Morality in the Real World 02: God is Not the Ground for Morality

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 21, 2010 in Ethics,Podcast

In episode 02 of Morality in the Real World, Alonzo Fyfe and I discuss whether or not God can be the basis for morality, without discussing the Euthyphro dilemma (for now).

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Transcript of episode 02:

LUKE: Welcome to ‘Morality in the REAL World’. I’m Luke Muehlhauser.

ALONZO: And I’m Alonzo Fyfe.

LUKE: Alonzo, before we talk about morality in the real world, let’s take a moment to explain why we don’t think a god can serve as the foundation for morality, because a lot of people seem to think that you can’t have real morality unless it’s grounded in God. For example, this is what Christian apologist William Lane Craig says:

CRAIG: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. If there isn’t a god as your absolute standard, then everything becomes socio-culturally relative. Moral values are just ingrained patterns of behavior that have evolved through biological and social evolution. So if God does not exist, objective moral value and duties do not exist.

ALONZO: Well, I suspect that a lot our potential listeners are going to start off like Craig, thinking that there is some essential connection between morality and religion – such that, you just can’t have morality without God. Not too long ago you were standing in that position. right? You are one of those people who thought that there was some deep connection between morality and God.


LUKE: Yeah, that’s just the way I was raised, so when I was growing up it didn’t make any sense to me to think of a ‘Law’ without a Lawgiver. Morality had to be grounded in God, or else right and wrong was all just a matter of human opinion. And worse than that, if morality is just a matter of human opinion, than we have no objective ground from which to condemn rapists and pedophiles and murderers, so society is doomed.

ALONZO: I imagine somebody telling a parent who loses belief in God, that without their belief they just aren’t going to care anything about the welfare of their child. It’s absurd. Tell me, when you lost your belief in a God, did you suddenly become indifferent to the welfare of your friends and family? Did you acquire this urge to rape and kill just for the fun of it?

LUKE: Ha! No, though some people seem to think that’s the way it works, apparently…

ACTOR READING CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST FORUM POST: So you think that if no one believed in any religion, there would be no wars or fighting? I think it’d be worse. I think it’d be way worse. I know if I didn’t have God’s judgment to fear, I would have killed many, many times.

LUKE: But that’s just silly. Losing a belief in morality doesn’t suddenly change our desires.

ALONZO: Obviously, someone doesn’t have to believe in God or even believe in morality to act morally. However, it still might be the case that God is necessary for morality to really exist.

LUKE: Right, and that’s what we’re going to argue against. Now, when we talk about the problems with God-based morality, Alonzo, I think many people will expect us to bring up something called the Euthyphro dilemma.

ALONZO: Which is what, exactly?

LUKE: Well, I honestly don’t know whether or not the Euthyphro dilemma actually works – that’s something I’m researching – so I’d prefer to save that one for another time.

ALONZO: Okay, then: Is there some other reason to think that God-based morality doesn’t work?

LUKE: Well, in the first place the idea that morality is linked to God doesn’t actually solve any philosophical problems for us. Actually, it would only make those philosophical problems worse. I mean, think about it: How it is that morality could be grounded in the attitudes of a timeless, spaceless, supernatural being who is defined as being the opposite of everything we know and understand? That’s just crazy and incoherent, or at least it’s way harder to justify that than other theories of morality based on less controversial and confusing features of our world. So adding God to the picture doesn’t help give us objective morality, it just makes everything way worse.

ALONZO: I’ve had people tell me that something is bad – like eating pork – just because God disapproves. I have to ask: Why does God’s disapproval make it wrong for me to eat pork? If God doesn’t like pork, that’s fine, I’m not going to force him to eat any. But if they’re saying that I shouldn’t eat pork because God doesn’t like it… How does that work?

LUKE: And that’s just one of many problems. Another problem is this… look, if a perfectly good God allows all the suffering we see around us, that implies that maybe we’re wrong about the idea that we should be preventing suffering. After all, if God is supposedly perfectly good, and HE isn’t preventing all this suffering,  shouldn’t we be following his lead? ((Scott Sehon argues along similar lines in “The Problem of Evil: Skeptical Theism Leads to Moral Paralysis,” International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 67, No. 2, 2010. Also see Steven Maitzen, “Ordinary Morality Implies Atheism,” European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2009.))

ALONZO: Yes, it’s like this: Let’s say I look out my window and see my neighbor’s daughter drowning in the pool. Am I supposed to know that I should rescue her? Maybe God has a reason to drown her. If she does drown, that’s what they’ll say. They’ll claim that God must have had a reason to take her. So if I rescue this girl, then I would be thwarting this higher purpose that everybody would be claiming that God must have had, and everything would be ruined just because of me.

Besides, if I, as a mere mortal, have no way of understanding God’s infinite wisdom or why he does things, then I have no way of knowing whether or not to save the girl. It wouldn’t be the first time God killed a child.

LUKE: That’s right. And here’s another problem: It’s worth reminding people that God-based morality is a subjective moral theory, because it’s grounded in the attitudes or nature of a person: namely, God. That doesn’t make God-based morality false, but I have to remind people of this when they say you can’t have objective morality without God. The truth is – contrary to what William Lane Craig says – you actually can’t have objective morality with God. God-based morality is subjective.

ALONZO: What do you mean when you say God-based morality is subjective?

LUKE: Well, like I said, God-based ethics grounds morality in the attitudes of a person. That’s what subjectivism is.

ALONZO: You are saying that it’s similar to individual subjectivism. Individual subjectivism grounds moral value in the attitudes of each individual. And there’s cultural subjectivism, to give another example, which grounds moral value in the attitudes that dominate each particular culture.

LUKE: Right. And divine command theory grounds moral value in the attitudes or nature of God. That makes it a subjective moral theory. It’s grounded in the attitudes of a particular person.

ALONZO: I think some of the people who say God-based morality is ‘objective’ might actually be wanting to say that what makes God-based morality special is that it is universal. Individual subjectivism gives you different moral claims for each individual. Cultural subjectivism gives you a different moral claims for each culture. However, divine subjectivism gives you one and only one moral code for everybody, even if it is still subjective.

