Explanation for Objective Morality? Another Fail.

Explanation for Objective Morality? Another Fail. December 15, 2016

objective moralityLet’s revisit the question of objective morality. We have another contestant who thinks he can convince us that objective morality exists.

But before we consider that, here’s Christian apologist Tim Keller to set the stage:

The Nazis who exterminated Jews may have claimed that they didn’t feel it was immoral at all. We don’t care. We don’t care if they sincerely felt they were doing a service to humanity. They ought not to have done it. We do not only have moral feelings, but we also have an ineradicable belief that moral standards exist, outside of us, by which our internal moral feelings are evaluated.

“They ought not have done it”? How do you know?

This is the problem with how this topic is typically handled within Christian apologetics: a moral situation with one obvious answer is tossed out, and we’re supposed to infer ourselves into the apologist’s moral viewpoint. This is insufficient. There’s a difference between a widely believed or strongly felt moral opinion and objective morality. Don’t make the remarkable claim of objective morality (Keller’s “moral standards exist, outside of us”) without evidence.

Enter our contestant …

Let’s give a warm welcome to J. Warner Wallace of the Cold Case Christianity blog. He interviewed me on his podcast once, and we’ve had occasional email exchanges. He’s unfailingly polite and a good reminder to all of us that dialing back the anger makes one’s arguments more palatable.

In one post, Wallace first notes that the simple moral dictates that we find in the Ten Commandments (don’t kill, don’t lie, etc.) are insufficient because sometimes these actions are justified. How do we escape from this moral morass? He offers this rule:

When we simply insert the expression “for the fun of it” into our descriptions of these moral actions, we discover the objective moral foundation to these claims. [With this applied to killing and lying], we’ve just discovered two objective moral absolutes.

So we shouldn’t kill or lie just for fun. I confess that I’m unimpressed. Do we now have a useful moral roadmap where we didn’t before? Does this rule illuminate issues that frustrate society like abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and capital punishment so that the correct path is now clear to all?

Nope. We’re no wiser than we were before. And note that the Nazis didn’t kill Jews just for fun, so this rule does nothing to help Keller’s example.

The point of this exercise is only to spit out yet another example that we can all agree to. Keller pointed out that exterminating Jews was bad, and Wallace points out that killing or lying without justification is bad. I’m sure we all agree with these claims, but this isn’t news. Nothing has been illuminated.

And the correct answer is …

The problem, of course, is the remarkable claim of moral truth grounded outside humanity—“moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not” as William Lane Craig defines it. Why would you pick this explanation? A far more plausible explanation is morality as a combination of

  • a fixed part (moral programming that we all pretty much share since we’re the same species) and
  • a variable part (social mores).

This explains morality completely without an appeal to the supernatural.

Wallace next anticipates some reactions to his position.

What do we do when two groups disagree on a moral issue?

Wallace first imagines Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.

When a society defines an objective moral truth and the vast majority of its members agree, on what basis can a lone reformer make a call for change?

Obviously not through an appeal to an objective moral truth. If such a truth were accessible to all of us, how could we be in disagreement? Or does Wallace imagine that objective moral truth is not reliably accessible? But if it’s inaccessible, what good is it?

Wallace puzzles over how MLK could’ve caused change, but where’s the difficulty? History tells how it happened. America is not a simple democracy where the majority rules. We have a Bill of Rights that protects the minority against the tyranny of the majority. We have a free press. And we have a long history of (slowly) changing our minds on moral issues.

The majority opinion is that and nothing more. The moral claim “Jim Crow laws are wrong” is grounded only by everyone who agrees with the statement. It’s not objective moral truth.

Next, what about two societies that disagree? He gives as an example the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals, during which a prosecutor said, “There is a law above the law.” Yes, that sounds like an appeal to objective morality, but that appeal is no more supported by this guy than by Wallace himself. The laws used during the trials came from the Allies, not from God.

Since morality changes, doesn’t this overturn the idea of objective morality?

Wallace gives an anecdote about four witnesses with conflicting descriptions of a purse snatcher. Does this disagreement mean that there was no purse snatcher? No, Wallace says, and similarly, disagreement about what objective moral truth is doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

But if we can’t agree on the description of the purse snatcher, then why bring up objective truth? All you’ve shown is that the description is inaccessible, so why bring up “objective” anything?

And back to our subject, if different people give different answers to today’s moral issues, where does “objective” fit in? There may be an objectively correct resolution to each, but we can’t access it. The Big Book of Moral Truth is locked up in God’s library.

Wallace might’ve given us slightly more than other apologists, but this is woefully insufficient to overturn the obvious natural explanation of morality.

Can God make a rock so heavy that hitting His head with it 
would explain the change in personality He underwent 
between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

— commenter GubbaBumpkin

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/21/13.)

 

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  • eric

    I find that considering (hypothetical) aliens with radically different biology is illuminating for both the ‘morality is objective’ assertion and ‘don’t make an is into an ought’ assertion. A species that used photosynthesis for all their energy needs might naturally think any form of predation – even vegetarianism – is unmitigated evil; our moral acceptance of our own predation is a fairly inescapable “ought” that comes from an “is.” And I find it very hard to assert that killing other things for my own food is objectively moral given that a species that never had to do it might disagree with me just as much I might disagree that a Alien alien has a moral right to gestate inside a sentient host.

    Another example; consider most spider species, where the females release thousands of spiderlings at once…and usually catches and eats some of the slower-to-escape ones, in order to build back her store of calories. The young themselves don’t get any “rearing,” either, because they don’t need it. Consider that a sentient species like that might naturally produce a morality that is very radically different when it comes to questions of infanticide and infant cannibalism, acceptable child rearing behavior, and so on. Its extremely hard (at least for me) to consider such a case and think there is a pan-species objective morality. Or to think that the naturalistic fallacy is always a fallacy. For sure, reasoning from is to ought can sometimes, even often be a fallacy. In most cases, doing that is really just us giving a post-hoc justification for some moral assertion we want to be true. But thinking about aliens makes me realize that some of our morality probably reasonably and justifiably derives from the “is” that humans are social omnivores that produce relatively few offspring, on which we spend much resources. Or maybe I’m wrong in thinking that’s ever a good justification; maybe deriving an is from an ought is always a fallacy – but if so, I think that for some moral questions, referencing our ‘is’ to try and derive the moral response is itself a fallacy we can’t practically escape.

    • Perhaps it is species-specific.

      • eric

        I think that’s a reasonable conclusion. But it’s a conclusion that completely undermines the concept of an objective morality, and somewhat undermines the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ as being a fallacy.

        • Not if it’s a fact that our species should do X. By naturalistic fallacy, do you mean G. E. Moore’s, or rather the idea “what’s natural is good”? I don’t agree with the former, and don’t see that the latter applies here. Not everything natural is good, but some goods can be natural.

    • Joe

      A species that used photosynthesis for all their energy needs might naturally think any form of predation – even vegetarianism – is unmitigated evil;

      I don’t think so. I’ts not like we have any other options.

      I might disagree that a Alien alien has a moral right to gestate inside a sentient host.

      I don’t think morality applies when necessity is involved. We don’t proclaim certain wasp species immoral for laying their eggs in a live host.

      • T-Paine

        A species that used photosynthesis for all their energy needs might
        naturally think any form of predation – even vegetarianism – is
        unmitigated evil;

        I don’t think so. I’ts not like we have any other options.

        And I might add that plants use photosynthesis to metabolize the food it takes in through its roots – water and organic nutrients.

      • eric

        An alien alien has no option but to gestate inside another living being. For that matter, some actual wasps have no option but to do that either. And then there’s the concept of a sentient parasite, that has no option but to slowly kill its host species as it subsists off their body. We humans look on such things with horror, and I seriously doubt that any human would say “oh, well, if you need to parasitize my body to live, that must be morally acceptable then.” No. We’re much more likely to say “tough luck, you lost the moral and evolutionary lottery; the fact that your life requires you to do things we view as unacceptably evil doesn’t mean they are now good, it just means we are justified in stopping you from doing what you need to survive.” And we humans might get exactly that same treatment from an anti-predator.

    • I think of Star Trek morality–the morality of Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, and so on. They have their own sense of morality, and they’re not interchangeable.

      By what logic would we say that human morality is better than Romulan? We wouldn’t from an absolute standpoint, though we would nevertheless judge their actions with our own morals.

      reasoning from is to ought can sometimes, even often be a fallacy.

      Deducing an absolute or objective ought from an is would be problematic. Getting the ordinary kind, though, seems fine to me.

      • eric

        All of those are social omnivorous animals with the same basic traits as humans, so I think it would be pretty normal to want to apply our morality to them. I think it gets easier to see how human morality really doesn’t necessarily apply to other sentient species when you start to get more and more different from human.

        • We don’t apply human morality when we see animals killing other animals in cruel ways. I agree that as sentient creatures become less human-like, we will feel less entitlement to apply our morality to their actions.

  • Bawdybill

    Kind of long, but thorough to my mind. http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11727

  • wtfwjtd

    To me, Wallace’s anecdotes about the conflicting descriptions of a purse snatcher is merely admitting that his God–presumably the source of Objective Morality–is a poor communicator. I wonder, is that the message he really wants to convey?
    Like you Bob, I’m not impressed.

    • Joe

      I’m not sure if it would be better to not have objective morality (as I believe is the case), or to know it definitely exists, but we don’t know what it is.

      We’ve been making moral judgments for centuries. Often with fatal consequences. What if we’ve been objectively wrong all this time?

      • wtfwjtd

        Yeah, that’s another thing–Christians pretend to know it definitely exists, but can’t even say exactly what it is. And if they don’t know what it is, then what difference does it make? We’ll all end up being tortured in Hell anyways, according to them.

      • Suppose there were no objective moral values. We’d still have the unpleasant facing of reality if a super-intelligent, super-benevolent alien race came and critiqued our morality. My guess is that they’d be displeased with our meat eating, for starteres.

        • Joe

          Well mot mine. I for one welcome our vegetarian overlords.

        • Rudy R

          It is suggested that Australopithecus consumed meat, so there probably was not a moral component 4 million years ago. It’s most likely not a current moral issue for those living a subsistence lifestyle. I would think our alien friends would understand the evolutionary necessity of animal consumption here on Earth. If our ancestors stuck to eating a vegetarian diet, we may not be here contemplating the question.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        If we had objective morality we surely would not be talking about objective morality. The very concept of something being immoral would mystify us as much as talking about how setting our arms on fire delivered a cake through the neighbor’s screwdriver. All we now consider moral actors and moral parameter would act and think within uniform moral parameters that objectively exist.

        Instead, objective morality is just a buzz word for charlatans to get people who have relative moralities to more easily accept their preferred relative moral parameters (anyone can claim their own morality as the fixed objective point from which all others are relatively flawed in comparison because there are no fixed points, and they want something!).

    • adam

      ” his God–presumably the source of Objective Morality–is a poor communicator.”

      Although it can be explicitly clear when it wants to be. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

  • mobathome

    You rightly dismiss Wallace’s “for the fun of it” test for the existence of objective morality on the basis of its lack of usefulness for moral navigation. There is a better reason to dismiss it: it turns from objective morality, what you must do regardless of the consequences, into a justification by consequences.

    • Objective morality need not be deontological. It could be consequentialist. The “objective” part is different from the specifics.

      • mobathome

        There are objective and subjective consequentialism claims. Are you saying that objective consequentialism produces objective morality?

        • No, that an objective morality can be consequentialist. The deontological, consequentalist etc. part is the applied part. Objective or subjective are how they’re true (i.e. a fact, or an opinion). Either can be consistent.

    • Excellent, thanks.

  • You might want to check out what some philosophers who now defend objective morality say about this. Apologists tend to have shallow arguments.

    That said, I think Wallace’s argument can be better phrased something like this: the fact that the sun was thought to revolve around the earth for a very long time doesn’t make it true. While the truth may have been inaccessible once, that does not make it any less of an objective fact, i.e. independent of opinion.

    • Joe

      I dislike theists using the term ‘objective morality’, when they really mean ‘God-sourced morality’.

      Agreed, there are plenty of philosophers that can make a good case for objective morality, and I agree with some of them. The only problem is that apologists will assert the starting point (such as ‘minimizing human suffering’) is chosen arbitrarily so can’t be objective.

      Never mind that an arbitrary starting point for, say, distance allows all manner of mighty structures to be built, as long as everyone is using the same set of measurements

      • True, that isn’t the only kind, and some theistic kinds called “objective” really aren’t (i.e. divine command theory).

        Yes, they could assert it, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. They’re bearing a burden of proof too in asserting God sets down morals to humanity, and some seem very arbitrary (divine command theory again here).

      • Hmm. Is “minimizing human suffering” arbitrary? It comes from our moral programming. You can say that that’s not much of a source or that it’s not objective, but what could we have that would be better?

        • Joe

          Is “minimizing human suffering” arbitrary

          Why isn’t it? Because we are humans?

          what could we have that would be better?

          I go further and say ‘suffering of sentient beings’, to avoid potential consequences of a human-first outlook (such as mistreatment of A.I.). Still, ask me why I chose that and I can only say “it is the best I could think of”, not that it has an objective grounding.

        • Herald Newman

          Ultimately, your choice for “minimize the suffering of sentient beings” is “grounded” in the fact that hold the well being of sentient beings as valuable. You probably hold this value because, as a sentient being, you don’t want to suffer, and assume others hold the same feeling.

        • MNb

          I feel that there is an inconsistency here (not with you). Well being is subjective. Hiking through the Appalachians may contribute to your well being, it doesn’t to mine. How can something that is subjective ground objective morality?

        • Herald Newman

          It can’t. Objective morality is an oxymoron because morality doesn’t exist without values which are, by definition, subjective.

          That said, once you hold a set of values, the consequences of actions are either consistent, or inconsistent, with those values. That is the only objective part of morality.

    • Do you have links to philosophers who defend objective morality?

      I’ve heard people with whom I might agree defend it, though the first thing I’d want to do is get them to define what their “objective morality” is. I might agree with them, given their definition.

      Let’s assume that “the earth revolves around the sun is an objective fact.” To make this parallel with the moral situation, you must make that fact inaccessible. Now, you’ve got an objective moral fact, but it’s inaccessible. What good is it?

      • I don’t offhand, but it shouldn’t be that hard finding them.

        Yes, of course that would be necessary. Most define it something like I said, a fact independent of opinion.

        Well, it’s not useful, if that’s what you mean by good, though still even so a fact.

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          It’s not so much a question of fact versus opinion as it is a question about what the facts are about.

          If you don’t think there are moral facts, you’re a noncognitivist, and the question of whether morality is objective or subjective doesn’t even come into play.

        • Well in terms of objective vs subjective I think it is. I was trying to keep this focused there.

          Of course that’s true. You don’t see many of those here.

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          I know you’re trying to keep it focused, but I think that comes at the expense of ignoring what, in detail, the moral objectivist is claiming.

          That wouldn’t be an issue in a casual discussion when you’re trying to get across the basic idea. But, in light or the apologist’s sloppy misrepresentation of the objectivist position (which is the topic of the post) I think those details are necessary to keep the question focused 🙂

        • Well, feel free to fill in what you think is missing.

          You’re probably right. They seem to be very vague.

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          No you’re fine, I’m not criticizing or correcting you. I think you know what you’re talking about.

          Mostly I’m just clarifying what you’re saying, because (in light of the apologetic quotes above) I worry that it might be misinterpreted otherwise.

        • Well it would be okay if you were, I appreciate constructive criticism. This is a topic I’m still a novice on, and it seemed like you felt something was left out. Was it just the fact that they must think moral language is meaningful? I think that is assumed with objectivist and subjectivist views.

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          Sure, so the thought is that “fact not opinion” does have a certain “colloquial” meaning that most of us understand in any other context: Simply put, opinions are states of belief about what’s true, and facts are things that “are” true in some more “robust” way, and in a way that’s independent of belief about their truth.

          The apologist deceptively frames the subjective/objective distinction (in metaethics) in terms of the opinion/fact distinction, which it has little if anything to do with. He’s counting on the association people will make between opinions (being subjective in nature) as “just” states of belief, and facts (presumably objective in nature) as something more than that. This allows the apologist to pretend the objectivist position to be some kind of “super, extra authentic morality”, and subjectivism to be something comparatively insignificant.

          In actuality, the debate between the subjectivist and the objectivist is a debate about what moral sentences are about, once we’ve agreed that moral sentences purport to report some fact that’s true or false.

          Take the statement:

          “It’s wrong to punch someone without provocation, because people have disapprobation about this behavior.”

          This is the sort of statement a subjectivist would make, because it claims that the fact which MAKES it true that punching someone is wrong, is a mind-dependent fact (namely, people’s disapprobation).

          Compare that to the statement:

          “It’s wrong to punch someone without provocation, because punching someone causes physical injury.”

          This is the sort of statement an objectivist would make, because it claims that the fact which MAKES it true that punching someone is wrong, is a mind-independent fact (namely, the physical effect of the punch on the body).

          My worry was only that subjectivism would seem (as the apologist deliberately makes it out to be) something like an “unverified/unjustified opinion”, whereas objectivism is somehow something more metaphysically-robust than that. I just didn’t want you to be misread as tacitly agreeing with them.

          The apologist thinks that objectivism is something the subjectivist can “graduate to” if only they drank some super God juice (they also conflate it with half a dozen or so other positions they have no right to conflate it with). That’s simply a misrepresentation of the debate, and the more educated apologists (like WLC) know that.

        • Yes, that is a layer of depth that needs to be added. Thank you, it’s definitely something more we should consider here. “Fact” and “opinion” don’t get specific enough on this (not that there’s no overlap).

        • Ficino

          Good stuff, thanks. I took a whole course on metaethics in college and I don’t recall the application of the “fact/opinion” distinction to analysis of the strategies of moralists.

          Is there a “robust” way of defending the existence of moral facts without bringing in God? Leah Libresco says that this question led her to convert to Catholicism. But as I understand it, the “only God establishes moral facts” argument is not a claim that only God possesses the knowledge of what is a moral fact. It seems as though its proponents want God’s stipulation to be the right-making or wrong-making characteristic of the act. But then you wind up in a divine will theory, which I am guessing you would say entails conflation of positions.

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          Hey Ficino,

          Yeah I’m not too impressed with divine command/divine will theories. They’re not even some of the better accounts theists have on offer, and generally create more problems than they solve. They typically fail even to solve any of the problems that apologists claim to have with atheistic moral theories, and it’s something of a mystery to me why they’re so common.

          There are a number of good ways to defend the existence of moral facts, depending (of course) on the normative theory a person holds, and, therefore which (and in what way) facts need defended.

          One way which coheres well with the ethical naturalism held by a lot of contemporary atheists is to say that moral facts have a supervenient relationship with natural facts: Namely, that they relate in such a way that any universe which was identical to ours with respect to its natural facts would be identical to ours with respect to its moral facts. Notably, this could be true whether or not moral facts were actually identical to natural facts.

          This allows us to embed moral facts in our day to day experience with the natural world without simply reducing morality to base-level processes (like the motion of atoms) or defining morality purely in terms of actions. At the same time, it affirms what seems obvious to many of us: That events in the natural world (like the action of punching someone without provocation) have different properties at different levels of analysis.

          Labrasco’s case isn’t easy to summarize without being uncharitable. But, she became enamored of virtue-ethics, and was heavily-influenced by Alisdair McIntrye’s criticisms of contemporary ethical language. Atheistic defenders (like Nietzsche) notwithstanding, that happens to be the one school of ethical philosophy where theistic arguments (though not necessarily Catholic ones) can get some traction. So, it makes sense why she’d have trouble grounding her account of ethics without the use of God, given where she started. Speaking generally however, her criticisms are far from intractable.

          It was reflection on many of the same questions that pushed me in the exact opposite direction from her 🙂

        • TheNuszAbides

          that pushed me in the exact opposite direction from her 🙂

          are you diametrically opposed to Catholicism in particular? 😉

        • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

          I suppose that was a bit of an exaggeration huh?

          I’m more of a protestant atheist anyway 🙂

        • TheNuszAbides

          same here! i think 😛

      • MNb
        • I forgot that Daniel Fincke embraced objective morality. Thanks for the links.

        • Michael Neville

          I forgot that Daniel Fincke embraced objective morality.

          Knowing Fincke, he embraces it at great, even exhaustive length.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i tend to appreciate verbosity — assuming it’s not foggy/gratuitous but clarifying, which is what i usually get from those of his posts i’ve had time to go over …)

  • Michael Neville

    Keller’s argument about the Nazis is self-refuting. The Nazis thought they were acting morally by killing Jews and other untermenschen. Most of the rest of us disagreeing just means most of the rest of us disagree.

    • Joe

      I don’t know enough about their ideology to know if they (or at least some) thought they were doing a necessary evil, or they were actually doing a good deed. That distinction confuses morality even further, and definitely weakens certain apologetic cases if the Nazi’s were convinced they were physically doing good.

      • MNb

        From what I know about nazi-ideology they didn’t really distinguish between “doing a necessary evil” and “doing a good thing”. That’s what happens when you rely on things like “sane popular feelings” (Gesundes Volksempfinden).

        • Joe

          Thanks. It’s one of those things that I always wondered about.

        • So far as I know, they thought it was good. The “needs of the many”, you know, although Himmler at least acknowledged the SS had difficulty personally killing everyone (thus the gas chambers took over).

        • Joe

          So, while not a defeater for objective morality, it does point to a distinct failure of a benevolent God to communicate his objective morality to people.

        • I think so, unless God was on their side. The problem some like Craig have with the Holocaust mostly appears to be that God hadn’t authorized that (in his view).

        • Joe

          unless God was on their side

          Well ,they did have that emblazoned on their belt buckles.

          I agree that Craig’s view of morality is arbitrary, and is wholly dependent on the action having moral properties, regardless of the consequence. When you take their premises t othe logical conclusion, euthanasia and abortion aren’t ‘wrong’ because a ‘person is killed’, but because humans are the ones doing the killing.

          They don’t seem to realize that though.

        • It seems some do realize this. For instance, Craig explicitly defends the genocide of Caananites by Israelities (thankfully it probably never happened). Other anti-abortion Christians will, if confronted by the fact God kills many more fetuses and infants, say he can kill whoever he’d like. Consistent, though repugnant.

        • The real joke (if that’s the right word) about WLC’s defense of the Canaanite genocide is that he felt that the Israelite soldiers were the real ones who were harmed. I mean, just think about how it would’ve sucked to kill all those people!

        • Yes, that is the lowest bit.

        • Joe

          , just think about how it would’ve sucked to kill all those people!

          Well, they didn’t have laundry detergent in those days, so they would face a difficult task to get the blood out of their robes.

          (serious answer: isn’t that still a case of God directly causing suffering, albeit to the Israelites?)

        • Zeta

          Craig is morally obnoxious and has something loose between his ears, probably caused by his intense religious delusions. He also lies.

          Craig: “ If the Canaanite tribes, seeing the armies of Israel, had simply chosen to flee, no one would have been killed at all.

          So if your country is being invaded, just flee. If people want to take over your house, just flee and give up your house.

          He also said: “There was no command to pursue and hunt down the Canaanite peoples.

          This is an outright lie as shown below:

          Deuteronomy 7:2: “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

          Deuteronomy 20:16-17 “But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

        • IMO, the truly embarrassing part isn’t genocide by the Israelites but the order to do genocide by God.

          And people worship this guy?

        • MNb

          I have fond memories of telling apologists that they worship an immaterial Hitler. The response is “but Hitler was human and God is God”. That makes christian morality utterly subjective.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          They take it that the guy is to be worshiped for granite and then rationalized that anything he did was alright for him to do because he is to be worshiped. Round and round… I was there, too 🙁

        • MNb

          I never get tired of pointing out that at Nüremberg 1945-’49 some nazi’s (especially members of the Einsatzgruppe) presented this as a defense. The court didn’t buy it.

        • Ficino

          Did someone already point out that on WLC’s interp, Yahweh was harming the Israelite soldiers?? Why didn’t Yahweh man up and do His own killing? Oh, I guess it was so the Israelites would become accomplices and thus enmeshed in the racket.

        • Better: don’t kill the people but make them vanish. Or make their women sterile 50 years earlier. Or teleport them to their own island.

        • adam

          You are too kind.

          If you really want to be loved and worshiped you need to be a psychopathic killer, or at a psychopathic commander of killing. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f972c27e2980ca47bdf19591b616c85594874d86298f9e21eaef5c8245cc4a60.jpg

        • MNb

          “Or make their women sterile 50 years earlier.”
          Something he had done before according to Gen. 20:18.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Or the punishment for homosexuality being that the perpetrators automatically become heterosexual. That takes care of the (non) problem all by itself without turning a town into murder monkeys for Jesus/YHWH.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, the more historically accurate (hypothetically) the OT is, the more it lends (Sitchin’s? von Daniken’s?) Annunaki narrative explanatory power.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Why does Jesus like to encourage dystopian murder soldier missions and inflicting PTSD?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          In this way the morality of abortion is relative to the social status of the one performing the abortions. If they are god, well, then abortion is A-OK.

        • Yes, moral relativism at its finest. How ironic.

        • MNb

          This irony is one of those things you can’t learn to unsee anymore as soon as you’ve spotted it once.

        • Indeed.

        • adam

          “The problem some like Craig have with the Holocaust mostly appears to be that God hadn’t authorized that (in his view).”

          Christianity is all about personal revelation.

        • Yes, convenient ones especially.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Another example would be the meme: “Christians’ problems with Hitler and the Holocaust is not because they were immoral but because Hitler is not Jesus.”

        • For those like Craig, yes.

        • MNb

          The exact answer I got a few times was “Hitler is not God”.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Wooooowww. That’s… really lacking in self-awareness.

        • MNb

          That’s correct and it typically confirms what I claimed above. He considered the extermination of the victims a good thing, but the act of killing them personally (as done by the Einsatzgruppe) a necessary evil.

        • Could be, I don’t know. I just remember his speech to them basically said “It’s difficult, but necessary”. Though doing good can also be difficult, so I guess it could be compatible to either view.

        • MNb

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsatzgruppen#Transition_to_gassing

          https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler

          “Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology, it is a matter of cleanliness.”
          Given the nazi-propaganda it’s safe to conclude that Himmler thought cleanliness a good thing.

        • Yes, now that you mention it I remember their “health” anaologies. The Zyklon-B gas was labeled for use on “vermin” too.

        • MNb

          If you want to “understand” nazi-ideology you must always keep one thing in mind: they rejected reason.

        • Joe

          they rejected reason.

          Where have I heard that before?

        • MNb

          Like marxism nazi-ideology had a few things in common with christianity. Hitler was the saviour of the Chosen People called Germans and stuff. I’ve read neo-nazi stuff that claims that Hitler’s suicide was an act of self-sacrifice.

        • TheNuszAbides

          maybe one more thing they borrowed from M.Luther?

        • TheNuszAbides

          (Gesundes Volksempfinden)

          let me guess: in practice, mob-mentality apologetics?

        • MNb
        • TheNuszAbides

          ew.

          In 1927 Karl Weinrich […]: “Rhetorically Freisler is equal to our best speakers, if not superior; particularly on the broad masses he has influence, but thinking people mostly reject him. Party Comrade Freisler is only usable as a speaker though and is unsuitable for any position of authority because of his unreliablity and moodiness.”

          provided the legal basis for imposing the death penalty and penitentiary terms on juveniles for the first time in German legal history

          The number of death sentences rose sharply under Freisler’s rule. Approximately 90% of all proceedings that came before him received sentences of death or life imprisonment, the sentences frequently havingbeen determined before the trial. Between 1942 and 1945, more than 5,000 death sentences were decreed by him, and of these 2600 through the court’s First Senate, which Freisler controlled. He was responsible in his three years on the court for as many death sentences as all other senate sessions of the court put together in the court’s existence between 1934 and 1945.

          blood-soaked cherry on top (since i have a soft spot for die Weisse Rose):

          In 1943 Freisler punished several members of the White Rose resistance group that the Gestapo brought before him by ordering their execution by beheading using the Fallbeil.</blockquote

          He acted as prosecutor, judge and jury embodied into one role, and his own recorder, thereby controlling the record of the written grounds for the sentences that he passed[citation needed].

          i hope i have the stomach to cite/verify this.

    • I write here about how Wm. Lane Craig’s similar argument about the horrors of the Holocaust gets him hoist by his own petard.

      There’s simply nothing he can point to to defend the claim of objective morality. It’s all just emotional handwaving.

      • TheNuszAbides

        and the apparent fact that he is taken seriously, sought out etc. shows how abysmally vulnerable so many are to the emotional component of that.

    • adam
  • John Hodges

    Religion does not provide any such “objective basis” for goodness or
    morality. Religion offers a hearsay account of some guy claiming to have
    had the subjective experience of meeting a really big ghost who claimed
    to be the Creator of the Universe, demanded obedience, and offered
    promises and threats. We have to take on faith that the account is
    correct, that the “prophet” was telling the truth about his subjective
    experience, that he was not hallucinating or dreaming, AND that the
    ghost he encountered was telling the truth, was not some local shade
    playing a practical joke, or a demon who feeds off worship and
    sacrifices. Nothing that you have to take on faith is an “objective
    basis” for anything.

    For an “objective basis” for ethics, look
    at the consequences of actions for real people in this world. Because we
    are social animals evolved by natural selection, who survive by
    cooperating in groups, the great majority of people are going to value
    the health (survival-ability) of their families and the peace of their
    communities. A “good person” is a desirable neighbor, desirable from the
    point of view of people who wish to live in peace and raise families.
    If you want to maintain peaceful and cooperative relations with your
    neighbors, don’t kill, steal, lie, or break agreements. This is
    objective. As Shakespeare wrote, “It needs no ghost, Milord, come from
    the grave, to tell us this.”

  • John Hodges

    Religion has its benefits and harms. One of the major harms that it does is to teach a false theory of ethics.

    Religious
    folk misunderstand morality at its roots. Religion teaches a child’s
    view of ethics, that “being good” means “obeying your parent”. Just as
    religious faith is believing what you are told, so religious morality is
    doing what you are told. Religious morality consists of obeying the
    alleged will of God, an invisible “Cosmic Parent”, as reported by your
    chosen authority. But obedience is not morality, and morality is not
    obedience. We can all think of famous people who did good things while
    rebelling against authority, and others who did evil things while
    obeying authority.

    Religious folk may be Good Samaritans or
    suicide bombers, it depends entirely on what their chosen authority
    orders them to do. If a believer, or a community of same, wishes to make
    war or keep slaves or oppress women, all they have to do is persuade
    themselves that their god approves. This seems not to be hard, and no
    god has ever popped up to tell believers that they were wrong. They do
    not have a code of morality except by the convenience of the priesthood.
    What they have is a code of obedience, which is not the same thing.

    Adult
    morality is a means of maintaining peaceful and cooperative relations
    with your neighbors. If you want peaceful relations, don’t kill, steal,
    lie, or break agreements. As Shakespeare wrote: “It needs no ghost,
    Milord, come from the grave, to tell us this.”

    Living beings
    evolved by natural selection are going to value the health of their
    families, “inclusive fitness”, where “health” is the ABILITY to survive,
    and “family” is “all who share your genes, to the degree that they
    share your genes.” Their desires are shaped by natural selection, and
    inclusive fitness is what natural selection selects for.

    Social
    animals, who survive by cooperating in groups, have a “natural”
    standard of ethics: The Good is that which leads to health, The Right is
    that which leads to peace. A “good person” is a desirable neighbor,
    from the point of view of people who seek to live in peace and raise
    families.

  • al kimeea

    What do we do when two groups disagree on a moral issue?

    Kill them all. doG will know ITs own. To paraphrase some sweet saint or other.

    Since Keller mentions Nazis, they went all Gott Mit Uns just like their imperial forebears (and their cousins, neighbours etc.). All they did was reboot the logo on the buckles for the new generation. Of cannon-fodder.

    There are plenty of sources for Nazis in their own words on their solution for Jews. The Big Arsewipe considered their awful treatment to be the work of the lord, as learned through centuries of christian teachings. Many held Party Marty Luther in high esteem for his low opinion of the chosen people and seven step plan for driving them out by sundown. Kristallnacht was held on Marty’s birthday.

    The patriotic populous, some mix of Lutheran and Catholic for the most part, did their national duty with doG on their side. As doG has been all along, on both sides. The blood of Jewish people was good enough for Reich v2 and their doG. Obviously, the imperial elites were misinterpreting the deity’s wishes and ignoring the history of Jewish people being the problem as revealed via the writings of some of christianity’s greatest minds.

    Mysterious way indeed.

    • It’s strange how the transcript of the Nuremburg trials is never used as a primary source in piecing together the puzzle on who the Nazi’s really were.
      But there again that won’t fit with a particular world view.
      And anyone with more than a casual understanding of History will link Nazi symbolism to that of the ancient Druids- not the Catholic Church or Martin Luther or any other fanciful supposition of the imagination that only exists to support a particular personal bias.

      • If your point is that paganism informed Hitler’s supernatural thinking, I can accept that. Let’s not diminish the relevance of Christianity, though. Martin Luther came from Germany. He was very anti-Semitic.

      • MNb

        “piecing together the puzzle on who the Nazi’s really were.”
        Perhaps because that puzzle is unsolvable – nazism always has been incoherent. It was a hodgepodge of all kind of influences cobbled together. Things like Aryanism and Swastika were taken from hinduism for instance.
        It’s funny how you make exactly the same mistake by trying to link nazism to one and only one source.

  • MR

    * a fixed part (moral programming that we all pretty much share since we’re the same species) and
    * a variable part (social mores).

    This explains morality completely without an appeal to the supernatural.

    Funny how theists meticulously ignore this.

  • Bob

    This is not relevant to the post, but I don’t see another way to contact you.

    Would you address the Patheos name change of the “Atheist” channel to “Nonreligious” on your blog?

    It’s hard not to believe this came from theist pressure to get the word “Atheist” out of the Patheos menu system.

    Did you agree to this change?

    Were you asked for your input?

    • Yes, my input was sought, probably a month ago.

      I can see both sides. On the one side, “atheist” has increasing cachet. And if you’re coming here looking for “atheist” and don’t find it, you might leave without realizing that it does indeed exist here. As I understand it, this channel is the most popular blog channel here at Patheos.

      On the other side, there are a lot more Nones (that is, Nonreligious) than atheists. The move was to appeal to them. I think it was pure marketing. I see no move by any Christian elements to suppress atheism here.

      • “Atheist” is a meaningful name for a channel, and, until now, it appeared at the top of the Patheos Channel listing. No Patheos browser could ignore it. This is a bad move.

        • I can see that. Thanks for the feedback.

          The manager of our channel is very much a proponent of our channel (not surprising–that’s his job). His goal is to raise our profile by appealing to the far-larger Nones category. If this turns out to be a bad move, I think they’ll be looking for that and make adjustments as necessary.

        • Michael Neville

          I agree. Nonreligious sounds like a bunch of political, social and other blogs that have nothing to do with religion.

        • Kodie

          I’m torn. I like being forthright about the label, I liked it alphabetically first. I don’t like the remaining stigma as religious people think atheism is a religion, or the idea that naming your channel on a religious blog network “atheism” confirms it as a belief or religion. Not that it is, but they still think so. Nonreligious sounds like you’re trying to say something but not quite being brave enough to say it. I get that some “nonreligious” people shy away from calling themselves atheists, and I think this still has so much to do with a poor image of what an atheist is, which they want no part of, and don’t wish to identify with. I think it’s silly and uninformed, so I’m more prone to continue using atheism until people catch up and get with the program than to pander to their wish to classify their atheism as something other than atheism.

        • I agree. I have no problem with those who would argue that the word “atheism”, as defined, does not describe them. But I have a big problem with avoiding the word because it might “scare off” users, or make people feel “unwelcome”!

          When we buy into the notion that atheism is a scary or off-putting word, we are buying into the rhetoric of the hatred against atheists. I’ll have none of it!

        • Kodie

          It’s like women who don’t call themselves feminists because they think it means something terrible.

          From Caitlin Moran, in a recent interview on Boston Public Radio:

          The reason I wrote “How To Be A Woman” was so many girls came up to me in bars and said, “Yeah I’m not really a feminist.” And I would go, “okay, I absolutely accept what you say, because I will presume this: I will assume you did not go to school and you did not get an education that was equal to that of boys, that you had no option to go into further education because that is closed to women. The very few employment options you had—all of which will be curtailed off after you get married—when you did get your paycheck, all that money went to your husband. You’re not allowed to own property in your own right. If you had children they would be the legal property of your husband, not you,
          and that you are absolutely fine with all that. I’m presuming that’s what your life is, and you’re happy with it. Because if that’s what it was, it means yeah, you’re not a feminist. But if you did go to school, if you were educated, if you do keep your paycheck, if you do have legal rights over your own body and co-own your own children, I have to tell you: Congratulations, you are a feminist, and you live that life because other people who proudly came before you and used the word ‘feminist’ fought for that and sometimes died for that.”

          I mean, sort of the same thing, but they should not be afraid of applying the word to themselves if they don’t believe any gods exist, or worse, when theists claim it means you are all about the sinning, murdering, stealing, fornicating, being on drugs, etc. If you can say “I don’t practice a religion, but I still think god exists,” you’re probably not really an atheist, but if you conclude that god doesn’t seem to exist and prefer to tiptoe around it by calling it something else, if you think atheists are primarily loud jerks who spoil Christmas for little children and eat babies and don’t have meaning in our lives, etc., I mean, they should get to understand the label only means one thing, and that all those other issues are not obligatory or even usual.

        • TheNuszAbides

          much of the ‘closeting’ of my atheism is due to the fact that for quite some time, it really was all (well … mostly) about the being on drugs.

      • Ficino

        I agree with a number of other folks who think the change is not a good move, though I think I understand the motives. To define the most popular channel as “non-” something doesn’t seem a good come-on to me. A weird thought-example: a website for blogs about Universals, which has a Realist channel, a Conceptualist channel, but then changes its Nominalist channel to “Non-objective” or something.

  • Sheila Warner

    “There’s a difference between a widely believed or strongly felt moral opinion and objective morality.”

    Suddenly, with that simple statement, I can understand the moral argument a bit better. Re: WLC’s definition of objective moral values, who is the one who decides which values those are? How do people gain access to them?

    • Yes, your questions show the weakness in WLC’s claim. There are objective moral values? Give us some examples. Show us that these are objective rather than simply what you like. And most important, show us that objective values are reliably accessible by humans (otherwise, they might well exist, but what good would they be?).

      • Sheila Warner

        Your post makes it easier to put my own thoughts into words. WLC likes to say atheists have no foundation to any moral judgment, but neither does he. It’s frustrating for me because my immediate family loves apologetics.

        • I’m glad this has been helpful.

          Tell your family to come here and test their mettle on arguments pro and con Christianity.

        • Sheila Warner

          Don’t think I haven’t tried!

        • MNb

          WLC is lying. Atheists have such a foundation. The most popular one is “being happy should be preferred to being unhappy”. Of course the apologist will ask “what grounds that?” but you can just answer “I thought you rejected infinite regress by saying God grounds morality – so why do you ask me?”.

    • Pofarmer

      How do people gain access to them?

      That’s really the crux, right there.

      • TheNuszAbides

        which is why some find solace in Coast to Coast, which i can barely even be entertained by any more. about 20 years ago, though, some of those narratives fascinated me to no end.

  • lady_black

    I don’t think objective morality exists. To some degree, it’s all subjective.

    • The trick, I think, is to make sure you’re using the same definition of objective morality. I like Craig’s definition because it seems to satisfy many Christians.

    • Sophia Sadek

      Q: Are there no absolutes?
      A: Relatively speaking, there are.

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    The question of morality is of course a huge philosophical conundrum, specifically, an epistemological one. “How do you know?” is the basic epistemological question and most Christians who wander in here usually run into a well-known roadmap of epistemological arguments and counter-arguments. They get asked: “How do you know?” and then the fun begins.

    However, the same epistemological problems apply to materialists and other atheists. “Moral programming” is fudge — secularist fudge, but a fudge nonetheless.

    The fundamentals of morality are pre-rational. We begin with them out of a moral sense we have — God the law-giver for some believers and moral programming for the clever secularist. It amounts to the same thing–morality exists outside of our intelligence.

    Subjective morality ends up with (greatly simplifying here) usually one of the following:

    1. Utilitarianism. Does it work?
    2. Kantian-style “universal” ethics. What if everyone acted that way?
    3. Virtue ethics. What does what you do say about the kind of person you are?

    A morality from God says God has created a world in which right and wrong exist, are accessible at least partially by human reason (see above 3 methods) as well as through a moral sense. The personal and subjective sees through a glass darkly to a universal morality. Christian morality involves a journey to a greater awareness of love as an active force animating the universe, and morality turns more and more on what it means to love and what interferes with love. If we are called to love, morality becomes “Was this loving?” and “Does this act honor God’s love for us?”

    Turning back to the idea of an secular ethics v objective (i.e., Godly) — Underlying the difference is an even more fundamental question: Does it matter? Does it matter today that the Mongols killed innocents many centuries ago? Ultimately, it leads to questions of value … does human life matter? How do you know?

    In a secularist, materialist worldview, injustice that is not righted within a lifestime of the person harmed is not righted — ever. Injustice becomes subjective — at which point you begin to say some things that violate a basic, pre-rational sense of what it means to be human. Saying Jim Crow laws are subjective morality is very close, if not over the line. We are repulsed by the idea of hurting others who have done us no wrong, as we should be. There is a powerful moral sense, a moral conscience, and that is one doorway to a power greater than oneself — an intelligence outside of human intelligence that includes morality.

    The idea of a moral sense is a messy philosophical concept, and it’s one of those messes we all have to deal with, because we are often pointing to effects, not causes. That can lead to endless arguments.

    For my part, I think the effects are evidence. “Just for fun” does present a thought experiment that offers some evidence of a greater morality than what I make up, something I have not just in common with others of my species, but suggests something greater. Someone saying they have a moral sense of right and wrong is evidence.

    The issue becomes what constitutes proof. Proof amounts to what you are satisfied with concluding from the evidence. I am satisfied that there is a morality that comes from a higher intelligence than me or from the human species. I am also convinced that we do not see this morality in its fullness.

    All this is to say, ultimately, there is a mystery to good and evil. Secularists pounce on the epistemological problems, but I find what they are left with just as unsatisfying.

    Cheers.

    • Rudy R

      There is good evidence that moral codes are a consequence of biology and evolution. Since Australopithecus had a similar brain size as the modern-day Chimp, could they have been similar moral beings? And since there is no indication that humans are separated taxonomically from the animal kingdom, why should we expect humans don’t have the same animal imperative, that is, to survive until reproduction? Other animal species don’t usually kill the same species for fun, but only out of survival. Would we have reason to believe Australopithecus would have acted differently? So-called “moral coding” does not exist outside our intelligence, but is the result of millions of years of survival techniques learned and passed-on by our ancestors and parents. To suggest otherwise is to imply that morals are objective.
      On the objective vs subjective moral question, why ought objective morality be preferred over subjective morality?

    • al kimeea

      For fun, let’s say I stole a car from someone and the crime was never solved. On my death bed at 93, I convert to Catholicism and ask Jebus for forgiveness and off to heaven I go.

      In a real world example, Vaticorp has been forgiving and hiding child raping management for centuries and off to heaven they go.

      Nothing is righted in either reality or the fantasy-land marketed by the salvation sellers.

      According to Jebus in the NT, my parents are burning in hell simply for not believing in him. This despite fighting the not-so-godless Nazis.

      There really isn’t any mystery to the capricious celestial bully’s so-called morality to those not blinded by faith.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        I assume you have never heard of the distinction between “forgiveness” and “temporal punishment due to sin.”

        • al kimeea

          You’re going to have to explain that, considering:

          If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

          For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.

          He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

          Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from EVERY lawless deed, and to
          purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good
          deeds.

          Sounds like all you gotta do is kiss his arse and you’re good to go.

        • adam

          “Sounds like all you gotta do is kiss his arse and you’re good to go.”

          Hey, that’s Hank’s method…
          http://www.rationalskepticism.org/general-faith/kissing-hank-s-ass-t42786.html

    • MNb

      “the same epistemological problems apply to materialists and other atheists.”
      Not at all. Knowledge is objective. Hence the moment someone claims that ethics are subjective the question “how do you know” becomes a category error.
      If you however mean “how can subjective ethics be grounded?” I have news for you: smarter people than you and I have began to answer it more than 200 years ago.

      “he fundamentals of morality are pre-rational.”
      Agreed. Ethics without emotion doesn’t make sense.

      @1 AfaIc yes, utilitarianism works (for me). If it doesn’t for you, well, I realize there is not method to convince you of the error of your ways.

      “The issue becomes what constitutes proof.”
      For you, not for me. Moral proof is a meaningless idea.

    • Pofarmer

      C’mon Gunnar. Do people actually buy this shit?

      The fundamentals of morality are pre-rational. We begin with them out of
      a moral sense we have — God the law-giver for some believers and moral
      programming for the clever secularist. It amounts to the same
      thing–morality exists outside of our intelligence.

      The fundamentals of morality are evolutionary, as biologists and psychologists and neuroscientists like Patricia Churchland have been discovering and writing about for several years now. You see, much like LaPlace, we don’t need “God the lawgiver” at all in any of our equations on morality. And, no, it doesn’t amount to the same thing. One approach grounds us to what we have in common with all other life on this planet, the other is a crock of horse shit.

      The idea of a moral sense is a messy philosophical concept

      Not if you ground it with inductive reasoning, it’s not.

      I am satisfied that there is a morality that comes from a higher intelligence than me or from the human species.

