Not making a statement.

But since Craig is suggesting that god provides us with our objective morality; the absence of objective morality implies the absence of the sort of god that Craig wants us to assume has to have existence.

The idea that such a thing as objective morality could exist is too absurd to contemplate, as a single moral argument invalidates such a claim.

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chewybrian
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by chewybrian » May 14th, 2018, 4:49 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
I am asking a question you will note. Not making a statement.
I took it as a question, and I was trying to give an answer (I could have been clearer). No, it was not implied from Craig's assertions.
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
But since Craig is suggesting that god provides us with our objective morality; the absence of objective morality implies the absence of the sort of god that Craig wants us to assume has to have existence.
With that added, then yes.
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
The idea that such a thing as objective morality could exist is too absurd to contemplate, as a single moral argument invalidates such a claim.
I can't come up with one rule that always applies in the sense of the capital O objective. Doesn't morality call out for the small o, though?

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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 15th, 2018, 5:41 am

chewybrian wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 4:49 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
I am asking a question you will note. Not making a statement.
I took it as a question, and I was trying to give an answer (I could have been clearer). No, it was not implied from Craig's assertions.
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
But since Craig is suggesting that god provides us with our objective morality; the absence of objective morality implies the absence of the sort of god that Craig wants us to assume has to have existence.
With that added, then yes.
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
The idea that such a thing as objective morality could exist is too absurd to contemplate, as a single moral argument invalidates such a claim.
I can't come up with one rule that always applies in the sense of the capital O objective. Doesn't morality call out for the small o, though?
If I think you are saying what you are saying then, yes.

Given any language community it would be possible to thrash out some rough guidelines to which most (not all) could agree. And in that agreement, and limited by it, decisions could be made for the group that did not unfairly favour any individual pov. This is that aspiration of most cohesive societies, though the numerous exceptionalism that exists, makes this a rare thing in practice. Exceptionalism can be seen at the level of gender, class, rank, race, ethnicity, religion, tribalism of all kinds.

But for Craig, his prejudicial notion of God, has to insist for him that there is an Objective moral pov in the mind of a God.

It is my view that Craig assumes that whatever crapola is in his head is, ipso facto, THE moral code of God and he wants everyone to comply with it. Craig's view is just another type of exceptionalism in favour of his particular view of the Christian God (whatever that is today).

Anthropology, history, and cultural studies show Objective Morality, to be a complete absurd notion.

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chewybrian
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Re: The Existence of God and Objective Morality

Post by chewybrian » May 15th, 2018, 8:09 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 5:41 am
chewybrian wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 4:49 pm


I took it as a question, and I was trying to give an answer (I could have been clearer). No, it was not implied from Craig's assertions.



With that added, then yes.



I can't come up with one rule that always applies in the sense of the capital O objective. Doesn't morality call out for the small o, though?
If I think you are saying what you are saying then, yes.

Given any language community it would be possible to thrash out some rough guidelines to which most (not all) could agree. And in that agreement, and limited by it, decisions could be made for the group that did not unfairly favour any individual pov. This is that aspiration of most cohesive societies, though the numerous exceptionalism that exists, makes this a rare thing in practice. Exceptionalism can be seen at the level of gender, class, rank, race, ethnicity, religion, tribalism of all kinds.

But for Craig, his prejudicial notion of God, has to insist for him that there is an Objective moral pov in the mind of a God.

It is my view that Craig assumes that whatever crapola is in his head is, ipso facto, THE moral code of God and he wants everyone to comply with it. Craig's view is just another type of exceptionalism in favour of his particular view of the Christian God (whatever that is today).

Anthropology, history, and cultural studies show Objective Morality, to be a complete absurd notion.
I think Craig is off the rails, to say that his God is the one true way, and his 'proof' is flawed.

But, I'm worried about what follows from tossing objective morality out the window. What's to stop anyone from doing anything they think they can get away with, simply because they can justify it to themselves? Do I have to accept the terrorists' thoughts and actions as valid in any sense, because they feel justified? What's to push me to do the right thing when nobody is watching?

It seems moral truth could exist in the abstract, but that we can't know it with certainty, and can only approach it. It's very useful to try to do the right thing, and we pretty well know it when we see it, even if we can't define or prove it. But, how do I even try if I begin with the notion that there is no 'right thing''?

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