LUKE: Yeah, so it is universal it’s just not objective. Exactly. And hey – words like ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ are used in different ways, even within moral philosophy. So, sometimes believers will say God-based morality is objective because they’ve chosen to define ‘objective’ to mean something like ‘grounded in something beyond human attitudes.’

ALONZO: That’s true. And it is something else you can get from a God-based morality.

LUKE: Yes, it is. But think about this. Imagine a giant alien appeared in the sky tomorrow…

ALONZO: Maybe it’s a real little alien.

LUKE: No! Definitely a GIANT alien. Or else they wouldn’t be screaming.

ALONZO: Fine. Have it your way.

LUKE: Anyway, so imagine some people decided that whatever this giant alien in the sky approved of, that’s what was moral.

Now, whether such a theory is true or not is one question, but according to people like William Lane Craig and their definition of ‘objective’ morality, this alien-in-the-sky morality would qualify as an “objective” theory of morality, because morality would be grounded in something beyond human attitudes. But I just don’t think that’s what most people mean when they say ‘objective’. It can’t just be grounded in something beyond the attitudes of a particular species of primate. That’s not enough to make it ‘objective.’

ALONZO: And the giant alien theory of morality would also be universal – there would be one moral code for everybody, just like a God-based morality. But, I agree, I wouldn’t want to call it “objective.”

LUKE: Exactly. So, I have a lot of problems with the idea of morality being grounded in God – even if God does exist.

ALONZO: Right. Well, for me, whenever I hear people talk about God and morality, the problem that I have always had with it is that there is no God. God doesn’t exist.

Scripture tells us of the superstitions and prejudices of people who have been dead for centuries. The authors weren’t necessarily evil, but they were far from all-knowing or perfectly benevolent. They were people who knew a lot less about the real world than we do.

Unfortunately, when you get the moral facts wrong, and when you carry those mistakes into the future, a lot of good people end up getting hurt.

LUKE: Do you have anything specific in mind?

ALONZO: Where do I start? There’s flying airplanes into sky scrapers, killing a girl who was raped because this dishonored the family, killing children by denying them life-saving medical treatment, banning homosexual marriage, teaching myth and superstition to children and telling them that this is ‘science,’ which leaves them ignorant of real science, and that leaves them unable to form rational policies to deal with real-world events.

Ultimately, trusting scripture to be the ultimate truth in morality is like trusting Hippocrates to be the final word in medicine.

LUKE: And atheists, of course, get all of the moral facts right, right?

ALONZO: Yeah, right, of course they do. No. Atheists have a lot of disagreements about morality amongst themselves, so obviously some of them have to be wrong. But the fact that they make mistakes doesn’t mean that God-based morality works, particularly if God doesn’t exist.

LUKE: Yes. In the end, the biggest problem with God-based morality is that God doesn’t exist.

ALONZO: Simple as that.

LUKE: So we’ve talked about why morality doesn’t work with God. Next time, we’ll start talking about how morality does work without him.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Garren September 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

“The truth is – contrary to what William Lane Craig says – you actually can’t have objective morality with God. God-based morality is subjective.”

You can still have objective morality with God, so long as it isn’t God-based. The way it’s worded in the podcast makes it sound like only Atheism can provide objective morality, which I don’t think is quite the intended point.

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Martin September 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

Although you should always take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, note their article on moral objectivism, which is basically just a disambiguation page that says it can mean either realism or universalism.

Obviously when WLC uses the term “objective” he is referring to universalism, and so he is perfectly right in that sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_objectivism

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Adito September 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

Isn’t a set of attitudes about morality objective if it’s based on the necessary nature of an all-powerfull creator God? It seems that when we say something is subjective we’re implying that it could be different. In this case we obviously can’t say any such thing. The properties I just described lay out a set of principles imbued into reality itself and I see no way to call them subjective.

I think atheists are better off describing the nature of reality (as in, there is no God for morality to be based on) then they are in trying to show that a God based moral system is inherently faulty.

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bossmanham September 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

I imagine somebody telling a parent who loses belief in God, that without their belief they just aren’t going to care anything about the welfare of their child. It’s absurd.

What does this have to do with the theistic pov?

Tell me, when you lost your belief in a God, did you suddenly become indifferent to the welfare of your friends and family? Did you acquire this urge to rape and kill just for the fun of it?

Is this what Mr. Fyfe thinks Craig’s position is? I have other thoughts on what is absurd.

But that’s just silly. Losing a belief in morality doesn’t suddenly change our desires.

But it may give you the justification to fulfill certain desires you normally wouldn’t, like unbridled sexual activity or making a superior race of people by systematically eliminating those who most people desire to eliminate.

Obviously, someone doesn’t have to believe in God or even believe in morality to act morally. However, it still might be the case that God is necessary for morality to really exist.

Which is why we theists always clarify “The question is not: must we believe in God to live moral lives? There’s no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent livess” (Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008: 175, emphasis his). The question is do moral values actually exist in the absence of God?

I mean, think about it: How it is that morality could be grounded in the attitudes of a timeless, spaceless, supernatural being who is defined as being the opposite of everything we know and understand?

1) We’re made in His image. 2) Moral values would actually exist in said being. 3) All would be subject to said omnipotent and omnipresent creator and sustainer.

That’s just crazy and incoherent, or at least it’s way harder to justify that than other theories of morality based on less controversial and confusing features of our world. So adding God to the picture doesn’t help give us objective morality, it just makes everything way worse.

Luke, this is a bald assertion lacking argumentation. I just gave three reasons this would ground OMV’s. You need to construct an argument to support this assertion.

Why does God’s disapproval make it wrong for me to eat pork? If God doesn’t like pork, that’s fine, I’m not going to force him to eat any. But if they’re saying that I shouldn’t eat pork because God doesn’t like it… How does that work?

Because it goes against the objective morality that is a property of said God (assuming eating pork is actually wrong). It’s quite similar to why, on a purely state institutional level, it is incumbent on you not to serve foodstuffs that the state has deemed illegal. If the state doesn’t like serving cat to people, and has written it down in law, then it is objectively against the law in that state to serve said cat.

look, if a perfectly good God allows all the suffering we see around us, that implies that maybe we’re wrong about the idea that we should be preventing suffering.