      And there is where the problem lies. We can’t tell fact from fiction because we are “satisfied” with something. We can’t tell fact or fiction because something is appealing or “makes sense”. You are left with no way to determine what is true or false other than trying to go back to flawed religious books. I or anyone else doesn’t have that mental shackle. It might not be satisfying, but we are evolved apes. Upright primates, with all the good and the bad that that entails. A lot of things didn’t really make sense to me until I shed my religious blinders and internalized that one fact, then so many things simply made sense. I’m sorry that you’re unsatisfied with reality, the rest of us who are striving to learn about it could care fuck less.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        Please explain it to me. How do the concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, come from evolution? Does evolution become the standard for morality? In other words, is something good because we have evolved to think of it as good?

        • Michael Neville

          Humans are social animals. We evolved morality to help us live in groups. Moral behavior has been observed in other social animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas and wolves.

          While social groups tend to have common moralities, what is or is not moral differs from group to group. Catholic bishops have decided that contraception is immoral, most other people, including much of Catholic laity, have other opinions. Pacifists consider killing to be immoral, soldiers disagree. Intelligent, rational, well-meaning people hold completely different ideas on abortion’s morality.

        • Pofarmer

          It goes back even further than that. Pretty much all mammals exhibit forms of social behavior. It goes waaaayyyyyy back.

        • Pofarmer

          is something good because we have evolved to think of it as good?

          Not the right way to think about it, IMHO. We have lot’s of evolved behaviors, some of which lead us to a near universal belief in dieties, for instance. Does that automatically make these behaviors good? The basics of morality, caring for young, caring for the old, caring for those in our group, being able to understand what others are feeling(empathy) etc, etc, come from very deep in our evolutionary past. If you look at past times, and not that far past, human life was much “cheaper” than it is today. Minor offenses could get you tortured or killed. Floggings and amputations were common punishments. In some places they still are. So, yes, the basics of morality come from our evolutionary background, and then society and human reason add on.

        • Joe

          How do the concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, come from evolution?

          We take evolutionary traits and biases, such as ‘don’t kill another member of you own pack’, add a layer of subjective significance to it in the form of a description, and dub it ‘morality’.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        https://www.amazon.com/Braintrust-Neuroscience-Tells-about-Morality/dp/0691156344

        By the way, if anyone else is tuning in, apparently Patricia Churchland addresses these questions in her book. (No commission for me, obviously). I am going to check it out. Thanks for the source Pofarmer.

    • Subjective morality ends up with (greatly simplifying here) usually one of the following:
      1. Utilitarianism. Does it work?
      2. Kantian-style “universal” ethics. What if everyone acted that way?
      3. Virtue ethics. What does what you do say about the kind of person you are?

      We also have moral programming.

      Saying Jim Crow laws are subjective morality is very close, if not over the line.

      Surely saying that “the Holocaust was wrong” is subjective morality is worse given that thinking. And yet what else could it be?

      We are repulsed by the idea of hurting others who have done us no wrong, as we should be. There is a powerful moral sense, a moral conscience, and that is one doorway to a power greater than oneself

      Right—that’s the moral programming I mentioned.

      I am satisfied that there is a morality that comes from a higher intelligence than me or from the human species.

      I see no evidence for this. I also see no evidence for objective morality. Do you want to provide some? (And be sure to define what you mean by “objective morality” if you do.)

      Secularists pounce on the epistemological problems, but I find what they are left with just as unsatisfying.

      I’m not sure what’s left unexplained by the natural interpretation.

    • Joe

      There is a powerful moral sense, a moral conscience, and that is one doorway to a power greater than oneself — an intelligence outside of human intelligence that includes morality.

      Is that true for all our ‘senses’? Is there a powerful sense of music that makes me appreciate the Beatles?

      • Pofarmer

        Oh, shit, don’t get him started. “Where does the sense of beauty come from?”

        • Joe

          Jesus makes me an ass man, apparently.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        Yes. There is an aesthetic sense, and some poets and philosophers have tied it to epistemology. Truth is beauty, and beauty, truth, as Keats said.

  • Rt1583

    Their god supposedly killed an untold number of people for no other reason than to show just how powerful he was and this is the entity they want to base their objective morality on.
    What kind of lies do people have to tell themselves so that they can no longer see this contradiction?

    • Ficino

      Sophisticated apologists explain away much of the “history” in the OT by allegorizing or metaphorizing or playing other genre games. If they don’t, they have to go along with WLC’s whitewashing of genocide. And some are gleeful to do just that, though I suspect they keep their glee under wraps much of the time. Doesn’t Aquinas teach that the saints will rejoice over the eternal torment of the wicked?

      • TheNuszAbides

        i think he took Tertullian’s word for it. (or i’m forgetting some bit or other of Revelation.)

  • We can define morality in an objective way, though it might not totally fit our commonplaces.

    • Laniakea

      “We can define morality in an objective way”
      Who is “We”? Or do you rather mean that YOU can define morality in an objective way? If so, go ahead please.

      • Can you get him to give the objectively correct answer to some of the moral conundrums within Western society today? Maybe abortion, for example. I’d like to see that.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          My first encounter with Kir was when he criticized a patheos blogger (on the then atheist channel) for calling slavery evil.

          If I remember correctly, he made a rather immense fuss that without objective morality, calling slavery evil was just an opinion.

        • Sounds like the Christian book I recently finished. Much huffing and puffing on some apologetic issue or another, but he’s heading down the wrong road. I expect to have the first post in a series out tomorrow.

        • Susan

          he made a rather immense fuss

          Not our Kir!

          that without objective morality, calling slavery evii was just an opinion

          Well, that’s a stumper.

        • MR

          Not our Kir!

          Please don’t make that claim.

    • Laniakea

      OK, Bob…Kir, tell me: is abortion right or wrong based on “objective morality”? And don’t forget to provide a proper definition of “objective morality”, thx.

      • Did you forget that you already responded to this post? In any case, I said that we could, not that I have written a detailed thesis on a specific definition.

        • MNb

          Yeah, and I can win a Gold Medal at the Olympics. I don’t tell you though how I would do it.

  • Laniakea

    Ok, I have to admit that I have never really understood the Christian line of thinking when it comes to “objective morality”, but maybe it’s just my cracked logic here:

    According to Christians our morals come from their (of course!) god…
    God is a conscious being that possesses a mind…
    If God is a conscious being that possesses a mind and our morals come from this very god, these morals must be subjective…
    If morality were objective, where does this god – this subjective mind – have his/her/its morals from, or better say: WHO sets this morally objective standard if it cannot be God?

    • MNb

      This never becomes clearer than with WL Craig defending the Canaanite genocide.

  • Dan Davis

    What a waste of intellectual time to even consider Christian apologetics

    • Michael Neville

      Ordinarily I would agree with you. Do I know or care about the subtleties of Jainism or Shinto? No, because they don’t affect me. However Christianity does.

      When Senator Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Science and Technology Committee, dismisses climate change because “God promises us he wouldn’t use weather to punish humans”, then we’re affected by Christianity (or one influential person’s narrow interpretation of it). When Catholic bishops refuse to allow contraceptive or abortion services at the hospitals they control, that affects people. When a dominionist is going to become Secretary of Education with intent to gut the public education system, that affects us.

      So talking and debating Christian apologetics is something worthwhile doing in hopes that we can make Christianity more humanistic.

    • I sympathize with your position, but it’s like saying, “It’s a waste of intellectual time to consider German skinheads.” Perhaps their position is ridiculous, but if they’re a force within society, you may want to engage with their arguments. True, their arguments may be accepted on emotional rather than intellectual reasons, but your message may resonate with some.

      • Dan Davis

        Point well taken. Without such dialog our thoughts are lost

  • Mybrid Wonderful

    Objective morality stems from a cultural universal: the golden rule. Do unto others as you would do unto you projects a single, personal moral system onto all others. The mean trick is to convince enough other people to subvert their morals for your morals. Get enough people to do this you get a cult. Do it long enough you get a religion.

    As Christopher Hitchens pointed out, religion is our worst first attempt at morality. It is time to group up and move on. The evil golden rule needs to be replaced with the information rule of the information age: treat others as they are, not as you are. The information rule has reciprocity built into it. The golden rule not so much.

    All religions based upon the golden rule have run their course. Time to move on.

    • “Religion is the diaper of humanity’s childhood; it’s OK to grow out of it.”
      –PZ Myers

  • Sophia Sadek

    There actually were Germans who considered euthanizing Jews as a more humane end for them than allowing them to starve to death. The Nazis considered life as a Jew, a Gypsy, a socialist, a communist, a mental patient as life not worth living.

  • J.C. Samuelson

    Values are at the heart of moral arithmetic. This is why I personally can’t accept any accounts of morality alleging objective, absolute, or fixed formulae. For one thing, these would seem to require a level of consistency I don’t think exists. At least not among the moral agents we currently have access to – namely, us.

    I agree with you regarding the problems with Keller’s, Wallace’s, and Craig’s ideas, but the concept of moral programming doesn’t solve the problem either, even if it is secular in character. On this view, human beings still must occupy a special place; set apart from other living things by virtue of our moral programming. You’ve removed gods from the equation by excluding mention of any, but how is this substantively different from religious claims that human beings have an innate moral sense as created beings?

    • adam

      “but how is this substantively different from religious claims that human beings have an innate moral sense as created beings?”

      One relies on nature and natural processes the other on MAGIC….

      • J.C. Samuelson

        Yes, that’s what we usually say, but what processes? Is it possible to pin this down without resorting to the often fuzzy logic of evolutionary psychology?

        To be clear, I favor notional claims of a natural, evolutionary origin for our moral impulses. But, I doubt such an origin establishes any objective moral properties we can point to in ourselves or the universe. This is why I think it’s important to be specific in laying the groundwork for progress in secular ethics.

        • adam

          “But, I doubt such an origin establishes any objective moral properties we can point to in ourselves or the universe.”

          Sorry, but I dont see any objective moral properties.

          But there are plenty of example of morality from other animals, demonstrating evolutionary aspect.

        • J.C. Samuelson

          I think we observe the roots of morality in animals, but I’m not entirely convinced they exhibit moral agency, an essential component of morality as we know it. By moral agency I mean (in part) the capacity to evaluate actions and consequences as right or wrong, good or bad.

          Regardless, in the context of the topic at hand, the question of the substantive difference between divine moral programming vs. natural moral programming in terms of the proposed “fixed” aspect of the author’s suggested secular formula remains open for me. To be sure, on a naturalistic view the god hypothesis is superfluous, but in seeking to establish a fixed reference point Mr. Seidensticker seems to follow a similar logical path, just without the word god in it.

        • Pofarmer

          The point is rather that if you insert god in it, there still is no fixed reference point.

        • J.C. Samuelson

          Ah, thank you! I assumed it was a claim rather than an illustration. I see now what he’s getting at.

        • adam

          “I think we observe the roots of morality in animals,”

          But we actually OBSERVE morality in animals
          http://www.bing.com/search?q=morality%20in%20animals&pc=cosp&ptag=C1N13ABE91C7D8F5&form=CONBDF&conlogo=CT3210127

          ” but I’m not entirely convinced they exhibit moral agency,”
          Humans dont exhibit moral agency.
          Like animals they have an agency detection system evolved to assist survival.

          ” an essential component of morality as we know it.”
          Nope
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          “By moral agency I mean (in part) the capacity to evaluate actions and consequences as right or wrong, good or bad.”
          And the difference between human and animals on this subject?

          ” just without the word god in it.”
          Gods are no needed

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/28414790a84be24ee9587a4a3584aaf3512844018fa5c6dfac75cd4a4ddd76be.jpg

        • J.C. Samuelson

          We’re talking past each other, and I don’t know what point you mean to make by posting those images but they have nothing to do with me or this subject. I’ll take a crack at a brief explanation tomorrow.

        • J.C. Samuelson

          To keep this simple, I’m going to summarize as much as possible.

          Agency: “In very general terms, an agent is a being with the capacity to act, and ‘agency’ denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity.”

          Moral agency: A manifestation of agency in which an agent (see above) can be held morally accountable for actions and their consequences. See: Moral responsibility. Also useful: Prolegomena to any future artificial moral agent, which contains an interesting (in my opinion) discussion of Kant & Mill (pullquote: “an action cannot be morally good unless the agent in fact reasoned in certain fairly complex ways.”).

          The Definition of Morality is by no means settled, but I think researchers into animal morality, such as Frans de Waal and Mark Rowland, lean toward descriptive definitions.

          The descriptive use of “morality” is the one used by anthropologists when they report on the morality of the societies that they study. Recently, some comparative and evolutionary psychologists (Haidt 2006; Hauser 2006; De Waal 1996) have taken morality, or a close anticipation of it, to be present among groups of non-human animals: primarily, but not exclusively, other primates.

          Not being an expert and again trying to keep the explanation simple, I’ll close with a quote from de Waal re: animals exhibiting the precursors of human morality:

          I believe there’s an evolved morality. I think morality is much more than what I’ve been talking about, but it would be impossible without these ingredients that we find in other primates, which are empathy and consolation, pro-social tendencies and reciprocity and a sense of fairness. (Source)

        • Pofarmer

          Would you just say whatever the hell you’re trying to say?

        • J.C. Samuelson

          I already did, and you answered my original question. But the convo continued w/adam. He clearly did not understand my meaning re: agency, etc., ergo a comment w/links & definitions. Maybe it wasn’t clear, but that’s all it was. My position with regard to adam’s assertion concerning animal morality is simple: I don’t think animals have morality on par w/human ethical systems. Adam seems to disagree. Nothing more.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think animals have morality on par w/human ethical systems.

          This would seem to go without saying, and I wouldn’t read things into adam’s comments that aren’t there. Nobody is arguing that animal “morality” is identical to human “morality”.

        • J.C. Samuelson

          Fair enough. It seemed there was some disconnect between us since he asserted the presence of morality in other animals twice, despite my having stated that “we observe the roots of morality in animals,” and his apparent misapprehension of the concept of agency. I do tend to overthink things, however, so I’ll concede I may have come across as needlessly pedantic.

        • adam

          “Maybe it wasn’t clear, but that’s all it was.”

          Yes, it wasnt clear, I assumed the agency you were talking about was God, but obviously not.

          “Moral agency: A manifestation of agency in which an agent (see above)
          can be held morally accountable for actions and their consequences.”

          ” I don’t think animals have morality on par w/human ethical systems. Adam seems to disagree. ”

          Of course, look at some human ethical systems:

          Cannibals

          Primitive tribes that live in very similar environments as animals and work in much the same ways.

          Looks at religious fundamentalists who act out for their imaginary god leader in similar fashion to animals acting out for their ‘tribal’ leader.

          Look at how hive insect mimic city lives, with a morality of cooperation in building housing, farming and scavaging for food and defense of the homeland.

    • I don’t see the special place for humans. We have morality just like other great apes do. We have taken the golden rule far beyond what chimpanzees can do, but then we’ve taken anger and revenge far beyond as well.

      Humans are tops in some kinds of cognition, but lots of other categories have animals at the top–able to swim fastest or dive deepest, able to withstand cold or hot environments, most visual acuity, sonar, and so on.

      • J.C. Samuelson

        Thanks for the reply. I mistakenly assumed you were making a claim for a fixed morality in an attempt to establish a secular model of objective morality, which would – I think – mean humans had to occupy a special place. But, it turns out I agree with you. 🙂

  • scdorman

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

    I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with (1). You certainly disagree with (2). As you say, “A far more plausible explanation is morality as a combination of a fixed part (moral programming that we all pretty much share since we’re the same species) and a variable part (social mores)This explains morality completely without an appeal to the supernatural.” In response,

    1. In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong. Similarly, most people believe there are objectively existing physical objects. To think that our moral beliefs are all false would take some powerful evidence. Why? Because it would go against our normal experience. Likewise, if you told me my belief about an objectively existing object, like my monitor, was false, then I would want evidence.

    2. If our moral beliefs are a product of social and biological (programming) conditioning, then does that show (2) is false? Well, not necessarily. As Craig has pointed out, if “…our moral beliefs have been instilled in us through socio-biological pressures, those beliefs are false and so objective moral values and duties do not exist. So construed, the objection is a textbook example of the genetic fallacy…”

    3. If you think naturalism is true, then you have bigger problems because of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which makes it difficult to justify any of your beliefs.

    4. A disagreement over what is good, evil, right or wrong does not necessarily mean that (2) is false. People still disagree about what some physical objects are, but that doesn’t mean that that thing doesn’t exist. Likewise, the same could be said of objective moral values and duties. I do think that objective moral truth is accessible, but on some issues it might take a while to discover what the truth is. This applies to the truth of physical objects around us as well. In other words, “As Sorley emphasized, there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. In the absence of some defeater, we rationally trust our perceptions, whether sensory or moral.”

    5. In short, I agree with Craig that, “Actions like rape, torture, child abuse, and brutality aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re moral abominations. By the same token, love, generosity, equality, and self-sacrifice are really good. People who fail to see this are just morally handicapped, and there is no reason to allow their impaired vision to call into question what we see clearly.”

    • adam

      “1. In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong. ”

      And yet they dont agree on what it is, so it is not objective.

      “2. If our moral beliefs are a product of social and biological
      (programming) conditioning, then does that show (2) is false? Well, not
      necessarily.”

      AS it does not show that 2 is true.

      “3. If you think naturalism is true, then you have bigger problems
      because of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which makes it
      difficult to justify any of your beliefs.”

      There is no evolutionary argument against naturalism, evolution is naturalism.

      “People still disagree about what some physical objects are, but that doesn’t mean that that thing doesn’t exist.”

      So what? That doesnt indicate that IMAGINARY objects exist as real.

      “5. In short, I agree with Craig that, “Actions like rape, torture, child
      abuse, and brutality aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re
      moral abominations. ”

      Then why is God good with these?

      ““These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused
      the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are
      the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill
      all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the
      young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

      Clearly Moses and God approves of rape of virgins.”

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64635b0f247a44ac0db2c0b6003572c26a0ddfeda0e0e1a2235a1d5f7e4f5017.jpg

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/58284172bed91766ea813847aefa757801173e0058c0ff455eb45c2129542a7f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

      • scdorman

        1. Disagreement does not prove that there are no objective moral values or duties. In fact,“…any argument for moral skepticism from moral disagreement must show that moral disagreements are unresolvable on every issue.”

        2. I agree.

        3. Not sure what you mean here.

        4. Your right, but it shows that we shouldn’t be any more skeptical of our moral beliefs, then we are of our beliefs about the physical world around us.

        5. One, this really doesn’t affect the argument. It is just an attack on the Christian God. The God of the argument could obviously not be the Christian God. Two, it might be that all scripture is not inerrant as some think, particularly with the passages you mention. Three, even if, all scripture is without error how can you say that God, who is the good and cannot do anything evil, did something evil in these passages. It would be logical impossible for him to do such a thing. That would mean God did do something good in these passages it’s just we might not know the full context to see why it was good. Although, in many cases I think you can find a possible answer if you search for it. lastly, to really convict the Christian God of doing something evil you would have to show that an objective moral law existed, that it was not part of God at all, and had a law that showed the Christians God’s action to be evil. Of course, if you believe morality is subjective, then you can claim God is evil til your blue in the face, but its not going to get you anywhere.

        • adam

          “1. Disagreement does not prove that there are no objective moral values or duties.”

          It certainly demonstrates that the values are not objective.

          “3. Not sure what you mean here.”

          Evolution is naturalism?

          “Three, even if, all scripture is without error how can you say that God,who is the good and cannot do anything evil, did something evil in these passages. ”

          From the definition of evil

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fef3e09d4fced201880c6048e47897bc3461d04f1c5de54936408c4560c105b.jpg

          And of course for all the Abrahamic ‘faiths’ that use Isaiah.

          “That would mean God did do something good in these passages it’s just we might not know the full context to see why it was good.”

          Then by the same token, you can’t say either God is good or that the context was good.

          But if you think eternal torture for temporal ‘sin’ is good, then perhaps it is you that have issues?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6edead041781202f80c75d015d387e6cc53a861b9cb5dd846e0f4dd40a5805a.jpg

          ” had a law that showed the Christian God’s action to be evil.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/98265d38f8c9a73888180e83402d04fd1421c4b8f148d83327738ec63e349f62.jpg

          ” Of course, if you believe morality is subjective, then you can claim
          God is evil til your blue in the face, but its not going to get you
          anywhere.”

          Just like claiming God is real does you.

        • scdorman

          1. You are just asserting this without evidence.

          3. If you mean that evolution = naturalism necessarily, then I would disagree. God could exist with evolution.

          Isaiah 45:7 – “The Hebrew word for “evil” (translated “disaster”) represents natural calamity as well as moral evil. God, in his perfection, does nothing morally evil. but, since all events are subject to his control, He is ultimately responsible for all events in history and nature. Moral evil derives from the choices of human beings and angels.”

          Hell – The same way I do not feel sorry for the criminals (that choose it) in jail is how I feel about the people in hell. Also, “…only eternal punishment will suffice for sins against an eternal God. Though the sins may have been committed in time, they were against the Eternal One… …Furthermore, God’s only alternative to eternal punishment is worse, namely, to rob man of his freedom and dignity by either (1) forcing him into heaven against his free choice, which would be “hell” for him since he doesn’t fit where everyone is loving and praising the Person he wants most to avoid, or (2) annihilating His own image within His creature, which would be an attack of God on himself… …Finally, if Christ’s temporal punishment is sufficient for our sins eternally, there is no reason why eternal suffering cannot be appropriate for our temporal sins. It is not the duration of the action but the object that is important.”

          The law – 1. You haven’t shown the nature of this law. 2. Jealousy, “in Exodus 20:5 to describe God is different from how it is used to describe the sin of jealousy (Galatians 5:20).” https://www.gotquestions.org/jealous-God.html
          I know it references a different verse in exodus, but the same explanation would apply to it as well.

          Lastly, another assertion without evidence. Or with evidence that I disagree with.

        • adam

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6edead041781202f80c75d015d387e6cc53a861b9cb5dd846e0f4dd40a5805a.jpg

          “1. You are just asserting this without evidence.”

          So is owning another person moral?
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc08e92607fbb10ca5d9fec66168d9bf582a2748fa716fdb4283c37e046c25e1.jpg

          “3. If you mean that evolution = naturalism necessarily, then I would disagree. God could exist with evolution.”

          How so?
          You havent demonstrated that God is anything but IMAGINARY>

          “Isaiah 45:7 – “The Hebrew word for “evil” (translated “disaster”) represents natural calamity as well as moral evil. ”

          As if that makes a difference

          Definition of calamity Merriam Webster

          1 : a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss

          2 : a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering

          “God, in his perfection, does nothing morally evil.”

          But that character God in the bible certainly does.

          From punishing Adam and Eve for their ignorance and innocence, remember they were so ignorant they didnt even know that they were naked.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad9800ce923b31295afed0a2d2a97d756340d851163d91fe88dc7cbe5bcb82af.jpg

          So after Adam eats the magic fruit.

          Bible God punishes EVERY innocent person born to them for their ignorance.

          Starting humanity with incest

          Letting humanity rise, only to get pissed off and mass murder everybody, except for a drunkard and his family) and almost every animal as well.

          Only to restart humanity with incest again.

          And then again HELL.

          “.only eternal punishment will suffice for sins against an eternal God. Though the sins may have been committed in time, they were against the Eternal One… ”

          But NOT BY AN ETERNAL ONE.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6edead041781202f80c75d015d387e6cc53a861b9cb5dd846e0f4dd40a5805a.jpg

          And AGAIN, you’ve not demonstrated that YOUR God is anything but IMAGINARY.

        • adam

          ” (1) forcing him into heaven against his free choice, which would be
          “hell” for him since he doesn’t fit where everyone is loving and
          praising the Person he wants most to avoid, or (2) annihilating His own
          image within His creature, which would be an attack of God on himself…
          ..”

          Such a SMALL weak minded God.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4e3bbea2d1e4d81dbd3798980be2ee8b39f893fee5d1d2b81b76b5e7ba184e1.jpg

          He could just FORGIVE.
          But that would be an act of kindness.
          Torturing for ETERNITY, now THAT is truly Godly.

          1) What ‘free choice’, if a God chooses to remain hidden…..
          I mean do YOU have a choice to believe in Flying Pink Invisible Unicorns that fart rainbow glitter? I mean REALLY?
          Or would you need to see enough EVIDENCE to actually make a choice?

          2) ” annihilating His own image within His creature, which would be an attack of God on himself”

          Is YOUR God have that fragile of an EGO?

          “Finally, if Christ’s temporal punishment is sufficient for our sins
          eternally, there is no reason why eternal suffering cannot be
          appropriate for our temporal sins.”

          What ‘sins eternally’, you have not demonstrated that that is not IMAGINARY as well.

        • BlackMamba44

          Hell – The same way I do not feel sorry for the criminals (that choose it) in jail is how I feel about the people in hell.

          According to your precious holy book, I’ll be going to hell because I “choose” to not believe in YahwehJesus. You think I deserve the same punishment as a murderer? A rapist? I don’t. I guess that means my moral values are not the same as yours. Hence, subjective.

          2. Jealousy, “in Exodus 20:5 to describe God is different from how it is used to describe the sin of jealousy

          Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (he’s talking about bowing down and serving other gods. That makes him jealous – same ).

          Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

          Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

          Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

          Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

          Jealous:

          feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages:
          “he grew jealous of her success”
          synonyms: envious · covetous · desirous · resentful · grudging · [more]

          feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship:
          “a jealous boyfriend”
          synonyms: suspicious · distrustful · mistrustful · doubting · [more]
          fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions:

          “Howard is still a little jealous of his authority” · [more]
          synonyms: protective · vigilant · watchful · heedful · mindful · [more]

          (of God) demanding faithfulness and exclusive worship.

          EDIT: to fix typos

        • Pofarmer

          Moral evil derives from the choices of human beings and angels.”

          So there is evil in heaven then?

        • Pofarmer

          Though the sins may have been committed in time, they were against the Eternal One…

          do you understand how utterly silly this sounds to someone who is not in the cult? The all powerful, all knowing, all loving all eternal creator of the Universe and all time and space itself, is gonna be butthurt because of what a finite being living on a speck of dust in a nearly endless Universe decides about it? C’mon man. It’s just stupid on stilts. …

        • adam

          “It’s just stupid on stilts. …”

          Worse than that it is just plain CRUEL.

          Just like:https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cc237be5ddc93f7585625b2a21b18651052707be1c85856d76c2e70b64c966eb.jpg

        • Pofarmer

          …any argument for moral skepticism from moral disagreement must show that moral disagreements are unresolvable on every issue.”

          What?

        • scdorman

          Yes, disagreement alone does not disprove (2). Unless there is disagreement on every issue. the qoute is from here.
          https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism-moral/

        • adam

          ” Unless there is disagreement on every issue.”

          So are there any issues where there is complete agreement?

        • scdorman

          I think raping a child for fun has complete agreement. Again, if people are in their right mind and can talk about it reasonably. No one is going to believe the guy who is standing in front of the statue of liberty just shouting that it doesn’t exist. That guy is clearly not in his right mind. People that are can clearly see it. Same with, at least some, objective moral values and duties.

        • adam

          “I think raping a child for fun has complete agreement. ”

          Obviously NOT with those who rape children for fun.

          “People that are can clearly see it. Same with, at least some, objective moral values and duties.”

          So SOME PEOPLE, again NOT ALL.

          Sorry, but I dont believe that you’ve demonstrated that ‘objective moral values and duties’ exist.

        • Michael Neville

          The Catholic Church has no problem with their employees raping children for grins and giggles. The bishops go out of their way to support and protect child rapists so child rape isn’t objectively immoral.

        • adam
        • J.C. Samuelson

          Reply to your first comment:

          1. First, you make a category error. Values are abstractions, not physical objects. Second, the claim “objective morality doesn’t exist” is very different from a claim that “moral beliefs are all false,” the latter not being a claim the author seems to make. Also, read up on objectivity and subjectivity.

          2. The quote you provide lacks critical context and doesn’t support your argument. Craig here is arguing against a “claim that moral values and duties are illusions,” which again, is not a claim the author here is making, and is not the same as a claim that morality is subjective. Let me reiterate: read up on objectivity and subjectivity.

          3. I assume you refer to Plantinga’s EAAN. First, as Ruse observes, Plantinga’s argument cuts both ways and casts doubt on all beliefs – including those referencing the supernatural or divine – since our cognitive faculties actually are observably unreliable. Second, the substance of his argument presents less of a problem for naturalists than he supposes. After all, most naturalists are very much aware of human cognitive limitations, and work to ameliorate this by collecting, analyzing, and presenting evidence in support of their beliefs. Those beliefs may still be wrong, but they are presumably less wrong than beliefs constructed out of whole cloth. There are more (and better informed) rebuttals of his argument. I encourage you to read them.

          4. You say you believe objective moral truth is accessible. Please propose a means of doing so. And Sorley is wrong. Reification is fallacious.

          5. Craig subscribes to divine command theory, and only objects to those things as “moral abominations” in the context of human behavior. Should his god order them (as happens in the Bible), those orders must be moral and are to be obeyed. Hence, Craig unwittingly capitulates to subjectivism by imputing moral judgment to another being (his god) who, if it exists, has a superior perspective to ours.

          Reply to this follow-up w/adam:

          1. In the same vein as your original comment, you refer to a position not being argued for here. Moral skepticism has nothing to do with objectivity or subjectivity. Rather, moral skepticism has to do with whether morality can be known or not, thereby casting doubt on both the truthfulness and falsity of moral claims (non-cognitivist), or alternatively that all moral claims are false (cognitivist). It is opposed to moral realism, which is really the issue here in that moral realists disagree over the source or origin of morality, not generally whether moral claims are truth-apt or not (though that too can happen).

          Summary: Study more. Don’t parrot WLC.

    • Greg G.

      What do you mean by “objective” regarding morality? Do you mean “absolute”?

      1) Not all people believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong. Most any act could be considered wrong in one situation but right in another, or wrong by Group A but right by Group B.

      2) How would we know that evolutionary pressures would be aligned with objective morality? Why would the evolutionary pressures on a social species be more moral than the evolutionary pressures on a non-social species? Are the evolutionary pressures on an omnivore species apt to be more moral than the pressures on a herbivore species? It seems to me that the evolutionary pressures on a herbivore species that does not compete for mates would be more likely to be directed toward an objective morality than other types of species, but that is just me. For all we know, objective morality might be whoever has the most things when he dies, wins and that killing and robbing others in this pursuit is moral.

      3) Oh, look what creationism does to a brain.

      4) A god could lie. How would you know?

      5) I agree that those bad things are bad and good things are good. But some people enjoy raping and torturing people. Those people should be kept away from people who do not like to be brutalized. But your argument becomes circular. You can’t show that those people are wrong without God but your argument is supposed to be trying to prove God exists.

      But you do not need God to solve the dilemma. We can subjectively work out a system of give and take where people have freedom with limits on how that might affect others negatively.

      • scdorman

        I mean, “…that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.”

        1.You are correct and what is right or wrong in a situation tends to be very context specific. I think we agree here.

        2.Well it could be possible to know this if God existed.If not, then I think it is, “fantastically improbable that just that sort of creature would emerge from the blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values.” So, in some cases, I think it would be really hard to know. So, I think we agree here on some things.

        3. I’m going to need evidence that this is true, not just an assertion.

        4. A god could lie. The Christian God cannot. Titus 1:2

        5. in the beginning, you seem to agree with (2). “You can’t show that those people are wrong without God” I agree. “…but your argument is supposed to be trying to prove God exists.” Yes it is. How does this show the argument to be circular? As far as your comment about subjectivity, this would make morals subjective. It would lead to a type of herd mentality. You could not affirm that anything is objectively good or bad. Although, i’m not sure that that is what you really want it to be.

        • Greg G.

          I mean, “…that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.”

          What about Vulcans, Romulans, or the Greek Pantheon of Gods? In a universe with nothing but stars and rocks, or simply plasma, is there good or evil independent of any life forms? Is it evil to kill in a universe with immortal beings?

          If it is to be objective, it cannot be subject to the whims of what a god decides.

          2) A social species with a robust memory system is likely to develop cooperation between group members as each could recall past behavior of others and be able to anticipate future behavior. Whatever the cooperation is, the species would consider it the moral values. Our basic morality just happens to be what our gods think is moral. What are the chances?

          3) Consider the scientific, technological, and medical advances when supernaturalism ago was discarded a few centuries in those fields.

          4) Non-existant gods cannot lie. The god of the Bible can lie. 1 Kings 22:22, 2 Chronicles 18:21.

          5) Distractions. Had to rush to finish and lost focus.

    • MNb

      1. “In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong.”
      In general people do not care at all if good, evil, right and wrong are objective or not – they never gave it a thought.

      2. Not the point. The point is that as always the natural explanation is superior to the supernatural one.

      3. The evolutionary argument against naturalism is based on an imaginary contradiction (science and naturalism recognizes its own imperfection) plus usually (and certainly in the case of Plantinga) displays a lack of understanding of Evolution Theory. That’s not surprising, because Plantinga is a crypto-creationist, while Craig has an unhealthy sympathy for that creationist organization Discovery Institute, aka the IDiots from Seattle.

      4. “I do think that objective moral truth is accessible.”
      Please explain your method.

      5. Do you also agree with WLC that those actions are fine when commanded by the supposed source of morality? As long as WLC at one hand claims that genocide is objectively evil and at the other hand argues that the Canaanite genocide was not evil I simply don’t buy it.

      • scdorman

        1. I think this is false. I think people care deeply about it, especially so when they are being robbed and want justice.

        2. This is not necessarily true. You have to look at the evidence of each case individually. If you think this is true because you think naturalism is true, then defend naturalism first.

        3. Imaginary contradiction… how so?

        4. moral experience.

        5. If the source (goodness itself) commanded those things then they would necessarily have to be good. Goodness could not do anything that wasn’t good. So, yes if God did or commanded these things then yes it would have to be a good thing. If he commanded some to do the opposite of these things that to would have to be good. People should research each troublesome passage in the bible, to get at what the original meaning was before jumping to conclusions. I’m not committed to biblical inerrancy either. Also, this doesn’t really affect the moral argument, just the Christian as being the source of goodness.

        • adam

          “1. I think this is false. I think people care deeply about it, especially so when they are being robbed and want justice.”

          No, those people care about justice, not anything absolute.
          Because 1 might think they want the robber killed, and another might think the robber is starving and has no alternative.

          “2. This is not necessarily true. You have to look at the evidence of each case individually.”

          in EVERY case, NEVER has the answer been MAGIC.

          “4. moral experience.”

          SUBJECTIVE experience, not objective.

          ” If the source (goodness itself) commanded those things then they would necessarily have to be good.”

          IF

          Now demonstrate that the source is goodness itself.

          ” So, yes if God did or commanded these things then yes it would have to be a good thing.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

          Kill Witches

          You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

          Kill Homosexuals

          “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

          Kill Fortunetellers

          A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

          Death for Hitting Dad

          Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

          Death for Cursing Parents

          1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

          2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba6ff62b4fa3a9d09e8e938168bca0a7c17e25df5c4ca0e31fb227ca52d5abef.jpg

        • MNb

          1. Evidence required, in the form of a global inquiry. Remark: people do care about morals, especially when they are being robbed and want justice, but don’t give the question whether they are objective or subjective even one single thought. They just want justice and hence don’t have time for it.

          2. “You have to look at the evidence of each case individually.”
          Evidence by definition comes from our natural reality and hence can only back up natural explanations.

          3. “How so?”
          I already told you: science and naturalism recognizes its own imperfection. For further discussion I refer you to the article BobS has written about EAAN. It belongs there.

          4. Moral experience is subjective. Mine differs from yours and they both differ from the Mongols under the leadership of Dzhengis Khan. So that doesn’t work.

          5. Thanks for confirming that according to your view genocide is evil unless commanded by the source of goodness, ie your god, it/him/herself. That’s the very definition of subjective.

    • Pofarmer

      I’m not sure that you could prove either 1 or 2.

      • scdorman

        I believe I can. At least, show that the premises are more reasonable than not.
        http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-moral-argument

        • Susan

          I believe I can.

          Then, go ahead.

          At least, show that the premises are more reasonable than not.

          That is not the same thing and so not much use in a deductive argument.

          But if you think you can do that, go ahead.

          Craig does neither so I wouldn’t bother linking to him.

        • scdorman

          Well, the defense I would give is the one Craig gives. So, yeah. Although, you have not shown that defense false yet. you have just asserted it.

        • adam

          “Well, the defense I would give is the one Craig gives.”

          So give us his idiot version.

        • scdorman

          Well here is a quick defense of it in a short video. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-moral-argument

        • adam

          My computer has no sound.

          So it doesnt do me any good.

          Why not make YOUR defense?

          Sorry, it has transcript.

        • scdorman

          I’m working on one. However, it is going to be similar to Craig’s defense. Until I think that his defense, of the argument, is bad is some way why change it.

        • adam

          Craig’s defense is HORRIBLE.

          I certainly hope you have something better.

        • scdorman

          Why is his defense horrible?

        • adam

          From your link:

          “And here’s why.

          Without some objective reference point, we have no way of saying that something is really up or down. God’s nature provides an objective reference point for moral values – it’s the standard against which all actions and decisions are measured.”

          We have a problem already

          God either doesnt provide an objective reference or only the most vile support such references:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

        • scdorman

          God (MGB) could provide an objective reference point and it would make the most sense if (2) is true that they exist in God’s nature and commands. This does not necessarily mean God is the Christian God. Although, I think He is.

        • adam

          “if (2) is true that they exist in God’s nature and commands.”

          No if God is not IMAGINARY, but you’ve not demonstrated that yet.

          But aside, do you follow this morality?

          The vast majority actually has better morals than your ‘God’.

        • scdorman

          The moral argument is meant to demonstrate God’s existence. I’m trying to prove God’s existence right now. (1) is just a what if scenario. Hey, if objective moral values and duties did exist wouldn’t you think they would exist in a God (MGB). Then the argument is made that they do. I try to follow it yes, buy nobody is perfect, except Jesus of course.

        • Michael Neville

          According to the propaganda Jesus wasn’t perfect. Cursing a fig tree for not bearing out of of season is not perfection, it’s immature bullying of a non-sentient plant.

        • al kimeea

          well I hope you don’t beat your slaves too badly because that would upset Jesus as he was perfectly OK with slavery

        • adam

          “The moral argument is meant to demonstrate God’s existence.”

          What that HUMANS have better MORALITY than God?

          That makes humans SUPERIOR to God, which is what I claim.

          “Hey, if objective moral values and duties did exist wouldn’t you think they would exist in a God (MGB). ”

          No, why would I without the presupposition of such a God.

          Besides you havent demonstrated ‘objective moral values or duties.

          “Then the argument is made that they do.”

          Dishonestly of course.

          “I try to follow it yes, buy nobody is perfect, except Jesus of course.”

          Obviously Jesus wasnt perfect either,
          His plan was a complete failure and he died begging ‘himself’ wondering why he abandoned ‘himself’

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0be92f2734cba2290edbb30769294fb98e7beb4d2c306f48755c4cb99eb13bd.jpg

          Besides Jesus’s morality was HORRIBLE

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fcc63ae6f878d4c67a3a7ad9c7d3dca072e4673573489c205ded5b6baa6f531e.jpg

        • BlackMamba44

          Big failure!

          Matthew 16:27-28 (KJV)

          27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

          28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

        • BlackMamba44

          I try to follow it yes, buy nobody is perfect, except Jesus of course

          Luke 14:26 (KJV)

          26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

        • MNb

          If your god provides an objective reference point you’re back at the Eutyphro Dilemma, which you called a false one. If that reference point is part of god’s nature, as you claimed, that reference point has ceased to be objective, because it has turned your god into a subject.

        • al kimeea

          no! really?

        • Philmonomer

          Craig says:

          See, here’s the problem: If there is no God, what basis remains for objective good or bad, right or wrong? If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist

          Craig introduces the word “objective” here without explaining what it means. In this regard, I don’t understand what it means.

          So he has to 1) explain what he means by “objective” good and bad and 2) demonstrate that it exists.

        • scdorman

          He has in his book, Reasonable Faith. Objective Moral Values “…is to say that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.” I would also add that this would apply to any conscious life.

          (2) is self-evident. We know it is true from our moral experience. Craig says, “I take it that in moral experience we do apprehend a realm of objective moral values and duties, just as in sensory experience we apprehend a realm of objectively existing physical objects.”

        • adam
        • scdorman

          It is objective, in the sense that, this command makes it wrong for the people it was meant for to violate. This would be true no matter what anyone thinks.

        • adam

          “this command makes it wrong for the people it was meant for to violate.”

          So it is SUBJECTIVE.

        • MR

          for the people it was meant

          So good “for the people it was meant” is not the same as good for God.

          So good does not equal good.

          You keep smokin’ what you’re smokin’.

        • scdorman

          “So good “for the people it was meant” is not the same as good for God.”

          Yes, what is your point? What is right for me could be different for you. It can be highly contextual.

        • MNb

          How do you decide that the context of the Holocaust doesn’t justify it, but the context of the Canaanite Genocide does? Let me guess – because WLC’s god commanded it. If that weren’t the case WLC would contradict his own Divine Command Theory.

        • scdorman

          Well context is key. It could be the case that by allowing certain evils that they prevent greater evils or allow for greater goods.

        • MNb

          Ah – your god is a utilitarian.
          Of course Hitler and co argued that committing the Holocaust prevented greater evils and allowed for greater goods.
          So you have failed to answer the question.

        • al kimeea

          and with Gott mit uns

        • Right, and with this argument, you have defeated the claim, “I have proven your god doesn’t exist.”

          But no one was making that claim. MNb can speak for himself, but my response would be that the lack of any evidence that God stopped bad things in the world (and plenty of eyebrow-raising things that, in your worldview, he allowed to happen–Holocaust, Banda Ache, etc.) makes me think that God likely doesn’t exist. That’s the claim you must rebut.

        • scdorman

          Yes, I have written a note on the problem of evil on my Facebook. It is public, so I guess you should be able to read it. It address this issue. Here is the link,

          https://www.facebook.com/notes/steven-dorman/the-problem-of-evil/343941239320999

        • I read it. It has the usual errors that I see on this subject, I’m afraid.

          You defeat the claim, “the problem of evil proves no God.” I’ve never seen an apologist who thinks that it does.

          You declare that we can’t know for sure that the Banda Ache or Haiti natural disasters weren’t for the greater good, but it’s inconceivable to me how this could be the case. Did God want to take out a small number of Hitlers-to-be? That would indeed be nice, but why do it in such a clumsy manner? Your position is that God could have had his good reasons. That’s a very slim position on which to stand. Simply following the evidence–does it look like the natural disasters in the world produce more good than bad?–leads us to reject the God hypothesis.

          You mention that natural disasters might help more people find God, but if the Holy Spirit wanted this to happen, he could just do it. Christians say that no one who is led to saving belief deserves it, so some slacker who would’ve gotten a clue after hearing about a natural disaster could’ve simply been given that clue by the HS without the disaster.

        • adam

          “It could be the case that by allowing certain evils that they prevent greater evils or allow for greater goods.”

          And it could just be JUSTIFICATION for those who profit/prophet from the evil for greater goods.

        • MR

          So, good does not equal good.

          So, good is not objective it is subjective.

        • scdorman

          Why would good not be = to good?

        • MR

          When you agree that good “for the people it was meant” (oh the hoops!) and good for God are not the same, then good does not equal good. If good for one is not the same as good for another, then they are not equal.

        • al kimeea

          “for the people it was meant” – isn’t that all the people on the planet, not just those within a coupla thousand miles of the Levant that this all loving and powerful deity only saw fit to give the good news

        • MR

          He’s got to qualify it in order to separate God from people because the rules are different for God. To drop the qualification shines the light too strongly on the weakness in his argument, but including the convoluted qualifications makes him sound like a child caught hiding something and trying very hard not to lie. I particularly like the qualification, “it’s objective in the sense that…,” then you follow that by the gem “for the people it was meant” and suddenly “objective” is getting squeezed out by all these qualifications and isn’t really objective anymore. This is what being sold a bill of goods feels like.

        • Pofarmer

          There’s a pony in there somewhere We Promise!

        • al kimeea

          Sold is a good metaphor. Unfortunately for this guy’s line of reasoning, it paints the LORD as a violent, capricious, bully.

          Nothing worth worshiping.

        • al kimeea

          that’s called being subjective

        • Susan

          This would be true no matter what anyone thinks.

          Except your incoherent, unevidenced deity.

          In which case all bets are off.

          Are you familiar with Euthyphro’s Dilemma?

          What does it mean to be good?

        • adam

          So how many men who have lied with man as one lies with a women, have YOU put to death.

        • adam

          “(2) is self-evident. We know it is true from our moral experience. ”

          Subjective evidence from subjective experiences.

          See how idiot Craig is?

          And how dishonest….

        • scdorman

          The problem is you could say the same about our experience of the physical world. Subjective evidence from subjective experiences. So, why be more skeptical of one and not the other?

        • adam

          “Subjective evidence from subjective experiences.”

          Is 2+2=4 subjective observation?

          Is the way in which your computer works subjective?

          ight, I can use my physical senses to perceive a chair. I can use my physical sense to perceive a “hard” chair. Is the hardness an “objective” true thing about the chair? I can use my physical senses to
          perceive a person. I can use my physical senses to perceive a “tall” person. Is the tallness an “objective” true thing about the person? I can use my physical senses to perceive an action by another. I can use my physical senses to perceive a “bad” action by another. Is the
          badness an “objective” true thing about the action? I’d answer no to all these.

          Philmonomer

        • scdorman

          Is 2+2=4 subjective observation?

          Yes. Everything you experience is through your own lens. And, “Just as it is impossible for us to get outside our sensory input to test its veridicality, so there is no way to test independently the veridicality of our moral perceptions.”

          Is the way in which your computer works subjective?

          Not sure what you mean here. My experience of how a computer works is subjective. Although, we believe that it is an objective fact that the computer works a certain way.

          Tallness would be an objective fact about a person. because if the person really is tall, then that is true no matter what anyone thinks.

        • adam

          “Everything you experience is through your own lens. ”

          Then so is morality

          ” Although, we believe that it is an objective fact that the computer works a certain way.”

          No we dont ‘believe’ that it works in a certain way, we DEMONSTRATE it with FACTS.

          “Tallness would be an objective fact about a person.”

          then you dont understand what objective means
          i.e. a ‘tall’ dwarf

        • MR

          Are you more skeptical of Islam than you are of Christianity? Are you more skeptical of Christianity than you are of Scientology or of every single other religion you don’t believe in? Why?

        • scdorman

          I’m just as skeptical of Christianity as any other religion. I’m not biased towards Christianity.

        • MR

          I don’t believe you, but that’s okay. That was for your contemplation, not mine. Since I have no way to gauge, the point is moot.

        • MNb

          Because a reliable approach to understand the physical world must incorporate such skepticism. Example:

          “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
          Richard Feynman.

          However applying this principle to your argument from morality inevitably makes it fall apart exactly because it only relies on deduction and hence on premises that can be rejected at will. Whatever your premises are, I only have to answer “you’re fooling yourself”. Any attempt of yours to show otherwise will need other premises, to which I answer again that you’re fooling yourself.
          Science however doesn’t work that way because it can compare premises, conclusions and everything in between with inductive results derived from empirical data.

        • Philmonomer

          He has in his book, Reasonable Faith. Objective Moral Values “…is to say that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.” I would also add that this would apply to any conscious life.

          I think this is a meaningless definition. What is an example of a thing that is “good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.” I return to my example of “tall.” Is a person tall “independently of whether any human being believes that person to be so?” I think the question is meaningless.

          (2) is self-evident. We know it is true from our moral experience. Craig says, “I take it that in moral experience we do apprehend a realm of objective moral values and duties, just as in sensory experience we apprehend a realm of objectively existing physical objects.”

          Right, I can use my senses to perceive a chair. I can determine that it is a “hard” chair. Is the hardness an “objective” true thing about the chair? I can use my senses to perceive a person. I can determine that the person is “tall.” Is the tallness an “objective” true thing about the person? I can use my senses to perceive an action by another. I can determine that the action of another is “bad.” Is the badness an “objective” true thing about the action? I’d answer no to all these.

        • MNb

          Tallness becomes an objective true thing as soon as you have provided a standard (eg tall could mean more than 180 cm). As soon as we try to formulate such a standard for morals we are back at the Eutyphro dilemma.

        • Philmonomer

          My point was that you don’t need to define it in order to use it. Indeed, we essentially never define it, yet still use it.

        • Greg G.

          Craig’s definition is question begging by specifying it to be human beings. The definition should include God, if he exists, so that “something is good or evil independent of whether anyone or anything believes it to be so.” If it were not independent of what God believes, then good and evil are meaningless, arbitrary, and subjective.

          If God’s beliefs were according to his nature, then his nature is whatever it happened to turn out to be, which would be arbitrary. If God could change his nature, then his nature is arbitrary as his will. Condemning a created being to hell for being inconsistent with God’s arbitrary nature is absurd.

        • scdorman

          You seem to be referencing the euthphyro dilemma. It is a false dilemma because there is a third option. God’s nature goodness its self and it has been that way necessarily. It could never have not been that way. This doesn’t make goodness arbitrary. Because no one or thing is making up goodness. God’s commands are our duties to fulfill, but they would never violate goodness. So, goodness is not arbitrary or apart from God.

        • Paul B. Lot

          If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re not offering a “third” option – you’re choosing horn #2:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma#The_second_horn

        • scdorman

          When the dilemma is rephrased in a different way then I would say that God’s nature is the good. But again, this doesn’t make goodness arbitrary. Goodness in God has always been what it is necessarily and has not and cannot be changed.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Can “God” act against it’s own nature?

          No, nothing can.

          Therefore, whatever “God” wills, it so-wills because that which it wills is in accordance with its own nature.

          Therefore the question:
          “is what ‘God’ commands good because ‘God’ wills it?”
          can just as easily be rephrased:
          “is what ‘God’ commands good because it accords with ‘God’s’ nature?”

          Positing a one-ness between “good” and “God’s nature” doesn’t get you away from the dilemma. The act of so-positing is the act of choosing horn #2.

          …or so it seems to me.

          Edits for silly word-choice and flow.

        • Michael Neville

          God’s nature goodness its self and it has been that way necessarily.

          According to the propaganda Yahweh is a sadistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. He kills people just because he can. How is that good?

        • Greg G.

          If God is subject to his nature such that it controls his attitudes, it is whatever it happened to be and may well have been the opposite of what it is now. Then objective good now would be evil according to God’s nature and vice versa but Craig’s definition would be defining objective good and evil exactly opposite what they are now. Our duties would be to fulfill objective evil. Running a spear through a man and his lover would be considered a good thing if we followed that course. Oh, wait, see what Phinehas did in Numbers 25:7.

          You have not shown that there is a third option of Euthryphro’s Dilemma. You only show that we should do what God says to do whether it is objective good or not.

        • scdorman

          “it is whatever it happened to be and may well have been the opposite of what it is now.”

          This is false. God is a necessary being. His nature cannot change. Goodness is goodness and it has always been that necessarily.

          The third option would be as follows, ““Since our moral duties are grounded in the divine commands, they are not independent of God. Neither are God’s commands arbitrary, for they are the necessary expressions of his just and loving nature.”

        • MNb

          And you only can tell what “just and loving” (which are only synonyms for “good”) means by referring to a morality independent of god. Unless you equate “just and loving” with “god”. That makes your argument circular again and divine morals subjective.

        • Greg G.

          Even if a god were necessary, it does not follow that it has to conform to our goodness. Even with Christian theology, most creatures will not go to heaven and most humans will be tortured for eternity. But Christians rationalize even that as a good thing.

          If evil is greater than good, then the greatest possible being would be evil which means you couldn’t trust it even if it convinced you it was good.

        • adam

          “God is a necessary being.”

          Only for story telling

          “His nature cannot change.”

          And yet it does in the telling of the story

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38a372d179f379b51cdb5f1c227e4a5bd6dd543347d09566c2aedd943b72e754.jpg

        • Kodie

          It’s taken me a few days to keep catching up with a few threads, and I saw this was going on, and thought I wouldn’t bother getting involved, but –

          Humans actually do define what is good, and things are good relative to badness and badness is relative to goodness, and sometimes what is considered good is later judged to be bad, not even usually all at once, or universally, and what has been thought to be bad is good. I mean, butter, bread, cars, homework. Is butter good? Yes, it is very good. Can butter be bad? Butter can be the worst.

          But what you’ve done is taken a human perspective and a language to describe it and applied it poorly as the “nature” of a being you believe exists, without any reason. Whatever humans have always used the word “good” to mean before is just useless. God is just good no matter what? That’s his nature, no matter what? You might as well say “blah” is part of his nature, or “nonexistent” is part of his nature. It’s just empty. Humans made up the word to give our opinion and judgment of things. Many people can agree on whether something is good. The sun seems good, people enjoy it, the rain is bad, that’s what everyone says, but it’s not true. It’s sort of a matter of influence rather than personal preference. If you watch the news, sunshine is delivered as good news, while rain is a downer. Rain is a good excuse to stay in, and lots of people like that about it, like we’re wasting the day if we stay inside on a sunny day, or feel like having to work, like many people do, on a sunny day (also called “nice” – but that is almost something else) makes people resentful, somewhat. While a rainy day might ruin your plans to wear sunglasses on your walk to the train, some people like to drink tea and watch their Netflix without feeling guilty about it.

          The meteorologists will tell people to get outside (if you can) and make the most of it. Like, doing what? Just walking around all day? Having a picnic? No, in reality, a nice day is just another day, and they report the news which is the temperature and the humidity and whether it’s cloudy or rainy or windy and shit like that. They do more – they tell you how you’re supposed to feel, and it’s hard to tell if that’s the way most people actually feel, or if it’s a cultural pressure to go outside or you’re a pathetic loser.

          What I’m getting at is – god is not good the way the word is ever applied to anything anyone’s language normally applies it. You have made a weird exception to describe something vague with whatever qualities or behaviors you believe it has as “good” no matter what. I don’t believe god exists, and I know some things feel bad and some things are good, and a lot of it is personal preference. Lots of people hate puppies and babies and pancakes. I can’t say everyone hates hurricanes, because stormchasers. I can’t say everyone hates slavery, because almost everyone has a job and I don’t want to say everyone is kind of a slave to some degree (you can leave, but where will you go?), but most people enjoy goods made in sweatshops by people who may or may not eat puppies, and maybe not because they’d like to, but because they’re that hungry. I don’t think anyone should be tortured, but this doesn’t seem to apply if you’re talking about animals, usually. I mean, you don’t think about the suffering of the fleas when you are waiting out a flea bomb in your apartment. Do they die instantly, or does it take a few hours? I can’t think flea bomb manufacture takes any care to reduce the suffering…. not that I give a shit about fleas, I feel like Hitler about the fleas. It’s definitely about perspective though. I’m not a flea, fleas suck, that is subjective and I suddenly no longer think torture an abomination that is worse than fleas.

          God that you believe in must have a purpose for fleas, they are good according to you. We didn’t make them, it’s not like war and corruption made by human-sized fleas. Well, I mean, considering some humans who do things you don’t like, no matter what it was, as though they are as bad as a pest, if you can other people that way, you might be a bad person who thinks you are good. You might think god approves because you are rewarded with his love and salvation and he would want you to gain, so anyone who opposes you must suck. It’s not good, it’s your fucking subjective assessment, and you use god as a figurehead to cosmically approve of any bad thing you can justify doing to another person or even to a flea. If there’s a god, how do you know fleas aren’t god’s creatures and you and your dog are their dominion? Because you can think and a flea can’t? According to your book, god punished the first people for being able to think.

          In my opinion, religion doesn’t want to elevate humans to think and be above animals. The lesson is that it’s safer to think less and just conform to an approved behavior that you think comes from god but is any interpretation of that bible, even if you can find a verse that says murder is bad and another that commands it.

          That has nothing to do with our language, or any human language that uses words like “good” or “bad” to communicate opinions with others. The automatic opinion of god as “good no matter what” is the language of the abused, who chooses not to acknowledge or cast judgment at all, lest they be punished by their imaginary friend from observing and applying language as they normally would.

        • adam

          “God’s commands are our duties to fulfill, but they would never violate goodness. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fbee2ae71608c49ff6cd3778051384d5ac950eab0a8c65082bd7d40a20822ade.jpg

        • Greg G.

          At the page you linked to, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-moral-argument

          But the problem is – good and bad, right and wrong do exist! Just as our sense experience convinces us that the physical world is objectively real, our moral experience convinces us that moral values are objectively real. Every time you say, “Hey, that’s not fair! That’s wrong! That’s an injustice!” you affirm your belief in the existence of objective morals.

          We’re well aware that child abuse, racial discrimination, and terrorism are wrong . . . for everybody . . . always. Is this just a personal preference or opinion? No.

          That definition eliminates Craig’s evidence for objective moral values as he only gives examples of things that are dependent on humans.

        • scdorman

          I think I see your point, moral values and duties are abstract. (except maybe for whats in the bible) We can’t just point to them and say here look it says your wrong. Although, we can sit back and reasonably conclude that raping a little child for fun is objectively wrong. I believe that we should be any more skeptical of this moral experience than our experience of the physical realm.

        • MNb

          “we can sit back and reasonably conclude that raping a little child for fun is objectively wrong”
          Only by means of deduction and I already told you what the problem is: one just has to reject the premises that lead to that conclusion and it’s invalidated. When you try to deductively prove those premises you’ll need new premises which again can be rejected without any further do. Etc. etc.

        • No, we say that raping a child is universally agreed to be wrong (or nearly so). If you say it’s objectively wrong, tell us what “objectively” means (I use WLC’s definition all the time, BTW) and show us.

          WLC’s argument for objective morality is basically, “Well, c’mon, we all know this, right?” I can’t imagine that kind of reasoning even on a freshman philosophy paper, let alone anything from a professional who expects to be taken seriously.

        • Greg G.

          Although, we can sit back and reasonably conclude that raping a little child for fun is objectively wrong.

          There are definitions of “objectively wrong” that I would agree with that but not your definition because if God commands you to rape the child, you would be obligated to do so. See, if God commands you to rape and/or kill an innocent child, you are obligated to do it, under Craig’s Divine Command Theory. Would you do it? Many Christians are abhorred by the thought but then they remember the Binding of Isaac and realize the right Christian answer is “yes”. If the Bible says God would test Abraham and hold Jephthah to a rash promise, how can you believe you wouldn’t be tested?

          If raping your daughter is objectively wrong, it is wrong even if a god commands it.

        • MNb

          Nice contradiction – again.

          “Objective Moral Values “…is to say that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so.”
          For instance: even if no single human being knows that genocide is evil it still is evil.

          “We know it is true from our moral experience.”
          If this is correct it defeats the first argument.
          Typical WLC.

        • scdorman

          Humans do not know everything the objective moral law says. We are human, limited in moral knowledge. Objective moral values can be gradual discovered. Similarly, so can the physical world.

        • MNb

          Well, then I can safely say that humans can’t know that there is an objective law either. You’ll have to explain your method to decide what humans can know about morals and what they can’t. I already showed you that deduction alone won’t help you out, so you’re stuck.

          “Similarly, so can the physical world.”
          Not similar at all. To discover the physical world we not only use deduction, but also apply induction to empirical data. Thus far you have provided exactly zero empirical data that confirm objective morals and refute subjective ethics. WLC’s decrees don’t count. You only have tried to prove your premises and I already showed you that that is impossible.
          You’re stuck.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think they are similar? I mean, that’s the trouble. You need to believe that there are solid answers for everything, even if we’re not in any position to know, you think they must exist, must be knowable, and are known, which is where “god” comes in. Where are we going with this “information” we gather, if not toward the knowledge that the knower knows. I mean, think about technology like that. Where are we going with that? We’re not really going in any direction, but we’re still going in a direction that technology progresses. We get what we want, for the most part. We get more convenient ways to communicate across long distances. It wouldn’t have been invented if people didn’t want it. We get medical advances like robotic surgery and smart prosthetics, which wouldn’t have come about if the people didn’t want it. But is it closer to god? I mean, ‘k, it’s making humans more powerful and streamlined, but soon our powers will be outsourced entirely to machines. Last night, I heard part of a report (before I arrived at my workplace) on the radio where the woman was saying, why would Amazon warehouse goods in one big warehouse if they could just have self-driving delivery vans occupying the streets? Would people ever pay to park their cars if they could just let them circle the block until they come out of the shops and bars and theaters?

          I guess I’m getting out of the track here, but the ideas you seem to be fixated on may not be real, and you can’t wrap your head around a way they are not real or necessary. With morality, we may be trying to be kinder and opening our tribe to more and more members, it sometimes feels like we are, and often it feels like we’re not. It’s easier to kill a bunch of “others” than it used to be, it’s less dangerous for members of our tribes to go out and do that, if we can sell the justifications to the populace. The media seems to make it easier to grasp new ideas, and easier to defy growing in generosity toward others. Morality is more like that. It’s not getting “revealed” toward a complete law that exists in the universe like physics, any more than technology is. Tech is what’s useful to us and so is morality – we decide.

        • MR

          It’s easier to kill a bunch of “others” than it used to be….

          Which, when people talk about Hitler being “evil,” was he any more “evil” than the megaolomaniacs before him, or did technology simply provide him a way to systematically kill and torture on an unprecedented scale?

        • TheNuszAbides

          a friend took a WW2 class at our mutual college and forwarded a piece called The Cunning of History to me. it was a bit mindblowing at the time (about 20 yrs ago, which was 20+ years after it was written). there’s a bit more to it, but the punchline i remember is that [paraphrased] concentration camps are a logical extension of industrialized capitalism.

        • al kimeea

          of course, genocide is evil. Unless the loving deity does it or commands his earthly minions to carry it out for him

        • MR

          I’d say mainly because if you just parrot what he says then you probably haven’t really thought it through. If you give it a shot in your own words, you might see where the argument is weak or have a better understanding on why it is sound.

        • scdorman

          “I’d say mainly because if you just parrot what he says then you probably haven’t really thought it through.”

          That is an assumption.

          Also, I have written a defense of the argument on my Facebook, but it isn’t finished or edited yet.

        • MR

          Perhaps it is an assumption, but it’s certainly not a surprising one considering that you keep falling back on WLC. They’re just asking you to support the argument yourself, and I think that is a good idea based on the reasons I gave. If you’re defensive about it, you’re just feeding that assumption. And, maybe, just maybe, you haven’t really thought it through. I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

        • scdorman

          I only give his quotes to save time and sometimes they sound better, just like the memes you guys post. I can put it all in my own words though if that’s what you want.Or are you wanting me to come up with and defend my own version of the moral argument? Or are you wanting me to present different evidence, possible something I have thought of that none else has, for the argument?

          “If you’re defensive about it, you’re just feeding that assumption. And, maybe, just maybe, you haven’t really thought it through.”

          Again, not necessarily true.

        • MR

          But you are still feeding the assumption.

        • MNb

          “I only give his quotes to save time”
          That’s OK, but the fact that thus far you systematically have neglected the fundamental problems with those quotes plus the fact that you added nothing thought up by yourself has led MR and me to that inductive conclusion.

        • scdorman

          I just addressed this in another comment from you.

        • MNb

          No, it’s not an assumption. It’s a conclusion arrived at via induction, namely by reading your comments. Thus far you have written nothing thus far that didn’t come directly from WLC and systematically have neglected the problems with his line of thinking.
          The fact that you don’t understand the difference between an assumption and an inductive conclusion doesn’t promise much for your attempts to defend WLC.

        • scdorman

          I feel like I’m addressing the issues you guys raise. Sorry if you feel otherwise. I have actually written stuff that did not come from Craig as well. You think you are coming to an inductive conclusion because my comments provide evidence. I do not feel my comments give evidence of that. So, you are assuming to me because I feel you don’t have evidence to back what your saying.

        • MNb

          “I have actually written stuff that did not come from Craig as well.”
          Such as? That’s the point silly, and it’s still not promising that you don’t get it. In this line of thinking you only have to present one example (of something that didn’t come from WLC) to invalidate the claim. No feelings required. Then the burden will be mine – I either have to admit that I’m wrong or I’ll have to show that you got it from him.

          “So, you are assuming to me because I feel …”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Yeah, what you feel is decisive.

        • scdorman

          For example, my comment about Isaiah to adam, “The law – 1. You haven’t shown the nature of this law. 2. Jealousy, “in Exodus 20:5 to describe God is different from how it is used to describe the sin of jealousy (Galatians 5:20).” https://www.gotquestions.org/j
          I know it references a different verse in exodus, but the same explanation would apply to it as well.”

        • MNb

          OK.

        • I applaud your willingness to respond directly and thoroughly to the questions you’re asked, but I don’t believe you’re resolved the big problem: show us that objective morality exists and that we can reliably access it.

          Don’t forget to define “objective morality.” WLC has used “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not,” and that would be one definition.

          No one has answered this challenge, despite objective morality claimed all over the place in Christian articles.

        • Paul B. Lot

          @scdorman:disqus let me just jump in here to agree with part of what @BobSeidensticker:disqus wrote yesterday:

          I applaud your willingness to respond directly and thoroughly to the questions you’re asked

          Online debates between [religious] and [non-religious] people very rarely stay civil and on-point, and you seem to be making a great effort to do both – despite being greatly outnumbered here.

          I applaud that, along with Bob, very strongly indeed.

        • adam

          “And here’s why.

          Without some objective reference point, we have
          no way of saying that something is really up or down. God’s nature
          provides an objective reference point for moral values – it’s the
          standard against which all actions and decisions are measured.”

          We have a problem already

          God either doesnt provide an objective reference or only the most vile support such references:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • Philmonomer

          Without some objective reference point, we have no way of saying that something is really up or down.

          Let’s consider the word “tall,” which I think is similar to the word “good.”

          Can we talk about “tall” without an objective reference point? Well, I’d say yes. I can talk about a “tall person,” with only having a vague, culturally dependent, understanding of the word. If I’m having a conversation with you, and I describe my friend as “tall,” do you know what I mean? Yes. Is there some “objective” sense of what “tall” is (say 6 foot even is tall, but 5 feet 11 inches is not?) No.

        • MNb

          Uh no. You claim that you can prove premises 1 and 2. We don’t have to show that the defense is false.
          Now I happen to be familiar with WLC’s line of thinking and he doesn’t even try to prove it. He just decrees it. Example from your link: ” Is this just a personal preference or opinion? No.”
          Of course we run here into a problem WLC should be familiar with given his education, something we have realized since Descartes and should have realized since Euclides. As soon as you try to prove premises by means of deduction you must accept other premises. In the end you arrive at premises that can’t be proven (note that WLC rejects infinite regress – not that he cares about consistency). Still WLC totally ignores this problem.
          The only way to avoid it is by providing evidence, ie empirical data. WLC never has tried it.
          But I told you already two days ago what even a bigger problem is – at one hand WLC claims that ethics are objective, at the other hand he defends Divine Command Theory (so that he can call the Eutyphro Dilemma a false on in one of the most garbles pieces he has ever written), which, were he consistent (again – he doesn’t care) actually shows subjective ethics. You preferred to neglect my comment. That puts you in a bad light if you just repeat your claim. I’ll repeat again.
          At one hand WLC explicitely has written on the same website that genocide is objectively evil – ie even if the nazi’s had won WW2 and convinced all mankind that would have applied to the Holocaust. Note that he again simply decrees it.
          At the other hand WLC explicitely defends the Canaanite Genocide. Only difference: the subject who ordered it. If WLC’s god orders genocide it’s good, if Hitler orders it it’s evil. That’s totally subjective.
          Everyone here is aware of WLC’s inconsistency. You better not rely on him to make your case.

        • scdorman

          I’m sorry I haven’t responded to your other comment. There are so many and I have only so much time. I will respond to your previous one. So, look for that soon.

        • MNb

          We’ll see. In the mean time you have after the “Divine Command Theory means subjective morals” problem another one: how to prove your premises without relying on infinite regress. Will you respond to it there as well? Because the same applies – repeat it without addressing puts your argument in a bad light.

        • scdorman

          I use a modified divine command theory that does not lead to subjective morals.

          What is this infinite regress problem?

        • MNb

          Did you read my previous comment? I repeat:

          Of course we run here into a problem WLC should be familiar with given his education, something we have realized since Descartes and should have realized since Euclides. As soon as you try to prove premises by means of deduction you must accept other premises. In the end you arrive at premises that can’t be proven (note that WLC rejects infinite regress – not that he cares about consistency). Still WLC totally ignores this problem.
          The only way to avoid it is by providing evidence, ie empirical data. WLC never has tried it.

          In short: you can’t prove or even argue for premises without postulating other premises unless you go for infinite regress of premises.
          So your attempt to prove your premises (a claim you made above) has failed even before you began.

        • scdorman

          “The only way to avoid it is by providing evidence, ie empirical data.” You want empirical data from abstract things? You can verify (2) through moral experience.

        • Pofarmer

          So, just defend this,

          (1). If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist

          Better yet, simply show that it’s not circular.

        • scdorman

          (1). If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist

          This isn’t circular because technically it is not the same thing. You could state it like this
          (1) If God does not exist, a part of God’s nature does not exist.
          (2) A part of God’s nature does exists
          (3) Therefore, God exists.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s uhm, still circular. You are simply defining your god into existence.

        • scdorman

          No, it would be circular if the conclusion is already assumed somewhere in the argument. So, if somewhere in premise (1) or (2) it was being assumed that God is true then it would be circular. But God’s existence is not being assumed true in either premise. (1) is a what if and (2) is just a part of God’s nature, not God. So, it is not circular.

        • MR

          “God’s nature” presumes God. Circular.

        • scdorman

          No, objective moral values and duties are only a part of God. They are different, but I believe you cannot have one without the other. No where in the premises am I assuming God is true. (1) is a what if (2) is just objective moral values and duties, a part of God not God.

        • MR

          a part of God assumes God

        • scdorman

          Not necessarily. (2) Just shows that Objective moral values and duties exist. It just so happens that if you agree with (1) and (2) then you have to admit (3). (2) could be true without God. I don’t have to assume God to prove (2).

        • MR

          1 is at war with itself.
          2 hasn’t been demonstrated
          3 doesn’t follow

        • MR

          You negate God in the first half of 1 and turn around and assert him (indirectly) in the second half. Your first premise is at war with itself.

        • scdorman

          (2) only shows that objective moral values and duties exist, not God.

        • MR

          Er…, it neither says that nor shows that.

          Demonstrate that objective moral values and duties exist.

        • al kimeea

          then you claim they are part of the deity

          round and round

        • adam

          “(2) only shows that objective moral values and duties exist, not God.”

          No it doesnt ‘show’ anything, it CLAIMS it

        • adam

          “No, objective moral values and duties are only a part of God. ”

          Circular, until you demonstrate God/

          “a part of God not God. ” Circular

        • Pofarmer

          You are certainly assuming what would be true given gods existence.

        • adam

          ” (1) is a what if and”
          ” (2) is just a part of God’s nature, not God.” So it IS circular.

        • Greg G.

          I made that mistake a few days ago.

          1. If ~A, then ~B.
          2. B.
          3. Therefore A.

          The logical structure is valid.

          I think the problem is the fallacy of equivocation on the word “objective,” at least in the case I had with the other argument with a different person, I think. The word is defined as Craig does, with the meaning being independent of the thoughts and feelings of humans, but then they use the thoughts and feelings of humans about some horrible scenario as evidence for the existence of objective moral values. The word must be defined the same way in each of the premises make the argument work.

          EDIT: But I would also dispute the first premise as I see no reason why God must exist for objective good and evil to exist. Karma is as good an explanation as God for objective moral values, but isn’t very good either. Good is dependent on how much we like something and evil is dependent on our dislike for something. But those things may differ from one person to the next.

        • Pofarmer

          What I’m objecting to here is saying that “if a part of God’s nature doesn’t exist” But. “Oh, a part of God’s nature does exist” where God’s nature is defined as absolutely anything the apologist desires. All they are doing is playing with definitions, using one definition to fulfill anotuer. It’s not philosophy, it’s mental masturbation if nothing else.

        • Greg G.

          I see what you mean. If one part of a god could be shown to exist, it does not imply the rest of the god exists. That one part could be the entire god.

          It’s like when someone freaks out when they see a snake skin. It doesn’t mean the rest of the snake is still around.

        • scdorman

          The problem though is that (1) attempts to show that God’s (MGB) nature and commands are the foundation for moral values and duties. MGB implies the other part’s of God. So, if you did show (2) true, and agree with (1) then you have to agree that a MGB exists.

        • Greg G.

          If you had one hair from my head, it would show that I exist, possibly as a set of twins or triplets or clones, with that set of DNA. But that does not imply that I am maximally great in bed.

          If you could show a part of God exists, it would mean that God is no longer tied for first as the Hide and Seek Champion of the Universe with all the other gods. He would be last, thus not maximally great.

        • that does not imply that I am maximally great in bed.

          Confidence! Don’t sell yourself short. What small deviation there is between you current status and MGiB you can work on as your 2017 new year’s resolution.

        • Greg G.

          Oh, I actually am MGiB (I should make that my Disqus handle) but you can’t tell that from my hair. You need to see the smile on my wife’s face.

        • al kimeea
        • adam

          ” (1) attempts to show that God’s (MGB) nature and commands are the foundation for moral values and duties.”

          No, it CLAIMS it, it doesnt attempt to demonstrate that God is anything but IMAGINARy

          ” MGB implies the other part’s of God.”

          No, just another vacuous CLAIM

        • Paul B. Lot

          (1) If God does not exist, a part of God’s nature does not exist.

          This does not follow, it’s the fallacy of composition.

          If [xyz] does not exist, a part of [xyz] does not exist.

          i.e.: The sport of basketball does not exist, therefore hoops do not exist.

          Because this first premise is invalid, your argument is invalid. Because your argument is invalid, it tells us nothing about the truth or falsehood of your conclusion.

          Does “God” exist? Perhaps, but if it does your argument does nothing to show it.

          PS. Note that I also take issue with your second premise, but as it only requires one faulty premise for an entire argument to be invalid, I won’t bother myself with attacking it at this time.

        • MR

          If leprechauns do not exist, then rainbows do not exist. That would really suck because I like rainbows, so I’m very happy that leprechauns exist.

        • scdorman

          The problem here is this,”The sport of basketball does not exist, therefore hoops do not exist.” Hoops and basketball are not analogous to God and objective moral values and duties because you can have one without the other.

        • Greg G.

          If Karma does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.

        • scdorman

          If Karma and objective moral values and duties were necessarily dependent on each other for their existence then you could make this argument.

        • MNb

          Like you haven’t shown that your god and those objective moral values and duties are necessarily dependent on each other. As one and just one counterexample refutes a statement like this one I once again refer to Daniel Fincke.

        • adam

          “If Karma and objective moral values and duties were necessarily
          dependent on each other for their existence then you could make this
          argument.”

          Are you saying that they are not?

        • MR

          You haven’t demonstrated moral values, only subjective ones.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hoops and basketball are not analogous to God and objective moral values and duties because you can have one without the other.

          If you were correct that they are disanalogous in the way you claim, then I would agree with you.

          Show it.

          Show why we should accept that it would be impossible to have “objective* moral values” without “God” existing.

          If you cannot show this, then I am forced to conclude that your arguments are unsound.

          * I imagine you mean “absolute” here, but I’ll let is slide for the remainder of our conversation – know that I do not think the two are equivalent, however.

        • scdorman

          So, the evidence for (1) is simply that God’s nature and commands makes the most sense for what the nature of objective moral values and duties would be, if you think about it. On atheism, you have a hard time grounding objective moral values and duties. For example, if they are just a product of social and biological conditioning then they are arbitrary. If you think that they exist abstractly, like in a platonic sense, then you have problems as well. How can justice, a property of free-agents, exist by its self? How can you make sense of moral obligations if all you know is what is good and bad, but not what is right and wrong? What would obligate you to do this good thing or not do this bad thing? “Thirdly, it is fantastically improbable that just that sort of creature would emerge from the blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values.” However, if moral values are grounded in God’s nature and our moral duties in God’s commands, then the theist doesn’t have any of the above problems.

        • MNb

          “God’s nature and commands makes the most sense for what the nature of objective moral values and duties would be, if you think about it.”
          I have thought about it and no, it doesn’t make the most sense.

          “On atheism, you have a hard time grounding objective moral values and duties.”
          Daniel Fincke thinks he doesn’t have a hard time at all.

          “if moral values are grounded in God’s nature and our moral duties in God’s commands, then the theist doesn’t have any of the above problems.”
          Yeah and if I were king my son would be heir to the throne. In the meantime you, on behalf of WLC, only have decreed that the first is the case.

        • if moral values are grounded in God’s nature”

          There must be a good name for that “if.”

          “The Big Assumption” or “The Monumental If” or something.

          My version of your response: If I won the Powerball lottery, I’d have to think about how I’d spend all that lovely money … but before I get to wrapped up in that, I might want to see if I won first.

        • MNb

          I can’t help thinking of the Spartans:

          http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-witty-badass-quotes-ancient-sparta.php

          Nr. 7.

        • That’s my favorite as well.

          The English word laconic (spare with words) comes from another word for Sparta, Laconia.

        • You probably heard of the US Army general who said “Nuts” in response to the German demand in WW2 that he surrender Bastogne.

          Patton led an army to rescue the surrounded division. In the movie, after being told of the reply, he said: “A man that eloquent must be rescued.”

        • Michael Neville

          That was Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, the acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division. He didn’t say “nuts” when called upon to surrender, he replied “shit” but the newspapers of the day couldn’t publish that.

          There’s a similar story told about French General Pierre Cambronne, the commander of the Old Guard at Waterloo. His troops were completely surrounded and he was called upon to surrender. He supposedly replied: La garde meurt mais ne se rend pas ! (“The Guard dies but it does not surrender!”). British Colonel Hugh Halkett, who asked Cambronne to surrender, claimed that he actually said: Merde ! (“Shit!”). Cambronne always denied saying either and said he wordlessly offered his sword to Halkett.

        • I’d not heard of the bowdlerization. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          Is it too late to cancel my Amazon order?

        • Paul B. Lot

          So, the evidence for (1) is simply that God’s nature and commands makes the most sense for what the nature of objective moral values and duties would be, if you think about it.

          You were doing well there for a second with your argument structure and deductive logic, but what underlies one of your premises is….your best guess.

          And here I pull the plug for two reasons:

          1) I can imagine other “natures” for what objective moral values would be. As @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus mentioned earlier, I could just as easily “ground” my “objective moral values” in kharma (or anything I choose to cook up).

          2) The strict logical framework you used to lend weight to your argument has been used to show that that very argument is unsound (logic is a tricky beast). If you are unable to show that “objective moral values” would be impossible without “God”, then they are “a part” of “‘Gods’ nature” in the same way that hoops are a part of basketball’s nature – that is – they are a matter of contingent fact, and not as a matter of exclusive necessity.

          On atheism, you have a hard time grounding objective moral values and duties. For example, if they are just a product of social and biological conditioning then
          they are arbitrary.

          A) As I just said above in point 1), it’s quite easy to imagine other “grounds” besides “God”, and B) we are staring down the rabbit-hole of what you and I mean by the word “objective”. For now, let me just say that I doubt you and are using “arbitrary” in the same way.

          If you think that they exist abstractly, like in a platonic sense, then you have problems as well.

          Here we agree – I am not a Platonist.

          How can you make sense of moral obligations if all you know is what is good and bad, but not what is right and wrong? What would obligate you to do this good thing or not do this bad thing?

          You seem to be shifting from a discussing of “objective values” to discussing “methods of value enforcement” – it seems an unecessary digression at this time.

          If Karmic, or Deistic/Blind Watchmaker, or Platonic, “objective moral values” existed, the fact that they wouldn’t have an agent of enforcement wouldn’t poof them out of existence.

          Thirdly, it is fantastically improbable that just that sort of creature would emerge from the blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values.

          I’m not sure what the person you’re quoting is attempting to convey. What I do know is that phrases like “fantastically improbable” have often been used by anti-science/evolution apologists as an emotional appeal to ignorance. If that’s what is happening here as well, I am utterly unmoved. Your (or anyone else’s) incredulity means nothing to the universe.

          If we were to describe [the results] of a hydrogen bomb to Newton without explaining [the science] of it – his incredulity would also mean nothing.

          However, if moral values are grounded in God’s nature and our moral duties in God’s commands, then the theist doesn’t have any of the above problems.

          Indeed. One could just make up all the things one wanted to get out of sticky situations.

          The rate of the expansion of the universe is, itself, increasing because it was so decreed by Jeff, the invisible Pink Unicorn.

          See? Now I don’t have any of the problems currently plaguing astrophysicists.

        • MR

          Thirdly, phht. One of my favorite fallacies. I call it the lottery fallacy.

          If that butterfly hadn’t been killed back in the Jurassic, koala bears would be sitting around right now staring at their navels waxing poetic:

          “Just imagine how fantastically improbable that just the sort of creature as us could emerge from the blind evolutionary process…! It just blows your mind, man. Care if I finish off that eucalyptus joint?”

          Any and every possible iteration of the universe that never happened is just as fantastically improbable as any and every other, but the fact that one iteration should win the existential lottery at any particular moment of time is all but guaranteed.

          It’s only interesting to speculate about if you’re looking into the future. Lay down your money on what kind of creatures you think are going to be around in another billion years, and then I’ll be impressed if you get it right. But you don’t get to declare that it’s a miracle that we won the lottery after the fact. We were never the goal.

          Somebody had to win; sheer chance it was us.

        • I just got a bridge hand. Can you imagine the unlikelihood of these particular cards??

        • al kimeea

          Actually it is spelled Geoff

        • On atheism, you have a hard time grounding objective moral values and duties.

          Where’s the problem? They come from evolution, mostly. And also society.

          For example, if they are just a product of social and biological conditioning then they are arbitrary.

          From a transcendent or universal standpoint, of course they are.

          Why? Is this a problem?

          If you think that they exist abstractly, like in a platonic sense, then you have problems as well.

          Like “courage” is just a thing? Nope, not me.

          How can you make sense of moral obligations if all you know is what is good and bad, but not what is right and wrong?

          What is the good/bad vs. right/wrong distinction?

          What would obligate you to do this good thing or not do this bad thing?

          You have a conscience, don’t you?

          “Thirdly, it is fantastically improbable that just that sort of creature would emerge from the blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values.”

          (Oh—this is from Craig’s Reasonable Faith.)

          I certainly don’t say this.

          However, if moral values are grounded in God’s nature and our moral duties in God’s commands, then the theist doesn’t have any of the above problems.

          He just has the problem of showing that this god exists. And that’s a pretty big problem.

        • Susan

          the evidence for (1) is simply that God’s nature and commands makes the most sense for what the nature of objective moral values and duties would be, if you think about it.

          FIrstly, that is not evidence. Secondly, well, no. It doesn’t make sense at all.

          What does it mean to be “good”?

        • Pofarmer

          He’s also making the Texas sharpshooter fallacy in the last couple sentences there. My copy-pasty is broke.

        • Greg G.

          That is what I thought of when I saw this but I’m not sure where it comes from.

          “Thirdly, it is fantastically improbable that just that sort of creature would emerge from the blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values.”

          It’s like the puddle who is amazed to be in a pothole that perfectly fits its shape.

        • That’s a quote from WLC’s Reasonable Faith.

          Golly, how likely would it be for creatures to evolve so that they had an inborn instinct … that just happened to be correct?!

          I didn’t find the thought experiment very useful.

        • scdorman

          Did you read the rest of the comment?

          God’s nature determines what is good. To be good means your in accordance with God’s nature.

        • adam

          “God’s nature determines what is good. To be good means your in accordance with God’s nature.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

          so Slavery and Genocide are ‘good’?

        • Kodie

          I think you are boggled by your concept of “arbitrary”, as though it doesn’t matter. It’s whatever we say it is because it matters to us. It could be something else if enough people appeal to change it. You might not like it! That doesn’t mean your opinion was correct or grounded anywhere. We have to try to get along, and we figure it out. When you want to buy something, you might have to bargain with a salesperson – their price is higher than you want to pay, and your price is lower than they’re willing to accept, so you part ways, no commission, no new car. Or you can compromise and hammer it out to a price that you both can live with. Is that arbitrary? If you are trying to come in under $19,000, and he’s still at $20,900, are they suddenly going to say, “look pal, it’s $500,000 or get the fuck out”? You are getting kind of crazy when you think that morals are “just” arbitrary, like flip-flop-floo, you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing or the wrong thing day by day, or you can just decide tomorrow to kill someone because nobody will care. People will care!

          Why do the religious-believing people think people don’t matter? Why do you think, in your religious communities and books read by your favorite theologians, that those ideas of right and wrong are not the opinions put together by people?

        • MNb

          That confirms Pofarmer’s statement that you’re guilty of circularity – the only way your argument works is by assuming that you can’t have God and objective moral values and duties and vice versa.
          Which is btw incorrect unless you refute atheist philosophers who argue for objective moral values and duties, like Daniel Fincke.
          The more you defend your argument the shakier it gets.

        • scdorman

          Please explain his position and I would love to give a reply.

        • MNb

          You can do so on his own blog. Just google him.
          Thanks for avoiding my point. It was not about whether morals are objective or not – it was about that you have to show that you can’t have God and objective moral values and duties and vice versa. You don’t even try, so I assume that you can’t. That means for the gazillionth time that your moral argument fails.
          The list gets pretty long by now.

        • adam
        • adam

          “because you can have one without the other.”

          And YOU’VE demonstrated exactly NEITHER….

        • MR

          (1) If God does not exist, a part of God’s nature does not exist.

          Er, yeah, circular. You have to presume God in order to presume “God’s nature.” Define “God’s nature” and show that a) it exists, b) it belongs to God.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well sure, it does that too, but much worse is that it’s logically invalid even if “God’s nature” is “good”.

          If it were the case that it is “God’s nature” is “good”, why must we assume that removing “God” would also remove “goodness”?

          It is “a dog’s nature” to have four legs. If you killed every dog in existence, quadrupeds would still exist.

          Come on, @disqus_0XVsH7MaZW:disqus : be mad about the things I am mad about!

        • MR

          No, you’re absolutely correct. I, mean, I have other issues with the whole thing, but I was just taking them one at a time. What is meant by “God’s nature”? How do we know it exists? Yadda, yadda.

        • Paul B. Lot

          😀

        • al kimeea

          especially when the sophisticated thing is to claim the deity is mysteriously unknowable, and then carry on describing ITs nature

        • scdorman

          (1) is a what if scenario. All I’m saying is if an objective moral law exists then wouldn’t it make the most sense to exist in God. Of course, arguments can be made for this. I’m not at all assuming that God really does exist here.
          (2) Just shows that, hey, goodness actually does exist, but if if you agree with (1), then you have to admit God exists because you agree that God and goodness are one in the same. There is nothing circular about that.

          1. If A, then B.
          2. B.
          3. Therefore A.

        • Greg G.

          No, the formula for the argument is:

          1. If ~A, then ~B.
          2. B.
          3. Therefore A.

          In your version:

          1. If it is January, then it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. (true)
          2. It is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. (true)
          3. Therefore, it is January. (false, it is December 22.)

        • scdorman

          Right, I didn’t put the negation. Thanks

        • adam
        • MR

          “A part of God’s nature does not exist” implies a part of God’s nature does. So, yes, you’re presupposing God.

          wouldn’t it make the most sense to exist in God.

          Why? And, no.

          2 also presumes God. The clue is where it says “God’s nature.”

          Define God’s nature.

          if you agree with (1),

          I don’t.

          then you have to admit God exists because you agree that God and goodness are one in the same.

          Not at all the conclusion I get.

        • scdorman

          “A part of God’s nature does not exist” implies a part of God’s nature does.”

          I don’t see how this is true. If a part of God’s nature did not exist then how could God exist?

          2. (2) just attempts to prove objective moral values and duties exist, not God.

        • MR

          Then the correct statement for one should be:

          If God does not exist, God’s nature does not exist.

          You haven’t proven 2. If you assume that I think objective moral values and duties exist, I do not.

        • scdorman

          Well, no because there is more to God’s nature then goodness.

        • MR

          Not if he doesn’t exist. Ascribing something to God does not make it so.

          You seem to think goodness is a “thing.” If so, can you demonstrate that it is?

        • scdorman

          God is a Maximally Great Being. What else would we mean by God? Being a MGB entails that God would be goodness.

        • Pofarmer

          Does this wanking stupidity really convince you?

        • al kimeea

          millions apparently

        • Greg G.

          A Maximally Great Being would not be goodness as goodness requires the absence of evil. The MGB must be evil because an evil being could be good just to make the evil more dramatic.

        • MR

          Wow, the cognitive dissonance must be knocking you on your ass the way you keep avoiding addressing my points.

          As an aside, a Maximally Great Being could be described as a being that is all-powerful and all-evil, too. That doesn’t mean such a being exists.

          So let’s see what you’ve failed to address:

          * You still haven’t defined what you mean by “God’s nature” for your premise above or a) that it exists b) that it belongs to God.

          *That God exists.

          * That if an objective moral law existed it makes the most sense that it exist in God (a new-ager might claim a moral law exists as part of the natural make up of the universe), but, more importantly–rather than resort to useless speculation–that it even exists at all.

          * Prove that objective moral values and duties exist.

          * That goodness is a “thing,” much less that goodness and God are one and the same.

          Goodness, that I have ever seen, is nothing more than a label we place on the actions, events, opinions, etc., we see as beneficial. Never have I seen goodness as a thing, as objective or as God. You will have to demonstrate otherwise.

          Simply ascribing goodness as a part of God’s nature says as much as ascribing wisdom as a part of Athena’s nature. It neither demonstrates that Athena nor that wisdom exist. Wisdom, as far as I can see, is just a label we use to describe the knowledge, experience and the beneficial demonstration of that knowledge and experience. If wisdom exists otherwise, please demonstrate. If God exists, please demonstrate.

          In my entire life on this planet, I have never seen objective morality. Any and all morality, including the examples you have provided, have all been subjective. If it is otherwise, you will have to show that it exists, that we can tap into it, how we tap into it and evidence that we do. If God’s morality is different than human’s morality, then they are not the same, plain and simple. Subjective. That humans have a shared morality is not surprising considering our genetic make up. That does not mean it is objective.

          My thoughts on your argument:

          If God does not exist, no part of God’s nature exists, and the things you ascribe to God are not of God, nor do they objectively exist (goodness, etc.). Your argument does nothing to prove God.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, how do we know that God isn’t maximally evil? The story of Adam and Eve where he throws Them out of the garden in a pique? Abraham told to slay Isaac? Caanite Genocide? Samson and Delilah? Noah and the Great flood? The destruction of Sodom and Gomorah? Maybe God is really evil and the only good in the world is caused by humanity resisting him. It makes as much sense.