Should we prevent all suffering? I think it is incumbent on us to prevent needless suffering that we actually could prevent. Who says God allows needless suffering? Who says He could prevent it all given human freedom?

I can think of several reasons to allow some suffering to occur.

Let’s say I look out my window and see my neighbor’s daughter drowning in the pool. Am I supposed to know that I should rescue her?

If life is intrinsically valuable since said girl is made in God’s image, then if she hasn’t done anything to merit drowning in the pool (like mercilessly killing an innocent person or something) then it’s a no-brainer WHY you should save her.

Maybe God has a reason to drown her. If she does drown, that’s what they’ll say.

Or maybe we’ll say it was her own fault for drowning? Assuming she is old enough to be responsible. If not, then it is the parent’s fault for no being vigilant.

Further, you’re assuming that these kinds of evils won’t be rectified in the afterlife.

So if I rescue this girl, then I would be thwarting this higher purpose that everybody would be claiming that God must have had, and everything would be ruined just because of me.

You must assume that God caused her to drown for this to be the case. However, God is not subject to the duty that we are with regards to life. He has the right, as the creator and sustainer of life, to take it in any way He deems it necessary. We don’t have that right. He has given us moral duties as it pertains to protecting life.

Besides, if I, as a mere mortal, have no way of understanding God’s infinite wisdom or why he does things, then I have no way of knowing whether or not to save the girl. It wouldn’t be the first time God killed a child.

And Mr. Fyfe has lapsed into the confusion of moral epistemology with moral ontology, as is so common.

It’s worth reminding people that God-based morality is a subjective moral theory, because it’s grounded in the attitudes or nature of a person: namely, God.

But if God is the ultimate reality in which moral values have their ontological basis, then they would apply to all. Especially seeing as we’re made in His image.

Well, like I said, God-based ethics grounds morality in the attitudes of a person. That’s what subjectivism is.

First, the morality is grounded in the person of God, and His attitudes would flow from that. Second, if all are made in his image and are subject to God, then this morality IS objective, just as the federal laws of the single institution of the United States government would be objective for those subject to it.

Individual subjectivism grounds moral value in the attitudes of each individual

Except the analogy falls apart since individuals aren’t subject to other individual’s personal opinions. We would be subject to the laws of a lawgiver, would we not?

Yeah, so it is universal it’s just not objective.

Um, so it being true of God’s character that murder is evil and the duty to not murder applying to all those made in His image wouldn’t be objective?

Right. Well, for me, whenever I hear people talk about God and morality, the problem that I have always had with it is that there is no God. God doesn’t exist.

Then objective moral values don’t exist. Just because Mr. Fyfe thinks his morality is important doesn’t mean it extends beyond himself. For something to be objective, it must extend to all people. All people don’t have the same desires. All people are made in God’s likeness, and all people are subject to God’s moral character.

There’s your objectivity.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Garren,

“With God’ in that sentence means “based on God,” as I had hoped would be clear via the following sentence. But yeah, perhaps my wording could have been more careful.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Martin,

Yes, but then ‘objective’ doesn’t mean what many people probably think it means, and he’s taking advantage of the connotations that apply to the other sense of “objective” even when they don’t apply to his meaning of objective.

Also, we have a word for that kind of ‘objective’ that is clearer. It’s “universal.”

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drj September 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Then objective moral values don’t exist.

This argument seems like a tautology, where one defines morality as just another necessary aspect of a necessary God… well duh, if that God doesn’t exist, then that other piece of Him doesn’t exist either.

But that’s about as remarkable as saying, “If unmarried men don’t exist, then bachelors don’t exist.”

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

bossmanham,

I’ll only reply to a few…

“What does this have to do with the theistic pov?”

It’s not intrinsic to the theistic POV. It’s just asserted along with it by many theists, and it is to them we are responding.

“Is this what Mr. Fyfe thinks Craig’s position is?”

No.

“1) We’re made in His image. 2) Moral values would actually exist in said being. 3) All would be subject to said omnipotent and omnipresent creator and sustainer.”

Yeah, I’m not going to be satisfied with any 25-word answer.

“Luke, this is a bald assertion lacking argumentation.”

No, this is a common theme in my blog. For starters, read John Danaher’s series on Dawes’ Theism and Explanation.

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cl September 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I think you should both think deeply about the implications of desirism in a DCT context. Many of the arguments you both advance for desirism can answer many of the “tough questions” you ask your podcast. IMHO, this post is revealing contradictions in your logic.

It’s worth reminding people that God-based morality is a subjective moral theory, because it’s grounded in the attitudes or nature of a person: namely, God. … divine command theory grounds moral value in the attitudes or nature of God. That makes it a subjective moral theory. It’s grounded in the attitudes of a particular person. [Luke]

This is an imprecise overgeneralization that pretends there is only one type of God-based morality. If God employs something like desirism, then – by your own arguments – the morality God employs is objective. Think about it: “Thou shalt not steal?” Why? Because God just arbitrarily “doesn’t like” stealing? No. That would be subjective. However, if stealing tends to thwart other desires and results in an impoverished social structure [litigiousness, distrust, fear, etc.] – which we all believe it does – how does that decree refer to something “objective” under desirism, but something “subjective” under DCT? Or, would you take the second horn, and actually agree that a God-based morality could in fact be objective in the same way you both claim desirism is objective?

…God-based ethics grounds morality in the attitudes of a person. That’s what subjectivism is.

What about a system that grounds morality in the attitudes of people? Is that subjective? If yes, then how is desirism objective? If no, then I revert to TaiChi’s unanswered question from many moons ago: how do a bunch of subjectives combine to form an objective?

LUKE: Yes. In the end, the biggest problem with God-based morality is that God doesn’t exist.

ALONZO: Simple as that.

Yeah, that’s simple alright: way too simple. You guys say we’re supposed to come with reason, logic and arguments, and you give us your own personal beliefs as a conclusion. It’s disappointing, to say the least.