        • Greg G.

          When reading Isaiah 45, be sure to skip from verse 6 to verse 8.

        • Kodie

          Given the variety of good and evil, or the range, I guess we’re talking about, I don’t feel the character god can be called “maximally” anything. To have a good or an evil requires an experience, first of all. Most of the universe doesn’t seem to be able to experience anything, so comets crashing into planets is not a bad thing. If it happened to earth, how can it be worse except that living organisms could experience it. But I imagine it’s a sudden kind of death vs. the prolonged suffering of, say, starving to death. Is it worse to starve to death than to die of cancer? Is it worse to starve to death because you’re poor and homeless, or because you went hiking alone and got stranded? Is it better to starve to death because you were hiking alone and got stranded, or better to be eaten by a bear because you went hiking alone, or froze to death or fell off a mountain but didn’t die of your injuries for a couple of days. I’m just talking human experience too. What animals feel like when they’re being hunted or going hungry or losing their habitat or being eaten alive.

          Even based on the worst things we can imagine on earth – human-on-human things we call “evil” like genocide, or natural catastrophes like tsunamis. I have to imagine there’s a humane way to genocide people…. I mean, like, pumping carbon monoxide into all the homes at night so thousands of people die in their sleep vs. the earthquake that traps people in rubble that have to be rescued or die waiting. I am thinking of the best and the worst things I can even imagine, and I don’t think the character god covers it to either edge of maximally good or bad. That’s probably why they believe he exists, because heaven is better than the best, and hell is worse than apparently anything anyone has ever imagined humans putting another human through. Sort of had a random “hell” thought last week when it got cold, why isn’t hell the coldest place? Why fire? I think being on fire must suck, but being just a little bit too cold might be the most unpleasant way to spend eternity, and guess what, all the ice cream, and nothing but ice cream, you can eat.

        • Pofarmer

          I was mainly just responding to the idea that God is Maximally Great. But I take your point.

        • Kodie

          I feel like they recognize even the best and the worst we can experience on earth aren’t maximal. That’s why Eden and heaven are even better, and hell is every terrible experience you can imagine but worse. The idea is that if god isn’t maximally great (at everything, I imagine, even the bad things), then they couldn’t define him as god. He’s just a powerful dictator in that case, and even if he’s the boss of all boss’s, he doesn’t meet the qualifications for a god. I mean, that’s sort of how I feel. If you can’t name the worst pain on earth, or even if you can, we can imagine a worse one. I mean, this is how they get the superior feelings, the justification of their big daddy beating up yours. Well, you’re an atheist, you don’t have one, and theirs is bigger than anything you can possibly imagine. I take the word “great” to mean large, without specification of what aspect is great – they are all great, the good and the evil and the angry and the patient and the musical ability… god is basically like Trump, he knows more than even the generals, believe me.

        • Pofarmer

          My boys went to Church with my wife last evening. I abstained to spend some time with my family. They came home quite frustrated. This priest preaches a lot of apologetics. Apparently the whole sermon, apart from being a Christmas sermon, was about how we can do everything with God, with the opposite idea that without God we and our efforts are worthless. Catholics and other Christians love this messag. It makes them feel superior. I also don’t think they can actually pricess why others might find it just a twee bit offensive.

        • MR
        • Argus
        • Paul B. Lot

          As @disqus_0XVsH7MaZW:disqus and @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus and @oldnewatheist:disqus have pointed out, albeit harshly, “Maximally Great Being” presents the non-believer with a great many problems.

          Which attributes does “God” maximize? Only the ones we like? Why isn’t “God” maximally sadistic?

          This seems like an issue akin to the Euthyphro dilemma; do we call those-attributes-of-which-“God”-is-the-maximal-exemplar “great” because they are “God’s” attributes, or because “God” is only the-maximal-exemplar of those attributes which are “great”?

        • MNb

          “God is a Maximally Great Being.”
          Fun.
          What’s greater than a maximally good being? A maximally good being with some evil.
          What’s greater than a maximally good being with some evil? A maximally good being with some more evil.
          So what’s the Maximally Great Being? A being that’s both maximally good and maximally evil.
          Not only does your definition contradict your moral argument (that only defines your god in terms of goodness), your definition is incoherent.
          Hence the correct conclusion is that your god doesn’t exist. Thanks.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          But who’s “maximally great”? Does he bro around with neo-nazis?

        • Argus

          How do you know that?

          I could easily assert Cthulu is a Maximally Great Being. What else would we mean by Cthulu? Being a MGB entails that Cthulu would be dictatorial and harsh.

        • adam
        • Argus

          How do you know that?

        • Are you a commenter at Reasonable Faith? Do you provide content?

          I’m curious to know about your background.

        • scdorman

          No, I’m not associated with Reasonable Faith in any way. I do not provide content yet. Although, I’m starting to post apologetic stuff on my Facebook. I have a B.A. in philosophy. Obviously, I’m a fan of WLC. I am a Christian. I might start working on a master’s degree soon. I have never met WLC. That is about it.

        • Pofarmer

          . “I have a B.A. in philosophy.”

          For Petes sake. From where.?

        • scdorman

          The University of Texas at Pan American. Although, it is now called University of Texas at Rio Grand Valley or UT-RGV. Do you have a degree?

        • Pofarmer

          Would your instructors be proud of this nonsense? This isn’t philosophy. It’s obfuscation.

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t obfuscation a post-graduate study in philosophy?

        • Pofarmer

          Not good philosophy.

        • I ask myself that when I read some of WLC’s stuff.

        • Rudy R

          Trump University?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m thinking maybe he should apply for a refund.

        • Kodie

          You are applying a nature to something that doesn’t exist. I mean, you think morality belongs to god or his nature, without any evidence of god. Think it through, for fuck’s sake. Morality is a factor, it’s not “god’s nature”, goodness isn’t “god’s nature.” We would never start a proposition by sneaking that shit in.

        • MR

          Think it through….

          Yeah, I think I called that one.

        • Argus

          (1). If Cthulu does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist

          This isn’t circular because technically it is not the same thing. You could state it like this
          (1) If Cthulu does not exist, a part of Cthulu’s nature does not exist.
          (2) A part of Cthulu’s nature does exists
          (3) Therefore, Cthulu exists.

        • MR

          The part that is circular (and, maybe that’s not the best way to put it) is that when you say that “a part of God’s/Cthulu’s nature does not exist,” You’re implying that “a part” does in fact exist, which presumes God/Cthulu. Right in the first premise. That to me is circular. Of course if a part of God/Cthulu’s nature exists, then he must exist because it necessarily belongs to him! But you’re presupposing his existence in that first premise simply by referencing “God/Cthulu” in the second half of the first premise. Zzzt!

          Correct, if he had said, “If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist,” that would not be circular. But the moment you replace “objective moral values and duties” with “a part of God’s nature” you’re presupposing God exists in order for him to even have a nature.

          First you have to prove that God exists and show that OMVDs are part of his nature, let alone show that OMVDs even exist.

        • Argus

          Cthulu is not interested in your puny, mortal circularity. He demands your worship. You will bow.

        • I gave that a brief skim, and it looks like the tired old “you can’t say something is really wrong (or right or just or whatever) without God,” where “really” is an unjustified attempt at imagining the human version of morality or purpose vs. the God-given one.

          Look up those words in the dictionary, and you won’t find this distinction. It’s invented just to find a niche to put God into.

          And why are comments not allowed at reasonablefaith? I’d have commented there if I could.

        • scdorman

          Well you can’t say something is “really” wrong because without God you have no objective standard to judge whats wrong or right.

          Um… Reasonable Faith’s website does have a forum section. where you can comment on the arguments. Here is the link.

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/

        • MNb

          What does “really” mean?
          I judge every day what’s wrong or right with my subjective standard. Really.

        • scdorman

          Really, just means that it is really true that some action is wrong or right. It is an objective fact that A is wrong in context B.

        • MNb

          You can’t explain the meaning of a word by using that same word again. Hence this

          “Really, just means that it is really true” is not an answer at all. It makes me suspect you use the word only as a cheap rhetorical trick. Apparently it begins to dawn upon you that you don’t have a case at all and the man you rely on is a scam.
          So I repeat:
          I judge every day what’s wrong or right with my subjective standard. Really.
          You don’t have an argument.

        • Argus

          No it is a subjective value judgement….not a fact.

          It is a fact that if you shoot me in the head, I will probably die.

          Whether or not it was right or wrong that you shot me is a value judgement for the society in which we live and — often — the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

        • Well you can’t say something is “really” wrong because without God you have no objective standard to judge whats wrong or right.

          That’s fine. I just say things are regular wrong. Y’know, like how “wrong” is defined in the dictionary.

          Um… Reasonable Faith’s website does have forum section. where you can comment on the arguments. Here is the link.

          Why no comments for each post? Do things get too rowdy? Or do the Christians complain that the atheists aren’t playing along?

        • scdorman

          I’m not finding this definition of wrong.

          I think it is because Craig doesn’t have the time to sit and answer everyone’s comments on his posts, unfortunately. Although, on the forums you can discuss all of his stuff.

        • “Wrong” is defined in the dictionary. That’s what I’m using.

          Your definition (“you can’t say something is “really” wrong because without God you have no objective standard to judge whats wrong or right”) is not supported by the dictionary.

          As for comments, the most popular blogs (Richard Carrier, Friendly Atheist) get loads of comments, and the principles usually don’t have time to even read the comments. If reasonablefaith allowed comments, WLC might be in the same boat.

          I’m frustrated by Christian blogs that disallow comments because they’re concerned about atheists coming and pulling back the curtain to reveal that the wizard is just a sad old man. That may not at all be WLC’s concern, but it does put him in the company of other bloggers who do things that way.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know why you think there’s nothing to judge something right or wrong without some deity to define what that is. We made up the words to apply to situations that we feel and measure against ourselves. That’s why people cannot agree always. You are mistaken by the concept of math, where 2+3=6 is objectively wrong, and 3+2+1=6 is objectively right. Trying to equate morality with other solid universal concepts is your error. If you take another abstract like beauty, what is considered beautiful to many people is not the same word others would use for the same thing. There is no such thing as objective beauty, there are just our common eyesight and feelings, say, the ocean is beautiful, a mountain is beautiful, a flower is beautiful, deer in the snow, whereas a gaping head wound is ugly, but a pile of poo can be beautiful… you know, if you look at something, its shape, how it shines in the sun, and not think that it’s actual shit, it could be an object that pleases you to look at. We can’t say sick and starving children are ugly. What they’re going through is ugly, but can you look at sick children … let’s say in an “objective” kind of way, you don’t want to look at it like you want to look at a basket of kittens, I mean objectively, what the ravages of sickness, poverty, hunger, do to people takes away their “objective” beauty, i.e., how we define the word and compared to objects we would more normally label “beautiful”. You have to say the term might not have an objective measure, or it means different things to different people, like your shoes or the furnishings in your house might be beautiful to you but ugly to just about everyone else.

          So you can’t really take a word like morality and expect it to perform like a solid static god-given answer. We decide. Just because a lot of behaviors are abhorrent to most people doesn’t mean that it is objectively immoral, it means most of us don’t want to be killed or raped or enslaved, and most of us can identify partly with other humans and decide that if we want those rights for ourselves, we have to provide them for everyone and encode it into law. God figures into it not at all.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Well, I can’t say something is “really” wrong because Jesus could just show me that nothing is wrong.

        • Argus

          Actually…we can as societies really say an act is wrong…we do it all the time.

          Upon what evidence so you assert “without God you have no objective standard?”

        • Ah–I see that Euthyphro is mentioned there as well. I’ve responded to WLC’s position on Euthyphro here:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/09/a-christian-apologist-wrestles-euthyphro-and-loses/

        • scdorman

          Cool, I will check it out.

    • adam

      “1. In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong. ”

      Well, they certainly dont believe that it comes from bible God
      As they ignore what bible god commands.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

      • scdorman

        Again, 1. this really doesn’t affect the argument. It is just an attack on the Christian God. The God of the argument could obviously not be the Christian God. 2. it might be that all scripture is not inerrant as some think, particularly with the passages you mention. 3 even if, all scripture is without error how can you say that God, who is the good and cannot do anything evil, did something evil in these passages. It would be logical impossible for him to do such a thing. That would mean God did do something good in these passages it’s just we might not know the full context to see why it was good. Although, in many cases, I think you can find a possible answer if you search for it. lastly, to really convict the Christian God of doing something evil you would have to show that an objective moral law existed, that it was not part of the Christian God at all, and had a law that showed the Christian God’s action to be evil. Of course, if you believe morality is subjective, then you can claim God is evil til your blue in the face, but its not going to get you anywhere.

        • adam

          ” 3 even if, all scripture is without error how can you say that God, who is the good and cannot do anything evil, did something evil in these passages.”

          By understanding the definition of the word ‘evil’

          “Definition of evil Merriam Webster.

          1 a : morally reprehensible : b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct

          2 a archaic : inferior b : causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive
          c : disagreeable

          3 a : causing harm : ”

          ” did something evil in these passages. It would be logical impossible for him to do such a thing. ”

          What is impossible for the CREATOR of EVIL?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fef3e09d4fced201880c6048e47897bc3461d04f1c5de54936408c4560c105b.jpg

          “lastly, to really convict the Christian God of doing something evil you would have to show that an objective moral law existed,”

          Nope, just that evil was done.

          ” how can you say that God, who is the good and cannot do anything evil, did something evil in these passages.”

          If you want to ‘use’ God, as a non-IMAGINARY character, then you NEEDED to demonstrate that YOUR ‘God’ is anything but IMAGINARY.

        • scdorman

          I have reply to you on this in another comment here already. See that one.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “It is just an attack on the Christian God.”

          Interesting. Why?

          “That would mean God did do something good in these passages it’s just we might not know the full context to see why it was good.”

          Perhaps it doesn’t matter what Jesus’ morality is, then?

        • Argus

          “”That would mean God [insert Hitler] did do something good in these passages it’s just we might not know the full context to see why it was good.””

        • Argus

          “to really convict the Christian God of doing something evil you would have to show that an objective moral law existed”

          No I would only have to demonstrate that my subjective understanding of what is moral has been violated by this god.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with (1).

      Some atheists do, and with good reason, but that’s not the interesting one for me.

      You certainly disagree with (2).

      Bingo.

      1. In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong.

      Hard to believe, isn’t it? Morality changes—at a bit of a glacier’s pace, but it changes. When we said that slavery was OK, was that right? Or are we right now? We certainly think we are, but how do you know?

      To think that our moral beliefs are all false would take some powerful evidence.

      Not my argument.

      if you told me my belief about an objectively existing object, like my monitor, was false, then I would want evidence.

      You’re making the incredible claim. The natural claim is very easy to see: our morality comes from our being social animals. Evolution gave it to us. And society shapes us as well.

      2. If our moral beliefs are a product of social and biological (programming) conditioning, then does that show (2) is false? Well, not necessarily.

      I agree. It simply gives a very plausible natural explanation, which is far preferable to a supernatural one.

      WLC’s comment is flawed, but that’s a tangent.

      3. If you think naturalism is true, then you have bigger problems because of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which makes it difficult to justify any of your beliefs.

      Search for that argument at this blog. I’ve already responded. The core part of EAAN is that the brain is imperfect. Not bad, but not perfect. And who could disagree with this, whether Christian or atheist?

      So you’re telling me that you’re going to use this imperfect tool and declare that the most remarkable claim possible, “a god exists who created the universe and is very concerned about humans” is true? Wow–that takes balls!

      4. A disagreement over what is good, evil, right or wrong does not necessarily mean that (2) is false.

      Right. But if objective morality exists, that shows that we humans can imperfectly access it.

      Your job is not only to show that objective morality exists but show that we can reliably access it. If we can’t, what good is it?

      I do think that objective moral truth is accessible, but on some issues it might take a while to discover what the truth is.

      Give me an example. And show that this is reliably accessible by all of us (otherwise, it’s just your opinion). And show that this remarkable claim of objective morality can’t be explained just as well by natural means.

      “As Sorley emphasized, there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world.

      Sorley might want to rethink this. Everyone agrees that zebras exist. Not everyone agrees that abortion is wrong. Or right. Or something in between.

      See the difference?

      5. In short, I agree with Craig that, “Actions like rape, torture, child abuse, and brutality aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re moral abominations. By the same token, love, generosity, equality, and self-sacrifice are really good. People who fail to see this are just morally handicapped, and there is no reason to allow their impaired vision to call into question what we see clearly.”

      Wow—you sure wouldn’t believe the guy has two doctorates with this kind of blather.

      Translated, he’s saying that he’s figured it out. Why should someone else’s idiotic confusion about morality rain on his parade?

      (I’m late replying, so I’m sure others have covered most or all of this. Apologies.)

      • scdorman

        1. Certainly our understanding of what is moral can change as we discover what is moral. Although, that would not necessarily show that (2) is false.

        2. “I agree. It simply gives a very plausible natural explanation, which is far preferable to a supernatural one.”

        How does social and biological conditioning give a plausible natural explanation of Objective moral values and duties? On naturalism, they are just subjective.

        3. I will look for your post on the EAAN.

        4. The job of (2) is just to show they exist. Whether or not we have good access to it doesn’t matter. You would still have to agree with (2). Moral truth is accessible to people in their right mind. The same would be true of the physical world. Discovering what is right or wrong with privacy and the internet has been an on going affair. Although, don’t you believe that eventually we can figure it out, even if we don’t put it into practice. Even if the moral truth of this is lost to us on this issue (2) could still be true. There are moral issues that we are sure we have discovered the truth of, like rape etc… we believe these should be true even if american society thinks otherwise. Also, not everyone agrees about what some physical things are. So, why be more skeptical of our moral experience than our experience of the physical world?

        5.I believe he is referencing people like sociopaths and people who just outright reject the obvious, like there really is an objective physical world around us.

        • 1. Certainly our understanding of what is moral can change as we discover what is moral. Although, that would not necessarily show that (2) is false.

          It’s not my job to show that 2 is false. It’s yours to show that it’s true.

          That what is moral changes with time shows that either there are no objective, unchanging morals or we very poorly access objective morality. Not good for your position.

          How does social and biological conditioning give a plausible natural explanation of Objective moral values and duties? On naturalism, they are just subjective.

          I make no claim for objective morality, obviously.

          4. The job of (2) is just to show they exist. Whether or not we have good access to it doesn’t matter.

          Objective values that exist but that we can’t access are completely useless for us. From our standpoint, that’s identical to their not existing.

          But sure, if you can prove that these useless objective moral values and duties exist, that would show (2). Go.

          Moral truth is accessible to people in their right mind.

          Huh? So when you and I disagree about abortion or same-sex marriage or euthanasia or killing in wartime, I’m wrong and you’re right? Maybe I’m right. Maybe we’re both wrong. And what does this have to do with anything?

          The same would be true of the physical world. Discovering what is right or wrong with privacy and the internet has been an on going affair.

          Perhaps we’ve reached an intermediate point of agreement. That’s worth celebrating.

          What I hear us both saying is that if objective morality exists, it might as well not for all the good it does us. We simply are unable to access it reliably for it to do us a whit of good.

          Although, don’t you believe that eventually we can figure it out, even if we don’t put it into practice.

          How is “objective” useful in this conversation?? Just drop the idea. Call it subjective morality, and all is explained—the changing morals over time, our inability to reach consensus, and so on.

          Even if the moral truth of this is lost to us on this issue (2) could still be true.

          You’re determined to win the battle but lose the war, aren’t you?

          But OK, go ahead: show us that objective morality exists. You’ve don’t nothing to move the ball.

          There are moral issues that we are sure we have discovered the truth of, like rape etc… we believe these should be true even if american society thinks otherwise.

          Seriously, you need to do much better than this. This is widely agreed to or viscerally felt morality. 100% natural.

          Also, not everyone agrees about what some physical things are. So, why be more skeptical of our moral experience than our experience of the physical world?

          Huh? We’re pretty much in agreement that aardvarks and antelope exist. You going to compare moral claims like “abortion is always wrong” to that?

          OK—go for it. Do a poll and see how many people agree with that vs. “antelope exist.”

          5.I believe he is referencing people like sociopaths and people who just outright reject the obvious, like there really is an objective physical world around us.

          Regardless, he’s simply making a bandwagon argument. “C’mon, fellas, we’re all in agreement, right? Why let someone else who won’t climb aboard ruin our fun?”

        • scdorman

          (2) is shown true by our moral experience. Most of us have moral beliefs that we take as moral facts (ex. Hitler did something wrong in killing the Jews), which are abstract properties that are true of, at least, actions independently of whether any human (conscious) being believes it to be so. You probably believe that there are things people should or should not do because they are wrong or right. Or are you a moral nihilist? Similarly, most people have beliefs about the physical world that we take as fact (ex. I believe my keyboard is black and light to me) until we have some defeater (reason to believe otherwise) for them we are justified in believing that they are true.

          Now we may have gotten, some or all of, these moral beliefs through social and biological conditioning. But that does nothing to show that we should now believe that all those moral beliefs are false. It is not a good defeater (a.k.a. genetic fallacy) Likewise, we could get, all or some of, our beliefs about the physical world from social and biological conditioning. Again, we wouldn’t believe from that that those beliefs were false. I would still believe my keyboard is black and light to me even if I knew I got the belief through social and biological conditioning.

          What if someone disagrees with one of my moral beliefs? OK, that is fine. Find out why. Maybe, his reasoning will be a kind of defeater for your belief and you change your mind on it. Maybe, after talking to bob you now think that abortion is good and/or the right thing to do in most cases. I do not think from disagreement alone that therefore there are no moral facts though. Again, the same can be applied to beliefs about the physical world. After talking to bob I now believe it is true that Pluto is made up of X,Y, and Z not A, B, and C.

          So, in my mind I’m justified in believing (2) is true unless you can give me a defeater (reason) to show that all my moral beliefs are false, that they are not moral facts after all. For example, show that Hitler’s action against the Jews was not right, wrong, good or bad then do that with every other moral belief I have. Again, citing social and biological origins of those beliefs or moral disagreements is not enough.

        • Philmonomer

          After talking to bob I now believe it is true that Pluto is made up of X,Y, and Z not A, B, and C, but I wouldn’t conclude from our disagreement alone on Pluto that therefore there are no physical objects exist. Clearly that would be wrong. I have plenty of sensory evidence to believe there do exist objective physical objects.

          We are talking about non-physical characteristics of actions (or objects). They don’t have to “exist” in some independent-of-us sort-of way. I return to my example of “tall,” which, again, I think is like “good.” It is a label that we put on something, relative to our nature and our nurture (environment). It doesn’t exist “objectively.”

        • scdorman

          “We are talking about non-physical characteristics of actions (or objects). They don’t have to “exist” in some independent-of-us sort-of way.”

          You can take an anti-realist view of abstract objects. Although, without some objective standard, tallness becomes subjective, like taste. Somethings are subjective. Moral values, I believe, are not. If they were then Hitler did not do anything truly evil when killing the Jews. There would be no objective standard to point to and say look it shows here that Hitler was evil. Clearly, this is not what we experience. We want to affirm that Hitler was evil, that is what our moral experience tells us. Unless you can provide a reason why my moral beliefs are all false, I’m justified in believing them as true. Simply stating goodness, “…is a label that we put on something, relative to our nature and our nurture (environment). It doesn’t exist “objectively.” is not good enough.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Although, without some objective standard, tallness becomes subjective, like taste. Somethings are subjective.

          I alluded to this briefly in an earlier response to you, but it might be worthwhile to start emphasizing it more now.

          The adjective “objective” has an antithesis in the concept of “subjective”.

          The adjective of “absolute” has an antithesis in the concept of “relative”.

          Being “tall” is always something relative, it is a matter of degree. There is no absolute standard of “tallness”, yes?

          What about goodness? If, as I believe on my materialistic/naturalistic view, “goodness” is a relative term, then there needs be no absolute standard of “goodness”.

          However.

          The fact that “tallness” is relative does not make it “subjective”. If, among a population whose average height is 4 feet, some one grows up to be 7 feet tall – that person is not “subjectively” tall.

          It is an objective fact that they are taller than the average person. (Even though that very same “tallness” is a relative fact.)

          Similarly I construe human morality. Relative, but not subjective.

        • scdorman

          I agree with you here. Thanks for pointing out the distinction. Although, I would not construe morality as just relative or absolute. It can be objective and subjective as well. Say, It is wrong for me to kill bob in context A, but not in B. It would not be absolutely true then that killing another human is wrong all the time, but it could still be objectively true. Something could be objectively true and absolutely true, possibly torturing a child for fun.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I may have expressed myself poorly; I believe we’re in agreement here.

          I believe that objective, though relative, moral facts exist.

          Most religious people, like WLC, when they say “objective moral facts” they mean “absolute moral facts”. That is, these facts are not only not-subjective, they are also unchanging/eternal/transcendent.

        • MR

          Won’t someone think of the children!!!!

          So, it sounds to me like you believe torturing a child for fun is relatively worse than torturing an adult for fun.

          Damn, that subjectivity wants to sneak in everywhere!

        • Greg G.

          But is it OK to torture a child if you don’t enjoy it, say for the child’s own good or because God commanded it?

        • MR

          Subjectivity, subjectivity, everywhere and not a drop of objectivity.

          Once you start talking about torturing children, the first thing that comes to my mind isn’t that we’re talking about morality at all. We’re talking about someone who has some kind of mental or physical disorder. Now what do we do with objective morality? Is it objectively immoral if scdorman develops a tumor or begins to manifest some other neurological disorder that causes him to do terrible things? I mean, I really don’t think we need to worry so much about normal, healthy, psychologically sound adults going around torturing children for fun. It’s an imaginary problem for an imaginary concept.

        • Greg G.

          How does scdorman’s moral calculus solve the trolley problem? If a trolley is coming down the line and a car with five people in it is stuck on the tracks. You cannot warn either but you can throw a switch to send it down the line where a car with only the driver is stuck on the tracks. Our moral intuition is to throw the switch so five people survive instead of one, as five is objectively higher than one.

          Two people require kidney transplants, one a liver transplant, another a heart transplant, and another needs new lungs and all will die soon without their transplants. A person has been identified as a compatible donor for all five patients. Is it objectively moral to remove the organs from the donor, which results in his death, to save the five people? Our intuition tends to say no, but it is equivalent to the trolley problem.

          So, in the first scenario, we should not throw the switch in order to save 25 people who need transplants. Doesn’t that agree with the biblical solution of praying and trusting God to prevent the accident?

        • Kodie

          I disagree that it’s imaginary. How many children have you encountered who claim that something they’re being made to endure is torture!, and the adult says, “It’s naaaht torr-cher!” Maybe the kid is being hyperbolic, maybe they feel it. We know they don’t have a ton of perspective, either. There are only so many chemical combinations in the brain, and they make you feel what you feel. If the feeling they experience is equal to being tortured, well, adults have somewhat of a capacity that comes with experience and awareness of relative hardships of the world to manage those unpleasant feelings and realize it’s not as bad as actual torture. But even adults have terrible tortured feelings when they probably shouldn’t, generally labeled as depression or types of anxiety or PTSD, etc., where what you feel you’re going through is overwhelming and paralyzing, and likewise stigmatized because it is largely imaginary – the suffering of a depressed person is made light of that they have “nothing to feel depressed about,” and “think of all those people all over the world who suffer for real”, people who live on the streets, people who live in war-torn countries, people who have a child dying of cancer (even say relatively worse than people who have a parent dying of cancer, or even a spouse).

          Applying the term “torture” to children, eh, yeah, I mean some people are torturing children for fun but probably not as often explicitly or intentionally. Children are people but reserved in a separate “innocence” class that it is particularly emotional example to people that adults can suffer ok because they can handle it psychologically better, or something. Ruining a developing brain with such trauma is supposed to be an especially bad thing, even though we all basically torture all the children every day because it’s apparently unavoidable. Even children seem to know they are children and to try to appeal to adults not to torture them with going clothes shopping or eating peas.

        • MR

          I agree with what you’re saying, but I assume he’s referring to a water-boarding, cutting-off-the-fingers-one-by-one style of torture. People torture and abuse their kids all the time, but watch a religious person pull out the spare-the-rod excuse. We’re back in the subjective realm again. An ISIS grade style of torture by a normal, psychologically healthy person is a made up problem. Child abuse, is real–and usually entails some psychological problems, and often is the result of religion.

          and the adult says, “It’s naaaht torr-cher

          Ha-ha! No, they only say it like that in your neck of the woods. That made me laugh out loud.

        • Kodie

          I also assume what adults (in the west?) think the word torture means probably what the UN considers torture or something like that. There are a lot of behaviors people do against other people that are meant to be unpleasant, but I also wonder, if I were being tortured like that, would I wish I was waiting on line at the DMV for relief. I mean the sensations that we process, can they tell the difference between one unpleasantness and another. I want to preface the next bit, I’ve been through some stuff. Anyway, I was remembering about Hurricane Sandy, and people were leaving outlets by their homes for people to charge their devices, which was nice. The issue I was thinking about was hunger. I don’t think most people can conceive how quickly you can go hungry when you don’t have food. It’s sort of something most of us take for granted, we know what skipping a meal her or there feels like, but we don’t know how quickly not having access to any food turns into a crisis. When people are living in poverty generally, and not “merely” put out of their comfortable homes and experience needs like hunger for the first time, there’s such a sentiment that these people just need to get a job, then they will stop being hungry. Like people can function without food, obtain employment, and then do their job for at least two weeks before they get paid so they can shop for food. They don’t think that these people can maybe not cook anything on a stove because their gas was shut off. Sure, make sandwiches, or use the microwave only. Eating involves having money to buy food, and to keep the gas and/or electricity on. Things we just take for granted, or thinking people can just hang on for a week before they eat. Like, even if you’re poor, you have $10 in the bank to buy spaghetti? Not true.

          What I mean when I say “torture” is the physical sensation and the psychological sensation of suffering in any way. We can be appalled at waterboarding and then tolerate allowing hunger. How many levels of suffering is the brain able to process? Does it really matter if one has experience at it to have perspective? If you’re 3 days hungry, do you say to yourself, at least nobody’s waterboarding my family? They kind of are if this is supposed to motivate you to take any job you can immediately get (if you can even get one), like waterboarding someone is supposed to motivate them to give you their terrorist plots.

          I was sort of just kidding with the bit about the homework and eating peas, but also I was trying to address the actual psychological pain that the child may process, and whether that is equal or more than a person being waterboarded. An adult would not say homework is torture or cleaning your room is torture the way a kid feels it is. And I mean it, maybe they are being hyperbolic and exploitative, and maybe they really feel a pain they can’t express without hitting the extreme language. It’s mainly that adults dismiss these complaints (mostly) for the child’s own good, to build their character and help them grow, but that doesn’t mean it’s not actually unpleasant. And some children are having the shit beat out of them or watching their mothers get the shit beat out of them, and lots of other traumas children can have, and they have no idea, and no one tells them. I mean, if you tell a child, if you would rather not do homework, I know a coal mine that will take you, no… we rather just tell them if they don’t suffer homework, they’ll have no tv or no computer or no after-school playtime with a friend, etc. We don’t tell them other children get the shit beaten out of them, or they might think if they don’t do their homework, that’s something of a veiled threat.

          I mean, it’s kind of hard to deal with reality and children, and telling them too much or too little and how they’ll process it. I have no doubt kids suffer, but they have no perspective. If you give them too much perspective, like “eat your peas, there are starving children, you have to eat your peas”, I don’t know if that’s even done anymore. Adults push kids through the tough shit, I mean, “tough shit”. And then there’s shit like bullying which a kid might actually kill themselves over. You can’t say their feelings aren’t that drastic, just because they shouldn’t be, if only they had the experience to diminish the importance of the feelings they have at those instances where they will pass. The best parents can hope for is their children grow from their bad feelings and have the resilience to process them in a healthy way – but that still doesn’t mean it’s nahhht torr-cher. That’s something adults don’t want their kids to wuss out, and we know things they don’t know yet, but the main thing I’m still trying to get at is:

          the physical and psychological sensation of torture as we consider in a conventional way, and any other suffering a person, a child, anyone could endure. Torture usually also involves imprisonment, and we shouldn’t forget that children are basically prisoners – who get to go to school and eat vegetables and have lots of stuff in their own bedroom they have to keep clean. How else to teach discipline before they are mature enough to move out, but what does it actually feel like, compared to experiences that are entirely distant from theirs, where their country is at war, or they may be taken from their home and kept by a stranger and tortured for real.

        • MR

          So many factors. Maturity, state of mind, relativity, control or lack of control over a situation, psychological capacity or deficiencies, intent of the parties…. No room for objectivity, to go back to the original point, but, yeah, how do you parse all this?

          I have no issues with the DMV because I can unhook. People get themselves all worked up over the DMV, TSA, standing in the endless line at the grocery store on Christmas Eve…. They bring their own torture on themselves.

          Children might not have the maturity or experience to handle certain situations and maybe the little things do feel like torture, but life doesn’t give us much choice but to go through things. But when the really bad things happen and control is in the hands of an adult and there is intent to harm, well, I think even children know that difference.

          And, yes, we all care about the children, deeply, because it’s a built in feature thanks to evolution. But it still happens in degrees. Something happening to my kid isn’t quite the same as something happening to my nephew vs. the neighbor’s kid vs. someone I read about in town vs. in another state vs. in another country….

          When I ra-ra ‘merica to go out and carpet bomb the shit out of that country, how much thought am I giving to the torture I’m putting the little children through?

        • MR

          Children are people but reserved in a separate “innocence” class….

          Oops, meant to continue in the other response, but forgot and hit post. See, this is one thing about the objective morality argument that drives me crazy. We’re supposed to know that there is this hard and fast objective morality out there that we’re all subject too and all agree on, but then in quickly disintegrates the moment you look at it:

          It’s wrong to hurt other people. “Yeah, but what if you’re defending yourself?” Well, then, we all agree that it’s wrong to torture someone. “Yeah, but….” Well, it’s wrong to torture children. “But….” Well, it’s wrong to torture children for fun. I mean, you get so far from the original intent that objective morality becomes effectively meaningless anyway. “We can all agree it’s wrong to waterboard children for fun in front of their beloved puppy on a Tuesday during a full moon if it’s not raining.” Exaggeration for effect, but the point is the concept of objective morality has already become a farce.

          I mean, shit, is it wrong to hurt someone or not? Is it wrong to kill someone or not? Is this what objective reality looks like in heaven? Is objective morality still going to mean “it’s wrong to torture children for fun,” or is everyone finally going to agree that objective morality means “it’s wrong to hurt someone.” Period. Because I think that’s what everyone believes it’s the way it’s going to be in heaven. No one is ever going to hurt anyone ever again because it’s the objectively morally correct thing.

          Well, if we’re not holding up to that simple, basic standard here on earth, then we’re not talking about objective morality, and I call bullshit.

        • Argus

          “Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Ps 137:9

        • Argus

          as opposed to torturing children for …what?

        • Kodie

          Meat.

        • adam

          Sport

          Not for fun, so to speak, but to find the toughest children, in a competition.

        • MR

          Moral values, I believe, are not.

          Shrug.

          truly evil

          Objectively, no.

          There would be no objective standard to point to and say look it shows here that Hitler was evil.

          And there isn’t.

          We want to affirm that Hitler was evil,

          Objectively evil? You want to affirm that, not me. The term evil is just a label to describe a complex set of actions, consequences and reactions. That you think it a thing doesn’t mean I do.

          Unless you can provide a reason why my moral beliefs are all false, I’m justified in believing them as true.

          You could believe in unicorns and feel justified in believing in them, so shrug.

          “Simply stating goodness, “…is a label… is not good enough,” again, “for you.” FTFY

        • MNb

          “If they were then Hitler did not do anything truly evil when killing the Jews.”
          The No True Evil fallacy.

          “Clearly, this is not what we experience.”
          Repeating your insult only makes it worse. You don’t get to decide what I experience and what I don’t. I don’t experience that at all, on the contrary. You don’t have any right to speak for me, arrogant jerk.

          “Unless you can provide a reason why my moral beliefs are all false, I’m justified in believing them as true.”
          Yeah. Unless you can provide a reason why my belief that red is more beautiful than pink is false I’m exactly as justified in believing it is true.
          Or not.

        • adam

          ” If they were then Hitler did not do anything truly evil when killing the Jews. ”

          Certainly, THAT is what HItler and all the people who supported killing the Jews felt is was GOOD.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e284ecfcf8f4a4da8adb8c8992def60d555414158c237b83a5d3f4c4ffb2fa2.jpg
          As did Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78d2605305eadcda78155977377e79721c970efc02c864dedd893cd1d7e34a5d.jpg

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Somethings are subjective. Moral values, I believe, are not. If they were then Hitler did not do anything truly evil when killing the Jews.”

          Then why did Hitler kill Jewish people? You claim that such a thing would be truly evil, so why would you kill Jewish people when you can’t see it as anything but evil (in fact even trying to conceptualize such a scenario sounds like donkeys trying not to orange space hangnails, utter nonsense. Morality is objective. There is no other possibility and there never was, could have been, or could be.

        • Philmonomer

          without some objective standard, tallness becomes subjective, like taste.

          What would constitute an “objective standard” for tallness?

          Somethings are subjective.

          What is subjective, versus what is objective?

          Moral values, I believe, are not.

          Well, they aren’t subjective in the sense that we can just arbitrarily change them.

          If they were then Hitler did not do anything truly evil when killing the Jews.

          I don’t know what the word “truly” means here. Are you using “truly” as a synonym for “objectively?” Hitler did something evil. We all agree.

          There would be no objective standard to point to and say look it shows here that Hitler was evil.

          What is the objective standard that you point to now?

          Clearly, this is not what we experience. We want to affirm that Hitler was evil, that is what our moral experience tells us.

          We experience that Hitler was evil, and we can affirm that Hitler was evil, without having “objective” evil. (It isn’t even clear what that means.)

          Similarly, I experience my friend, who is 6 foot 2 inches, as “tall.” I don’t have to point to an “objective standard” of tallness.

          Unless you can provide a reason why my moral beliefs are all false, I’m justified in believing them as true

          Of course you believe them as true. I believe mine are true. You believe (I’m guessing) that assisted suicide is morally wrong (possibly even evil). I don’t. I’m right and you are wrong. That doesn’t mean any of us are “objectively” right and wrong.

          Simply stating goodness, “…is a label that we put on something, relative to our nature and our nurture (environment). It doesn’t exist “objectively.” is not good enough.

          As near as I can tell, the reason it isn’t good enough is that you “experience” your morality to be really, really true. That doesn’t make it so.

        • Argus

          Didn’t Yahweh of the OT kill more people per capita than Hitler?

        • Philmonomer

          Yeah, but that was the OT Yahweh. The Christian says Jesus has come, so we’re all good now.

        • Argus

          Which means god is not unchanging……hmmmm

        • TheNuszAbides

          people per capita

          lol

        • Michael Neville

          Unless you can provide a reason why my moral beliefs are all false, I’m justified in believing them as true

          Intelligent, rational, well-meaning people can have completely different opinions on what is or is not moral. Catholic Bishops say that artificial contraception is immoral. Almost everyone else, including a majority of American Catholic laity, disagree. Pacifists hold that killing is immoral, soldiers have a different opinion. Some people think abortion is immoral, others see it as moral.

          Humans are social animals. We evolved morality to help us live together in groups. But, as I show above, different groups have different opinions on what specifically is moral or immoral.

          Your moral beliefs are true for you. Others have different beliefs which are true for them.

        • MR

          ….citing social and biological origins of those beliefs and/or moral disagreements is not enough for you.

          FTFY

        • scdorman

          Why is it enough for you?

        • MR

          It needs no further explanation. Inserting a supernatural explanation where there is no evidence for one adds nothing when there are natural explanations. Demonstrate this mystical objective morality and then we can talk.

        • MNb

          Because anything apologists like you can add add nothing to our understanding. That’s always the case with “goddiddid” – and your argument for a large part is just another version of precisely that.

        • (2) [Objective moral values and duties do exist] is shown true by our moral experience.

          This is one of the problems of being an acolyte of WLC. His thinking on the fundamental issues is so shallow that he’d get an F if he turned it in as a freshman paper. And when you see it, you think it will carry the argument.

          First, define “objective.” You are likelier to win the point as you water down “objective moral values and duties.” But, of course, by doing so, you’ve just lost the argument when your “objective” morality is “that which we strongly feel” or something like that. In other words, subjective morality.

          Most of us have moral beliefs that we take as moral facts (ex. Hitler did something wrong in killing the Jews), which we believe are true independently of whether any human (conscious) being believes it to be so.

          You mean subjective beliefs? Yes, we have those.

          You probably believe that there are things people should or should not do because they are wrong or right.

          Correct. Furthermore, I will happily make clear my moral differences with someone else (like you) and argue that I’m right.

          Or are you a moral nihilist?

          Are many people moral nihilists?

          Similarly, most people have beliefs about the physical world that they take as an objective fact (ex. I believe my keyboard is black and light to me)

          Do not mix claims about morality and the real world. Everyone agrees that zebras exist. Not everyone believes that “abortion is always morally wrong.”

          Now we may have gotten, some or all of, these moral beliefs through social and biological conditioning. But that does nothing to show that we should now believe that all those moral beliefs are false. It is not a good defeater (a.k.a. genetic fallacy)

          Yet again, it’s not my job to defeat your claim about objective morality. Your job is to sustain it.

          What if someone disagrees with one of my moral beliefs?

          Then you’ve shown that objective moral truths aren’t both (1) existing and (2) reliably accessible by people.

          So, in my mind I’m justified in believing (2) is true unless you can give me a defeater (reason) to show that all my moral beliefs are false, that they are not moral facts after all.

          There are moral facts. They’re just subjective.

          For example, show that Hitler’s action against the Jews was not right, wrong, good or bad then do that with every other moral belief I have.

          This is an example that WLC brings up where he falls on his face. Craig said this:

          [The Holocaust] would still have been wrong, even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in brainwashing or exterminating everybody who disagreed with them, so that everybody in the world thought the Holocaust was right and good.

          Let’s think this through. We have our world, where everyone says the Holocaust was wrong, and we have Bizarro World, where things are identical except that everyone says the Holocaust was right. Each world has a William Lane Craig, and they are identical except for opposite views on this one issue. Where is the objective grounding for either view? Neither debater could point to anything to convince the other!

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Argus

          Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude.at least it’s an ethos.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “(2) reliably accessible by people.”

          I don’t even know how this can work. I know of nothing called morality that is something that we “access”. Morality we talk about is purely animal behavior including thoughts made of connections in our brains.

        • Agreed. I’m amazed that this BS about objective (grounded outside people) morality continues. You’d think that with 5 minutes of thought, they’d drop that argument.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          This comment of mine:

          “”It is clear we differ in morality. You believe it to be relative and I don’t. ”

          Interesting! So, if I were to say to, say, Hitler that I believe his moral reasoning is flawed in determing that Jews should be persecuted and persecuted up to killing them, he would just agree with me and wonder what the point of stating the equivalent of “frogs give headlight fluid to tax forms” (nonsense) because morality is objective and cannot include such things? Or would he more likely start arguing for (his) morality and how I am falling short in such and such ways? In other words, would we see each other as flawed from our separate viewpoints (relative to each other)? That is not belief. That is observation.

          “have morality”

          This sounds like you are now asking my opinion. That is tangential. If people you and I disagree with (violent religious people, perhaps) believe what they are doing is nonsense (somehow immoral when morality is objective and relatively different viewpoints depending on the subjects therefore should not exist to possibly be labled immoral) why act so? How does “have morality” have any meaning?

          “I disagree with that entirely because those things are wrong and always will be wrong.”

          Jesus counters that those things are right and will always be right. Do you disagree with YHWH or default to “We have always been at war with East Asia. Goldstein must have switched the banners when we weren’t looking!” mid-sentence (the Jesus stand-in, Big Brother, is always right and cannot lie by default, and this is known only through self-proclaimed chosen by Jesus-figure authorities. Therefore this is not and cannot be an example of Big Brother/The Party/Ingsoc lying or acting immorally. You can’t argue with them because then you would be nonsensically claiming double plus good Big Brother is double plus un-good/sinless Jesus is sinful- their super special words are developed specifically for the purpose of making disagreement with them impossible/the wage of death itself)?”

          From conversation:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/rachel-held-evans/life_after_evangelicalism/#comment-3060642929

          That sums up my views on claimed “objective morality” pretty good.

        • Did you reply to the right person?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Sorry. I was continuing my last reply reusing stuff from another blog. I wanted more thoughts.

        • MNb

          “(2) is shown true by our moral experience. Most of us have moral beliefs that we take as moral facts (ex. Hitler did something wrong in killing the Jews) which we believe are true independently of whether any human (conscious) being believes it to be so.”
          This is bullshit.
          Moral experience is subjective. My moral experience is not the same as yours and the moral experience of Dzhengis Khan was completely different from both. It just depends on who experiences it – ie the subject.
          “Most of us” is an Argumentum ad Populum – ie a logical fallacy.
          Quite a few people thought Hitler did something right in killing the jews – you still can find them.
          Last but not least you display your arrogance with your “we believe” – this we has to mean we humans or your non-argument falls apart even further. I take that as a grave offense. You don’t get to claim to know better what I believe and don’t believe than I myself, especially as I don’t believe that at all.

          After this I didn’t care to read any further – in my years of internet experience it only gets worse.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Bob S.: “But OK, go ahead: show us that objective morality exists.”

          For my own part: scdorman, show us that there is not even one example of anyone doing or believing anything morally disagreeable. Show that such a thing is not even possible because morality is objective and not relative to the person. For example, show that Hitler never carried out the Holocaust and indeed no on ever could anymore than someone could lick a door knob, changing the smell of semicolon to Harry Potter (in other words that “immoral” is a nonsensical concept because morality that does not include stuff like the Holocaust is objective and not relative to the person).

        • TheNuszAbides

          one example of anyone doing or believing anything morally disagreeable.
          Show that such a thing is not even possible because morality is
          objective

          i maintain that WLC-style arguers consistently ignore this sort of challenge because they have nothing to offer but crude conceptions of (1) ‘rebellious’/contrarian behavior and (2) ~demonic interference~ (possibly crude enough that there’s little to no separation of the two).

        • Kodie

          Your error is thinking morality exists as an objective thing to be discovered. It is your assumption, your bias. 2. So what if morals are just subjective? You have a problem with that too, because your assumption is that morality is objective, and forcing your assumption onto naturalism to try to explain your assumption which is not established fact.

          Start with that. It’s very hard to communicate with you.

        • MR

          because your assumption is that morality is objective, and forcing your assumption onto naturalism to try to explain your assumption which is not established fact.

          Well, technically, it’s not his assumption. He’s simply parroting WLC and this cute, little video that completely ignores the real arguments. He’s still stuck in religious propaganda and hasn’t yet thought these things out on his own. So it would be unfair to call them his assumptions.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

        • Kodie

          I still say it’s his assumption, even if he adopted it from someone else. That’s kind of how the whole thing works. Nobody just believes the bible, someone has to hand them a bible or talk about Jesus, or something, and they catch religion, and it’s theirs.

        • MR

          No, I was just getting a little jab in. Many of his comments are verbatim from this video, but he got his hackles up when I suggested he hadn’t really thought things through on his own. I think he still has some thinkin’ to do. 😉

    • TheMarsCydonia

      I think I must have read somewhere that you studied philosophy. If so, I hope you do not think that we should value the moral argument as a convincing one because it isn’t. There’s a lot to say and even more when considering your other comments but please consider the following.

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

      That’s the argument as often presented by William Lane Craig. I imagine I will see some of his defenses to the objections of this argument in your comments.

      I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with (1).

      I do not agree with (1) because it has not been demonstrated to be true and see no reason to grant it as true. What would prevent the existence of moral values and duties if god did not exist?

      You certainly disagree with (2).

      For the same reason I disagreed with premise (1): premise (2) has not been demonstrated to be true. If objective moral values exists, what are they? How are they accessed? How did you validate you accessed them correctly?

      “1. In general, people do believe there is objective good, evil, right, and wrong. Similarly, most people believe there are objectively existing physical objects. To think that our moral beliefs are all false would take some powerful evidence. Why? Because it would go against our normal experience. Likewise, if you told me my belief about an objectively existing object, like my monitor, was false, then I would want evidence.”

      – The first part is an appeal to “in general”. What people believe “in general” is not necessarily true. History is filled with exemples of things that people “generally” believed which turned out to be false. And “in general” I would venture that most people do not know what is meant by “objective good, evil, right and wrong” so I do not see how you came to your conclusion of “in general”. Where did you obtain this data? How have you verified it’s accuracy? Have you considered what factor could influence their “in general” belief (such as “were they raised in a christian household or non-religious one”, etc.)?
      – This next part is a false equivalence. Would you consider “In general, people believe in fairies. Similarly, most people believe there are objectively existing physical objects”. Demonstrating physical objects is a rather mundane task, “in general” but “objective good, evil, right and wrong”? Not so much.
      – Isn’t this shifting the burden of proof? Wouldn’t it first take some powerful evidence to demonstrate that our moral beliefs “are all right”? You’re having this backwards.
      – Whose normal experience? Again, where did you obtain this data? How have you verified it’s accuracy? etc. How would people “believing in general something” demonstrate its truth? Would it cease to be true if people ceased to believe it “in general”? Is something false until the time people believe it “in general”?
      – Again, shifting the burden of proof. Shouldn’t you demonstrate the objective existence of your monitor? I think you assume we’d grant the monitor’s existence because it is a trivial claim with little impact but what if you were to say “Likewise, if you told me my belief about an objectively existing object, like my pet dragon, was false, then I would want evidence.”? Are we supposed to grant it as true until we present “powerful evidence” it isn’t? Should you?
      – And need I repeat “false equivalence”? Why would you think “objective moral values” and cars to be similar?
      And this was only your 1. On with 2.

      “2. If our moral beliefs are a product of social and biological (programming) conditioning, then does that show (2) is false? Well, not necessarily. As Craig has pointed out, if “…our moral beliefs have been instilled in us through socio-biological pressures, those beliefs are false and so objective moral values and duties do not exist. So construed, the objection is a textbook example of the genetic fallacy…”

      – You’re working backwards again. Have you yet shown (2) to be true?
      – What would make these moral beliefs “false” rather than non-objective?
      Well, this one was quicker at least.

      “3. If you think naturalism is true, then you have bigger problems because of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which makes it difficult to justify any of your beliefs.”

      -You’re veering into presuppositional apologetics here but let’s respond to these “bigger problems”: there isn’t any. And I’ll spend as much time discussing why there isn’t any as you’ve spent discussing that there are.

      “4. A disagreement over what is good, evil, right or wrong does not necessarily mean that (2) is false. People still disagree about what some physical objects are, but that doesn’t mean that that thing doesn’t exist. Likewise, the same could be said of objective moral values and duties. I do think that objective moral truth is accessible, but on some issues it might take a while to discover what the truth is. This applies to the truth of physical objects around us as well. In other words, “As Sorley emphasized, there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. In the absence of some defeater, we rationally trust our perceptions, whether sensory or moral.”

      – Have the existence of objective moral values and duties been demonstrated yet? With how they are accessed and how their accuracy is validated?
      – Well, as you stated, if they exists, “it might take a while to discover what the truth is” which brings us back to the issue mentionned just above: when you think you’ve “discovered an objective moral value and/or duty”, how would you validate it’s accuracy? If someone “discovered an objective moral value and/or duty” contradicting yours, how do we go about figuring out who discovered the actual “objective moral value and/or duty” and who made an error in his discovery?
      – Sorley is wrong on this one. I do not blindly trut the objective reality of the physical world because of the absence of some defeater. It’s because the reality I experience, wether true or false, is the only one I deal with so I don’t have much of a choice. Look up solipsim.
      – And again, false equivalence between objective moral values and objective physical objects. You would think that if objective moral values were as self-evidence as physical objects, the likes of Solery and William Lane Craig would have these difficulties demosntrating their existence: they wouldn’t even have too. “In general”, people would simply grant them their existence.

      “5. In short, I agree with Craig that, “Actions like rape, torture, child abuse, and brutality aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior—they’re moral abominations. By the same token, love, generosity, equality, and self-sacrifice are really good. People who fail to see this are just morally handicapped, and there is no reason to allow their impaired vision to call into question what we see clearly.”

      – That’s nice. I think the same thing too but I wouldn’t venture as far as to call objetively so. What makes them objectively “moral abominations” or “really good”?
      – What if I were to say “People who jump to conclusion that they objectively so are morally handicapped, and there is no reason to allow their impaired vision to call into question what we see clearly.”? Asserting it so wouldn’t not make it true in my case, would it? Why grant it to William Lane Craig simply because he asserts it? I would rather wish he’d demonstrate it.

      And that was all of the points in your original comment. Perhaps I will comment the extras at a later time.

    • Michael Neville

      If you think naturalism is true, then you have bigger problems because of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, which makes it difficult to justify any of your beliefs.

      This is Alvin Plantinga’s “argument”. It can be ignored because Plantinga uses a parody of evolution for his argument. He also misuses statistics. Biologist PZ Myers wrote a critique of Plantinga’s naturalism argument.

      Plantinga really thinks that one of the claims he is arguing against is that materialists/naturalists assume our minds are reliable.

      But of course we can’t just assume that they are in the same cognitive situation we think we are in. For example, we assume that our cognitive faculties are reliable. We can’t sensibly assume that about this population; after all, the whole point of the argument is to show that if evolutionary naturalism is true, then very likely we and our cognitive faculties are not reliable.

      To which I say…exactly! Brains are not reliable; they’ve been shaped by forces which, as has been clearly said, do not value Truth with a capital T. Scientists are all skeptics who do not trust their perceptions at all; we design experiments to challenge our assumptions, we measure everything multiple times in multiple ways, we get input from many people, we put our ideas out in public for criticism, we repeat experiments and observations over and over. We demand repeated and repeatable confirmation before we accept a conclusion, because our minds are not reliable. We cannot just sit in our office at Notre Dame with a bible and conjure truth out of divine effluent. We need to supplement brains with evidence, which is the piece Plantinga is missing.

  • Kevin K

    Very, very few people kill “for the fun of it.” Those are sociopaths.

    Few people steal “for the fun of it”. Even kleptomaniacs don’t enjoy the stealing they do — they’re compelled by their personality disorder. The rest are motivated by the need to survive or get drugs or some other reason. Are we to then not imprison bank robbers because they didn’t enjoy the stick-up?

    However, there are people who do steal “for the fun of it”. They’re professional gamblers, and the rules of their world encourage them to “steal” (by bluffing that they have the best hand, when, in fact, they don’t.). No one sees this behavior as “immoral” — and in fact, you can watch them do it on TV.

    A whole lot of people lie “for the fun of it”. They’re called “comedians” or “fiction writers”, or a whole host of other names. We pay these people a lot of money to lie “for the fun of it”.

    What an awful, awful argument. Do these people actually think about the meaning of their words outside of the narrow confines of “sin”?

    There’s more sophistry than sophistication in this “argument”.

    • Argus

      I’m not even sure they kill for the fun of it. Many psychos describe their killing as more of a mundane activity.

  • Argus

    An interesting take on the whole “morality of exterminating Jews” can be found in the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle. It presents an alternative history in which the Japanese and Germans won WW2 and split the US almost in half.

    By 1960, people who would otherwise be considered “good, decent American folk” do not find it strange to pledge fealty to Hitler (who by now has early stage Parkinsons and is threatened by a coup) and they have been convinced that gassing and cremating undesirables is best for society. Funny what time and military victory will do to a nation’s “objective” morality.

    In fact, the main “villain” and top Nazi American Official is depicted as a normal family man with the same suburban issues as any NYC executive (almost the series’ Don Draper). Check it out.

    http://bit.ly/2hoO6wp

    • MR

      I’ve been following the series. (Haven’t decided if I like it or not, though it’s definitely taken on new meaning with Trump and all.) One quote that really struck me, though, was when the gentleman you mention and his wife were looking through some photo albums of pictures taken before the Nazi takeover. They come across a picture of his brother with whom he’d been very closer. The brother had developed a crippling disease and had died wheelchair bound. The wife, Helen, (the perfect wife and mother along the lines of Mrs. Beaver), comforts her husband in that matriarchal tone that my Christian relations use:

      At least now when someone is terribly ill they’re not allowed to suffer. It’s a blessing.

      It was a chilling line that demonstrates how our morals are influenced by our culture and just how quickly and easily we can adapt and justify them, even to ourselves.

      • Argus

        I think that was implying not that he died wheelchair bound but that he had been exterminated as a burden on the Nazi society.

        • MR

          I’m not positive, but I think the brother died either before the war or before the Nazi’s made those changes, because it seemed that the implication of what she was saying is that “now” things are handled differently. That of course plays into (not to give too much away) what is currently happening, and how Smith (the Nazi American official) is currently struggling with this “new way” of dealing with the permanently disabled, etc.

        • Argus

          That may be…I thought it was a comparison to his son’s terminal disease for which they will eventually euthanize him…like Smith’s already been through that? I think they are setting Smith up to revolt….

        • MR

          Ahem…, when I was referring to “not giving away too much….” ^^^^^

          I’d have to see the scene again, but my impression was that the tension there is between what was done in the past versus the present.

          At least now when someone is terribly ill they’re not allowed to suffer. It’s a blessing.”

        • Argus

          hey season 1 has been out for like a year….they snooze they lose.

  • Sam

    Ask yourself, is it a fact that it is wrong to rape and torture a child for fun? If you say yes, then you actually admit objectively morality exists.

    • Nope. At best, you’re suggesting that shared morality exists.

      “I believe that X is wrong” means nothing more than that. If you want to imagine that claim to be valid and binding on all people (whether there are people or not) then you have a lot more work to do. And while you’re at it, don’t just prove objective morality; prove that we humans can reliably access it.

      • Sam

        The words right/wrong ONLY exist in relation to facts (objective). They dont exist in relation non facts. So as soon as you the words right/wrong in relation to a moral act, you admit to objective morality, ie, moral facts exist.

        Think about it. If i say the earth is flat, you will tell me i am wrong. I am only wrong because my comment/statement is in relation to a fact.

        If i say grapes taste better than olives, notice there is no right/wrong in relation to that statement? Because that statement is not in relation to a fact.

        As soon as you mention the words right/wrong in relation to morality, you already admit to objective morality. if you claim objective morality doesnt exist, yet still use the words right/wrong, what does that even mean? Right/wrong in relation to what? Your own opinion? What is that grounded in?

        Its like someone saying that it is right chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla ice cream. Well, it is neither right or wrong, its just preference, taste.

        If you deny objective morality exists, then if i came into your house, tied you up while i raped and killed your members then tortured you, then i technically havent done anything wrong.

        Sure it may be undesirable, but so what, it doesnt make it wrong.

        So ask yourself, if i did that, have i done something wrong?

        • Michael Neville

          If there’s such a thing as objective morality then certain behaviors would be universally seen as being moral or immoral. Since the objective morality aficionados always pick rape* let’s consider how rape is seen in the real world. Many people don’t believe that marital rape is immoral, any time a husband wants sex with his wife (or occasionally vice versa) then that sex is legitimate and not rape. So the definition of rape is not universally agreed on, let alone whether certain rapes are moral or not. Therefore rape is not objectively immoral.

          As soon as you mention the words right/wrong in relation to morality, you already admit to objective morality.

          An opinion is not objective. You may have the opinion that rape and torture of children is immoral. I may concur with that opinion. But that’s still an opinion, not a fact and therefore not objective.

          *It’s interesting that when arguing for objective morality the objective moralists always talk about immoral behavior. Why don’t you talk about moral behavior like the golden rule?

        • Good point about the examples always being bad ones.

        • Sam

          How is it not rape? Rape has to do with whether CONSENT is given. It doesnt matter if one is married or not, if consent is not given, then that is rape.

          Opinions/statements in RELATION to facts/non facts.

          An opinion in relation to a fact is for example if i say the earth is spherical or aliens do not exist.

          An opinion in relation to a non fact for example if i say blondes are better looking than brunettes.

          Golden rule fails merely because there are something in this world who like to and enjoy being treated badly, logically if this person followed the golden rule then it would be ok for that person to treat others badly.

        • Greg G.

          The writers of the Old Testament didn’t think having sex without consent was necessarily wrong, especially if a man killed her family and took possession of a girl, and it doesn’t rule out female children.

          It was hard for a woman to prove it was rape. If she could, the man was forced to marry her. If she was engaged to another man, the sentence was death for the rapist. So they didn’t think it was wrong to rape a woman unless it affected a man.

          So if rape has not always been thought of as immoral, then it is cannot be objectively immoral.

        • Michael Neville

          There are people, mainly men, who claim that as soon as the wedding vows are exchanged that the couple automatically consents to sex whenever one of them wants it.

          Show me how something that you think is moral or immoral is a fact. Give a specific example of an immoral or moral fact and justify how it’s a fact rather than an opinion.

          Flat earthers like the people here would disagree with you about the Earth being spherical. Facts and opinions are somewhat more malleable than you realize.

          And it’s still quite telling that you cannot give a single example of something that’s objectively moral rather than immoral.

        • Sam

          I dont see where in the vows of married couples where it says men have the right to have sex with there wives whenever they want. The vow is to love each other. Raping or having sex against the consent of your partner is not showing love is it?

          An example? Raping and torturing a 6 year old girl for fun. Is that a fact that its wrong or is it merely undesirable Or both?

        • Marriage is a flexible concept. It included polygamy in the Old Testament, for example.

        • Michael Neville

          I dont see where in the vows of married couples where it says men have the right to have sex

          So that’s your opinion. Other people have different opinions, which is what we were talking about.

          Raping and torturing a 6 year old girl for fun. Is that a fact that its wrong or is it merely undesirable Or both?

          That’s still your opinion that it’s wrong. Give evidence that it’s an objective fact that it’s wrong.

        • Kodie

          You don’t fucking know the history of marriage? According to your bible that you pretend doesn’t mean shit to your opinions?

          Marriage is grounded in the man’s purchasing a bride from her father to do with as he pleases. Are you fucking that fucking ignorant?

        • Paul B. Lot

          So as soon as you the words right/wrong in relation to a moral act, you admit to objective morality, ie, moral facts exist.

          1) Your assertion here is dependent on an unspoken premise, that what your interlocutor means by “xyz is wrong” is an appeal to a standard outside themselves. If that is not what they intend, then your assertion fails.

          2) Your writing on this topic in general is a bit sloppy, and this topic needs and deserves precision. When you talk about “moral facts”, are you talking about “objective” morality or “absolute/universal” morality?

          if i came into your house, tied you up while i raped and killed your members then tortured you

          3) How about no more examples where you ask us to imagine you raping our loved ones, eh? I understand that being an [objective/absolute morality advocate] entails a struggle against apathy and dismissiveness, but choosing to ask others to re-create scenarios like this inside their own heads so that they will take you seriously might have unintended consequences with some readers.

          It might, for example, have a backfire effect where instead of choosing to accept your hypothetical, I instead decide to imagine tying you up, and torturing you and your family.

          It might lead to hilarious dismissal; I could refuse to call your actions immoral….unless of course you didn’t let me eat popcorn while I watched.

          Or, perhaps worst of all from your point of view, it might just lead people to deciding that you are an un-serious person who cannot restrain his unwholesome rhetorical habits, and thus unworthy of further attention.

        • Sam

          The thing is though, when we all comment on moral actions we see on the news, in our daily lives etc etc, we all comment with an INTENT for that comment/statement to be FACTUAL. That is, we are trying to say something FACTUAL we arent merely expressing preferences/desires.

          If i raped a child for fun, you will tell me i am WRONG for doing that.

          If i ate a food you dislike, you wont tell me i did something wrong, you will merely tell me you dislike that food.

          See the difference.

        • Paul B. Lot

          If i raped a child for fun, you will tell me i am WRONG for doing that.

          If i ate a food you dislike, you wont tell me i did something wrong, you will merely tell me you dislike that food.

          See the difference.

          A) You really didn’t take the hint with my #3 above, did you? Please stop asking us to contemplate your rape scenarios.

          B) Yes, I see a difference – and for your information I actually do think “objective morality” is a useful term, though you and I might not use it the same way.

          All I’ve done so-far I explain others’ positions to you. You know that [understanding another’s position] and [holding another’s position] are not the same, yes? See the difference?

          C) If you were the sort of person whose brain compelled you to kill and eat others with no compunction whatsoever, I don’t think I’d call you behavior “wrong”. Calling someone else’s behavior “wrong” implies that [they could have done something else, but didn’t].

          If you couldn’t help yourself, I don’t think your actions are “wrong” – I also don’t think it’d be immoral to shoot you in your fucking head.

        • adam

          “Please stop asking us to contemplate your rape scenarios.”

          This must be something like Haggard’s Law

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f488e0c02baa291ceffcdb8e4f96261951bf94043a0dbb44de063d7e59a97715.jpg

        • Sam

          Why?

        • adam

          Me thinks ye doth proteths too much.

        • So as soon as you the words right/wrong in relation to a moral act, you admit to objective morality, ie, moral facts exist.

          Huh? Right/wrong are simply moral opinions. Look up the words in the dictionary to see.

          If i say the earth is flat, you will tell me i am wrong. I am only wrong because my comment/statement is in relation to a fact.

          We’re talking about morality, a very different subject.

          if you claim objective morality doesnt exist, yet still use the words right/wrong, what does that even mean?

          First, I don’t declare that objective morality doesn’t exist. Rather, you do, and I’m demanding evidence of this remarkable claim.

          Second, right and wrong are defined in the dictionary. There is no objective anything in the definition.

          Your own opinion? What is that grounded in?

          What moral statement isn’t an opinion?

          Demonstrate that all morality is objective. Take a moral issue—abortion, say—and give us the objectively correct resolution to it. Show us that this isn’t simply your opinion. Also demonstrate that people can reliably access this objective morality (otherwise, there would be correct answers to questions but they would be inaccessible to us).

          If you deny objective morality exists, then if i came into your house, tied you up while i raped and killed your members then tortured you, then i technically havent done anything wrong.

          Nope. Not what I’m saying.

        • Sam

          How do you use the quote function? That is how do you respond to specific paragraphs like you have done?

          Right/wrong only exist in relation to facts. That is, if the intent of a statement is in relation to a fact (objective), it is only then that right/wrong exist.

          I used the example of the earth to illustrate that a statement in relation to a fact.

          So for example, if i say my opinion is that aliens do not exist, well i am either right or wrong. The statement is in relation to a fact. That is, aliens either do or dont exist.

          If i make a statetement in relation to something that is NON FACTUAL (subjective), then right/wrong dont exist.

          For example, look at the taste of ice cream. Taste in ice cream is subjective. If i say chocolate ice cream tastes better than Vanilla ice cream, is it a fact that it tastes better? No its not because someone else could say vanilla tastes better. Therefore it cannot be a fact as it will violate the law of non contradiction.

          In terms of proving objective morality, i dont need to because we all believe it exists. Using words right/wrong in relation to morality is objective moral language.

          The best way to demonstrate it is by asking the following question.

          Whenever you make a moral claim, is your intent to say something FACTUAL? Or are you merely expressing a preference/desire?

          When you see ISIS catch 2 homosexuals engaging in homosexual behaviour, blind fold them, take them to the top a 10 story building and throw them off, when you comment on this is your intent to say something FACTUAL, like the earth is spherical in shape or are you merely expressing your opinion, like blondes are better looking than brunettes?

          Our moral experience suggests it is the former.

        • Paul B. Lot

          When you see ISIS catch 2 homosexuals engaging in homosexual behaviour, blind fold them, take them to the top a 10 story building and throw them off, when you comment on this is your intent to say something FACTUAL, like the earth is spherical in shape or are you merely expressing your opinion, like blondes are better looking than brunettes?

          Our moral experience suggests it is the former.

          Ooooph, from a logical/rhetorical point of view I doubt you could’ve picked a worse example.

          Yes, to us it seems like we are saying something “factual” about the situation – that it is immoral to throw people of whatever orientation off of buildings. But then, from their point of view it seems to them like they are saying something “factual” – that homosexuals have lost the right to be considered human-enough for it to be bad to throw them off of buildings.

          Both parties believe they are saying something “factual”, yet those “somethings” are diametrically opposed. Therefore it seems to many that [what is actually being said] is not something “factual” but something “subjective”.*

          No one who has the appropriate training and sees the appropriate evidences disagrees 100% about “objective facts” like the oblate-spheroid-ness of the earth.

          *Noting, of course, that the dichotomy between “factual” and “subjective” is a false one: I can say factually accurate things about my subjective experience which no one else has access to.

        • For quotes: you put at the beginning and at the end, except instead of “X” you use “blockquote”. For italics, you use “i” and for bold “b”.

          Right/wrong only exist in relation to facts. That is, if the intent of a statement is in relation to a fact (objective), it is only then that right/wrong exist.

          Have you looked up right and wrong in the dictionary like I suggested?

          I used the example of the earth to illustrate that a statement in relation to a fact.

          Again: not a moral statement.

          if i say my opinion is that aliens do not exist, well i am either right or wrong. The statement is in relation to a fact.

          And how is that helpful? If I say my opinion is that abortion is OK, am I right or wrong? There’s no external fact to compare the statement to.

          In terms of proving objective morality, i dont need to because we all believe it exists.

          Seriously? That’s your argument? You’re simply making a statement without justification!

          It fails since I don’t believe it exists. What you will trot out as an example of objective morality is likely an example of shared morality, as I’ve already told you.

          Whenever you make a moral claim, is your intent to say something FACTUAL? Or are you merely expressing a preference/desire?

          Give me an example. Make a factual moral claim. Is “same-sex marriage is morally OK” factually correct?

        • Greg G.

          How do you use the quote function? That is how do you respond to specific paragraphs like you have done?

          By using HTML “blockquote” tags.

          <blockquote>How do you use the quote function? That is how do you respond to specific paragraphs like you have done?</blockquote>

          The slash in the closing tag is very important to turn off the tag.

          Instead of “blockquote”, you can use “b” for bold text, “i” for italics, and some other HTML tags but not all HTML works in Disqus.

        • Greg G.

          In terms of proving objective morality, i dont need to because we all believe it exists. Using words right/wrong in relation to morality is objective moral language.

          I think sampling grapes in a grocery store is wrong. My wife thinks it’s OK. Some stores allow it. It is subjective. I think killing someone is wrong. Hitmen and snipers disagree. I think owning slaves is wrong. Some of my ancestors owned slaves and didn’t think it was wrong. I think raping children for fun is wrong. We are all probably descended from young women who got pregnant that way and our great-great-great….great-grandfather did not think so.

        • Sam

          Again, i only have too show 1 exists…Is it a fact that raping and torturing a child for fun is wrong?
          If you say yes that OM exists.

        • Greg G.

          I only have to say that I think harming a child is wrong. To disprove objective morality, I only have to show that one person thinks it is OK. But I can point to the authors of the Old Testament who not only thought it was OK, they said God ordered it. But they were not the only society that thought that way.

        • Sam

          Wrong. 2 things.

          1. You think its wrong. Wrong according to what? What are you appealing you? If OM doesnt exist, then you are only appealing to your preference/desires. But so what, that is just as valid as me claiming i am the best looking man that ever existed. What am i appealing to? The same thing you are appealing to. That is personal preference.

          2. As i have stated before disagreements between people is not an argument. Scientists disagree about claims all the time, does that mean there are no scientific facts?

        • Greg G.

          1. Yes.

          2. Yes, there are objective facts but see #1.

          Tastes are subjective, not objective. Facts are objective, not subjective. Morality is a taste, therefore it is subjective, not objective.

        • Oh, is that the game? You’re redefining “objective morality” to be “commonly agreed-to morality” or something similar?

          I think you’ve lost the war by winning that battle.

        • Sam

          No, it has nothing to do with commonly agreed. How did you get that from my post? Rather the opposite, it is INDEPENDENT of any humans opinion.

        • Joe

          Rather the opposite, it is INDEPENDENT of any humans opinion.

          You haven’t demonstrated that.

        • I’m rapidly losing interest in engaging with you. You are repeating the same claim over and over. When we point out that you actually have to back it up with evidence, you have no response.

          Do you not understand how reasoning and discussion works? This is the adult table, and the conversation will likely turn angry in response to your doubling down on your nonexistent argument.

          I may have the energy to straighten you out once more. You said, “i only have too show 1 exists…Is it a fact that raping and torturing a child for fun is wrong? If you say yes that OM exists.”

          You would be correct if OM meant simply “commonly agreed-to morality” or something similar. But now you protest that it’s not. Elsewhere I think you said, “Objective means something is true or it exists regardless of any humans opinion, preference, desire or attitude towards it.”

          That’s a reasonable definition, but how does my agreeing with you that raping a child is wrong get you to objective morality?

          Think carefully before you click Post. I’m getting tired of your bullshit answers.

        • Sam

          Bob…lets try this once more.

          If i say the earth is flat. What will you say to me? I am wrong….why am i wrong? Are you appealing to your own preference/desire or are you appealing to something else?

        • I’m appealing to external facts.

          Now, let’s get back to morality. Are there universally agreed-to external facts that back up a statement like “Abortion is OK”? Then show me.

        • Greg G.

          Is Sam Murph?

        • An interesting possibility. Doug/Woo/Murph deleted himself, as I recall, so I can’t find his email address.

          Kodie seems to have a good instinct for matching the character of one commenter to another. I’m not good at it. Sam’s email suggests that he’s Australian.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe it’s old Norm. Norm was more interesting though. Sam has the same sense of nuance as DougWooMurph.

        • Yeah, but DougWooMurph didn’t have any sense of …

          Never mind.

        • Kodie

          My sense is that there are a lot of different Christians who are basically puppets, not as in sock puppets, but they have no original thoughts, and so they all sound like the same person, but they’re not the same person. Sam made a new account, but I don’t think it’s Murph.

        • Greg G.

          In a reply to Sam at http://disq.us/p/1hfneho , it hit me.

          I haven’t seen such a poor grasp of logic since myintx was here arguing against abortion.

        • I noticed that similarity, too. They both had one point, and they made it over and over again. No acknowledgement of failure or room for improvement.

          I’ve gotten to the “I’m going to fuck up your comments if this behavior continues” phase.

        • Greg G.

          The Swedish Chef treatment?

        • I was rather planning on making him appear deranged. Or maybe make him agree with me.

        • Greg G.

          I was rather planning on making him appear deranged.

          Too late.

        • Greg G.

          There’s also the pretension of not making a religious argument.

        • Susan

          There’s also the pretension of not making a religious argument.

          Who doesn’t love it when they take that approach”

          They repeat WLC blather note for note but pretend they are making non-religious arguments.

        • Kodie

          It’s not that simple. I don’t see any similarity in the way you’re implying.

        • Greg G.

          I see the same fixation on one issue with one basic argument with no logical progression offered and no overt religious reference. It’s not a common tactic and it is here again in a brief period of time.

          But you are uncanny at detecting those patterns so i trust you more than my own guesses.

        • Kodie

          I actually notice that a lot with almost all Christian posters. It’s either that, or theology bingo. Sam has since come forth with a strong religious preference, but I suspect there’s a trend to try to win religious arguments without invoking the religion itself, as though these arguments are sound on their own. I don’t know that for a certain fact, but it reminds me of ID posing as legitimate science, and trying to avoid reminders of biblical creationism. It’s mostly for the deep digging BlackMamba did on myintx’s posting history that I feel myintx only has one note, and a secular anti-abortion club of some sort does exist that thinks those are excellent tactics. If I thought myintx had other interests, I might be able to see it, but I just don’t.

          Maybe Doug, but I also wasn’t kidding about the award for thousandth use of the specific example. It’s a meme they all use because it’s clearly the most violent, graphic, emotionally charged victimization of the pure and innocent. It’s the only card they have in their deck, so they keep playing it, hoping someone will say, yeah, that’s so heinous and detestable to me that it must be objectively wrong, and if it’s not objectively wrong, it’s a complete whim like choosing a favorite flavor of ice cream. It’s always raping and torturing children for fun, or ice cream.

          If we were only dealing with one person over and over and over again, we should be ashamed of ourselves for not catching on by now that Christianity is not an actual problem, but the severe delusion of one repetitive, obsessive guy on the internet. In actuality, it’s actually a factory creating repetitive, obsessive guys on the internet and arming them with the cheapest ammo possible – a shitty meme they are confident about using to death.

        • Kodie

          How can anything that only affects humans be “grounded” separately from humans? You are totally fucking stupid.

        • Cuz God. Duh.

        • Kodie

          What about just raping or torturing a child for fun?

        • adam

          “In terms of proving objective morality, i dont need to because we all believe it exists.”

          Now ‘we’ all dont

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ead1dfb33fc5a434455e6d5ffd090caa7b6e7d822229360729a7a9750b56e83.png

        • Herald Newman

          How do you use the quote function? That is how do you respond to specific paragraphs like you have done?

          <blockquote>put the text you want to quote here</blockquote>

        • adam

          “then if i came into your house, tied you up while i raped and killed
          your members then tortured you, then i technically havent done anything
          wrong.”

          Technically you’ve broken the law

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c7b26fa63bd62710b5b0bda13321c325b5f32009b7ac947dd6169bdc88c7b54d.jpg

          wrong

          NOUN
          an unjust, dishonest, or immoral action:

        • Sam

          Well in Nazi Germany, sending 6 million females, children and homosexuals to the gas chambers was not breaking Nazi Germany law. Does that make it right?

        • Nope, doesn’t make it right (but then, that’s my opinion).

          From what platform do you declare it wrong? Let me guess: it’s your opinion. If you claim anything more, you need to provide evidence.

        • Sam

          This is where you are getting confused.

          If the Nazi Germans ate a fruit that you disliked, will you say that they are wrong for eating and enjoying that fruit? No, because taste in food is not objective, it is SUBJECTIVE. It would be incoherent to say it is wrong.

          Now notice you said it is wrong for what the Nazis did? That means you are appealing to something OUTSIDE and BEYOND yourself…Ie, a FACT.

        • Yes, “It’s wrong to eat that fruit!” is a subjective moral statement. It’s true for me, and not necessarily anyone else.

          Same for “It’s wrong to kill someone!” I have no platform to offer than just “Bob’s opinion.”

          But apparently you do. When you declare the Holocaust wrong, you’ve got some sort of objectively correct platform. I’m fascinated—tell me more. Explain this to me, because it sounds like nonsense. No, your point of view isn’t shared by everyone.

        • Sam

          But if objective morality doesnt exist, then what is that opinion grounded in? Nothing but your preference/desire…That doesnt make something right/wrong.
          If you want to claim OM doesnt exist, but STILL use right/wrong to describe moral acts, then you are merely sufferring from a delusion because it is not a fact.

          You cant have it both ways.

        • adam

          “But if objective morality doesnt exist, then what is that opinion grounded in?”

          Is slavery right or wrong?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

        • Sam

          Where am i arguing for Christianity here? That is a separate argument.

        • Greg G.

          It shows subjective opinions about what is objectively moral, which means there is no objective morality.

        • Sam

          People had different opinions about the shape of the earth, they still do, people have different opinions about the location of the earth in relation to the universe etc etc, does that mean the shape of the earth is not factual? The location of the earth?
          You cant claim such facts or truths dont exist because people disagree about it.
          Scientists have disagreements all the time in relation to cosmology, biology, geology etc …does that mean we should deny scientific truths?

        • Joe

          People had different opinions about the shape of the earth,

          How was this resolved? By saying “Don’t you think the earth is round”? Or by empirical evidence?

          You cant claim such facts or truths dont exist because people disagree about it.

          Likewise, you can’t claim such facts are universal if people disagree on them.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, there are facts that are objective. There are tastes that are subjective. We may not like the neighbors’ taste in music and think it is wrong for them to play it loud. The neighbors on the other side of the house likes your favorite music so you don’t mind so much when they play it loud. Maybe you don’t like it when your neighbor grills dog meat in the back yard but the other neighbor thinks it is wrong for you to grill beef steaks in your back yard because they ground their beliefs in religious belief.

          There have been religions that require human sacrifice because it is grounded in imaginary beliefs in the supernatural. You think it is wrong to perform human sacrifice because you ground it in your own imaginary beliefs in the supernatural. But what if the gods actually do desire human sacrifice? How do you know?

          I think it is better to not have beliefs in imaginary realms, to treat others as they would wish to be treated, and to defend others who would be imposed upon by people with beliefs in the imaginary.

        • Kodie

          You’re pretending not to be a Christian. Thx for showing us lying is cool with u!

        • adam

          Same claim of objective morality.

          Same lack of demonstration.

        • adam

          ” That is a separate argument.”

          No, is slavery right or wrong.

          It used to be right, if it is not now, then it cant be objective morality.

        • adam

          “If you want to claim OM doesnt exist, but STILL use right/wrong to
          describe moral acts,”

          wrong

          [rôNG]

          ADJECTIVE

          not correct or true:

          “that is the wrong answer”

          synonyms: incorrect · mistaken · in error · erroneous · inaccurate · inexact · [more]

          unjust, dishonest, or immoral:

          “they were wrong to take the law into their own hands” · [more]

          synonyms: illegal · unlawful · illicit · criminal · dishonest · dishonorable · corrupt · [more]

          ADVERB

          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

          “what am I doing wrong?”

          NOUN

          an unjust, dishonest, or immoral action:

          “I have done you a great wrong”

          synonyms: misdeed · offense · injury · crime · transgression · violation · peccadillo · [more]

          VERB

          act unjustly or dishonestly toward (someone):

        • Sam

          Wrong according to what though if OM doesnt exist.

        • How hard is this?? There’s no objective anything in the definition! You’re wrong for demanding that it’s there. Stop pretending that there is.

        • Sam

          Hey Bob, can anyone start a blog? If so, how do you go about it? Thanks

        • go to wordpress.com

        • adam
        • adam
        • Greg G.

          I would not want to be harmed in any way by other people. I understand that other people do not want that either. If I do not rape or harm other people, I think it is unfair to have others harm me and I think it is unfair for others to harm other people. I do not need to appeal to anything outside of myself.

          Monkeys will do a trick for a piece of cucumber. If the monkey sees another monkey do the trick and get a grape, the first monkey will insist on a grape for a reward. Is it objectively wrong to give a monkey a piece of cucumber instead of a grape or is it subjective?

          Dogs will do a trick for nothing until they see another dog getting a reward for doing the trick. Dogs are not as picky about the quality of the reward, though. Do dogs think it is objectively wrong to not get a reward for a trick?

          We see a sense of fairness in other species that is much like our own. We do not need to appeal to things outside of ourselves to recognize fairness. It is simply using the sense of fairness differently than other cultures and other people.

          That is how we determine right or wrong. We do not need an objective standard nor do we need to imagine an objective standard. It just the application of a sense of fairness that is evolved in social species.

        • Sam

          I would not want to be harmed in any way by other people. I understand that other people do not want that either. If I do not rape or harm other people, I think it is unfair to have others harm me and I think it is unfair for others to harm other people. I do not need to appeal to anything outside of myself

          Who cares what you WANT. A pedophile may WANT to rape a young boy. Wanting something doesnt make it right.
          Also, where do you get this standard of not harming others? In a naturalistic world, this doesnt make it objective or factual.

          Monkeys will do a trick for a piece of cucumber. If the monkey sees another monkey do the trick and get a grape, the first monkey will insist on a grape for a reward. Is it objectively wrong to give a monkey a piece of cucumber instead of a grape or is it subjective?

          WHAT?

          We see a sense of fairness in other species that is much like our own. We do not need to appeal to things outside of ourselves to recognize fairness. It is simply using the sense of fairness differently than other cultures and other people.

          But what are such concepts or fairness doing existing in naturlustic world? Such concepts are PRESCRIPTIONS, what are such prescriptions doing existing in a naturalistic world? For they would have been existing before any animals existed?

          That is how we determine right or wrong. We do not need an objective standard nor do we need to imagine an objective standard. It just the application of a sense of fairness that is evolved in social species.

          I dont see how that makes it right or wrong in a naturalistic world. You will need to show how such prescriptions are objective, ie existing before any living creatures existed.
          I will give you a hint, prescriptions are OUGHTS, they come from intelligence.

        • You have to replace the “x” within the angled brackets with “blockquote” and “/blockquote” at the beginning and end.

        • Greg G.

          You seem really hung up on child rape. Any reason you can muster to not rape children is fine with me.

        • adam

          ” Wanting something doesnt make it right.”

          What does want have to do with OM?

          “Is it objectively wrong to give a monkey a piece of cucumber instead of a grape or is it subjective?”

          Subjective, OBVIOUSLY.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ead1dfb33fc5a434455e6d5ffd090caa7b6e7d822229360729a7a9750b56e83.png

        • Joe

          You cant have it both ways.

          You seem to be enjoying that privilege.

        • Kodie

          A lot of our morality comes from living in a society where we actually just take for granted what everyone else frowns upon is wrong, and you don’t want to be frowned upon, so you don’t do it, but if someone else comes along who does that thing, you automatically frown upon it as a social response. The idea of objective morality is so poisonous! I see you defend homosexuals so maybe this is a good place to show you the example of how you are wrong about objective morality existing. The idea of objective morality being some unchanging, rigid standard of the universe is the same emotional certainty that many people have that homosexuals are disgusting.

          Now, how can I say one is right and one is wrong? Because I live in a society and I have gay friends and I feel what they must go through and how unfair it must feel to them. Other people live in a society that calls homosexuality an abomination and feel justified in denying gay people rights, harassing them, etc. I don’t think it’s right for a gay teen to be bullied and feel alone. Why would anyone think that’s right? I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong for people to feel isolated, but I disagree with people who think homosexuality is a reason they should be shunned and banned from having rights and inclusion in our general society.

          It’s not my preference, it’s not anyone’s preference. It comes from demonstration and disagreement and debate among people who have preferences, and then feeling aligned with one side or the other. At some point, one general preference may win out and become more popular, and the other either marginalized or suppressed or totally ridiculous.

          In the end, we’re just animals and we’ll all die, and someday none of this will matter to anyone. You couldn’t argue to your cat that raping children for fun is wrong. It makes no sense. I’m sure there are dogs that rape very small children for fun all the time, or at least hump all over them when no one is looking. I still don’t know why anyone would rape a child for some other reason than pleasure…. I mean, I guess there are reasons that it is pleasurable to the rapist as a sexual outlet, and there are other reasons to just overpower the child and laugh because they’re screaming and crying. You make a weak example, really, since it involves a sexual violation that is mostly tolerated in the US, but only if it’s against a child (“innocence”). It’s entirely emotional. As a species, we often tolerate some violations of our space and privacy. Like, people who tell racist jokes at the office – a lot of people just tolerate it so they can keep their job, and may feel disgusted but powerless. Does that make the joke-teller wrong? I feel like it does. A lot of people actually feel like the person who is in power can do whatever they want and we have to put up with lots of discomforts. People who are careless cause accidents, and then say “I’m sorry” but if they were really sorry, they would be more careful, wouldn’t they? Does an accident hurt someone less than an intentional attack?

          You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You are an arrogant person with a limited argument you think is just devastating, but it’s not. We’ve already dealt with it a thousand times before, and you morons always say the same stupid shit.

        • adam

          “But if objective morality doesnt exist, then what is that opinion grounded in?”

          But if.

          Demonstrate that objective morality exists, THEN we can have a conversation on it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d450afc215bc8072fb8f6e52f592d6f7e75b209f815f55ef048d449996a9e1f4.gif

        • adam

          ” will you say that they are wrong for eating and enjoying that fruit? ”

          Of course

          wrong
          [rôNG]

          ADVERB
          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

        • Joe

          Wait, there’s nothing wrong with eating fruit? Somebody tell Eve!

        • Sam

          Thats a good one.

        • Kodie

          Maybe the berries were poisonous. Would you tell Nazis that it’s good they eat that fruit, or wrong they eat that fruit?

        • Sam

          So what if they were poisonous. If there is no OM, then it cant be wrong.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t answer my actual question, typically evasive Christian.

        • A small quibble about the numbers: it was 6 million Jews. Another 5 million non-Jews (homosexuals, disabled, political prisoners, Roma, Russians, etc.) were also killed.

        • Greg G.

          Had Germany developed the atomic bomb first, then the answer to the question would more often be “Yes, it was alright to send Jews, dissidents, the disabled, homosexuals, and others to their deaths. Which means it is not objectively immoral.

          I think it is wrong but it’s unlikely that I would have been born if history was any different before I was conceived.

        • Sam

          Again, you used the word “wrong”. That is objective moral value language.

        • adam

          “That is objective moral value language.” Sam

          “I think it is wrong” Greg G.

          wrong
          [rôNG]

          NOUN
          an unjust, dishonest, or immoral action:

          Not an objectrive moral value language.

        • Sam

          Wrong according to what?

        • Jeez–why is this hard? When Sam says, “X is wrong,” then that’s Sam’s opinion. X is wrong, according to Sam.

          That’s it. You think there’s something objective here? You actually have to do the hard work of demonstrating it. You have run away from this responsibility so far, I suppose because you now realize that it’s not obvious.

          Yeah. We tried to tell you.

        • Sam

          TO say something is wrong it has to be GROUNDED in something outside and beyond yourself. Otherwise you are merely appealing to your own personal preference/desire which doesnt mean anything.
          If OM doesnt exist and you say child rape for fun is wrong doesnt actually mean anything, it is just as valid as me saying i am the best looking man that ever existed.
          It is just hot air.

        • TO say something is wrong it has to be GROUNDED in something outside and beyond yourself.

          Wrong. The dictionary has nothing about this. Why don’t you respond to this? I mean, besides it defeating your argument?

          Otherwise you are merely appealing to your own personal preference/desire

          You got something better? Then demonstrate it.

          Wow—what planet are you from? Does your culture do morality a different way?

        • Sam

          Taste in fruit is subjective.
          If i say it is right that grapes taste better than olives and you say it is right that olives taste better than grapes, then who is right or wrong?
          We both cant be right as we would VIOLATE the law of non contradiction. Grapes cant be better than olives while at the same time olives are better than grapes.
          The issue here is when you apply right/wrong to subjective items, the words right/wrong are being used NAIVELY.
          The correct terminology is, “in my opinion, i think grapes taste better than olives”. The words right and wrong cannot be used here.
          If OM does not exist, then if i told you i raped a child for fun, to be consistent you would respond with, “well, in my opinion, such an act is undesirable/against my preference”. You cannot use WRONG.
          Using the word wrong here is using it naively.

        • Joe

          If i say it is right that grapes taste better than olives and you say it is right that olives taste better than grapes, then who is right or wrong?

          Our point regarding morality. HOW.

          We both cant be right as we would VIOLATE the law of non contradiction. Grapes cant be better than olives while at the same time olives are better than grapes.

          You did that earlier with my question on Justin Bieber versus the Beatles.

          The same rules don’t apply to you. You are guilty of special pleading.

        • Sam

          ??

        • If i say it is right that grapes taste better than olives and you say it is right that olives taste better than grapes, then who is right or wrong?