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Bill Snedden September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I would suggest that much turns on what one means by “objective”. I’ve generally understood it to mean “mind-independent” and by this definition, there can be NO morality or moral system that is truly objective as moral values can only exist in minds.

But if one understands it to mean “universal” or something like “inter-subjective”, then that problem disappears. Isn’t this really the sense in which a theory like Desirism is “objective”?

Or we might also use the term, as I suspect many moral realists (including some Christians) use it, to mean something like “grounded in the objective”. A system where moral values exist in minds, but their conceptualization is driven by a necessary relationship between the subject and objective reality. A crude example might be seen in the value we place on sustenance which has a non-arbitrary biological basis (we have to value food because if we don’t, we die).

Thus a system in which moral value is grounded in the *nature* of reality (God or no-God; it doesn’t matter) might also be referred to as “objective” as it’s grounded in something that’s not mind-dependent.

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Garren September 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm

By the way, I really liked the treatment of the two oft confused meanings of “objective.” My cynical side thinks apologists equivocate on purpose.

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bossmanham September 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Luke,

As always, thank you for your gracious reply.

As for you not being satisfied with my 25 word answer, I can only say I think you may misunderstand my motives here. I’m not here to necessarily give you answers you’d like to hear, but to present the a defense of the worldview I think is true. I understand you may not like the answer, but the fact remains I have posed a possible solution to the problem you brought up.

In the interest of elucidation, if God exists and is the ruler of creation, then the laws He sets would apply to that creation. If all of His laws apply regardless of what we may think of them, then they are objective. I think that answers your objection.

Cl,

Nice answer.

Bill,

I would suggest that much turns on what one means by “objective”. I’ve generally understood it to mean “mind-independent” and by this definition, there can be NO morality or moral system that is truly objective as moral values can only exist in minds.

That’s an interesting deck stacking attempt, but I wonder if you think that logic is objective?

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testing September 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Luke, have you enabled some kind of comment moderation we – or I – ought to know about? I’m currently unable to comment under my normal credentials.

[cl]

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Jayman September 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Luke/Alonzo:

But that’s just silly. Losing a belief in morality doesn’t suddenly change our desires.

But a change in beliefs may change the intentional actions we take (beliefs + desires = intentions, right?). Perhaps a person has a desire to kill, a desire not to be punished, and a belief that God will punish him for killing and therefore he never kills anyone. But one day this same person becomes an atheist. Now he has a desire to kill and a desire not be punished but he no longer has a reason not to kill if he can escape punishment. Placed in the right (wrong) situation he will kill.

I mean, think about it: How it is that morality could be grounded in the attitudes of a timeless, spaceless, supernatural being who is defined as being the opposite of everything we know and understand? That’s just crazy and incoherent, or at least it’s way harder to justify that than other theories of morality based on less controversial and confusing features of our world. So adding God to the picture doesn’t help give us objective morality, it just makes everything way worse.

Under some scenarios God’s existence would make morality easier. Suppose that God exists and decrees that everyone should follow the prescriptions derived from desirism. He promises to reward those who follow desirism and punish those who do not. I don’t see how this scenario has any more problems than desirism itself. In fact, it has two extra benefits. First, it eliminates the problem of people acting immorally in secret. Second, our immutable desire not to be punished gives us a reason for action in all situations even when we might not have any other desire that would make us act morally. In other words, the jump from hypothetical ought to moral ought is not as tenuous as it is under the atheistic version of desirism.

But if they’re saying that I shouldn’t eat pork because God doesn’t like it… How does that work?

Doesn’t your own theory answer the question? Suppose God has an immutable desire that humans not eat pork and he will reward those who abstain from pork and punish those who eat pork. Now we humans can’t use social forces to change God’s opinion since he is immutable. Assuming you have a desire to be rewarded/avoid punishment, then you ought to abstain from pork. It seems to me that a God with immutable desires for humans who rewards and punishes humans for their adherence to his decrees could completely change the moral calculus of desirism.

It’s worth reminding people that God-based morality is a subjective moral theory, because it’s grounded in the attitudes or nature of a person: namely, God.

This is only true if ethics is based solely in the opinion of God. If God commands desirism (or some other objective ethical theory) then God-based ethics is no more subjective than desirism.

Bossmanham, what meta-ethical theory, if any, do you subscribe to? Natural law? I would be interested in any reading recommendations you have on the theory.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

cl,

I use Akismet, which unfortunately is not configurable. Could you please try once more? I’ll watch for it.

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testing September 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

It wasn’t a spam-type message. The specific message I got was, “Slow down. You are commenting too quickly.” When Ebonmuse finally got sick of my questions at Daylight Atheism, he enacted similar moderation so I could only ask one question per day.

Nonetheless, yeah, I’ll try again with the normal credentials shortly.

[cl]

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Cyril September 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

A lot of the content of this episode has to do with “objective” morality. And thus debate is now ensuing over whether Divine Command Theories of ethics are objective or subjective.

Working off of the three definitions of “objective” vs. “subjective” presented under 3.03 of the Ultimate Desirism F.A.Q., I would say that divine command theory is (from a human viewpoint):

objective(1), because it has truth value (either God did or did not command such-and-such)
objective(2), because it reports the psychological states of another, i.e. God. From God’s point of view, it would be subjective(2).
Subjective(3), because it deals with psychological states: God’s.

So, yeah. Divine Command Theory is “subjective” in a sense, but to say that it’s not also by your own admission objective in a sense is kind of disingenuous.

Also, you said that you were going to try to say whether or not God could provide a grounding for ethics, but wound up talking about whether DCT is objective or subjective. Did I miss something or am I just forgetting it? (Sorry if you did cover that, I listened earlier in the day).

So, yeah. Could be improved.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

cl,

Let me know when you have tested.

I do not limit the posting rate, and I have only ever banned one commenter, and I let everyone know it.

Sometimes people have page-loading problems and commenting problems on this website. Unfortunately, I’m not a programmer and cannot fix WordPress bugs.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Cyril,

We’ll have many episodes on objective/subjective much later.

Did you listen to the episode? The main reason God is not the ground for morality is because God does not exist. We said that in the episode.

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cl September 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

bossmanham,

…if God exists and is the ruler of creation, then the laws He sets would apply to that creation.

Correct. Sometimes I think of it in programming terms. Say you write some class of functions with specific parameters. Then – and only then – would it make sense to say there is something that instances of the class “should” do. If there are no parameters, then it does not make sense to say there is something that instances of the class “should” do.

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cl September 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Weird. Seems to be working fine now.

Cyril,

Subjective(3), because it deals with psychological states: God’s.

That’s if we take the first horn of the Euthyphro dilemma. If the DCT in question is something like I described [desirism-based], then that DCT would be just as objective as the desirism Luke and Fyfe are preaching.

So, yeah. Divine Command Theory is “subjective” in a sense, but to say that it’s not also by your own admission objective in a sense is kind of disingenuous.

I agree wholeheartedly, and wish Luke and Fyfe would treat the issue square and fair.

Luke,

The main reason God is not the ground for morality is because God does not exist. We said that in the episode.

That’s a shirking of rational obligations. You’re founding your argument on personal belief, and – from a purely rational standpoint – that’s not any different than a preacher who says, “God is the ground for morality because God exists.” We need reason, logic, arguments and evidence – not beliefs.

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Bill Snedden September 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

bossmanham:

That’s an interesting deck stacking attempt, but I wonder if you think that logic is objective?

That’s an interesting attempt at reading comprehension, but I wonder if you understand the difference between truth-bearers and truth-makers?

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TaiChi September 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Well, in the first place the idea that morality is linked to God doesn’t actually solve any philosophical problems for us. Actually, it would only make those philosophical problems worse. I mean, think about it: How it is that morality could be grounded in the attitudes of a timeless, spaceless, supernatural being who is defined as being the opposite of everything we know and understand? That’s just crazy and incoherent, or at least it’s way harder to justify that than other theories of morality based on less controversial and confusing features of our world. So adding God to the picture doesn’t help give us objective morality, it just makes everything way worse.” ~ Lukeprog

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the problem you’re pointing out here is not the grounding of morality in a deity per se, but the grounding of morality in a deity with an ill-understood nature. Yet isn’t this tanatamount to requiring that the explanation of moral facts itself be explained, in a fashion analogous to that which you critique Christopher Hitchens for?
Fyfe continues with a different point, which you probably meant as well, but your placing stress on the alien nature of God does seem to imply that you think our lack of understanding here is a problem. FWIW, I agree: a “timeless, spaceless, supernatural being who is defined as being the opposite of everything we know and understand” lacks the explanatory virtue of consistency with background knowledge, and has little in the way of other explanatory virtues to make up for it*.

* (I think this last effectively marks off a fallacy from a reasonable argument, don’t you?)

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Tony Hoffman September 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Bill Snedden: Thus a system in which moral value is grounded in the *nature* of reality (God or no-God; it doesn’t matter) might also be referred to as “objective” as it’s grounded in something that’s not mind-dependent.

As usual, I think Bill Snedden has nailed it.

I could buy into the notion of God being the grounding for morality IF and only if we were talking about a deistic god. But I think this discussion is pretty much always about the Christian God. And that cat not only is supposed to have a mind, but he does a lot of crazy stuff that doesn’t match up to the whole “we all just know what’s moral” statement that is pretty much the whole argument from morality. Um, if morality is objective, how come we all get so confused every time we read the Bible?

It’s as if we were to spend 4 years of high school learning Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus, and were then told that sometimes, for reasons we can never understand, 2 + 2 will sometimes equal 5, triangles will sometimes have 7 sides, and division by zero will sometimes equal 6. I would say that at that point not only is Math not objective, it’s bat shit crazy. And that’s the real problem the Christian has with objective morality; in order to be even considered for objectivity, you have to, you know, appear objective, not bat shit crazy.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm

cl,

Don’t be silly. This entire website is dedicated to explaining why God does not exist.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm

TaiChi,

No. I’m not saying that God is not a good ground for morality because God himself cannot be explained. I’m saying God is not a good ground for morality because he is not a good explanation of anything.

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Hermes September 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Lukeprog: Don’t be silly. This entire website is dedicated to explaining why God does not exist.

Like an epitaph for Sauron? Seems a bit excessive, for any fictional character.

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lukeprog September 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Hermes,

If Sauron-belief was as widespread and had as much impact as God-belief, I might devote a website to a-Sauronism, and spend time explaining to people how life can be less than totally miserable without Sauron.

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kaka September 22, 2010 at 3:01 am

this discussion just tapers off on the note: ‘well i don’t believe in god, the end’. there aren’t any valid logical objections. it just fizzles out and comes to rest with the personal belief of the speakers.

so it seemed to suggest logic can’t do any more to prove the issue which kind of defeated the purpose of the podcast.

as such, it actually seemed a good advocate for theistic morality: ‘if you believe in god, problem solved. if not…go make podcasts!’

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Tomasz September 22, 2010 at 5:51 am

We have to know what is objectively god and bad in order to prove existence of God.
There must be some justification why being who is giving commands is actually a God.
Btw iven if both arguments viz. Kalam, and fine tuning are true conclusion that God exist is still invalid,
this is reason why I think they both must eventually collapse, to ontological argument.

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Joel September 22, 2010 at 6:32 am

Most of the theistic posters here (e.g. Bossmanham, cl) seem to dispute the claim that moral value grounded in God is subjective. First, to clarify, I think moral value is by definition (due to common understanding) objective, in the sense that it is supposed to exist regardless of a person’s desires, and is supposed thereby to have categorical motivational power, instead of hypothetical motivational power, as per desire based intentional action.

Why is is moral value grounded in God subjective? Aside from the obvious point that the theistic God is personal (as opposed to the non-personal panthetistic God) and if you ground value in a person, that value is subjective. But a stronger case can be made using Euthyphro, which should not have been dropped in this podcast.

Either: 1) Morality is sovereign over God, or 2) God is sovereign over morality.

If (1), morality is not grounded in God.