          If I say abortion is OK and you say it’s not, then who is right or wrong?

          The correct terminology is, “in my opinion, i think grapes taste better than olives”.

          Obviously.

          The words right and wrong cannot be used here.

          Because grapes and olives aren’t part of a moral issue.

          If OM does not exist, then if i told you i raped a child for fun, to be consistent you would respond with, “well, in my opinion, such an undesirable/against my preference”. You cannot use WRONG.

          In my opinion, you were wrong.

          There you go. You were wrong.

        • Joe

          If I say abortion is OK and you say it’s not, then who is right or wrong?

          I’m going to go with: All of Sam’s moral beliefs are the right ones. That’s a happy coincidence for him.

        • That’s a safe bet. Indeed, that’s true for all the Christians who claim objective morality. I’m sure they’re busy behind the scenes finding compromise where their truths differ.

        • Joe

          I asked a fundamental Christian once “do you hold any views that are objectively immoral?” (there must be a chance, right?)

          I got total bemusement in reply.

        • Kodie

          What if it was between grapes and chicken nuggets? Is it subjective?

        • Kodie

          People still do it, how can it be objectively wrong if there are people in the world who think it is alright?

          If morality were objective, it would work like gravity – you can’t fall up, you can’t defy objective morality, yet people do, so according to your only example, if someone can say it’s ok, it’s not objective. The fact that people do it means it’s ok to them. It’s not grounded in the ground of all morality, your Christian imaginary friend.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          I used the word “wrong” describing what I think. You don’t seem to have actually thought your argument through after you read it somewhere.

        • Sam

          But what is that opinion grounded in? Nothing but your personal preference/taste/desire. It is no different to me claiming i am the best looking man that ever existed.
          Its just expressing preferences, not right/wrong.

        • Joe

          Why is morality any different?

        • You’ve got nothing better. Your moral opinions are opinions just like mine.

        • Sam

          They are the same. We both have an intent that they are factual. The difference is, under Theism, mine can be grounded or there is a foundation for them. Under your world view, unless you admit God exists then your intent is nothing more than a delusion.

        • Joe

          No, this is just your claim that is yet to be demonstrated. It’s an appeal to consequences, and is not at all convincing as an argument.

        • We’re just going round and round with no end, right?

          You have grounded nothing. Get going.

          Mine is nicely grounded. Good and bad for me are how the dictionary defines them. They are for you, too, but you’re just unable to admit it.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, you moron. Most of human interaction is preference. We’ve got people from different cultures and families coexisting in society with all kinds of different preferences of how to behave, and generally tolerating each other, but occasionally blowing up in irritation. Your favorite example is the most extreme, most emotionally triggering example, but how do you feel about drivers who let themselves in, i.e. butt in front of you? Well, you’re not letting them in, nobody’s letting them in, what are they supposed to do? Many cultures say, that’s the only way to get in, just start butting in and don’t wait for attention. Drive up the side and get in ahead of everyone else, someone will avoid the argument/accident and let you in. In my opinion, these normal social interactions is where morality lies, not at your graphic rape and torture a child for fun example. Morality is how you treat people day to day, not violent violations of weak and easy victims. It’s how you deal normally. I see you deal normally like a fucking asshole who doesn’t ground his morality in anything. You are defensive where humans tend to be defensive, even if you don’t have a technical win, you think you won. Your moral “grounding” shows that you are a normal human pig who fights for the right to be right even when you’re wrong.

          What the shit is that shit grounded in? Nothing. It’s how your species operates.

        • Greg G.

          But what is that opinion grounded in? Nothing but your personal preference/taste/desire.

          Also, my sense of fairness which has been selected for over millions of years, an acquired knowledge of what the people around me wish and desire, my desire to thrive and be happy, and the desire of other people to thrive and be happy.

          You do not need an imaginary god to ground it in. Bringing in an imaginary god will only make it harder for everyone to thrive.

          Ground yourself in reality, grow up, and stop believing in your imaginary friend.

        • adam

          It made it legal.

        • Sam

          Why are you confusing legal laws with moral laws? Yes many do overlap. Legal laws are man made. I am appealing to something beyond man made.

        • Greg G.

          What? Nature wipes out species all the time. There doesn’t seem to be anything objectively wrong about it. We may not like it but it is subjective. Passenger pigeons would have applauded our extinction if they could applaud.

        • Sam

          Exactly…but what does that have to do with the argument?

        • Kodie

          And pretend you’re not a Christian? Why would morality that applies to humans come from a source not human? Animals don’t give a shit about our morals, the weather doesn’t care about our morals, and most humans can’t agree on most morals, and they are more like laws or customs. How can you argue for objective morality if it’s clearly not objective? Why would we encode laws that aren’t deeply important to our society? And then they get overturned because?

          You really show all the markings of someone who just got out of a religious meeting looking for issues on the internet and chanting religious mantras instead of rational arguments.

        • Sam

          I am not sure i understand the point you are trying to make.
          Under Christianity, we are all made in the image of God. His laws are written in our hearts and our conscious bears witness to it.

        • Kodie

          That’s a fucking fantasy.

        • Joe

          His laws are written in our hearts and our conscious bears witness to it.

          Theological mumbo-jumbo. Nothing is written on our hearts, they’re just muscles.

        • Sam

          It actually isnt. It is a proper basic belief.

        • Joe

          It’s fucking nonsense. Flowery words that mean nothing.

        • Michael Neville

          Got any evidence that your sadistic bully of a god is the source of morality? Remember that your god kills people just because he can, he orders genocide and rape and condones slavery. That doesn’t sound moral to me but then I’m not a Christian.

        • adam

          ” I am appealing to something beyond man made.

          Then demonstrate such.
          As of yet, you’ve FAILED miserably. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be20eada2b37de3b894e21e212219efb332ad17f65d067662b58455f5a644fd6.gif

        • Joe

          Think about it. If i say the earth is flat, you will tell me i am explain why you are wrong.

          Fixed.

          The words right/wrong ONLY exist in relation to facts (objective)

          Justin Bieber is better than the Beatles. Right or wrong?

        • Sam

          NEITHER. Taste in music is SUBJECTIVE. IF i say the Beatles are better, then i am merely expressing a preference. It is not a fact that the Beatles are better because what is there to appeal to outside our own preference/desires? Nothing. We can see taste in music is subjective in nature.

        • Joe

          NEITHER. Taste in music is SUBJECTIVE.

          Am I right or wrong? You never answered my question.

        • Sam

          You are NEITHER right or wrong.

        • Joe

          So Justin Bieber simultaneously is both better and not better than the Beatles, in some kind of Schrodinger-like quantum state?

          That’s not logically possible, therefore a wrong answer.

        • Sam

          That is why it is NEITHER. Simply because there is nothing to ground it in.

        • Joe

          Like morality?

        • We can see taste in music is subjective in nature.

          Like morality?

        • Sam

          And thats the point. When we make moral claims, we are appealing to a realm. An immaterial realm.

        • Joe

          The land of make-believe, in your case.

        • Sam

          The same place as you are appealing to.

        • I’m not.

          You must show us that this immaterial realm exists, that morality comes from there, and that it’s reliably accessible by humans.

          Go.

    • Kodie

      Ask yourself why all you Christians come here with the same exact example? “Rape and torture a child for fun” is word for word all you ever think about doing. If it’s not fun, it’s ok? Or if it’s fun to rape and torture an adult, it’s ok? If it’s a pet, it’s ok? If it’s just some animal in your yard, it’s ok? Is it moral to rape and torture a child for their own good? Is it moral to let children who did nothing wrong starve and be homeless because you don’t trust their parents not to be terrorists? You all have the same particular conditions for this example, but that’s one extreme and very particular example. What about day to day that you’re all fucking selfish arrogant and hateful assholes to your neighbors and people all over the world that makes objective morality a thing that “exists”?

      • Sam

        All what one has to show is one example for objective morality to exist. Why all the anger and rage?

        • Paul B. Lot

          A) You rolled in strong, asking people for them to imagine you raping their loved ones. That probably has something to do with it.

          B) Many unscrupulous religious people conflate and confuse “absolute” and “objective” morality, they tell atheists that unless they accept “aboslute” morality from “(g)God(s)”, atheists cannot be moral. That rankles.

          And you’re using the same words that they use.

          Perhaps you mean them differently, but if you do: you should be aware of the lay-of-the-land in the debate about morality before shooting your mouth off so aggressively, and now complaining about the (unintended) push-back.

        • Sam

          Where am i talking about moral absolutes? I never mentioned it once. I am talking about objective morality. Big difference. The bible doesnt even argue for moral absolutes.

        • Greg G.

          Then define what you mean by “objective” here.

        • Sam

          Objective means something is true or it exists regardless of any humans opinion, preference, desire or attitude towards it.

        • Joe

          So, how do you demonstrate that morality fits into that category?

        • Sam

          Well why are we using objective moral language when assessing moral acts?
          When you look at what ISIS does, dont you say what they do is wrong? That is objective moral language.

        • Joe

          That didn’t answer my question.

          You just asked me, another human for my opinion.

          Please refer back to your statement:

          Objective means something is true or it exists regardless of any humans opinion, preference, desire or attitude towards it.

        • Kodie

          ISIS grounds their morality in Allah, who justifies their terrorism and torture. They think they are doing what god wants. They think what they do is grounded in objective morality and the rest of us are fucked up.

          Do you not get that?

        • adam

          “When you look at what ISIS does, dont you say what they do is wrong?”

          but THEY dont say it is wrong, they BELIEVE in the God of Abraham and the laws of the bible.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37b1fcb18f6e1b94271e05d382095cb8902c9a3aece7f8a5dc82ceba401dfb7f.jpg

        • Greg G.

          When you look at what ISIS does, dont you say what they do is wrong? That is objective moral language.

          ISIS says it is OK on the same basis you say child rape is wrong. It is because they base their morality on the imaginary wishes of an imaginary being.

          We say that we think harming others is wrong because we want others to treat us as we would like to be treated so we treat others as they would wish to be treated.

          If you “ground” morality on an imaginary basis, you can imagine anything is moral or immoral.

        • adam

          “Well why are we using objective moral language when assessing moral acts?”

          What objective moral language?

          you’ve not demonstrated such a thing.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e837665e20b0f559722113ef2ddaa0c4b5cb92de117ddba6e3d9af6d7f6c282a.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Then how do we humans know if something is immoral if it is independent of human preference, desire or attitude? You cannot go on your own preference, desire or attitude. But that is all you have done for somewhere around a hundred posts.

          For all we know, our preferences, desires, and attitudes are all wrong. Maybe living as social creatures is wrong. Maybe we are supposed to cut off each others heads until there is only one.

        • adam

          “Objective means something is true or it exists regardless of any humans opinion, preference, desire or attitude towards it.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/01e3db6d15cd8e9afb63976665ae6fc387c19f7a1440b5a915c88268b2ce67c2.gif

        • Paul B. Lot

          Where am i talking about moral absolutes? I never mentioned it once. I am talking about objective morality.

          I just re-read my post and then your response – I’m left with the feeling that reading comprehension is not being executed flawlessly here.

          Are you really not understanding what I said?

          FWIW, after your insistence on multiple rape-scenario analogies; I’m not very inclined to spend time with you. If you prove to be an idiot as well as an asshole, to the blocked-bin will you be tossed.

        • Sam

          Why? what is wrong with the argument i am using? Are you saying such acts dont occur in the world? Are you saying those acts are not factually wrong? If they are then objective morality exists. Its not that hard to understand.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You asked me: “Where am i talking about moral absolutes?”

          In response I told you that I doubted you had read me correctly, because:

          Many unscrupulous religious people conflate and confuse “absolute” and “objective” morality, they tell atheists that unless they accept “aboslute” morality from “(g)God(s)”, atheists cannot be moral. That rankles.

          And you’re using the same words that they use.

          Perhaps you mean them differently, but if you do: you should be aware of the lay-of-the-land in the debate about morality before shooting your mouth off so aggressively, and now complaining about the (unintended) push-back.

          Why did you ask me “where” you were talking about “moral absolutes”, when I just got done explaining that many people conflate them – and that if you are not conflating them, you should still be aware that others DO?

        • Sam

          I never said atheists cannot be moral people. Rather, atheists cannot JUSTIFY morality. That is, they cant ground it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I never said atheists cannot be moral people.

          And I never said you did say so, my dear. Just like I never accused you definitively of talking about “moral absolutes”.

          Rather, I pointed out that many others talk as you seem to have begun talking, and if you want to differentiate yourself from them, you’d better be aware of the territory.

          But, as it turns out, you really are no different:

          Rather, atheists cannot JUSTIFY morality. That is, they cant ground it.

          1) I am an atheist who believes in some sort of “objective” morality – so right there your argument is fucked.
          2) Many atheists “ground” their morality in “intersubjectivity” – although how that differs from my “objective” I’m not sure. In any case, they avoid religious grounding just fine.
          3) Many atheists “ground” their morality in cultural contexts. I don’t think this is particularly useful for cross-cultural-conflicts, but then those are always tricky either way.

          In any case, though, what I suspected is confirmed: you can’t comprehend what you read very well.

        • Sam

          Ok, so what is your GROUNDING for your morality. Remember for it to be objective, then it must be true and had existed BEFORE any creatures existed. That is, they are discovered, not invented.
          You say intersubjectivity, this doesnt make it objective, it is just an agreement between members, which makes it just valid as ISIS’ moral code.
          If you want to ground it in cultural contexts, then again, ISIS, Nazi Germany’s moral code is just as valid as anyone elses.

        • ?? You’ve got no grounding for the claims you make! Do you not understand the idea of living in a glass house? Your moral pronouncements are no more grounded than anyone else’s. They’re just your opinion.

        • Sam

          I am not appealing to my personal preference/desires as you guys are. I am appealing to God nature, not his opinion, preference, rather his NATURE which is THE good.

          You guys seem to think your preference/desires make something right/wrong.

          Well it doesnt. For example, my preference/desire grapes over olives. Does mean that if someone prefers olives over grapes that they are wrong? Hell no. There is no right/wrong in regards to items we deem subjective.

          The thing is we all live our lives as if OMVs exist. They are proper basic beliefs. Our moral experience tells us this is obvious.

          The question then is, are we all deluded?

        • Michael Neville

          I am not appealing to my personal preference/desires as you guys are.

          You’ve yet to show that raping and torturing children isn’t your personal preference or desire.

          You guys seem to think your preference/desires make something right/wrong.

          Do you have anything else to offer? You’ve yet to show the slightest bit of evidence to support morality as being anything other than personal preference.

        • I am not appealing to my personal preference/desires as you guys are. I am appealing to God nature, not his opinion, preference, rather his NATURE which is THE good.

          Despite having given zero evidence of God’s nature, let alone his opinion, preference, or even existence! Do you begin to see the problem?

          You guys seem to think your preference/desires make something right/wrong.

          As would you, if you came from this planet.

          For example, my preference/desire grapes over olives.

          The topic is about morality.

          The thing is we all live our lives as if OMVs exist.

          Wrong.

          They are proper basic beliefs. Our moral experience tells us this is obvious.

          And there’s the problem: you think that this is an actual argument. Sam feels this way, so there you go!

          Sorry. That’s not an argument. Your childish approach is becoming annoying real quick.

        • Kodie

          You are.

        • Kodie

          Hitler had a moral experience that told him it was extremely essential to rid the world of certain types of people. I don’t think he thought he was a bad guy. He was doing what he assumed god wanted. I assume you would just as soon commit genocide against mosquitoes. You don’t think they have a right to live and annoy you or infect you, and just gas them and get it all over with, so you can live in comfort. The bible is full of examples of humans considering other groups of humans as though they were mosquitoes, and, under god’s direction, thought it was good to kill every last one of those people and take what had been theirs.

          We think that’s bad because we are humans and we understand that humans can have bad behaviors, bad opinions, but to “win”, getting to the root of the matter is changing their opinion to ours, not killing all of them like they are insects. Maybe you don’t understand that. Current common opinion is that all Muslims are suspect, and all Mexicans are suspect, and we don’t care what happens to any of them. That’s a first step toward being in favor of genocide. How do you know you’re the good guy with your subjective opinion of what’s moral and what’s not moral?

          I mean, in your moral experience, let’s assume you would rather deport a Mexican who has lived and been a productive person for over 20 years than have him take a job you don’t want anyway, but it’s fine for American fundamentalist Christians to churn out as many robotic little soldiers as they want, as long as none of them are Mexicans. What you feel in your heart or you gut is not the “objective morality”, it’s your subjective opinion of what would be good, what is wrong with this world, who should be favored, who should be cast aside like garbage. You think you’re the good guy, you don’t think you think like ISIS, because you’re not on the other side of what you believe is good. People on the other side have their own opinion of what is good.

          I apologize for assuming your opinions on immigration, whether I am correct or incorrect, but you get the idea. Perhaps you do disagree with my assumption of you, then you can see how another side prefers itself and campaigns to persuade others so it seems like a widespread preference is actual fact. It isn’t.

        • adam

          “Remember for it to be objective, then it must be true and had existed BEFORE any creatures existed. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0be92f2734cba2290edbb30769294fb98e7beb4d2c306f48755c4cb99eb13bd.jpg

        • Sam

          lol…You need to make up bible quotes now?

        • adam
        • Seriously? You haven’t read what the Bible says about slavery?

          Yahweh is a sick piece of work. I’ve summarized the Bible’s approach to slavery here:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/08/yes-biblical-slavery-was-the-same-as-american-slavery/

        • Kodie

          The billboard clearly references a bible chapter and verse. Are you too lazy to look it up before you open your stupid mouth?

        • But you can?? Then do so!

        • Sam

          Yes, but the intention of my argument here is to show naturalism is false via the moral argument. Thats the sole intention here. Now i can bring God into it. That becomes a different topic.

        • Before we show that argument to be false, finish up with this one. Show us that objective morality, according to your definition, exists. So far, you’ve just been retreating.

        • Greg G.

          Your moral argument has failed. You have no justification to bring gods into it.

        • Sam

          So its not a fact that raping a child for fun is not wrong?

        • Greg G.

          No, it is an opinion that most people today share. It is not universal. There are industries involved in it. The people involved do not think it is wrong. It seems to have been a common thing a few thousand years ago, nobody thought it wrong then. I think it is wrong but that is my subjective opinion.

          Traveling at greater than light speed might be an objective and absolute moral wrong because we cannot do it. Giving ourselves sexual pleasure is doable but tickling yourself isn’t possible so masturbation isn’t objectively and absolutely morally wrong but tickling yourself is.

          There are tastes and opinions. There are objective facts. Morals belong in the first category, not the second. Your argument stinks. Flush it.

        • adam

          “Yes, but the intention of my argument here is to show naturalism is false via the moral argument.”

          Then you should have studied.

          Because you are failing terribly.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb8bacc3a48ee1276d73b5f2cef9beda8c65426fe4638f944175aa8abc66c042.jpg

        • Kodie

          Morality is about people and only applies to people. It is grounded in people, and people exist. You want to ground it outside of people, but who outside of people needs to know about morality?

        • Sam

          Which people? ISIS? Nazi Germany? Stalin?

        • Kodie

          How do you know you’re not ISIS? I mean, how do you know your opinions are better?

        • adam
        • Herald Newman

          I don’t know where I found this, I had it sitting in a text file on my desktop. It may even be my own (I doubt it), I simply don’t remember.

          “Atheists can be moral but they cannot justify morality”

          And really, neither can Christians. They can say that some action is moral, and that another is immoral, but in reality, it’s all part of God’s wonderful plan.

        • Kodie

          How can I objectively argue with the people who do rape and torture children “for fun” which is the total Christian favorite emotional example. It’s fine to rape and torture adults for fun, and it’s fine to rape and torture children for other reasons, it’s the combo that’s hack.

          Anyway, how can you argue someone who finds it fun and fine to rape and torture children? They exist, and according to you, if they think it’s ok, they destroy the only argument you have. If you only need one example, I only need one counter-example to destroy your example. Why do you think some people think it’s ok?

        • adam

          ” Are you saying those acts are not factually wrong?”

          Not to those who do it.

        • Joe

          The bible doesnt even argue for moral absolutes.

          Why do we care what the bible says?

        • Sam

          I am just showing that the response has nothing to do with my argument.

        • Joe

          You haven’t made an argument. Just an unqualified statement.

        • Sam

          Is raping and torturing a child for fun wrong?

        • Joe

          In my opinion, yes.

        • adam

          Not to those who do it.

        • Herald Newman

          Is raping and torturing a child for fun wrong?

          A couple of questions:
          1. What do you mean by wrong? Do you mean “should we try to prevent X”?

          2. Let’s suppose I say: “I don’t know”. Do you have a method that we can use to investigate child rape and torture to find out if it’s wrong, or does it only rely on what we think about it?

          edited for clarity.

        • Kodie

          That’s your prize for being the thousandth ignorant moron to pitch that identical losing argument.

        • 😀

        • Sam

          Why? Its true….Just show 1 EXISTS, therefore objective morality exists.

        • What kind of rule is that? You said that the rule is: it makes sense to Sam; therefore, it’s objectively true.

        • Kodie

          It’s just a slam dunk. It doesn’t need embellishment or thought. “Raping children for fun is wrong” is the only example of objective morality there is, and that’s all you need to prove it exists. Meanwhile in another thread, Ameribear defends Catholic priests raping children for … obviously some other reason.

        • adam

          “Meanwhile in another thread, Ameribear defends Catholic priests raping children for … obviously some other reason.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cfca0255af85259ee0f857563d91ecfc6cb97d776b9e3d512d8ae7e84f4ac9a6.jpg

        • Sam

          Again, just only need to show 1.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t show it. You just assumed it was that easy.

        • Kodie

          It’s an appeal to emotion, not an example.You feel emotional about how right you are that you forgot to include the actual argument.

        • Sam

          ????

        • Kodie

          You obviously feel that it is so universally disgusting to rape and torture children for fun that we would just see clear through to your implied conclusion, but it’s really just an emotionally charged example. You don’t get to objective morality by making us nauseous and outraged. You have to actually show it exists, but you can’t. Being denied objective morality, you flip straight across the spectrum to mere whim, but you can’t get there either. You really don’t understand what you’re talking about, but you were clearly convinced on pure emotional arguments rather than facts and reason.

          Now you think you can just make us puke to win an argument? You failed. Now try to learn something or get the fuck out.

        • adam

          “You obviously feel that it is so universally disgusting to rape and torture children for fun”

          I dont see it being ‘universally disgusting’ to Sam.

          Sam seems to use it like Ted Haggard uses homosexuality.

        • No, it’s OK. Sam is just about to move from a no-brainer moral question to ones that are actually contentious. I’m on the edge of my seat to hear the correct resolutions of abortion and same-sex marriage as well as proof that his are the objectively true answers.

          Any day now.

        • Joe

          I agree. Show us just one EXISTS.

          Though of course, that’s a start. More examples would be preferred.

        • adam

          Then show one.

        • Sam

          Raping and torturing a child for fun?

        • Joe

          Yes, demonstrate to us why it’s objective. Don’t ask, show,

        • Sam

          Answer the Q, is it a fact that raping and torturing a child for fun is wrong?

        • Joe

          Answer this question: Do you think badgers can fly?

          Your answer will determine if they can or cannot fly.

        • Sam

          What?

        • Joe

          What’s your answer? Reality will be altered if you say yes.

        • Kodie

          It is not a fact.

        • MR

          If we observed such behavior in another animal we’d think it odd or maybe that there was something wrong with the animal, but we wouldn’t assign any moral value. Warring tribes, soldiers, probably have raped and tortured children for millenia without a thought to whether it was objectively wrong. Probably it’s an effective way to express domination over an enemy. Is something like that worse than outright killing a child? The other atrocities you could survive and maybe even go on to live a normal life. Death is permanent. Yet, we kind of gloss over the fact that children are killed all the time in wars. Where is the outrage there? Where are the appeals to objective morality in those cases? And why do we have to use children as an example? If morality were objective, wouldn’t it apply to everyone? Why do we have to go chasing for examples of objective morality in extreme cases? Cases where the only perpetrator is likely a psychopath or mentally ill person. And where is the objective morality in those cases? If your brain is wired wrong, are we even talking about morality? I mean has there ever been a case where a normal, healthy, mature human being under normal circumstances has done something of the kind? I think you’re right, the true tests of objective morality is in our everyday interactions, because if morality were objective, all morality would be objective, and that’s just not something we see. The moment you start searching for examples of children being raped and tortured, you’ve already lost the argument. We know that human beings have a tendency to harm each other, and we know that we’re the only ones that care. A sparrow doesn’t care if one human harms another. The universe doesn’t care. Nothing outside of human existence cares. No grounding outside of humans.

        • Joe

          There was an argument that, early in human civilization, rape of another tribe was, if not moral, an imperative. At the very least it was the most pragmatic way of ensuring your tribe is increased at the detriment of your rivals.

          Nowadays, we simply extend the boundaries of our tribe to include all humans, and it becomes immoral.

        • Sam

          Immoral according to who?

        • Joe

          My cat.

        • Sam

          The general theme seems to be about humans accessing this objective morality.
          Our moral experience tells us that this is the case.
          1 has to only show 1 OMV to confirm that OMVs exist.
          You use the example of psychopath’s. This is interesting. I was listening to David Wood who is a philosopher and he actually was diagnosed with being a sociopath.
          That is, he doesnt feel empathy when he sees people being harmed wether he is watching the news, or if something happened in front of him etc etc.
          He then asks, well why dont i go around harming people? He says its simple, while he doesnt feel empathy, he knows its wrong.

        • MR

          The general theme seems to be about humans accessing this objective morality.

          There’s no objective morality to access.

          Our moral experience tells us that this is the case.

          No it doesn’t.

          1 has to only show 1 OMV to confirm that OMVs exist.

          Something you’ve failed to do.

          he knows its wrong

          But not objectively wrong.

          Where did you read that objective morality and personal opinion were the only two options? You should probably read something other than apologetic sites.

        • Sam

          So its not a fact that raping a child for fun is wrong?

        • Kodie

          It’s not a fact.

        • adam

          Not by those who do it.

        • Sam

          Thats like saying we should deny 1+1=2 because there are some people who thinks its 4.

        • adam

          Nope

        • adam

          No, because of OBVIOUSLY those who rape and torture a child for fun

        • Sam

          So people who believe the earth is flat, does that mean we should be skeptical or deny the earth is spherical?

        • Joe

          What do you think?

        • Greg G.

          So people who believe the morality is objective, does that mean we should be skeptical or deny that morality is subjective?

          If morality was objective, you should be able to show that morality is constant over time. You cannot do that because it is not constant. I have given you an example from the book that has sold more copies than any other book. Less than 160 years ago, a large percentage of the population of the US thought slavery was moral. They argued that slavery was a right in official state documents. Slavery continues to exist in the world. Some people think it is immoral and some don’t. Then there are idiots who think it is objectively immoral when there has never been a time in history when everyone thought it was immoral.

        • Sam

          Why are you looking at the actions of people to determine if morality is objective or not? I dont think you understand the argument.
          Its like saying, people still think the earth is flat, people still think that the earth rotates around the sun, therefore we should be skeptical or deny that the earth is spherical in shape or the earth rotates around the sun.

        • adam
        • Sam

          If OMV;s dont exist, then what pedophile priests do is not wrong.

        • adam

          OBVIOUSLY not to them.

        • Yes, we all agree that that’s bad.

          Is that your definition of objective morality? If not, define it.

        • Sam

          i am saying is it WRONG?

        • Sure, good question, but how do you know?

        • adam

          Wrong

        • Michael Neville

          So when are you going to show us an example of objective morality instead of trotting out your wet dream about raping and torturing children?

        • adam
        • Sam

          Raping and torturing a child for fun?

        • Michael Neville

          You have the reading ability of a concussed turnip. I said give an example of objective morality that doesn’t use your obsession with raping and torturing children.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You have the reading ability of a concussed turnip.

          Oh, very good. Very good indeed.

        • adam

          But really

          How much fun are you having?

        • epeeist

          Raping and torturing a child for fun

          Why is this an objective moral fact, and how do you know?

    • adam

      ” If you say yes, then you actually admit objectively morality exists.”

      So If ANYONE says no, then that proves objective morality does not exist.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/151925a51e6a55d5bd1418d3a12f8fa99b39d9a82fb1f8468f8e6fcd942470f3.jpg

      • Sam

        Not sure what you mean here.

        • adam

          “Ask yourself, is it a fact that it is wrong to rape and torture a child for fun?”

          It OBVIOUSLY is not a fact to everyone that it is wrong to rape and torture a child for fun.

          Therefore NOT objective.

        • Sam

          How does that even follow? First of all i am talking about ONTOLOGY, not epistemology.

          Secondly, if there are mathematically illiterate people does that mean mathematical truths dont exist?

        • Joe

          Secondly, if there are mathematically illiterate people does that mean mathematical truths dont exist?

          We’re talking about MORALITY, not mathematics.

        • Sam

          Its an analogy

        • Joe

          So are the analogies we’ve tried vainly to use, but you flatly refuse to consider.

        • You’re just repeating your argument over and over. It’s been defeated. You need to respond to our objections instead of repeating it one more time.

          You’re talking about ontology? Then show that objective morality ontologically exists! That’s problem 1, which you haven’t even acknowledged as a burden for you. And you haven’t even touched on problem 2, showing that this objective morality is reliably accessible by ordinary humans. If it’s not, then it’s irrelevant.

        • Joe

          I’d settle for a definition of what morality is, ontologically. Is it a wave, a particle?

        • Sam

          Show you? Ok.
          Suppose we are sitting at a cafe and i order some fruit which you find undesirable.
          When the fruit arrives,will you tell me i am doing something wrong? Will you tell me i am wrong for enjoying and eating that fruit. No, you will not. It is incoherent to say that. Why? Because we realise that taste in food is SUBJECTIVE. Therefore the know that it is neither right or wrong.
          The only thing you will say to me is, “yuck, i find that fruit terrible”.

          Now suppose after i finish eating i say to you, for the past 6 months i have had a 6 year old girl in my garage who i am have been raping and torturing for entertainment for me and my mates.
          What will you say to me? If you say it is wrong, immediately you are making a claim that you are saying something factual. (now read very carefully). Your intent here is that you are saying something that is FACT. You just arent merely appealing to personal preference/desires or attitude towards it. Rather you are appealing to something that is FACT. That is why you use the word wrong.
          Now what do you mean by wrong here? If you deny OM, what are you appealing you? Your own subjective opinion? How does that make it wrong?Why is your opinion right and my opinion wrong in regards to what is happening to the girl? Now lets dig deeper.

          Are you appealing to some sort of standard that you shouldnt harm others? Well, in a naturalistic world, how is that a fact? Is it because what we commonly agree on? It still doesnt make it a fact.

        • Joe

          Is this Groundhog Day or something?

          You keep using the same examples, because you believe they are sound. They are not.

          When the fruit arrives,will you tell me i am doing something wrong?

          Yes.

        • Sam

          Wrong according to what?

        • Joe

          Wrong according to what?

          My opinion.

          Same question to you. Please answer

        • Sam

          Your opinion? What is that opinion grounded in?

        • Joe

          Nothing.

        • Joe

          My past experiences. What are your opinions grounded in?

        • adam

          Word meaning

          wrong Merriam Webster

          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

        • Good analogy. This is a hellish Groundhog Day.

        • Joe

          Come back Luke Breuer, all is forgiven!

        • Let’s not go crazy here! Just because Sam is like terminal flatulence, that doesn’t mean that Luke “Nails on a blackboard” Breuer is a good thing.

        • Joe

          Either way, there’s enough material here for an entire new blog post, if you so wish. Every cloud, and all that.

        • MR

          WTF, Joe!

        • Joe

          At least Luke made up different posts each time. This poster is banging the same drum over and over again.

        • MR

          You haven’t been here long enough to understand yet, Joe. I’ll let it slide this time ’cause I like your contributions, but don’t let it happen again.

        • Susan

          At least Luke made up different posts each time.

          No. He didn’tt. Luke’s epicycles are evident after a few rounds. As MR says below, you haven’t been here long enough.

          This poster is banging the same drum over and over again.

          Not as often as Luke. That is, that poster will bang the same drums briefly and disappear while Luke will bang those drums with enough blue links and red herrings to create a brief impression that he is engaging.

          After a few rounds with Luke, (and there will be enough on the internet with Luke for you to go a few rounds) you’ll see that Luke has limited drums and they don’t have much bang.

        • Kodie

          Luke churns out bullshit faster and deeper than anyone I’ve ever seen.

        • Sam

          How can me eating a fruit be WRONG?

        • Joe

          What do you mean ‘how’?

        • adam

          wrong Merriam Webster

          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

        • Will you tell me i am wrong for enjoying and eating that fruit. No, you will not. It is incoherent to say that. Why?

          Because this isn’t morality.

          What will you say to me? If you say it is wrong, immediately you are making a claim that you are saying something factual.

          Wrong again. I’m saying that I think it’s wrong. That’s it. We can go in several directions from here. I will probably first try to convince you that you’re wrong. If that doesn’t work, I’ll get other people who agree with me to force you to stop (the police, for example). No objective anything here, just shared moral opinions.

          But I suppose you do things in a similar way on your planet, don’t you?

          Your intent here is that you are saying something that is FACT.

          Wrong.

          Now what do you mean by wrong here? If you deny OM, what are you appealing you? Your own subjective opinion?

          Right. What else could I be appealing to?

          Are you appealing to some sort of standard that you shouldnt harm others?

          A shared standard, yes. Nothing objective.

        • Sam

          What difference does it make if we are discussing morality or fruit? If both are subjective, the same conclusions follow, that is they are NEITHER right or wrong.

          Wrong according to what? You guys dont seem to get it…If you find something undesirable how on earth can it be wrong?
          I find overweight woman undesirable from an attraction point of view, does that mean overweight woman are wrong? Of course not. Does it make it right? Of course not.

          A shared standard? That is nothing more than 2 or more people gettting together and agreeing on something. It still doesnt ground it and makes it illusory.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is throwing homosexuals off of buildings “objectively morally wrong” on your view?

        • Is abortion objectively wrong? I’d like Sam to apply his formidable intellect to today’s moral conundrums and resolve them for us.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hush, @BobSeidensticker:disqus , I’m trying a new tactic. Don’t ruin it!

          😀

        • Sam

          Yes, but let me clarify. If a mother wants to abort a baby because it will effect there lifestyle etc, then it is OBJECTIVELY wrong.

        • Why?

        • Sam

          Yes, it is a FACT that what they do is wrong. It doesnt matter what anyone thinks, it is wrong. Dont you agree?

        • You think it’s wrong, but it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Yeah, that makes sense.

          Now do abortion. Show me that your answer is objectively correct. (Tip: “Well, I certainly think it’s correct!” won’t work.)

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is throwing homosexuals off of buildings “objectively morally wrong” on your view?

          Yes, it is a FACT that what they do is wrong. It doesnt matter what anyone thinks, it is wrong.

          Well, first of all: I think it is good that you think it is wrong. We agree there.

          Next, another question: do you think that they think it is wrong?

          If “yes” then why do you think they do it? A puzzling situation.

          If “no”, then we have another puzzling situation: two groups of people each believe that they are objectively right. How are we supposed to adjudicate?

        • A moral opinion is a subjective opinion.

          Say–I have an idea! Why don’t you give us evidence for objective morality? Tell us how it works. Show us how to resolve popular moral issues (abortion, SSM) objectively. Y’know, with a thoughtful argument, not the bullshit arguments that would get an F if they were submitted in a 6th grade Sunday school class.

          Wrong according to what?

          You made this point yourself! “X is wrong according to Bob!” How many times must you be flogged with this before you get it?

          A shared standard? That is nothing more than 2 or more people gettting together and agreeing on something.

          Oh, so there’s something better? I’m all ears.

        • Sam

          How can something be wrong according to you if you yourself are not basing it on fact?

          Suppose you are an examiner and i am a student and you set me 3 questions for an exam.

          Q1) What is the shape of the earth. Suppose i say flat. You will give me a cross and say i am wrong. Am i wrong because of your preference? Desire? Attitude?Taste? Want? No. You will give me a cross because you are appealing to something outside and beyond yourself. You see the earth is spherical in shape regardless of your opinion, preference and desire. It has NOTHING to do with you. That is why the shape of the earth is a FACT and that is the ONLY reason why would be wrong in my answer.

          Q2) The movie “Taken 1” is better than the movie “Taken 2”? Now what is the correct answer for this? By now i hope you would have realised that there is NO correct answer as it is solely dependent on our preferences/desires and tastes. Unlike Q1, there is NO FACT to appeal to. If i say Taken 1 is better but you think Taken 2 is better, then who is right/wrong? What are you appealing to say i am wrong? You see you have nothing but your own preference/desire. It is not a fact therefore you no tick or cross will be given. That is, it is neither right or wrong.

          Now notice the difference between Q1 and Q2? The first question is in relation to a FACT (objective), The second is in relation to a NON FACT. That is why there is no right/wrong.

          Q3) Is child rape for fun wrong? If you claim moral facts dont exist (No OMVs), then the answer will be the same for Q2. There is no right/wrong.

          You see the differences between the question. The point here is to highlight, that if something is not objective, then it is merely a personal preference/desire and it is incoherent to say right/wrong..

        • How can something be wrong according to you if you yourself are not basing it on fact?

          You base you moral conclusions completely on facts? Are you sure? 100% sure that everything is a fact? You never build on a claim on which there are multiple opinions?

          My approach to moral conclusions is just like you do it. Show me otherwise. Make clear how your approach is different from mine.

          Suppose you are an examiner and i am a student and you set me 3 questions for an exam.

          Suppose you do moral questions: Is abortion OK? If so, when? How about same-sex marriage? Euthanasia?

          Answer these questions for me and show that those answers are objective correct.

          Q3) Is child rape for fun wrong? If you claim moral facts dont exist (No OMVs), then the answer will be the same for Q2. There is no right/wrong.

          Moral statements are subjective.

          Why do you keep coming back to rape? It’s cheating. Everyone has the same answer. Instead, answer my questions above about abortion, SSM, etc.

        • Susan

          What difference does it make if we are discussing morality or fruit?

          Um… the subjective experience of another.

          Which is what you’re trying to appeal to with your “torturing babies for fun is wrong unless Yahwehjesus”.

          Without the slightes hint of justification or explanation for that position.

          Is it cruel to torture a baby/an adult/ a penguin for any reason?

          Yes it is.

          Is it cruel to torture fruit?

          I don’t know. How can I torture fruit?

          Is there justification for torturing babies/adults/ penguins for something other than fun?

          I don’t know. Possibly. But you’d better provide some if you want me to condone it.

          Is there justification for tortuing fruit?

          How can I torture fruit?

          Good lord. This is the best Yahwehjesus proponents have when it comes to the subject of morality.

          It’s just plain awful and yet, their adherents keep showing up with it (no actual argument and no interest in any argument) as though they have some interest in a moral argument.

          All we ask for is evidence.

          In lieur of that, they think they have moral arguments.

        • adam

          ” i have had a 6 year old girl in my garage who i am have been raping and torturing for entertainment for me and my mates.”

          So OBVIOUSLY your and your mates dont see what you do as wrong.

          ” If you say it is wrong, immediately you are making a claim that you are saying something factual.”

          The very way you and your mates are DOING a claim that it is NOT wrong.

          You really have a child rape thing, are you Catholic?

        • You really have a child rape thing, are you Catholic?

          😀

        • Sam

          Well, if OMVs dont exist, then what some Catholic priests did is NOT wrong…Again, it maybe undesirable, but if OMV’s dont exist, they have done nothing wrong at all.

        • You’re determined to misunderstand, aren’t you?

          Wow–I really hate the Christians who come here, get involved in some discussion, but insist on keeping the same biases and wrong arguments they started with.

          Don’t you get it? We’re doing you a favor. You present your argument, and we respond. In your case, unfavorably. Ideally, the Christian learns from the feedback. Or, in your case, not.

          The ordinary use of “right” and “wrong” (in addition to the dictionary definition) make clear that there’s nothing objective about them.

        • Sam

          If right/wrong are not used in relation to facts, then they are used in relation to preferences/desires….This means the words right/wrong are being used naively.

        • Never talk about the definitions of right and wrong without using the dictionary. Since you don’t, you’re the naive one. Or perhaps just idiotic.

        • Joe

          Well, if OMVs dont exist, then what some Catholic priests did is NOT wrong…

          It was only a minor infringement in their view. Moral absolutes don’t exist, right?

        • Sam

          Thats like saying some people who make mathematical mistakes even though they think its true means objective mathematical truths dont exist.

        • Joe

          No it isn’t. i’m agreeing with you. The priests were objectively wrong, but they didn’t do something really bad, like be an atheist or ordain a woman priest. Agree?

        • Sam

          Ok, so you agree objective morality exists?

        • Joe

          Why do you need my agreement?

        • I’m getting tired of your bullshit. Repeating an argument several times isn’t a crime, but you’ve done it dozens of times. If you truly don’t get it, stop and ask for an explanation. Have an open mind. Or leave if you don’t want to be a reasonable participant in the discussion.

          You won’t give us evidence of God, so I will: around here, I’m God. Notice what I did to your comment above. There will be escalating hanky panky of this nature if you continue to be a dick.

        • Sam

          I am repeating it because you guys are making the same mistake in response. You somehow think that by appealing to your own desires and preferences it somehow makes something right or wrong.
          The words right and wrong are being used naively here.

        • And you, yet again, are ignoring that your objective qualifier isn’t part of the definition of morality.

          Sounds like you’ve stated your argument enough times. I’m sure you’ve made zero converts. Are you done?

        • Kodie

          We humans “ground” our opinions in a shared understanding and empathy of what happens when we do something, what are the consequences of it. Some people believe spanking children is torture, and some people believe kids need to be spanked in order to understand whatever they did to deserve punishment, that they can’t understand reason and reasoning with children doesn’t work, so hitting them is what they say works, and is therefore right. Since most people who were spanked as children, in retrospect, think they grew up to be normal good people, they have arguments over it with the people who say hitting children under any circumstances is cruel and harms them not only physically but psychologically.

          Are you going to fucking sit there with your dumb fucking face and ignore that what humans do to other humans does not have eternal consequences and is therefore not grounded outside of our own popular or unpopular opinions? Children who are hit – are they abused or disciplined? It is not now normal for CPS to take children away from parents who “merely” hit them for punishment, but do have a standard of abuse where children are not in a functioning household in the care of responsible loving adults.

          Now there are facts – facts of statistics of the psychological damage of having been “merely” hit as a child as opposed to the legal definition of abuse. Attending to these facts or ignoring these facts is where we are now – what is actually moral for the parents or the government agent to do or not do in order to protect a child from those possible lifelong psychological injuries. So, the injuries may be real, they may be damaging or some would argue, character-building, as in, whatever doesn’t chip away at your mind makes you stronger… or a bully to others, which is another way to say the adult comes out different than they would have as a result of how they were treated as a child. They like to think how they don’t take any shit and make sure they have all the control over others they can get is a “good” outcome of being “disciplined” as a child. And yet others would call that “torture.” It’s the language we use, torture definitely means “bad” and some would disagree with that assessment. If you asked a child, being made to go to school is torture – and it may well be. If they are being bullied at school, that is some kind of mental torture for them, but what if it’s the teacher assigning homework, what if it’s the teacher getting impatient and reprimanding a child for talking too much in class. It feels terrible to be called out, so the child “hates” being in school because not being allowed to socialize, and being made to shut up and pay attention, to them, feels like being tortured.

          What I’m getting at, we live in a society, that means cooperating to some extent. That means disciplining a child to behave and get along and know how to treat others if they expect to be treated well. To some that means hitting them and to some that means reasoning with them and showing them by example. At the end of the day, we’re all going to die, so we’re only accountable to each other, and whatever we decide is wrong, as in, illegal, we as a society choose to enforce. We choose to argue, judge others, tell others how we feel about their own choices, and point them in the direction of the facts – i.e. the actual consequences of behaving like you have a right to hit your children if you want to. That’s the best we can do, or if someone is doing something we find truly hazardous, we find a way to lock them in prison or fine them, or some other societal way they have to pay us back or keep us safer… and by “us” I don’t necessarily mean me. I might mean their child. I might mean their neighbor or their ex-girlfriend or whatever.

          We decide. We can change our minds. Morality isn’t fact, but we decide if we collectively dislike the factual or statistical consequence of an action or behavior, and deal with it. It doesn’t come from the universe. It’s not right/wrong based on some objective grounding, but you are wrong thinking that without objective grounding then it must be whim. That’s fucked up crazy religious talking.

        • MR

          …but you are wrong thinking that without objective grounding then it must be whim. That’s fucked up crazy religious talking.

          It’s the false dichotomy that apologetics sites push. A little reflection and it’s obviously bunk, but people like to cling to their narrow narratives rather than seriously contemplate for themselves or educate themselves or consider other facts and explanations. I find the willful ignorance interesting. Notice how, no matter how much other possibilities are pointed out to them, they stick to their original line. New information, alternative explanations don’t get incorporated, just ignored. Like a dog to vomit they return to the same old false dichotomy.

        • Sam

          What is the other option then?

        • MR

          Options. I’m not here to educate you. Others have tried, you’ve ignored them. Try thinking for yourself. It’s not that difficult.

        • Sam

          Which humans? ISIS? Nazi Germany? Stalin? North Korea? Trump?

        • Kodie

          You’re too fucking illiterate to talk to.

        • MR

          Another example of him undermining his own argument. The moment you have to ask which humans, you throw objectivity out the window.

        • epeeist

          You’re too fucking illiterate to talk to.

          The stupid is strong in this one.

        • Greg G.

          Sam seems to have a cargo cult mentality. He asked how to do blockquotes so BobS and I explained it. Bob did it by showing <x> and </x> as an example and explained different letters and words that could be used in place of the “x”.

          He then replied to me using “<x>” at the beginning and end of the quoted material. All he comprehended was “blah bleh blah blah <x> blah blah bleh”.

        • MR

          Interesting parallels. Everything that’s been pointed out and all that filters through is blah, blah, blah, objective morality, blah, blah, blah, personal choice, blah, blah, blah. There’s no, “Hmm…, let me stop a moment and consider what they’re saying, let me just skim for what I think they mean. To be fair, not everyone is familiar with how html tags work, but when you’re given two different explanations, you’d think something would sink through.

        • adam

          “but when you’re given two different explanations, you’d think something would sink through.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/891db665af58352b854d9ed1a804cdf6e137dcd9f96a37adc7b7e573d25a0072.jpg

        • Kodie

          I blame the self-esteem movement. Jesus loves all of them even especially if they are embarrassingly stupid.

        • Kodie

          I saw that. Some people are not afraid enough of embarrassing themselves. They declare themselves intelligent, their ideas sound, but then they prove they are just not reading or learning anything, but only repeating what they’ve been programmed to say. Dear Christian cult masters, You have such a cheap operation over there. Wherever you are. If the message is good, it shouldn’t sound so idiotic. You have gullible followers, which you need, but they don’t reflect so well on you on the outside. How can you fix that?

          I always tell these people, one of the clues there’s no god is why would he rely on such idiots to speak for him? Why is he satisfied with this inferior method of defending him from intellectual attack?

        • Greg G.

          I always tell these people, one of the clues there’s no god is why would he rely on such idiots to speak for him? Why is he satisfied with this inferior method of defending him from intellectual attack?

          As epeeist said, “Why do we only ever get the monkey, never the organ grinder.”

        • epeeist

          Some people are not afraid enough of embarrassing themselves.

          Well I’m not, but there again I’m here to learn as much as anything else.

        • Agreed. God’s army seems to be populated only by the 4Fs.

          I wonder why God doesn’t lead the charge in person.

        • MR

          Why is he satisfied with this inferior method of defending him from intellectual attack?

          And then they make excuses for him. As if God wouldn’t be a god of reason, rational thinking and intelligence, too. Shouldn’t he be evident in all good things? It’s a glaring inconsistency between the perfect image of God we’re fed and the reality we can clearly see.

        • adam
        • adam

          “Again, it maybe undesirable, but if OMV’s dont exist, they have done nothing wrong at all.”

          Why is that?

          wrong – Merriam Webster.

          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

        • adam

          ” If you deny OM, what are you appealing you?”

          Non-OM, you know SM

        • Sam

          Then its not wrong.

        • adam

          Wrong how?

          it is to SM

        • Greg G.

          Are you appealing to some sort of standard that you shouldnt harm others? Well, in a naturalistic world, how is that a fact? Is it because what we commonly agree on? It still doesnt make it a fact.

          Exactly! It is a preference.

        • Sam

          Ok, so it doesnt make it wrong then. Therefore raping a child for fun is NOT wrong, maybe undesirable, but not wrong. Is this your view?

        • Define “wrong.”

          (Here’s an easy way: look it up in the dictionary. Why won’t you do that?)

        • Sam

          You see, if you look at the definition of wrong in the dictionary, you will find it uses the word “immoral” in the context of morality. Even the dictionary affirms with objective morality.

        • Think before you click Post. You’re on probation.

          How can the dictionary affirm objective morality without saying “objective morality”?

        • Sam

          Did you read what i said? I said a PART of the dictionary mention IMMORAL.

        • ?? And none of the dictionary definition mentions “objective.”

          Are you stupid? Or are you just being dishonest?

        • Herald Newman

          Are you stupid? Or are you just being dishonest?

          Have you consider the possibility that both are true?

        • I was just trying to give him a face-saving out by picking just one.

        • Greg G.

          It seems that two options are too complex for him.

          http://disq.us/p/1he8gac

        • Michael Neville

          What annoys me most about Sam is his arrogant insistence that his opinion is objective fact.

        • But good luck getting him to admit to that. Somehow in that little hamster wheel, I guess it all makes sense.

          Presumably he means that the Bible has objective moral truth and that the Holy Spirit gives to the chosen, but I haven’t heard him explain it even that clearly.

        • Kodie

          Doesn’t seem to me to be the case. You’re assuming what the dictionary will say when you look up immoral, just like you assumed Adam was bullshitting about the actual bible quote. Clues point heavily to your lack of critical thinking skills.

        • adam

          “When the fruit arrives,will you tell me i am doing something wrong? Will you tell me i am wrong for enjoying and eating that fruit. No, you will not”

          Yes, I will.

          wrong Merriam Webster

          in an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction:

        • adam

          “First of all i am talking about ONTOLOGY,”

          relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being:

          So there are beings like yourself who do rape and torture children for fun.

          So to say it is objective, is a baseless claim.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e780e3fba463dc2437ca895f0af2713159ae2deed85f8013ea836348b281b2da.jpg

        • Sam

          I dont rape children.

        • adam

          So is it just fantasy then?

        • Kodie

          If it’s not objectively wrong, you’ll consider it though?

        • Sam

          I find it undesirable, however, if OMVs dont exist, then if i rape a child for fun then i havent done anything wrong.

        • Paul B. Lot

          And when we punish you for breaking inter-subjective societal norms, we won’t have done anything “wrong” either.

        • Sam

          SO ISIS punishes there own when they throw a homosexual off a building?

        • Michael Neville

          You haven’t done anything objectively wrong for the simple reason that nothing, not a single thing, is objectively wrong.

          And could you please stop parading your dreams of raping children? It’s making me worry about you.

        • Sam

          Ok, if i have done nothing, or if OMV’s, do NOT exist, then why do we CONDEMN acts committed by ISIS? Pedophiles, Nazi Germany?
          Do you condemn people for eating a fruit you dont like? Watching a movie you dont like? NO.

          You see, i am tired of atheists giving lip service when discussing morality yet they live there lives COMPLETELY contrary to what they argue.

          So when you see ISIS throw homosexuals off buildings, do you react the same way as you do when someone eats a fruit you dont like? NO, you dont.

          You condemn them that theya re doing something wrong.

        • Michael Neville

          Obviously the Nazis and Isis thought (or think) that what they’re doing is right. ISIS believe that they’re doing what Allah wants, which makes it obviously a right and correct thing to do.

        • Sam

          Ok, so if morality is not objective, then why condemn them that what they are doing is wrong? Doesnt make sense.
          If OMvs dont exist, then condemning ISIS, Nazis for doing something wrong is like you condemning me for eating a fruit that you dislike…Doesnt make sense.

        • Michael Neville

          Ok, so if morality is not objective, then why condemn them that what they are doing is wrong? Doesnt make sense.

          Because I think certain actions are wrong. It’s my subjective opinion that murder and other actions are wrong and I condemn those actions because of my opinion. And that makes sense to me.

        • Herald Newman

          Ok, so if morality is not objective, then why condemn them that what they are doing is wrong?

          Morality itself is ultimately subjective, but when I’m talking about morality, I necessarily am talking about harm to well being.

          We can look at actions and determine if actions cause harm, or improve, the well being of others. It is an objective fact that raping a child cause harm to its well being. It is subjective that I care about human well being. Therefore, it is subjective that raping a child is wrong.

          I don’t understand why morality is such a difficult concept for theists to get. I also don’t understand why the claims of an objective morality (essentially a claim to moral realism) is held to so strongly by people when they cannot demonstrate it!

          If OMvs dont exist, then condemning ISIS, Nazis for doing something wrong is like you condemning me for eating a fruit that you dislike

          Do you understand how bad an analogy this is? The actions of ISIS, or the Nazi’s (what was Godwin’s law again?) objectively cause(d) harm to the well being of other humans. For myself, and a large portion of humanity, we care about the well being of others, and we call these actions wrong. If we didn’t care about the well being of others we wouldn’t call them wrong.

        • MR

          We can look at actions and determine if actions cause harm, or improve, the well being of others.

          This is an excellent point Herald. Ultimately it boils down to actions and their consequences, the intent behind those consequences, and the potential consequences on others and, ultimately, on our individual selves.

          A society that permits harm to others “for fun” or otherwise, is likely a society in which you as an individual are at risk. Is killing another person objectively wrong? No, the universe doesn’t care, but you care, and other people care. If a human being, for whatever reason, has a compulsion to kill other human beings, it may not be objectively wrong, but, hey, if you want to live in a society, and gain from what societies have to offer, then either you conform, move on, or are restrained. Morality is really about our interactions with others.

          Muddying the water is that we tend to think of morality as a res ipsa, a thing in itself. Like other things (e.g., love, courage, honor, etc.), we tend to view it as a thing outside of ourselves that influences us, or is a thing that we possess, when really it’s just a shortcut way to refer to those intentions, actions and consequences. Morality doesn’t exist “out there,” objective or otherwise. It’s simply our judgments on individual intentions, actions and their consequences.

          Also, not getting much play is the emotional and subconscious aspects of morality. While reason plays a part, most of our moral reactions are internalized, either instinctual or subconscious influenced over the years by family, peers, society, groups (religious or otherwise), personal experiences, fears, hopes, dreams and lord knows what all. Each one of us brings all these myriads of moving parts into a society of moving parts that jostle and vie for one another in complex interactions that we call morality.

          I have to admit that I, too, cringed when he used ISIS and the Nazis as an example. Well, cringed and was amused. It handily undermines his own point. When a large group of people think those actions are okay, well, you’ve just thrown objective morality out the window! This is what happens when you keep your blinders on! 😀

        • Herald Newman

          Also, not getting much play is the emotional and subconscious aspects of morality.

          One of the better analogies I’ve heard about this is to compare morality with language. When we hear somebody speaking, in our native language, we don’t really have to think about the words to understand their meaning. It’s almost intuitive how we understand our native language, largely because our brains have done a good job of hiding those parts from our conscious brain.

          Think about how complicated this is. Our brains know how to map a series of sounds together to form concepts in our brains, and we don’t have to think about it in most cases. Even reading what I’m writing, if you’re fluent in English, is almost second nature.

          The same is true of morality. We’ve had morality beaten into our brains since we were very young, and our brains make it second nature to us, so that we end up with an intuitive understanding of morality.

          Then you have people like Sam who conflate this intuitive feeling for somehow being objective. It’s quite sad really how little they understand about the world, and how our brains operate.

        • Michael Neville

          Then you have people like Sam who conflate this intuitive feeling for somehow being objective. It’s quite sad really how little they understand about the world, and how our brains operate.

          Sam has been taught from early childhood what “good” people do and don’t do and this teaching has been reinforced for years. It’s so ingrained in his psyche that he sees it as an inherent force of nature rather than an implanted socialization.

        • Inky

          I posted this over at Neil’s blog too, where they are having a similar conversation.

          Why is subjective so firmly regarded as unreal? The idea that subjective means ‘illusory’ or the instant comparison to tastes in ice cream, etc. is held onto so tightly.

          Love, passionate advocacy, liberty, grief–some of the most powerful motivators in life are entirely and uncontroversially subjective. But a moral impulse is trivial?

          Oddly, this goes hand-in-hand with ripping moral impulses completely out of human context. The theist goes on to say that without a divine morality, anyone can do whatever they want. This is so totally not in line with reality it is hard to respond to.

          But I think it goes back to the idea that humans are worthless. Some Christians (not to mention other theists) have convinced themselves that their opinions and desires can never be anything good. Therefore, if they find murder horrible, this can only be valid if it is also god’s opinion and worthless if it comes from themselves. They need divine validation.

          Which neatly accounts for their conviction that anyone who follows their own moral opinions must worship themselves. The idea that someone could regard themselves as a decent person with worthwhile, important subjective moral impulses and still be influenced by, overridden by, or interacting with other worthwhile, decent people with different moral beliefs, much less that they could hammer out a moral framework that has actual meaning and importance, is simply unsupported if you believe that their opinions and wants cannot possibly be real or important.

          The interesting thing is not that ‘God’ always agrees with the believer on everything moral–it’s that when a person is faced with a conflict between their beliefs and their morality, it is the beliefs that change. If you face the death of an unsaved loved one, the horror of hell suddenly becomes real and important to you–and you will reject the idea of such an unjust God. If you find abortion horrible, you will gravitate to a god who condemns the practice.

          Beliefs are fragile things that shatter on the rocks of ‘illusory, just-a-matter-of-taste’ subjective morality.

        • Greg G.

          The question, “Would you kill your child if God commanded you to do it?” is one that does that. They know the correct Bible answer is “Yes” (the Binding of Isaac) but it is hard to say. Several years ago, a prominent YouTube apologist dealt with that question, and a few months later he was an atheist.

        • Inky

          Yep. You (in general) can agree with things outside your/cultural morality, right up until something comes up that you actually care more about. Usually, it has to hit home personally as well, so that you can’t distance yourself from it any more.

        • Kodie

          Well, so, hunting is harming a living being for fun. Eating animals is sometimes fun, like anything with bacon on it, pizza, hamburgers, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings – fun. Fashion is also fun. Skins and furs and bones of animals. We aren’t automatically horrified by something we just have gotten used to, and when someone around us is horrified actually, we tend to mock them and think they are annoying losers. So, let’s make this about people. Hunting people for fun, eating people for fun, wearing people for fun – automatically disgusting to us, because we’re people. That doesn’t make it objective. A pig or cow or chicken isn’t concerned with it or disgusted by it. How can it be objectively wrong to hunt, eat, or wear people? Is it objectively right to hunt, eat, or wear animals? All animals, only some animals, which animals?

          This is the problem with Sam’s example. It is purposefully disgusting to trigger your automatic disgust and agreement with the single solitary undeniable example that’s supposed to prove objective morality exists, even if it leaves most moral questions vague or unresolved or debatable. If hunting, eating, or wearing people doesn’t upset animals, and in fact, many animals are just fine with hunting and eating people, and we’re ok with eating and wearing animals without issue, how can it be objectively wrong? How can anything be objectively wrong?

        • adam

          ” It is purposefully disgusting to trigger your automatic disgust and agreement with the single solitary undeniable example that’s supposed to prove objective morality exists, even if it leaves most moral questions vague or unresolved or debatable.”

          Is it?

          or are these just the repressed fantasies of Sam?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d653c9e22abc08f546343bbbc0c65c343723a09cd19983f9742bc983c17c49a4.jpg

        • Kodie

          I don’t think it’s a fantasy. It’s a common Christian meme that seems to have been created to trigger agreement, even though we have a society full of people who deliberately excuse rape and torture of children for their own service. I wrote a long post I gave up on, the gist is, not only Catholic priests, the church, etc. guide congregations who learn of these infractions to a sense that it only happened a couple times and the church is patient and healing rather than throw out the broken priest; moms who allow sexual abuse against their daughter by their father, older brother, new boyfriend, to avoid abandonment or embarrassment; schools and coaches…. the Jerry Sandusky abuse that went on for years, Coach Joe Paterno’s legacy was not to be destroyed, and VERY MANY PEOPLE would not let his suppression of the scandal ruin his legacy. I ask, if your child was raped or molested by a teacher at school, and you knew the principal knew about it but didn’t want the scandal, allowed it to continue without firing the teacher, wouldn’t you also hold the principal accountable? Yet, everyone is “JoePa didn’t do it, so why should he be held accountable, leave him alone, he’s a good man a good coach,” etc.

          I wrote about how we have a hard time thinking the nasty raping people aren’t creepy strangers, but people we know, like, trust, and who have trusty authority over kids – older relatives, neighbors, teachers, priests, coaches, counselors – people we culturally assume take those positions because they care about children, not because they are predators of children. And when it comes between kids and their rapists, adults have a hard time confronting someone they admire.

          Whenever rape is brought up as a “bad” or “wrong” thing, I write about how we live in a rape culture, how it’s acceptable and we want boys to be forgiven and blame the girls and we don’t care about her traumas. Every fucking time, I get no response from any Christian.

          I do not think it’s fantasy they have about raping and torturing children, because they think only creepy people do that.

        • adam

          “Whenever rape is brought up as a “bad” or “wrong” thing, I write about
          how we live in a rape culture, how it’s acceptable and we want boys to
          be forgiven and blame the girls and we don’t care about her traumas.
          Every fucking time, I get no response from any Christian.”

          Again, I question whether this is to justify their own lack of control over their own thoughts as men viewing females, and the diminishment of rape as the ‘damaging of a man’s property’ of the bible.

          I do think christianity as a whole, is a fantasy world in which men have rule and women and children are property to do with as a man’s desire wills it to a very large degree.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c862151f2f5bdf2af3910632858abe4bc4896f4a6d1d906e92b6825e8d451539.jpg

        • MR

          because we’re people

          Right? The obvious point they willfully ignore.

          All humans agree does not equal objective morality, it simply means we’re all human. We share the same biology, similar experiences, reactions, sometimes conflicting desires that all humans experience because we are all human.

          If a lion “rapes” another lion, we have no moral outrage. Morality doesn’t lie in the “act” of rape, otherwise we’d consider “animal rape” immoral, too. I imagine, lions would also consider lion rape immoral. No, it lies in our power to empathize with a victim because they are human and because we are human and we wouldn’t want it to happen to us.

          I’ve noted before that there are those who kill and eat their mates in the middle of sex and it’s a perfectly natural behavior about which no one feels morally outraged. Objectivity, where, oh, where is thy sting?

          https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–4bwEtKuW–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/ty9m2bgirjyv0lvfdzhi.jpg

        • He uses rape and Nazis because we’re all on the same page. But if all moral questions have an objectively correct answer, he might just as well give us the answer for abortion or same-sex marriage.

          I wonder why he focuses only on the easy examples.

        • MR

          Because he read on some apologetics site that if you can convince someone of just one instance of objective morality then it must exist.

          Of course, a) it’s absurd to have to chase down objective morality in the extreme cases, because that would mean it doesn’t apply to the every day, real world varieties that we run into, like abortion and same-sex marriage or simply just lying.

          And b) the extreme cases–and for that matter, all other cases of morality–can be explained simply by the fact that we’re all human with shared biology, behaviors, etc. His apologetics sites conflate, and he thereby confuses, those explanations with objective morality and, as Adam pointed out, his cognitive dissonance doesn’t allow him to accept it as an answer, though it’s a perfectly reasonable answer to anyone who hasn’t been indoctrinated with the fallacious arguments of objective morality.

          Notice how he never refutes other explanations, he simply ignores them and goes back to his dog vomit dichotomy. These types are incapable of considering that their favored religious leaders/sources might be wrong, which is why they will never be able to, ahem, forgive me, objectively consider other evidence. They choose instead to simply ignore it.

          I certainly could be wrong, and I’m happy to consider any other evidence if only they had some to offer. Repeatedly showing me the same, refuted dog vomit over and over gets us nowhere.

        • Kodie

          Again, morality is such a weird topic along the same straw man as late-term abortions, because hardly anyone is trying to kill me every day, but people certainly behave in what I perceive to be dishonest and selfish ways. Immorality, to me, is all the little bitchy assholish things people do that isn’t illegal and really doesn’t even hurt anyone, but it’s still there. I think partially, the law might have something to do with it, because, just like people who think “objective morality” doesn’t exist, they might as well rape and torture all the children they want. Well, there are laws against it, so most people probably curb their behavior having been deterred by laws forbidding whatever they wish to do. That’s not even counting all the people who break laws that may not be as extreme as killing or raping or torturing, or in the same way that self-defense or war isn’t technically “murder,” there seems to be certain circumstances where people feel torture isn’t inherently immoral.

          “For fun” is the icing on the shit cake. Having fun while you do something bad must mean something, like you’re a sick fuck, but if you don’t take pleasure in it, like it’s your job to torture … and I don’t know why you’d rape someone, but can you imagine it’s your job to rape someone as a form of torture, then you are also being raped. As in Bob’s Peggy Noonan quote, the balance of morality/immorality seems to me to be in the very small things we do or don’t do every day. Can some things be less wrong to do to others? If I call you hate speech, is that less wrong than shooting you in the face with a gun? Where hate speech makes your living life possibly miserable, possibly to the point where I round up your kind, or terrorize you, killing you individually has a definite effect on you and those who love you. “Good” is often not extremely good as extremely bad is extremely bad, that they tend to focus on one extreme behavior that we’d almost definitely call “bad”, like genocide, slavery, or violation of a precious child in any way. The opposite of that kind of wrong behavior isn’t as often so extreme. There is very little anyone could individually do to offset the horrors of the world. Be polite, hold doors open for people, or even successfully transplant a heart, or donate that heart even if your loved one just died and you’re grieving. Those essences are just so … I don’t want to use the word trivial.

          Here is how I see morality (the number 8 is neutral, and it is immorality —> morality):

          |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||8|||||||

          You can’t beat nuclear genocide with kindness, sandwiches, surgery, cures for diseases, inclusive laws, an understanding smile, an offer to babysit while someone goes on a job interview, or anything. It’s really really hard to do. We can be more destructive than constructive. Most of us have the power, if so inclined, to cause a lot more grief than happiness.

        • MR

          That’s an interesting observation about degrees of morality and the power to cause more harm than the power to cause good. I think we have a tendency to think of good and evil as being balanced, maybe even giving good a slight nudge, but it seems to me that you’ve got a point.

          I will say, however, that–especially in those extreme cases, like torturing or killing babies–I don’t think that curbing our “evil” actions is about laws and “gee, will I get caught”, it’s simply not part of human nature to do such things (barring special circumstances). We don’t rationalize why we don’t kill children, it’s visceral. We recoil at the thought, without giving it thought.

          A Christian points to that ‘feeling’ as tapping into an objective morality, whereas it’s really just instinctual, something we’ve developed through evolution. Animals hunt and kill for survival, but they don’t kill for fun. We don’t kill babies for fun.

          And notice how we don’t taint animal behaviors with morals. They don’t rationalize their own behavior for not killing for fun any more than your cat rationalizes why it doesn’t want that Cheeto you’re offering it. It’s just not part of their instinct. For similar reasons, it’s not part of our instincts to torture children for fun. It’s not that we’re not doing it because we might get caught. People aren’t going around literally thinking, “oh, I’d love to filet that crying brat, but I might get thrown in jail for it.”

          On the other hand, the little things, and even some of the big things are part of our nature. Little lies are part and parcel of humanity, “Oh, honey, those jeans look just fine.” Bigger lies…, “Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to list that on my tax return!” Greed, violence, theft…, they’re all just simmering there below the surface, but if you think about it, they’re all things that had their benefits in our evolutionary past. We consider them “evils” now, but in times of scarcity, things like greed, violence, theft…, even murder, had their place in ensuring the survival of not only our species, but our species’ ancestors’ species. And their ancestor’s species, stretching all the way back through lines of proto-mammals, proto-reptiles, proto-fishy-wishies who were stealing food from the big fishy-wishies and killing the small fishy-wishies. Eat or be eaten, kill or be killed, take it or die. It’s you or them, it’s them or us. We happen to live in a fortuitous time (in spite of the political and religious narratives of some) when those behaviors are not quite as necessary, but that doesn’t mean they’re not part and parcel of our nature. Fortunately we can exercise some control through our reason.

          The extreme shit? That’s people who are biologically or psychologically fucked in the head. And if they’re biologically or psychologically fucked in the head, is that really a moral issue? We send our soldiers overseas to do terrible, terrible things and they come back fucked in the head and do terrible things here…, who’s more morally responsible, us or them? This is a dilemma I struggle with. Homelessness is a dilemma I struggle with. Capital punishment is a dilemma I struggle with. Are these purely moral issues? How much blame do I assign? And to whom?

        • Kodie

          His contention is only that objective morality exists, and for that, he only needed the one example. To him, he has already let me know, it doesn’t matter if other questions are harder to figure out, or why people might disagree and each have legitimate arguments to reach opposite positions on any given thing.

        • And the fact that “rape is wrong” is widely agreed to, not objectively true, doesn’t enter into it.

        • Kodie

          Rape being wrong isn’t even that widely agreed to.

        • adam

          “I don’t understand why morality is such a difficult concept for theists to get.”

          Because of the bible, primarily.

          Slavery is condoned, rape is merely property damage.

          Eternal torture is one goal.
          Enjoying eternity while MOST people get tortured for eternity.
          The goal of complete destruction of the Planet Earth.

          Theology has a pathological morality trail woven in the bible.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6edead041781202f80c75d015d387e6cc53a861b9cb5dd846e0f4dd40a5805a.jpg

          It professes CRUELTY.

          And justified evil:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fef3e09d4fced201880c6048e47897bc3461d04f1c5de54936408c4560c105b.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Ok, so if morality is not objective, then why condemn them that what they are doing is wrong? Doesnt make sense.

          Because many people do not wish to be harmed. Many people wish to thrive and be happy. There are many ways to exercise freedom without harming others who do not wish to be harmed. Those who harm others have their freedom restricted in hopes of rehabilitating them.

          We are still working on good methods to prevent people from harming other people. We’ve eliminated beatings, amputations, and, for the most part, death as rehabilitation because we recognize it is unnecessary and useless harm to others. Too bad we don’t have an objective morality they can see.

        • MR

          Hmm…, we haven’t heard from Sam for a few days. I wonder if he’s seeking shelter in the comfort of his apologetics sites or if he’s been checking out what other people have to say about morality, too, and not just the preferred narrative.

        • Greg G.

          A few commenters have gone silent recently: Sam, MarkAnthony, and MNb.

        • The last I heard from MNb was after his semi-annual berating (something about how I lower my standards for scholars I like). I could never get a straight answer. But obviously his longtime contributions made him very much an asset.

        • do you know Sam from other sites?

        • MR

          No. Just wondering whether he came to realize his argument was a false dichotomy. We never get closure, damn it.

        • You’re too pessimistic! I’m sure that 6 months or so, we’ll see Sam walk back, singing a far more naturalistic tune. We’ve placed a stone in his shoe, as the apologists say, and our good points will bug him until he gives them careful thought.

          (Oh, wait–it’s not April first anymore, is it?)

        • Greg G.
        • BlackMamba44

          Terrible anology. Condemning ISIS and Nazis for harming other human beings would be like me condemning you because you shoved that piece of fruit I dislike down my throat, therefore harming me.

          EDIT: For hopeful clarification

        • adam

          “If OMvs dont exist, then condemning ISIS, Nazis for doing something
          wrong is like you condemning me for eating a fruit that you
          dislike…Doesnt make sense.”

          Really?

          Christianity has warped you so bad that mass murder is equal to eating fruit?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/153b0ebfcc47e59d2f5562338aac50a39a3948105d742c1bd2733414e516504c.jpg

        • Where did you get your apologetics training? Is it formal or are you self-taught?

        • adam

          “Ok, so if morality is objective to them, what right does anyone have to question them?

        • Greg G.

          It’s making me worry about you.

          And especially the children in his church/neighborhood/household.

        • Kodie

          Is it objectively wrong to tent your home and fumigate for termites?

        • adam

          “I find it undesirable, however, if OMVs dont exist, then if i rape a child for fun then i havent done anything wrong.”

          Yep, not in your mind.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c862151f2f5bdf2af3910632858abe4bc4896f4a6d1d906e92b6825e8d451539.jpg

    • Greg G.

      If objective morality exists, then all immoral things are equally immoral. We cannot rank immoral actions. Stealing food to feed a starving child would be as immoral as raping and torturing the starving child for fun.

      If objective morality exists, it’s subjectively immoral to adhere to it because the real world sometimes forces us to choose the lesser of two evils.

      • Sam

        I am talking about objective morality, not moral absolutes.

        • Greg G.

          Read your Old Testament. Raping children as the spoils of war is specifically cited as OK. Enslaving people for life is OK. Beating slaves to death if the suffer a day is OK.

          If these things were objectively immoral, then societies throughout history would agree with you. Since these ideas change through time and in different cultures, it is subjective morality.

        • Ouch! Hoist by his own Bible.

        • Sam

          A couple of things. That is why i believe in objective moral VALUES and duties and not moral absolutes.
          We can talk about the bible in a separate thread/post but this has nothing to do with my argument.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t care whether you adhere to the Bible or not. That people believed the opposite of what we believe today shows that those things are not objective.

        • Joe

          Because you don’t believe in moral absolutes. Understood.

        • Susan

          I am talking about objective morality not moral absolutes.

          Fair enough.

          Then, show us an objective moral fact, and explain why it’s both objective and moral

          Also, explain how you distinguish it from a moral absolute.

          Then, we can all try to have a discussion.

    • Joe

      Why?

      At best, it would show that we all agree. Which is not your definition of objective morality.

      • Sam

        Agreeing according to what? What are you appealing to? For something to be factual, then you must appeal to something outside and beyond yourself.

        • Joe

          Agreeing according to what?

          Each other.

          What are you appealing to?

          I was hoping reason, but I appear to have been mistaken.

          For something to be factual,

          Where did I say it was factual? I just said we both agree.

        • Sam

          Each other? How does that make it factual? ISIS agree with each other to kill Western journalists…does that make it right?
          If you arent appealing to something factual then your comment really means nothing.

        • Joe

          Each other? How does that make it factual?

          It’s not a fact that two people can agree with each other?

          I’ve heard it all now.

          SIS agree with each other to kill Western journalists…does that make it right?

          For possibly the last time WHO ARE YOU ASKING?

          If you arent appealing to something factual then your comment really means nothing.

          To you. To you. That’s not my failing.

        • Sam

          Two people can agree that they are superman and spiderman.? Doesnt make it factual.

        • Joe

          OK, I may have overestimated your intelligence:

          Is it possible for two people to agree?

          That is a very simple question.

        • Sam

          Yes…and?

        • Joe

          So two people can agree on a subject, even if it is not objective?

        • Sam

          That is merely 2 people sharing the same preference/desire. Doesnt make it right/wrong.

        • Joe

          EXACTLY!!!!!!!

          That is what we’ve been trying to explain to you all along. Why can’t you see this?

        • Sam

          OK, so when you pedophile priests abusing children, you dont say those priests have done something WRONG?

        • Joe

          And here I was thinking I had made a breakthrough.

          Why are you asking my opinion?

        • Sam

          I am asking as a FACT, have they dont anything wrong? Yes or NO?

        • Michael Neville

          No, it is not a fact. It is a shared opinion but obviously the priests involved don’t see it as wrong or else they wouldn’t do it.

        • Sam

          So its just a shared desire/preference? Not wrong?

        • Herald Newman

          YES!!

        • adam
        • Michael Neville

          That’s what I said. You may think something is wrong and I might agree with you, but it’s just our opinions or preferences that something is wrong. If you claim it’s objectively wrong then you have to provide evidence for that claim. So far you haven’t.

        • Joe

          Why do you have to ask my opinion if it’s a fact?

        • adam

          “you dont say those priests have done something WRONG?”

          The priests dont.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/151925a51e6a55d5bd1418d3a12f8fa99b39d9a82fb1f8468f8e6fcd942470f3.jpg

        • Greg G.

          We say they did wrong, not that they did WRONG.

        • adam

          Two people can agree that they are superman and spiderman.? Doesnt make it factual.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8638fdedfe8fad3b245ca0981085794967c878d6bfba020d03d8b426a1c98936.jpg

        • Sam

          What does this reply have to do with my argument?

        • adam

          Subjective experience.

        • adam
        • Sam

          What does this have to do with my argument?

        • adam

          Doesnt make it factual.

        • adam

          ” ISIS agree with each other to kill Western journalists…does that make it right?”

          With THEM, of course.

          How is this Objective Morality?

    • Susan

      is it a fact that it is wrong to rape and torture a child for fun?

      Define “fact”.

      Also:

      1) Is it wrong to rape and torture a child for something other than fun?
      2) Is it wrong to rape but not torture a child for something other than fun
      3) Is it wrong to rape and torture an adult for fun?
      4) Is it wrong to not rape but torture an adult for fun?
      5) Is it wrong to rape and/or torture a penguin for fun?
      6) Is it wrong to rape and/or torture a penguin even if it’s fun?

      Either you want to engage in discussions about morality or you don’t.

      Forgive me. It’s been too many years dealing with the same old christian crap and I’ve hit a wall.

      In philosophy, you have to follow through when you ask a question like that.

      In apologetics, it’s just a cheap trick to bypass the discussion and pretend morality is meaningless without an imaginary deity.

      Without any justification. Without any interest in the very difficult subject of morality.

      And oblivious to the never resolved Euthyphro Dilemma.

      Morality is hard. And claiming imaginary moral agents doesn’t do anything for it.

      What you are trying to appeal to is “Is it cruel?”

      That is not the same.

      • Sam

        Fact is something that is true/exists independent of human preference, taste and attitude.
        The point of the argument is to show OMVs exist.
        If 1 can show only 1 exists then that will mean OMVs.

        • Joe

          No, it will show 1 OMV exists.

          If I showed you a black swan, and said all swans are black, would that be a fact?

        • Herald Newman

          No, it will show 1 OMV exists.

          Which would be a hell of a lot more than anyone else has ever done before! I’ll be impressed if somebody can demonstrate one objective moral value, or duty.

        • epeeist

          I’ll be impressed if somebody can demonstrate one objective moral value, or duty.

          I would be impressed if someone like Sam has ever come across Simon Blackburn, Peter Railton or J.L. Mackie. In fact I would be impressed if he had read any book on ethics or knows what “deontological” means.

        • Michael Neville

          or knows what “deontological” means.

          Doesn’t that have to do with teeth?

          Sam is making a deontological argument that moral absolutism, what he calls objective moral values, requires that one particular action is always wrong. Kant made a similar argument that lying is always wrong, even if a murderer is asking for the location of a potential victim.

          Kant wrote three books explaining and expanding on this view. Sam keeps waving one assertion at us without justifying it.

        • Sam

          Raping and torturing a child for fun is not factually wrong?

        • Herald Newman

          The only fact I will concede is that there are people who consider it wrong.

          If you believe it is an objective fact, how do I go about determining that it is such? I know you have claimed that you’re talking about ontology, and not epistemology, but if you believe this is an objective morality, but cannot show me how to investigate it, how do you actually know that it exists?

          I do not justify knowledge claims with ontology, I justify them with epistemology!

        • Anat

          Since it happens it is not factually wrong.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Susan

          Fact is something that is true/exists independent of human preference, taste and attitude.

          OK. Like the shape of the earth. How do we determine a “fact”?

          The point of the the argument is to show OMV’s exist.

          Except, you’ve provided no argument. You’ve only appealed to our disgust with cruelty on a very specific subject. Not to cruelty itself, nor to the connection between cruelty and morality.

          If 1 can show only 1 exists then that will mean OMVs.

          But you haven’t.

          Please respond to my questions.

        • Greg G.

          The point of the argument is to show OMVs exist.

          You have argued that tastes and opinions exist but are subjective. You have argued that objective facts exist. We agree.

          But you have failed to argue that morality is the latter and not the former. You only make assertions.

          I haven’t seen such a poor grasp of logic since myintx was here arguing against abortion.

    • epeeist

      Ask yourself, is it a fact that it is wrong to rape and torture a child for fun?

      If one person thinks it is wrong then this would be their subjective view, it doesn’t make it a fact.

      If multiple people mutually agree that it is wrong then this would be an inter-subjective view, it doesn’t make it a fact.

      If everyone agrees that it is wrong then this would be a universal view, it doesn’t make it a fact.

    • Ficino

      In line with what Susan says below, I suspect you’re equivocating on “fact” without realizing it.

  • Phil Rimmer

    A society composed of individuals that simply do not want to rape and torture is one that is the more innately moral than one legislated to be so.

    Edit Penn Jillette down the way nails it…..

    Our day job is to breed and educate a society that has increasingly less need of such external coercion. Even the UK Quakers understood that they (and we all) were fully equipped to be the moral authors. Who better?

    Sam wants a lower standard, it seems

  • Ficino

    epeeist below said that if multiple people mutually agree that something is wrong, they have an inter-subjective view, but it’s not a fact that it’s wrong.

    Is language a useful analog? E.g. if one group says that “peperoni” means green peppers, the vegetable, and another group says that “peperoni” is a kind of spicy sausage, both have inter-subjective views. One of those views is correct for Italians and the other, for Americans (for the most part in each case). Eventually, the speakers of the one language might adopt the usage of the other language and drope their own. Is that like what happens when a society’s view of a moral question changes?

    If someone says that it’s a fact that “peperoni” means “kind of spicy sausage” independently of what groups speakers use that phoneme (?) to do, that person is in error unless by “fact” s/he means institutional fact along the lines I found discussed by Aloysius Martinich and Avrum Stroll (legal facts are another sort of institutional fact).

    I gather you guys have been debating this stuff for years, so please forgive me if I raise questions that have been raised many times in CE.

  • Sam

    This is the best way to sum this all up.

    If you deny objective morality exists, then consider this quote by Michael Ruse..

    “What I want to argue is that there are no foundations to normative ethics. If you think that to be true a claim has to refer to some particular thing or things, my claim is that in an important sense, normative ethics is false… the claims of normative ethics are like the rules of a game. In baseball, it is true that after three strikes the batter is out; but this claim does not have any reference or correspondence in absolute reality.”

    This is the point i am trying to make. That is if you deny OM, then moral facts dont exist. Whenever you make a claim, ie, racism is wrong, pedophillia is wrong, you arent saying anything factual, as Ruse puts it…”does not have any reference or correspondence in absolute reality.

    That is why when you say “it is wrong to me”, there are 2 problems here.

    If you deny OM exists, the words right and wrong is being used naively here. If something doesnt exist in correspondence in absolute reality. So the correct terminology to be used is “preference”, “desire” etc.

    Secondly, if you still want to use right and wrong, then your beliefs are nothing more than illusory as again, it doesnt “correspondence in absolute reality”.

    So really, you need to ask yourself, whenever you make a claim, like child rape is wrong, or racism is wrong, are you

    1) Just suffering from an illusion. You think its wrong, but it cant be because moral facts dont exist, therefore illusory.

    2) Just expressing a preference/desire, which in this case the words right/wrong are being used naively.

    3) Moral facts do INDEED exist as you are tapping into realm which exists OUTSIDE your preference, desire or whatever anyone else’s else is? That is, it INDEED does correspond to reality.

    Our moral experience and intuition suggest it is 3)

    The question you then need to ask yourself, what are such facts doing existing in a naturalistic world that we can tap into? They were existing BEFORE, DURING and AFTER any human beings existing.

    Furthermore, laws and duties come from minds/intelligence.

    This only points in 1 direction. We all live and behave in a world as if OM does indeed exist. The difference is the attribution, ie, what is the foundation for these OMV’s.

    Naturalism doesnt provide a satisfactory explanation for the foundation of these OMVs.

    • This is the point i am trying to make. That is if you deny OM, then moral facts dont exist.

      How do you figure? If there is no objective morality, maybe there’s a not-objective morality. Indeed, that’s my hypothesis.

      Whenever you make a claim, ie, racism is wrong, pedophillia is wrong, you arent saying anything factual, as Ruse puts it…”does not have any reference or correspondence in absolute reality.

      What’s absolute reality? What grounds it? Show me that it’s different from ordinary reality.

      More to the point, show me that this objective morality of yours is reliably accessible by we ordinary humans. Otherwise, it’s mental masturbation. An inaccessible morality is an effectively nonexistent morality; who cares about it?

      If you deny OM exists, the words right and wrong is being used naively here.

      More precisely: if you claim OM exists, I want evidence. The burden rests on your broad shoulders.

      As for right and wrong, look them up in the dictionary, then tell me who’s being naïve here. I’m pretty sure there’s no reference to objective anything.

      And before I forget, you should probably define “objective morality,” since objective has multiple meanings.

      Secondly, if you still want to use right and wrong, then your beliefs are nothing more than illusory as again, it doesnt “correspondence in absolute reality”.

      You mean the absolute reality that you’ve given me no reason to think exits? Yeah—it doesn’t correspond to that.

      1) Just suffering from an illusion. You think its wrong, but it cant be because moral facts dont exist, therefore illusory.

      The dictionary is your friend. Use it.

      3) Moral facts do INDEED exist as you are tapping into realm which exists OUTSIDE your preference, desire or whatever anyone else’s else is?

      Tell us more. What the hell is this realm, and why should I think that it exists?

      Y’know, you can cut the Gordian knot by demonstrating this. Show us that OM exists and is reliably accessible by taking a perplexing moral issue (abortion, SSM, euthanasia) and tell us what the objectively correct approach is. Then show us that this isn’t just your opinion but is the objectively correct answer.

      The question you then need to ask yourself, what are such facts doing existing in a naturalistic world that we can tap into? They were existing BEFORE, DURING and AFTER any human beings existing.

      It’s a moral truth that abortion would be (or would not be) morally permissible before and after humans? That’s a bold claim. May I ask for evidence?

      We all live and behave in a world as if OM does indeed exist.

      Nope. I see no evidence.

      • Sam

        Bob, if you claim such absolute reality of morality doesnt exist, then why do we and everyone use language and believe that it does?

        IF OM does not exist, then morality is subjective, like taste in food, drinks, movies, sports etc etc.

        Consider the following analogy.

        If i say dark chocolate tastes better than normal chocolate, does that make it a fact that dark chocolate tastes better normal chocolate? No it doesn’t. For something to be a fact that it must pass the law of non contradiction. What if someone says normal chocolate is better than dark chocolate. Who is right/wrong? Well it should be OBVIOUS that NEITHER are right or wrong. It is logically impossible that dark chocolate ITSELF tastes better and inferior to normal chocolate at the same time.

        TO make my point clearer, you have to ask, who is right/wrong? It has to correspond to an external reality that is independent of any taste, preference, desire. Such a reality does not exist.

        And this is how we ALL live our lives. Tell me, when you see someone eating and enjoying a fruit you dislike,do you think what they are doing is wrong? Of course not. Simply because we realise that taste in food is subjective.

        Now, if morality is ALSO subjective, why do we NOT live our lives this way?

        Keep in mind the fruit example, now lets use pedophilia as an example.

        If i told you i am abuse young sexually, you will tell me i am doing something wrong.

        Notice how you use the word wrong here but you dont use it in the fruit example?

        It is pretty clear that we ALL KNOW such a REALITY exists, because we ALWAYS APPEAL to it in our daily lives.

        You keep on asking to provide evidence for this…I dont need to, you and everyone else including myself do this every day.

        It is a proper basic belief.

        • if you claim such absolute reality of morality doesnt exist, then why do we and everyone use language and believe that it does?

          Just to be precise, you are claiming absolute morality. I’m simply expressing skepticism of this remarkable claim.

          To answer your question: I certainly don’t believe that absolute morality exists (thought, again, you should probably define what you mean). I see shared morality, not an objective or absolute morality.

          If i say dark chocolate tastes better than normal chocolate

          Yes, I understand how opinions work.

          Let’s talk about morality, not chocolate. When I say that abortion and SSM and euthanasia are OK but someone else disagrees, where do we go from there? Is there a way to arbitrate and reliably resolve such disagreements, every single time? I know of no such method. Furthermore, morality changes with time. Slavery is OK in the Bible; not so today.

          Now, if morality is ALSO subjective, why do we NOT live our lives this way?

          We don’t?

          You and I disagree on moral issues, just like with tastes in chocolate.

          If i told you i am abuse young sexually, you will tell me i am doing something wrong.

          Yes, I would. It would be wrong from my standpoint. If I have any other standpoints than just the one, let me know.

          You keep on asking to provide evidence for this…I dont need to, you and everyone else including myself do this every day.

          Remember how in elementary school, when the teacher asked a student to define a word? Very often, the student would say, “Well, I know what that word means, but I can’t define it.”

          No, if you can’t define it, you don’t know what the word is. And if you can’t provide evidence for objective morality (and indeed when I destroy the concept over and over by pointing out things like: we can’t agree on moral issues + morality changes with time), then you have no reason to imagine that OM exists.

        • Sam

          No, i am not arguing for absolute morality. Rather objective morality. The bible for the most part doesnt argue for moral absolutes.

          Ok, i really really like this comment of yours and it shows we are progressing and you understand the issue here when you say

          “Let’s talk about morality, not chocolate. When I say that abortion and SSM and euthanasia are OK but someone else disagrees, where do we go from there? Is there a way to arbitrate and reliably resolve such disagreements, every single time? I know of no such method. Furthermore, morality changes with time. Slavery is OK in the Bible; not so today.”

          This is the issue..when moral claims are made, the INTENTION of the claim is that you are trying to say something factual. Do you understand this?

          If i say Aliens dont exist, my intention is i am trying to say something factual. Either Aliens do exist or they dont. Therefore i will be either right or wrong.

          If i say blondes are better looking than brunettes, i am NOT trying to say something FACTUAL, rather just expressing a preference/taste/desire. There is no right/wrong here.

          You see the difference?

          Our moral experience suggests when we make moral claims, we arent just expressing preferences/desires, but INDEED trying to make a claim to something FACTUAL.

          You mention slavery is not ok today. What are you trying to say here? Are you saying slavery is WRONG? or are you just saying its undesirable?

          If objective morality doesnt exist, then how can it be wrong? Again, dont confuse something that is undesirable with right/wrong.

          If i find the notion that aliens existing as undesirable, does that somehow make it wrong for aliens to exist?

          Of course not, that would be incoherent.

          Now you say if i abuse young girls sexually that i have done something wrong “from my standpoint”. What does that even mean?

          Consider this…suppose i sit an exam and 3 questions come up.