If (2), we have the emptiness problem, the arbitrariness problem and the adhorentness problem. For the purpose of this post viz. showing that God-based ethics are subject, we need only focus on the arbitrariness problem. If morality is that which God commands, and given that sovereign God can command whatever he pleases, anything can be good, or bad. That is to say, the good will be reduced to the subjective whims of God.

There can be two objections (I) False dilemma and (II) It is not in God’s nature.

Regarding (I): This is Craig’s view. He says that God and the good are identical. The good is not just a property of following God’s commands; the good is identical to the property of following God’s commands. However, this regresses to the second horn, since this does not escape the problem of arbitrariness. As long as morality is not sovereign, God can still command what he pleases, and morality is still based on his desires (i.e. is subjective).

Regarding (II): This is the dominant theological defense. God does not command genocide etc. because it is not in his nature; he loves people and do not wish them harm, so there are limits to what he commands; this removes the arbitrariness problem. However, this presupposes some intrinsic value in love, or justice, or whatever value is used to limit the set of possible divine commands. So this regresses to the first horn, where intrinstic value (from which we derive morality) exists separately from God, though God may exemplify such values. The reason this is the main theological defense is, it seems, that the modern theologians aren’t too concerned with the idea that morality is a separate concept.

So, from the Euthyphro, we see that as long as moral value is grounded in God’s nature (i.e.. his desires etc), they are subjective. The objections either fail to address the relevant problem, or regresses to the first horn.

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Hermes September 22, 2010 at 6:39 am

Luke, indeed. On one level it’s like we’re writing commentary on the fan fiction of formerly bemused teens who still cling to the idea that the fantasy actually would be a good thing if implemented. What a waste of resources.

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Joel September 22, 2010 at 6:41 am

Hermes,

But to allow for credit where credit is due:

Sauron never claimed to or threatened to consign all souls to some eternal torture by fire.

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AlonzoFyfe September 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

I would like to remind commenters that Luke and I will be spending every 5th podcast on questions and answers. You can call the phone number listed above to leave a voicemail question (that we may play as a part of the podcast), or post your question here.

You may wish to pose some of your concerns here in the form of a question that we can answer in Podcast 5.

Remember, the question needs to be relevant to what we discuss in the first four podcasts. We will take questions on other topics as we get to them.

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Hermes September 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

Joel, Indeed. His MO was direct, as opposed to the other character’s psychotic abusive love/hate slave owner/leader/parent role.

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godless randall September 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

@luke: i am not going to try and defend god-belief here but do you ^really^ not see the problem with arguing from belief instead of logic? methinks you give the counter arguments short thrift

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Tony Hoffman September 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

I think it’s a little ironic that Christians who love to trumpet the refrain “You can’t derive an ought from an is!” find themselves stating that objective morality exists. If objective morality exists (it just is), how do we derive an ought from it?

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tmp September 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

@Tony Hoffman

“If objective morality exists (it just is), how do we derive an ought from it?”

If it exists, then by definition it IS the ought. No derivation required.

Kind of like if you define a god as a source of morality, and such a god DOES exist, then it IS the source of morality.

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woodchuck64 September 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm

godless randall

@luke: i am not going to try and defend god-belief here but do you ^really^ not see the problem with arguing from belief instead of logic? methinks you give the counter arguments short thrift

I’m not getting this objection. From the first series:

LUKE: So here we are: we’re atheists and naturalists. We accept what science says about who we are and our place in the universe. But we think there really is moral value in the natural world, and there’s nothing spooky about it.

ALONZO: That’s right. If morality exists, it has to make sense in the real world. This is a podcast about morality in the real world.

So this is a series about morality under atheist/naturalist assumptions, and this particular post is a side-note (“before we talk about morality in the real world, let’s take a moment to explain….”) why Luke and Alonzo think a god can’t serve as a foundation for morality.

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jojo September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Is “me first” philosophy or Communitarian approach is more moral? I would like to hear an answer from Bill Craig!!

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godless randall September 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

@woodchuck: i’m aware the podcast is about morality from an atheist pov. that doesn’t make ^dct fails because we don’t believe in god^ valid

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Jacopo September 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Luke, you should’ve settled a millenia old debate in this one podcast, otherwise your objection about God not existing ergo DCT is false, is silly.

Tsk.

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consideratheism September 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I really like the professionalism of these podcasts; I only wish that you would had covered a few more arguments. I’m not quite sure if God’s opinion is grounded in His nature, or if His nature is grounded in His opinion. That would clear a lot up for me at least.

Can anyone help me out?

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lukeprog September 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Jacopo,

I’ll try harder next time. :)

I notice I didn’t receive any complaints about denying the existence of categorical imperatives without giving a thousand pages of arguments to prove their non-existence.

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TaiChi September 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Luke,
The point was that if an explanation itself lacks an explanation, it tends to be isolated from our background knowledge, and this makes for a worse explanation. If you had wondered why some atheists insist that there’s something to the explanatory regress argument, well, this might be the rational kernel of their obstinance. The relevance of my interpretation of you to this is that it is often difficult to know whether someone is making the reasonable point that an unexplained explanation is, for that, less satisfactory, or fallacious assuming that an unexplained explanation must be unsatisfactory.

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Tony Hoffman September 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

TMP: If [objective morality] exists, then by definition it IS the ought. No derivation required.

Kind of like if you define a god as a source of morality, and such a god DOES exist, then it IS the source of morality.

I don’t think I buy this. It appears that you are suggesting that morality is not related to reality, whereas I’d venture that morality is derived from reality. If the house is on fire, I ought to leave. But “I ought to leave” makes no sense outside the context of the house I’m standing in being on fire.

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AlonzoFyfe September 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Of course, my view is that you can derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’ because ‘ought’ is a species of ‘is’ and you can derive ‘is’ from ‘is’.

There is no exclusive distinction between ‘is’ and ‘ought’. There is only such a distinction between ‘is’ and ‘is not’. And ‘ought’ must either be a part of what ‘is’, or ‘ought’ belongs among those things that ‘is not’.

But that’s a future podcast. Stay tuned.

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tmp September 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm

@Tony Hoffman

“It appears that you are suggesting that morality is not related to reality, whereas I’d venture that morality is derived from reality.”

No, I’m suggesting that if, keyword being if, there exist objective morality, in a sense that there is a set of moral facts that tells us whether or not something is intrinsically right or wrong, we would not derive moral ought from those facts. They would BE the moral ought.

I’m also suggesting, that the Christians who claim both objective morality and “You can’t derive ought from is!” mean exactly this, that there exists a set of standalone moral facts(very likely false), and that you cannot derive those facts from ‘is’(true, since they have no connection with ‘is’).

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tmp September 22, 2010 at 11:22 pm

@Tony Hoffman

What I really meant to comment about is, that Alonzo Fyfe making a claim “You can’t derive ought from is!”, might be ironic. For a Christian believing either in objective moral facts accessed through divine revelation, or morality based on God, making this claim(about material ‘is’, of course) would be a direct result of these beliefs. Not incongruous at all.

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AlonzoFyfe September 23, 2010 at 4:58 am

tmp

What I really meant to comment about is, that Alonzo Fyfe making a claim “You can’t derive ought from is!”, might be ironic.

Is there some place in this podcast where I made the claim that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”?

Or that requires the assumption that you can’t derive “ought” from “is”?

Because I believe that you can derive “ought” from “is”. If I said or assumed otherwise in this podcast, I will need to make a correction.

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Tony Hoffman September 23, 2010 at 7:22 am

TMP, I suppose that I understand your point (that some Christians hold to the view that objective moral values exist in a realm separate from the rest of reality?), but I just can’t make sense of it.

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tmp September 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

@Alonzo Fyfe

“Because I believe that you can derive “ought” from “is”.”

Thus, you denying that might be ironic in some situations.

“If I said or assumed otherwise in this podcast, I will need to make a correction.”

You didn’t. Your name was simply conveniently placed to use as an (counter)example.

P.S. Waiting for more podcasts(Well, scripts. I prefer reading to listening.)

@Tony Hoffman

“I suppose that I understand your point (that some Christians hold to the view that objective moral values exist in a realm separate from the rest of reality?),”

I believe that most Christians hold this view, or some variation thereof, actually. Separate realm, for this purpose, also includes things in this realm that can not be perceived without (divine) aid, and God itself.

“but I just can’t make sense of it.”

Can you make sense of belief in God? Anyway, a Christian making the claim “You can’t derive ought from is!” can mean “You can’t make (moral) ought without God’s help!”, and I object to the (your) claim that this would be some kind of extra special failure on the part of the Christian(in addition to the god-belief, of course). It is perfectly consistent with theistic position.

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Tony Hoffman September 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

Can you make sense of belief in God?

Truly? No.

Anyway, a Christian making the claim “You can’t derive ought from is!” can mean “You can’t make (moral) ought without God’s help!”, and I object to the (your) claim that this would be some kind of extra special failure on the part of the Christian(in addition to the god-belief, of course). It is perfectly consistent with theistic position.

Yes, I understand that it is perfectly consistent with the Christian perspective that God exists, and that he commands us to do specific things. I just don’t think that it makes sense to classify moral values (we ought to be good?) as distinct from the rest of reality. Kind of like it doesn’t make sense to divide by zero, or how a wind would work in a vacuum.

I think that what I find inconsistent is the notion that morality can exist separate from reality. As I said above, “be good” appears meaningless to me without a connection to reality. I don’t suppose the notion you’re defending is special to the Christian mindset (it seems kind of Platonic), but just because it’s not unique doesn’t make it any more coherent.

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Alonzo Fyfe September 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Tony Hoffman

Yes, I understand that it is perfectly consistent with the Christian perspective that God exists, and that he commands us to do specific things. I just don’t think that it makes sense to classify moral values (we ought to be good?) as distinct from the rest of reality.

I would ask a follow-up question.

Does a morality that does not exist in this reality apply to this reality? If so, how?

Richard

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Tony Hoffman September 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Does a morality that does not exist in this reality apply to this reality? If so, how?

This question parallels ones I’ve participated in concerning dualism and supernaturalism in general. Based on those conversations, I would guess that the worldview is long on consistency and logical possibility, but short on meaningfulness.

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tmp September 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm

@Tony Hoffman

“I just don’t think that it makes sense to classify moral values (we ought to be good?) as distinct from the rest of reality.”

The irony here is that (this kind of) “objective” morality does not exist, yet is called objective. And indeed, it makes no sense.

“I think that what I find inconsistent is the notion that morality can exist separate from reality.”

But it is very consistent with “You can’t make ought from is!”, which was my objection. I didn’t say it made sense, only that it is consistent nonsense(less of an error in thinking than an error in base assumptions).

“I don’t suppose the notion you’re defending is special to the Christian mindset (it seems kind of Platonic), but just because it’s not unique doesn’t make it any more coherent.”

If you define moral “ought” to contain a component(intrinsic value) that does not exist(and many, perhaps most, people do), then it logically follows that “You can’t derive ought from is”. There is nothing wrong with the notion, that you can’t turn “is” into something that “is not”.

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cl October 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Jacopo,

Luke, you should’ve settled a millenia old debate in this one podcast, otherwise your objection about God not existing ergo DCT is false, is silly.

Actually, that’s not the point I’m making. My point is that Luke should respect the fact that a millennia-old debate continues to rage. Instead, he simply dismisses the millennia-old debate in favor of that which would support his case. I find that discouraging. I’m not going to say, “DCT is true because God exists.” I don’t feel I have the authority to make such a knowledge claim. Likewise, Luke should not say, “DCT is false because God doesn’t exist.”

Equal standards. That’s what Common Sense Atheism is supposed to be about.

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

Luke (and Alonzo),

Not sure where on the blog to post this question/observation but this seemed as good as any. My Aunt sent me the DVD series from Focus on the Family “True U” with Steven Meyer of the Discovery Institute (I emailed you about it a while ago, but she has since sent me the dvds). I have been enjoying it so far. His presentation of cosmology was good. His presentation of Intelligent Design was worse. Now he is on to morality and really botching it badly (he presses the “anything goes” if atheism is true, and mentions Hitler quite a bit). However, there was one small nugget that he said about morality and that was basically that humans are intrinsically valuable (kind of like Harris says in the Moral Landscape, of which I have just listened to an audiobook). However, unlike Harris he seems to make a descent argument as to why this is a good basis: because humans were created by God as having this intrinsic value. Matt Slick made this argument in his debate with Dan Barker as well, providing an example of why a Dentist should not sexually touch an female patient while she was under anesthetics. Under Dan’s definition of “minimizing human harm” Matt argued that this would not harm anyone, as the patient would not know she had been touched. Dan did not address this issue in the debate. I have thus far been unable to reconcile this situation with any morality suggested by an atheist either. Of course I can think of many instances where the God of the Bible does not seem to follow this “humans have intrinsic value” rule very well, I don’t think this really addresses the claim of the theist. What arguments exists that counter this claim? I am sure there are some, but I can’t think of any at the moment.

Thanks much,
Keith D. Josephs

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

Oh one more thing: this concept of “intrinsic human value” because God created it seemed to be another motivator (maybe to Scrooge pt. 4) than just because God was “watching” at all times. I know you would have to convince him of this, but it seems like there is this other aspect of humans “created in Gods image” that I don’t clearly have an answer to.

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lukeprog October 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

Keith,

Which claim did you want addressed? The argument that in order for humans to have intrinsic value, they must be created as such by a deity? Or that objective morality cannot exist without a deity? Or something else?

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I am a moral realist and so do think that objective morality can exists without a deity, even though I don’t know how yet. All I have heard so far from atheists like the two youtube video from TheoreticalBullshit make good work of the morality with/without a deity aspect. So I guess I want to understand the question of human intrinsic value to be answered, if indeed that is what is needed to talk about morality (not Sam Harris’ “conscious creatures”, just humans). It seems, given a God who made humans, this would give a good basis for the “why” of intrinsic human value. I would like a response as to either “why this is not a good basis for intrinsic human value?” or “what are other better competing reasons for intrinsic human value?” (or responses that address these both). This is probably the first time since becoming an atheist (a year ago) I have been really stumped by a seemingly good answer. Thanks much.

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lukeprog October 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Keith,

I don’t believe intrinsic value exists, and to say “God did it” really doesn’t explain how having a God would give something intrinsic value. I don’t follow the logic, there.

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I can kind of see what you are saying, but for some reason this struck me in particular. I guess I look at it that humans are obviously different than animals, we have broken free from evolutionary forces. I think Tracy on the Atheist Experience was once saying “So what, we humans are good at thinking and making things, etc. A giraffe has a long neck, so it’s special too. Each animal is unique in some way.” But that didn’t seem to really recognize the difference that humans obviously are. It seems that we are “somehow” special. I know that all life is evolutionarily linked and that should give us pause with some humility. I have been more cognizant of animal rights as of late, I think specifically as a result of my new beliefs. I suppose it could be a case of theists claiming “God did it”… kind of like explanations for the cause of the Big Bang, etc. Maybe it strikes me more because I “feel” the intrinsicness at times or it is more personal than some of the other “God did it” claims. It is definitely more of a “positive” reason for theistic morality than the “negative” policing God view. Christians may dismiss atheists “talking down” the policing God view out of hand (although I think it many times is legitimate) when they themselves actually hold to the other view.

Anyway, I would like an answer to the scenario I described above as the woman being sexually abused while under. That to me does seem morally wrong, even though it doesn’t fit within the “do human harm” (or whatever other definition I have seen so far other than the theist one) necessarily as far as I can see.

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lukeprog October 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Keith,

So… you want to find a secular moral theory that will justify your blind moral intuitions about a particular applied ethical scenario? Is that what you’d like to hear?

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I suppose so. Do you find that scenario immoral? If so, why? I do find it so, but I don’t know why. There are many others, such as murder, that do seem to hold up under schemes I can agree with “well-being of conscious creatures” and “minimizing harm”.

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lukeprog October 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I “feel” it to be wrong, but I doubt my intuitions on the matter track with moral truth, unless moral truth is defined in terms of my intuitions. :)

As for whether it really is right or wrong, I must say I don’t to applied ethics. Perhaps Alonzo has some thoughts.

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Keith J. October 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I am just getting into building up my moral background now since I don’t have the theistic view (I left it for other reasons) any more. This is the first time my “intuitions” don’t seem to line up with a seemingly logical reasoning to back it up. But anyway, maybe I am thinking too hard about it. But it’s kind of the same feeling I get when I think of God and Biblical genocides. I would love to hear what Alonzo has to say about it (and anyone else for that matter).

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Karl April 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Although you should always take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, note their article on moral objectivism, which is basically just a disambiguation page that says it can mean either realism or universalism.Obviously when WLC uses the term “objective” he is referring to universalism, and so he is perfectly right in that sense.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_objectivism

The atheist can still claim that moral universalism exist without the existence of God. Moral absolutes exist in the abstract that humans never know with 100% certainty. Moral absolutes may be what we consider to be evil or good. As humans we can never ascertain what is a moral absolute. That doesn’t mean that the moral absolutes do not exist nor does it mean that these moral absolutes are dependent on God. I am contesting that these abstract theories are mutually exclusive.

Arguing about good or evil, the existence of God and tying the human manifestation of which are seperate arguments. So, when a theist like WLC says that he is not debating the existence of God (which in most cases he is) or God’s benevolence his strongest position (in my opinion) is tying moral objective values to God. However, my opinion is that a theist must argue the existence of God to connect God to moral objective values. I have heard him on occasions dismiss this as a necessary argument to the debate at hand. So, the position is to ascertain that without God there are no moral objective values. My first paragraph is my rebuttal to that claim.

So let me know what I am missing in that rebuttal or if I am missing other rebuttals to the claim “without God there are no moral objective values.” This is the issue I am having trouble wrapping my head around. Mutual exclusivity is the conclusion I came to. Like I said before, arguing the existence of God and good/evil are not relevant to a theist’s claim (in my example) that without God, moral objective values do not exist. My rebuttal is mutual exclusivity. What do you all think?

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