          Q1) What is the shape of the earth. Suppose i answer with flat. Will the examiner give me a tick or a cross? Will the examiner give me a cross because of “there own stand point”? Of course not…it has nothing at all to do with the examiners own stand point. The examiner gives me a cross because they are appealing to a fact. Something that is outside and beyond themselves. That is the ONLY reason they can give me a cross.

          Q2) Dark chocolate tastes better than normal chocolate. If i say yes, will the examiner give me a tick or a cross? I think you will realise NEITHER. Now what if your own standpoint you prefer normal chocolate, will you give me a cross? No, because the question is incoherent in the first place. There is no right/wrong.

          Q3) Pedophillia is wrong. If i say no its not. Will you give me a tick or a cross? What are you appealing to when you give me a cross? Your own standpoint? Well my standpoint is the opposite. Who is right/wrong?

          How can we BOTH be right? This violates the law of logic, namely the law of non contradiction. Something cannot be both right AND wrong.

          If you deny OM, then you cannot use right/wrong to asses moral claims, rather just express your preference.

        • epeeist

          Q3) Pedophillia is wrong. If i say no its not. Will you give me a tick or a cross? What are you appealing to when you give me a cross? Your own standpoint? Well my standpoint is the opposite. Who is right/wrong?

          So is paedophilia objectively wrong (and by “objectively” I mean independent of mind, i.e. it is wrong regardless of whether a mind exists to consider it or not). If you are, then can you say why it is objectively wrong and how you know.

        • Kevin K

          As I understand it, the ancient Greeks would disagree with the notion that pedophilia is wrong. Specifically, the practice of taking young boys to “mentor” them.

          So…again, and as ever…moral prescriptions are subjective and based on the culture in which they arise.

        • Sam

          Just like ancient people thought the earth was flat? How does that make it so that something isnt factual?

        • Joe

          It isn’t a factual claim, that’s why.

        • Sam

          ???

        • Kevin K

          Well, only certain people thought the earth was flat. The Greek philosopher Eratosthenes of Cyrene calculated the circumference of the Earth in about 190 BCE. It’s a myth that people opposed Columbus’ voyage because they thought the Earth was flat. They opposed it because they thought his MATH was wrong and the voyage would take far longer than he said it would — and it actually was. Had the new continent not gotten in the way, they would not have made it.

          But we’re not talking about “facts”, here. We’re talking about culture and notions of morality.

        • Sam

          Meaning it is wrong regardless of any mind.

          Now, in terms of Theism, it is objectively wrong not because of Gods preference, opinion or because he says so.

          His nature is the GOOD and his commands flow from that nature.

        • epeeist

          Meaning it is wrong regardless of any mind.

          Which just reiterates the definition I gave.

          Now, in terms of Theism, it is objectively wrong not because of Gods preference, opinion or because he says so.

          So what conclusions are we to draw here? That your god does not have the element of personhood that includes a mind? Because if it does have a mind then the any moral elements that stem from it are subjective and not objective.

          That it does have a mind but objective moral values do exist? In which case they cannot stem from your god, so why do we need it?

          His nature is the GOOD and his commands flow from that nature.

          And this is of course simply an unsubstantiated assertion, without backing there is no reason I should accept it.

        • Sam

          No, his nature is the good and his commands flow from his nature.

        • epeeist

          No, his nature is the good and his commands flow from his nature.

          So you said, but you haven’t substantiated your claim this time either.

        • Joe

          How do you know his nature is good?

          What are you comparing it to?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Now, in terms of Theism, it is objectively wrong not because of Gods preference, opinion or because he says so.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma

        • No, i am not arguing for absolute morality. Rather objective morality.

          You’d referred to absolute morality before.

          You might want to define “objective morality” as you mean it.

          Ok, i really really like this comment of yours and it shows we are progressing

          We are?

          If i say Aliens dont exist, my intention is i am trying to say something factual. Either Aliens do exist or they dont. Therefore i will be either right or wrong.

          I’m not sure your examples help. We should probably just stay within the domain of morality.

          If i say blondes are better looking than brunettes, i am NOT trying to say something FACTUAL, rather just expressing a preference/taste/desire. There is no right/wrong here.
          You see the difference?

          Several times, I’ve suggested that you consult the dictionary. If you’re wondering the precise definitions of right, wrong, morality, and so on, look them up. I predict that you’ll find nothing to support your claim of objective morality.

          You mention slavery is not ok today. What are you trying to say here? Are you saying slavery is WRONG? or are you just saying its undesirable?

          Slavery is both wrong (from my perspective; your mileage may vary) and undesirable (also from my perspective).

          If objective morality doesnt exist, then how can it be wrong? Again, dont confuse something that is undesirable with right/wrong.

          You’re getting tiresome. Back up your claim with a dictionary definition. Since you can’t, stop claiming objective morality is bound into the definition of right/wrong.

          Now you say if i abuse young girls sexually that i have done something wrong “from my standpoint”. What does that even mean?

          Are you new to this planet? I wouldn’t know where to begin.

          Yes, “the earth is flat” can be compared against an objective standard. You say the same is true for morality? Then give us something besides your (repeated) claim. Demonstrate this to us. Do with morality what we agree you can do with the shape of the earth.

          Q3) Pedophillia is wrong. If i say no its not. Will you give me a tick or a cross? What are you appealing to when you give me a cross? Your own standpoint? Well my standpoint is the opposite. Who is right/wrong?

          I was joking before about the “being new to this planet” crack. I’m beginning to think it’s a reality.

          Yes, people here disagree on moral issues. That means that there either is no objective morality or that there is but we humans simply can’t access it reliably. Either would explain why we can’t agree.

        • Sam

          OMVs mean moral acts that are right/wrong regardless of any humans opinion/preference or desire.

          You say it is wrong according to you, but if i say it is right according to me, then who is right/wrong?

          How can the SAME thing be right AND wrong? This is violating the laws of logic, specifically, the law of non contradiction.

          You say “Yes, people here disagree on moral issues. That means that there either is no objective morality or that there is but we humans simply can’t access it reliably. Either would explain why we can’t agree.”

          How does that even follow? People disagree wether aliens exist or not, does that mean there is no factual basis if aliens exist or not? Of course not.

          People disagree on mathematics, does that mean mathematical truths dont exist?

        • OMVs mean moral acts that are right/wrong regardless of any humans opinion/preference or desire.

          OK, that is roughly the definition I’d been using.

          You say it is wrong according to you, but if i say it is right according to me, then who is right/wrong?

          You mean, Who wins the argument? I guess the one who argues most persuasively. Or no one wins, if neither can be persuaded.

          How can the SAME thing be right AND wrong? This is violating the laws of logic, specifically, the law of non contradiction.

          This isn’t hard. You say that X is right according to you. That’s a rather important little caveat. And I might say that it’s wrong according to me.

          You say “Yes, people here disagree on moral issues. That means that there either is no objective morality or that there is but we humans simply can’t access it reliably. Either would explain why we can’t agree.”
          How does that even follow?

          Seems quite clear to me. Maybe you can explain where the problem liese.

          People disagree wether aliens exist or not, does that mean there is no factual basis if aliens exist or not? Of course not.

          Let’s stick with morality. This conversation is confused enough without tangents.

        • Sam

          Persuasively? Really? So if i persuade you that car A will last you longer than car B, even though in reality car B will actually last you longer, how does me persuading you make it factual?

          Again, it is violating the laws of logic if the same thing is right AND wrong. Its like saying the earth is BOTH flat and spherical in shape. It obviously cannot be both…can it?

          When people disagree on things, it is actually evidence they are arguing for something factual. If i like a fruit you dont like, i dont argue with you that it tastes better, i just express my preference, i dont say you are wrong for not liking it.

        • Joe

          Are you ever going to put forward any facts?

        • So if i persuade you that car A will last you longer than car B, even though in reality car B will actually last you longer, how does me persuading you make it factual?

          It doesn’t.

          But hold on. You have a reliable way to determine facts? With 100% accuracy? Do tell.

          Again, it is violating the laws of logic if the same thing is right AND wrong.

          Again, “X is morally right” is a moral opinion. This will be hard for you to process, but people disagree on moral opinions.

          When people disagree on things, it is actually evidence they are arguing for something factual.

          And is it a fact that X is morally correct (or incorrect)? Show me. Take abortion, for example, and show me the objectively correct answer. And be sure to show us how this isn’t just your opinion but that this is an objectively correct statement.

          You’re confusing the domain of opinions with the domain of facts.

        • Philmonomer

          No, i am not arguing for absolute morality. Rather objective morality.

          Lately, I’ve been comparing our concepts of “good” and “bad” to our concepts of “tall” and “short.” They seem similar to me. (If they seem dis-similar to you in some meaningful way, I’d be curious to hear it.)

          Is there objective tallness?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is there objective tallness?

          6 ft is not “absolutely” tall – there is no “absolutely” to a scalar (baring material/space-time considerations).

          6 ft is, however, “objectively” taller than 4 ft tall.

          That’s how I think about “objective” morality – there is no “absolute” standard, but there are “objectively” worse ways to act.

        • Sam

          But the word “worse” is not a fact if OMVs dont exist. Just an expression of preference/desire.

        • MR

          Do you learn nothing? Quit with the false dichotomy already.

        • Sam

          Why? How can something be worse if there is no objective standard to compare it against?
          If the concept of a straight line does not exist, then what do you know what a crooked line looks like?

        • MR

          That’s not my point, but you don’t need an objective standard to determine better or worse. Does some action result in more or less harm or benefit than another action? I don’t need an objective standard to determine that. I don’t have to have the concept of an incorruptible body to know that cutting myself is worse than not cutting myself.

          My point, however, is that you keep going back to preference/desire being the only other option to objective morality. People have talked about social evolution, empathy, shared morality, you yourself brought up group dynamics…. Morality is not your false dichotomy of objective morality or preference/desire. At what point do you let go of that red herring? Is it cognitive dissonance or are you intentionally being dishonest?

        • Sam

          Yes you do, if not then what are you comparing it against? If it causes more harm then why is that worse? What if i said if it causes more harm then its not worse, but better?
          Who is right or wrong?

          Yes, evolution etc does NOT make it objective. You keep on trying to ground morality, but there is no grounding.

        • MR

          No, I don’t. You seem to [need an objective standard]. It’s not worse objectively, only subjectively. Actions have consequences. Animals want to survive, to minimize pain, hardship, and (subjectively) try to avoid consequences that go against those things. Does the beetle care if a cat kills a squirrel? It just is. When a lion forces sexual intercourse on another lion do we call it rape? It just is. When a cuckoo knocks a birds eggs from a nest and calls substitutes its own, do we get upset? That’s its very nature. A raven a trinket, do we cry theft? We only care, we only invoke morality, when it has to do with humans.

          No, I’m not trying to ground morality. You are. Don’t project your preference/desire on me.

        • Sam

          Ok good…NOW, under naturalism, WE ARE ALL JUST ANIMALS.
          As you say, when a lion forces itself on another lion, we dont call it rape therefor it is not doing anything wrong.
          However, if i forced myself on a woman, why is that called rape? Ie, why is that wrong?
          If we are all just animals, then what makes humans anymore special than any other animals? That is, where did this obligation come from that i ought not rape? Such obligations donst exist for lions, but for me?
          Please explain to me under naturalistic world.

        • MR

          However, if i forced myself on a woman, why is that called rape? Ie, why is that wrong?

          I’ve already told you a million times. Now you tell me why I think it’s wrong. Not why under naturalism, not why under the naturalistic world, but why I, MR, have told you why I think it’s wrong. For once listen to what *I* have to say instead of your goddamn, lying apologetics.

        • Sam

          Under naturalism, i dont see HOW it can be wrong. Sure it can be UNDESIRABLE, but not wrong.
          Under Theism, or why it is wrong under world view is because such acts go against Gods commands which therefore go against his nature which makes it wrong. That is, it is objective. Such acts are wrong regardless of what anyone thinks about them or doesnt believe in them.

        • MR

          Sure it can be UNDESIRABLE, but not wrong.

          And we simply use the term ‘wrong’ as a shortcut for undesirable. I don’t see it as objectively wrong. Undesirable and other words are more precise, I agree.

          Under theism…., that is what you believe. I see no evidence for that.

        • Sam

          No, that is USING the word NAIVELY. Right/wrong are not interchangable with desirable/undesirable.

        • MR

          I agree they are not interchangeable. Right/wrong stand for a lot of things just like good/bad. They don’t mean anything in themselves. They could mean benefit/harm, pleasant/unpleasant and any number of things. They are just labels to describe our judgement of intentions, actions and consequences.

        • Sam

          Good/bad are VALUE judgements. Right/wrong pertain to facts.

        • MR

          Right and wrong also pertain to value judgments.

        • Joe

          NOW, under naturalism, WE ARE ALL JUST ANIMALS.

          Under biology, actually, which is true on naturalism or dualism.

          As you say, when a lion forces itself on another lion, we dont call it rape therefor it is not doing anything wrong.

          Quite right.

          However, if i forced myself on a woman, why is that called rape? Ie, why is that wrong?

          You’ve already given the answer above. I’ve highlighted it for you.

          If we are all just animals, then what makes humans anymore special than any other animals?

          Nothing.

          That is, where did this obligation come from that i ought not rape? Such obligations donst exist for lions, but for me?

          Because some animals are different. We are not lions, though we are both animals.

          Please let me know if you have difficulty comprehending anything I have just said. I will try and explain it in more detail

        • Joe

          Do you believe measurements exist?

        • Paul B. Lot

          But the word “worse” is not a fact if OMVs dont exist.

          No. The word “worse” won’t be “a fact” no matter if OMVs exist or not. It’ll still be a “word”.

          When used in a phrase such as “x is worse than y”, the word “worse” is now being used to express a fact – but it is the phrase which purports to accurately describe reality, and is therefore expressing “a fact”, not the word “worse” on its own.

          if OMVs dont exist. Just an expression of preference/desire

          No. Why not, you ask? Well, let’s hop back to the first part of my post.

          Is there such a thing as “absolute tallness”? No.
          Does [the absence of absolute tallness] mean that the phrase “someone who is 6 ft tall is taller than someone who is 4 ft tall” is no longer a matter of “fact”, but instead is a matter of “preference/desire”?

          No, of course not.

          I doesn’t matter one bit whether or not you want a person who is 4ft tall to be “taller” than someone who is 6ft tall – they simply are not, by the definition of “taller”.

        • epeeist

          I came across a nice analogy the other day.

          Think of objects as pegs in a pegboard. Properties are indicated by rubber bands around the pegs. Relationships are represented by rubber bands stretched between pegs.

          “Tall” and “Taller” are not facts about objects, they are facts about relationships.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Thank you, that’s a good way for me to attempt to visualize it.

          Indeed, the view of “objective morality” I hold seems to me to lend itself very well to visual/spatial/geometric analogies: the angles and distances between relative, rather than fixed, points.

          I wish the philosophical jargon (at least at the lay-enthusiast level which I occupy) weren’t so easily muddled between “absolute” and “objective”. :-/

        • Sam

          No there isnt.

        • Joe

          So why do we use language like it is an objective fact: LeBron James is tall.

          Is he short?

        • Sam

          It is an expression of opinion. Not an intention of fact.

          If you discuss this with someone who is 7 foot, will he agree that LBJ is factually tall? No, he will say he is not tall.

          The ONLY fact you talk about height is when you compare it. Ie, LBJ is taller than Chris Paul. That is an objective fact.

          But to say LBJ is tall is not an objective fact.

        • Joe

          If you discuss morality with a member of ISIS, will they agree on moral issues?

        • Sam

          Thats like saying if you discuss the shape of the earth with a flat earther, will they agree with you on the shape of the earth?

        • Joe

          You avoided answering my question.

          Do you have the same moral views as ISIS?

        • Sam

          No we dont…but how is that an argument? You are talking about epistemology…my argument is about ontology.

        • Joe

          You’re positing an ontological fact that is not in evidence.

        • Sam

          Is throwing homosexuals off building blind folded objectively wrong? I f not, then it is incoherent to condemn them.

        • Joe

          Is it objectively wrong?

          We’re talking ontology, remember. You were quite specific about that.

        • Sam

          Yes, is your INTENTION that you are trying to say something factual?

        • Joe

          Yes. Differences in moral judgements exist.

          You’re proposing an underlying true moral, without demonstrating such a thing to exist.

        • Sam

          Ok, so if they dont exist then raping a child for fun is not wrong. Is that you believe?

        • Joe

          Why does my belief matter?

          I think we’ve been here before. Does belief change a moral fact?

        • Sam

          If you say child rape for fun is wrong, are you INTENDING to say something that is FACT OR are you just expressing a personal preference/desire?

        • Joe

          The latter.

        • Sam

          Ok, so raping a child for fun is not wrong? remember, you said it is not factual.
          If you are just expressing a preference, then your preference is just as valid and equal to the pedophile whose preference is raping.

        • MR

          Ok, so raping a child for fun is not wrong?

          Objectively or subjectively?

        • Kodie

          Can you answer an actual question I have? If you think raping a child for fun is wrong is an example of objective morality, then how does the belief that god allows or causes suffering in individuals for a good reason go along with it being wrong? Causing as much suffering as we all can should be good, but it’s bad, but when god does it, it’s really good, and cannot be bad, because who are we to say a morality grounded in a confusing, confused character can be good or bad according to ourselves? I mean, none of this shit squares with any other of this shit. You picked your niche, but you cannot cover all the bases at once.

          What it really sounds like is you’re trying to elevate human subjective opinions to “worldview”, like whatever way you think the world works is how it actually works as long as you believe it does. That’s not objective, that’s as fucking subjective as it comes.

        • MR

          Objectively or subjectively?

        • Philmonomer

          This is nonsense. It doesn’t have to be “objectively” wrong. to condemn it.

          Under your logic, I hope you don’t condemn all kinds of Slavery as morally wrong. Because, if you do, on what basis? How do you know it is “objectively” wrong?

        • Sam

          Sorry he will agree that he is NOT factually tall.

        • Joe

          So LeBron James is short?

        • Sam

          His height is RELATIVE. he is tall to me but short compared to Yao Ming. he cant be BOTH objectively tall and short. This would violate the laws of logic, namely the law of non contradiction.

        • Joe

          You said he’s tall and short, then you say he isn’t.

          That’s not logical my friend.

        • Sam

          NOOO, my comment is in regards to an opinion…It is not intended to be FACT.

          Height is relative, i said that. Didnt you read that?

        • Joe

          So a person’s height varies?

        • Sam

          No. if i look at Lebron i will say he is tall in the same way when i look at Margo Robbie, i say she is beautiful. Just expressions of opinion. I am not trying to say something factual.

        • Joe

          So you’re lying?

        • Sam

          How?

        • Joe

          You’re saying something that is not factual.

        • Sam

          Correct, i am just expressing an opinion expressing my view point. Not something factual.
          Is it a FACT that LBJ is tall? No. Is it a FACT that LBJ is taller than me? Yes.

        • Joe

          Is it a fact that things are moral?

          No.

          Do I think things are moral or immoral?

          Yes.

        • Sam

          Ok if you deny moral facts, then your own opinion essentially means nothing.
          You denying moral facts existing then make moral claims like rape is wrong is just as valid as me saying i am the best looking man that ever existed.

          Both statements are not grounded in reality, they are just personal preferences, opinions and desires.

        • Joe

          Yes.

        • Sam

          Ok cool. So according to you when ISIS are throwing homosexuals off buildings, they arent doing anything wrong. When a catholic priest raped a young boy, he didnt actually do anything wrong. You just find those acts undesirable, but not wrong. Just like i find olives undesirable, but not wrong. Is this correct?

        • Joe

          For the 1000th time, where did I say they weren’t doing anything wrong?

        • Sam

          When you said moral facts dont exist. If moral facts dont exist then how can something be right or wrong?

          Ok…i am out…gotta go..talk later.

        • Joe

          But we’re talking about opinions. Do opinions not exist?

        • epeeist

          If moral facts dont exist then how can something be right or wrong?

          How about because there is intersubjective agreement as to what constitutes right and wrong?

        • Sam

          That doesnt make something factual though. That is, it has no reference to reality. Its no more valid than a group of guys getting together and agreeing that they are super heroes.

        • epeeist

          That doesnt make something factual though.

          I didn’t say it did.

          That is, it has no reference to reality.

          It doesn’t? So if there is intersubjective agreement that, say, paedophilia is wrong then this has nothing to do with reality?

          Its no more valid than a group of guys getting together and agreeing that they are super heroes.

          How does this impact wider society? How does the intersubjective agreement that paedophilia is wrong impact wider society?

        • Michael Neville

          Give an example of a “moral fact” and explain IN DETAIL why it’s a fact instead of an opinion.

        • epeeist

          Been there, done that. I asked him why paedophilia was an objective moral fact and how he knew this.

          Predictably the answer boiled down to “because god”.

        • Philmonomer

          How can anyone be tall or short?

        • MR

          how can something be right or wrong?

          Objectively or subjectively?

        • MR

          they arent doing anything wrong.

          Objectively or subjectively?

          he didnt actually do anything wrong.

          Objectively or subjectively?

          You just find those acts undesirable, but not wrong.

          Objectively or subjectively?

          Just like i find olives undesirable, but not wrong.

          Do olives cause harm?

        • Sam

          So, if you walk in your partner having sex with another person, they arent actually doing anything wrong…is this correct? I mean, you may find it undesirable, but not wrong…Correct?

        • Joe

          Correct.

          I don’t own my partner. Some couples actually permit this kind of thing.

        • MR

          Sounds subjective.

        • Joe

          It was a terrible example.

          If my wife cheats on me, she’s only violating a promise to me. We set our own boundaries. She’s not doing anything objectively wrong, it’s totally an inter-subjective agreement, which undermines the case being made by our friend Sam.

        • MR

          He plays the equivocation game. He wants to meld objective and subjective. When you call him on it, he reboots. His subjective dishonesty belies his objective argument.

        • MR

          Objectively or subjectively?

        • Philmonomer

          Ok if you deny moral facts, then your own opinion essentially means nothing.

          You denying moral facts existing then make moral claims like rape is wrong is just as valid as me saying i am the best looking man that ever
          existed.

          Both statements are not grounded in reality, they are just personal preferences, opinions and desires.

          You denying facts about tallness is just as valid as me saying that a person who is 6 foot 6 inches is short. It is just a personal, opinion, desire or preference. You are saying that no one is right or wrong.

          HOWEVER NO ONE THINKS OR ACTS THIS WAY.

        • MR

          Back to your dog vomit false dichotomy.

        • Philmonomer

          Is it a FACT that [someone who is 6 foot 6 inches] tall? No.

          The entire world would disagree with you. The entire world believes that to be a fact. This is just like moral “facts.” Where the entire world agrees on something. That doesn’t mean it is “objectively” true.

          Moreover, this fits in with our understanding of morality as we see it across time and space. Morality changes, as people change (just like our concept of “tallness” changes.)

        • Joe

          I guess there’s no such thing as the worlds tallest man, in the eyes of Sam?

        • Joe

          This guy must not exist, according to you?

          http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/tallest-man-ever

        • Philmonomer

          I am not trying to say something factual.

          Of course you are. Or, if you aren’t (in your own mind–and I don’t believe you), then I am.

          If someone says Lebron James is not tall, and you say he is tall. No one is right or wrong? You just have to accept it as one person’s opinion versus another? This is nonsense. Your comments are now in full on denial mode, as you are denying reality.

        • Sam

          If i want to say something factual in regards to height then i will say LBJ is taller than me. LBJ is shorter than Yao Ming.

        • Joe

          So, you see how you can make an objective claim from an arbitrary starting point?

        • Philmonomer

          Great, I agree. But when I say “That person is tall,” I am both 1) saying something meaningful and 2) saying something that is true.

          Just because there isn’t “objective” tallness doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about tallness. Or that tallness is like preferences in ice cream flavor.

        • Philmonomer

          This is the issue..when moral claims are made, the INTENTION of the claim is that you are trying to say something factual. Do you understand this?

          If i say Aliens dont exist, my intention is i am trying to say something factual. Either Aliens do exist or they dont. Therefore i will be either right or wrong.

          If i say blondes are better lookingthan brunettes, i am NOT trying to say something FACTUAL, rather just expressing a preference/taste/desire. There is no right/wrong here.

          If I say “That man over there is tall.” I am stating a factual claim, too.

          Our moral experience suggests when we make moral claims, we arent just expressing preferences/desires, but INDEED trying to make a claim
          to something FACTUAL.

          You mention slavery is not ok today. What are you trying to say here? Are you saying slavery is WRONG? or are you just saying its undesirable?

          When I say “That man over there is tall,” am i simply asserting my preference, or am I trying to state a fact?

          If objective morality doesnt exist, then how can it be wrong? Again, dont confuse something that is undesirable with right/wrong.

          If objective tallness doesn’t exist, then how can he be tall? Don’t confuse something that you merely find to be tall (undesirable) with short/tall.

        • Sam

          If I say “That man over there is tall.” I am stating a factual claim, too.”

          No you arent…because this claim has no ontological basis. That is, if i say that same man is not tall, then who is right or wrong?

          If i say that man is tall, i am merely expressing my own opinion. That is, there is no intention for it to be factual.

        • Philmonomer

          Say the man is six foot six. I say he is tall. I am stating a fact. You say he isn’t tall.

          I am right and you are wrong.

        • Joe

          I would also agree that a 6’6″ man was tall. Very tall.

          So that makes it two to one against our friend here.

        • epeeist

          No you arent…because this claim has no ontological basis.

          Actually it does, it has what is called “restricted ontology”.

        • MR

          Hi, Sam,

          I agree with you that it’s incorrect to characterize morality as solely an individual’s subjective taste. That is not how morality tends to work, though certainly our capacity to reason allows us to put a layer of individualism on our morality. Principally morality is a result of complex social interactions between humans, yet it doesn’t require objective morality to exist. You’ve heard of the social contract?

          Morality tends to play itself out in how we interact with others. That can be one on one: If you want to be my friend, I expect you to behave in a certain way; and in groups: If you want to live in this town, we expect you to behave a certain way. And there are many levels that this plays out: friendships, families, clubs, religious groups, political groups, cities, states, countries…. Individuals and groups can and do differ in their morals. Some families think the actions of another family morally wrong, while the other family may think nothing of, say, for example, swearing in front of their children. Some churches find other churches morally wrong in certain beliefs. Some countries think of Americans as immoral.

          But, there is one group that we all belong to, and that is homo sapiens. Is it so surprising, therefore, that we all agree on certain moral behaviors since we are all humans? What society would last very long if everyone went around killing each other? I don’t need objective morality to explain why certain behaviors are taboo. Human beings are equipped with empathy for other human beings. It’s not objective, it’s subjective… to humans. The universe doesn’t care if we kill each other, but we do. You don’t need objective morality to explain that.

        • Sam

          This comment here is key ‘”our capacity to reason allows us to put a layer of individualism on our morality”. Such a claim presupposes that such moral facts exist and humans have the capacity to identify them.

          The social contract is merely a man made invention which still doesn’t solve the problem as it doesnt correspond to an external reality.

          Its no different to a group of people getting together and “pretending” that they are super heroes. However this doesnt correspond to reality That is, they arent factually superheroes, just in there heads they are. If you dont admit objective morality exists, then morality is the same thing. That is, just as a group of people agree that they are super heroes, a group of people can agree that rape is wrong, pedophillia is wrong etc etc and they will live accordingly. However, this has no basis in reality.

          Ultimately, its just a game of “make believe”.

          It then becomes silly to condemn others who dont essentially “play your game” that is, dont have the moral principles.

          You say “What society would last very long if everyone went around killing each other? I don’t need objective morality to explain why certain behaviors are taboo. ”

          Well, so what if the humans species gets wiped out. If objective morality doesnt exist, or if naturalism is true, has something wrong happened? Of course not. It may be undesirable, but certainly not wrong

          This is what i am trying to get atheists to understand. They claim objective morality doesnt exist, however, they live there lives as if it most certainly does.

        • MR

          “our capacity to reason allows us to put a layer of individualism on our morality”. Such a claim presupposes that such moral facts exist and humans have the capacity to identify them.

          In your mind perhaps, that you think it presupposes moral facts exist doesn’t mean I do. Morality is simply a label that we apply to the complex interplay of intent, action and consequence, and our judgment of them. “Moral facts” don’t exist. You seem to confuse morality as a res ipsa, a thing in itself.

          The social contract is merely a man made invention which still doesn’t solve the problem as it doesnt correspond to an external reality.

          Invention? Not really. It’s not something that we all sign. Nor is it a res ipsa. Together we benefit from certain social behaviors just as other animals do. I don’t know what “the problem” is that you’re referring to here, but I see that social behavior solves several problems. If you want it to solve all problems, well, I never promised you a rose garden. As a human you tend to get more benefit from being a social creature than if you had to fend for yourself in this world. Certain behaviors have certain consequences and are either more or less desirable in a social environment. I think that corresponds pretty well to external reality.

          Its no different to a group of people getting together and “pretending” that they are super heroes.

          No idea what your point is. We seem to be talking about two different things.

          That is, just as a group of people agree that….

          And you’ve gone back to your false dichotomy. There’s a whole world of thinking on morality that moves far beyond this. Until you educate yourself more on this, you’ll be stuck returning to the same old dog vomit.

          Ultimately, its just a game of “make believe”.

          If social behaviors improve or worsen the human lot, then it’s more than just make believe.

          It then becomes silly to condemn others who dont essentially “play your game” that is, dont have the moral principles.

          If others don’t adhere to social norms, it can disrupt the benefits that we get as a society. There are real consequences. It’s only silly to condemn them from an objective perspective. You’re the one purporting an objective perspective, and I agree that it is silly. From a subjective perspective, on the level of we as human beings, it is not so silly.

          Well, so what if the humans species gets wiped out. If objective morality doesnt exist, or if naturalism is true has something wrong happened?

          Personally, I find the argument from -isms, silly. Naturalism isn’t a thing that exists. It is not a res ipsa. Nature exists, that is matter, energy, animals, plants, humans exist. Actions “exist” and have consequences. If the human species gets wiped out, so what? You’re right: so what…? Objectively, so what? Does the universe care? Do you care that the some species that you never heard of is now extinct? The human species didn’t exist before, if it ceased to exist in the future, what objective difference does it make?

          Now, subjectively, as human beings, we care. We want, as individuals, and because we are social beings, collectively as humans, subjective to humans, to live as long as we can. That’s self evident. But you have yet to show me that there is some objective aspect to this. I don’t need objective morals to explain what I see in this world. I see no evidence for objective morals. You imagine you do, and you continually present a false dichotomy for an argument which makes you appear either disingenuous or dense. I’ll be more generous and say it’s the cognitive dissonance speaking, but until you acknowledge that there are other perspectives to this, you’ll keep chasing your own tail.

        • Sam

          This is the ultimate problem when discussing morality with atheists that deny moral realism/objective morality.

          Actions that benefit society, human flourishing.

          How is it a FACT that humans ought to flourish or any creatures ought to flourish?

          Sure humans can get together and AGREE to this, but if you deny OM this has no basis or reference to reality.

          Cast your minds back to the first humans, however how many there were.

          Lets suppose for the sake of the argument there 100.

          50 (group A) decide that they want to act in ways that promote peace, harmony and the flourishing of the human species.

          The other 50 (Group B) want to maximise pain and sufferring on the first 50 (Group A) and once they have killed them, they will kill themselves meaning that they completely eliminate the human species.

          Have group B done anything wrong? Under naturalism, absolutely not.

          If no humans even existed, or humans suffer and get eliminated, it is indifferent, not right, not wrong, it just is.

        • MR

          It’s not that I deny it. There is simply no evidence for it. If anyone had evidence, we’d know about it by now.

          How is it a FACT that humans ought to flourish….

          Who said it was? How is any ‘ought’ a fact? Oughts aren’t facts.

          Sure humans can get together and AGREE….

          Well, agreeing is only part of the story, and not the interesting part as far as I’m concerned, but bypassing that and getting to your point:

          Have group B done anything wrong?

          Objectively, no.

          Subjectively, Group A thinks so. As with every other moral instance I can think of, morality is subjective.

          If no humans even existed, or humans suffer and get eliminated, it is indifferent, not right, not wrong, it just is.

          Yes, much like the way we tend to regard wild animals and plants and insects and people that we never knew or knew existed. Perhaps you don’t like that. Maybe you want everything to have meaning and you need to feel so important that you need to live forever, but, hey, that’s just the way it is. When you’re a mature adult, you can accept things like that.

        • Sam

          If there is no evidence for it, then why do we talk in our every day lives with the INTENT that it does indeed exist? Are we all merely delusional, theists and atheists alike?

          When you see ISIS throwing homosexuals off building blind folded why do you deem there actions as wrong?

          Why dont you deem someone eating a piece of fruit that you dislike as being wrong?

        • Joe

          When you see ISIS throwing homosexuals off building blind folded why do you deem there actions as wrong?

          Why do ISIS throw homosexuals from buildings?

        • MR

          then why do we talk in our every day lives with the INTENT that it does indeed exist

          Intent? Eh? I don’t even know what you’re trying to say. I don’t talk with the intent that it exists. I think you mean something different. I think where the confusion lies is that we muggles have a habit of reifying things. We talk about love as if it exists in and of itself, but really it’s just a label for emotions and actions, etc. The term morality is similar. In that sense, yes, I do think we delude ourselves to a degree.

          As far as ISIS, why do they deem their actions right? Subjective morality, maybe? Why does they Bible condemn it, but some Christians don’t? Subjective morality, maybe?

          As far as the fruit, for one thing my behavior toward fruit doesn’t have the same consequences as my behavior toward other humans. Fruit doesn’t love me or punch me back. I don’t empathize with fruit, but I do empathize with other humans. This is why we humans have a shared (but not objective) morality. How many times does this have to be explained before you understand that?

          In fact, I wonder if you do understand my point of view at all. I’ve stated and restated my views on morality, but you always go back to your strawman. Do you think you could state my view back to me without any of your apologists’ spin on it? Do you think you could honestly, and I mean honestly, repeat what I honestly believe on the subject without tainting it with distortions? I’ll try to do that for what I think you believe, though I may have to infer some of it, so correct me if I’m wrong:

          I think that you believe that morality is objective, that is, that it is unchanging and exists whether humans were here or not. I think you believe it comes from God. How you perceive it exactly, I’m not entirely sure whether you believe it is a thing in itself or if it’s just that God says ‘x’ and it’s like a rule book. Maybe you can clarify that for me.

          Now, I’ve written ample on what I think morality is, I wonder if you can tell me what I, MR, think it is, and not what your apologetic websites say that I think it is. At least try for once to address my beliefs for what *I* believe, not the strawman version in your head.

          Summarize my beliefs on morality:

        • Sam

          You seem to be focusing on EPISTEMOLOGY, rather the argument here is FOR ONTOLOGY.

          Disagreeing on matters does NOT make something subjective, rather OBJECTIVE because we are trying to argue for an intention to facts.

          If i say blondes are better looking than brunettes, but you say brunettes are better looking than blondes, i will not argue with you. Why not? Because there is no right/wrong grounded outside us.

          Yet we argue all the time regarding moral acts. This is because we realize objective moral facts exist.

        • MR

          No, you’re argument is for ontology. I say bullshit. And you can’t seem to demonstrate that objective morality actually exists.

          Yet we argue all the time regarding moral acts. This is because we realize objective moral facts exist.

          I don’t know what you mean by we, Kemosabe, because I realize no such thing. That you like blondes has no consequences for me, so no judgement from me, unless you sleep with my wife. If you sleep with my wife, that has consequences and I’m likely to have a moral opinion about that. You’re trying to compare apples and oranges.

          No, we don’t realize moral facts exist. You believe they do.

          [edits for missing bracket and missing ‘no’]

        • Sam

          And why does if something has a consequence on someone should make it matter under naturalism?

        • MR

          Who cares about naturalism? What is your obsession with -isms? Just ask why does it matter.

          Now I’ve told you a million times. You tell me what I’ve told you:

          Why does it matter objectively?
          Why does it matter subjectively?

          [edit: Remember, tell me what *I’ve* told you. Don’t embellish with apologetics. Just tell me what I’ve told you I believe.]

        • Sam

          Because under different world views naturally comes different consequences.

          Why does it matter? Well, it doesnt matter, if OMVs exist, then moral acts are either right or wrong.

          If OMVs do not exist, then moral acts are NEITHER right or wrong. They just are.

        • MR

          Just can’t do it, can you? Please, how would *I* respond to these two questions. I don’t ask you to agree, I just want to know that you are even capable of understanding what I believe. Answer the questions as if you were me:

          Why does it matter objectively?
          Why does it matter subjectively?

        • Sam

          It ONLY matters in regards to the afterlife.

        • MR

          OMG. You can’t do it, can you! Well, that’s one of my theories! Ha!

          And, yes, you hit the nail on the head and demonstrated my favorite theory, though it usually comes up in a slightly different context.

          Anyway, since you can’t tell me what I think, I’m done for the night. You’ve illustrated quite nicely for me two of my theories.

          If you care to take another stab at the above, I’ll follow up in the morning.

        • Kodie

          I guess we’ll see you again at the end of the month as though this conversation never happened. You should see a doctor, that’s not normal.

        • BlackMamba44

          Holy shit, do have anything original?

          From 20 days ago:
          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/explanation_for_objective_morality_another_fail_26/#comment-3232628111

          Ok, so if morality is not objective, then why condemn them that what they are doing is wrong? Doesnt make sense.
          If OMvs dont exist, then condemning ISIS, Nazis for doing something wrong is like you condemning me for eating a fruit that you dislike…Doesnt make sense.

        • BlackMamba44

          This is something you said back when you were Woo AND when you were Murph and you said it AGAIN here, as Sam (I think there was also a Doug?):

          However, if you deny God exists the there is no such thing as right or wrong morally. Just preferences/desires.

          Greg G. had it right 24 days ago.

          You don’t have much of a life, do you?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d28527ed24f3292451cad1f28e55d14648071dce9bc2796263cff0d923a41dea.jpg

        • MR

          Sigh, more deceit from a so-called Christian. They never live up to their name, do they?

        • BlackMamba44

          No, they don’t. Such a sad way to go through life.

        • Kodie

          Another motherfucking reset? Do you think you’re up for an actual debate, or are you just a child with some free time and a spam attack every 10 days?

        • adam
        • Sam

          2 things here.

          You dont need religion to tell us what is right and wrong. This is correct. The bible actually says this.

          However, if you deny God exists the there is no such thing as right or wrong morally. Just preferences/desires.

        • Joe

          However, if you deny God exists the there is no such thing as right or wrong morally.

          That’s not necessarily true even if objective morality exists.

        • Sam

          How does objective morality exist if God doesnt exist? Where is it grounded?

        • Joe

          Platonism, for one very obvious example.

        • Sam

          Please explain including your resolution for the intelligable problem for moral platonism under naturalism.

        • Joe

          What intelligible problem?

          I think that Platonism is supernatural in nature. Correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Sam

          Yes, but moral values and duties are intelligable, ie, code. What are such codes/instructions/duties doing existing a godless world?

        • Joe

          They are reflections of a platonic form.

        • Sam

          What is it doing existing in a material world?

        • Joe

          It doesn’t. The objects exist in a platonic world. The natural world is just an imperfect copy.

        • You have yet to show us objective morality. Give us an example: tell us what the objectively correct resolution to abortion or same-sex marriage is, and tell us why your answer is objectively true.

        • Sam

          This is good.

          So there are 2 levels here.

          First i am presupposing scripture is true. If i presuppose this, then i have a GROUNDING that SSM and abortion are wrong, not because i say so, or not because of my opinion or any other humans opinion.

          It goes against Gods NATURE, which is the good. His commands necessarily flow from his nature.

          That is, such values FIXTURES of the universe. They existed BEFORE any humans existed and will continue to exist if humans cease to exist or if any humans believe them to be true.

          So how can we know God exists?

          Lets go for a stronger example. This is why i use child rape.

          When you say child rape is wrong, it is an intention of ours that what we are saying is factual. That is it is wrong regardless of what anyone says. But where are we getting this from? Well, we appear to be appealing to some realm that exist. What is such a realm doing existing in a godless world?
          If you deny such a realm exists, then really all you can say is that child rape as being wrong is just an illusion. It has no reference to reality. That is, it is just a preference, or undesirable.

        • Joe

          Would it kill you to be consistent for just a moment?

        • Sam

          ??

        • Joe

          You say scripture is not a key to moral truth, then you appeal to scripture in your answer to Bob.

          What is it to be?

          We can’t point out your contradictions all day. Especially as you refuse to acknowledge them.

        • Sam

          Where did i say that? Can you show me the quote?

        • Joe

          So you’re saying scripture is a key to moral truth?

        • Sam

          Yes.

        • Joe

          Which one?

        • Sam

          All are moral truths. However, only Jesus’ teachings are BINDING to us today. Some of Jesus’ teachings overlap with OT teachings but certainly not all.

        • Joe

          So Jesus is not the old Testament God?

          Why is Jesus moral?

        • epeeist

          So Jesus is not the old Testament God?

          Given that Jesus is some kind of mereological fusion then why is there a contradiction between the commandments of the OT god and the commandments of Jesus?

          What does it say about the purported omniscience of this putative god or the existence of objective morality?

        • First i am presupposing scripture is true.

          Oh, dear. Sounds like we’ll be talking past each other then.

          If i presuppose this, then i have a GROUNDING that SSM and abortion are wrong, not because i say so, or not because of my opinion or any other humans opinion.
          It goes against Gods NATURE, which is the good.

          Complete bullshit. Have you thought this through? With 45,000 denominations of Christianity, many accept both SSM and abortion. You guys can’t get a straight answer out of your holy book, so don’t insult me by saying that you have grounding for anything.

          And even if you were all of one opinion on these moral issues, “My holy book says so!! :-)” means nothing.

          Lets go for a stronger example. This is why i use child rape.

          The reason you use child rape is that you get to confuse yourself between objective moral truth and strongly felt moral opinion.

          When you say child rape is wrong, it is an intention of ours that what we are saying is factual. That is it is wrong regardless of what anyone says.

          You’re welcome to feel that way. I feel that way myself. But it’s just an opinion.

          But where are we getting this from? Well, we appear to be appealing to some realm that exist.

          Right. We’re consulting our moral programming. Since we’re all the same species, we have similar moral opinions.

          If you deny such a realm exists, then really all you can say is that child rape as being wrong is just an illusion. It has no reference to reality. That is, it is just a preference, or undesirable.

          Right.

        • MR

          We’re consulting our moral programming.

          I’m not convinced that we do that much consulting. I don’t think you guys play up the moral programming enough. This is stuff that is part of our nature, part of our DNA. I don’t see that the majority of our morality is based on opinions and preferences. Implying that it is, is the wrong way to go, I think. It seems to me that morality principally happens at the unconscious level. It’s when we have disagreements or conflicts, or are in navel-gazing mode, that we bring it to the conscious level where we truly examine what we feel. Most moral reactions are visceral.

          The problem is, theists interpret that visceral feeling as objective morality when it’s really simply moral programming. It’s part of our nature to have empathy, it’s part of our nature to be social. It’s part of our DNA, not simply, “I choose to have empathy; I choose to be social.” Yes, we have a layer of choice, opinion and preference, but that’s not what we generally do, and I think it’s misleading to suggest it is.

          My cat wants someone to stand guard while she eats. She’s never been in a situation where she’s had to worry about predators. She doesn’t consciously think, “I need someone to stand guard while I eat,” it’s just part of her nature. The same with us. If a child were murdered in front of us, we don’t actively think, “It’s my opinion, preference that this is wrong.” We recoil in horror at a visceral level because we evolved that way, just like my cat evolved to feel vulnerable at feeding time.

          For a time after I stopped believing I fell for the Christian rhetoric of “If nothing is wrong, I can do whatever I want.” But, like Penn and Teller (or whichever one of them it is that speaks), I found that I didn’t want to do certain things. I didn’t want to steal and rape and kill. I did want to be kind and hold the door open for the next guy. Why? Because it’s part of my nature, not because I’ve analyzed it.

          In fact, in that early time as I adjusted to not believing, I wrote a manifesto and used that language (which I got from the Stoics). Without God, how did I account for those moral impulses? I wrote things like “I believe I should be kind to people because it is part of my nature. To go against my nature is to do harm to myself and to others.” At that stage, I was using my reasoning, my opinion, my preferences, but only to interpret that visceral programming that we get from social evolution.

          We are moral because we evolved as a social species, we evolved empathy, working together solves more problems than it causes and benefited our species. Those things are programmed in us as a result. Opinion and preference are the rationalization of those evolutionary qualities. It makes me cringe when you allow them to imply that morals are principally choice, opinion and preference. It doesn’t ring true and sets off their cognitive dissonance. But, there are other underlying reasons that aren’t God.

        • Yes, nicely stated. I would simply add that our programming doesn’t drive 100% of what we call “morality.” Different cultures have the same ideas in some areas (the Golden Rule is pretty much universal), but there are differences.

          Honor is a good example–is it dishonorable to let our dead soldiers lie out there on the battlefield, or is it stupid to risk more lives going out there to fetch them? If you insult me, must I challenge you to a duel to defend my honor, or is that stupid?

        • MR

          Agree. But they tend to focus solely on individual opinion/preference, and it’s much more than that. Moral programming, social dynamics, including influences by individuals and groups. I’m tired of their false dichotomy of “if there’s no objective morality, it’s only your opinion or preference.” I think we need to call them on that.

        • It’d be nice if English had a different word than “opinion” for “I think the Holocaust was wrong” and “I think chocolate tastes best.” When you point out that they’re the same thing, they all jump on that, thinking that they’ve proven something.

          My response to the latest doofus who’s working on the objective morality thing is to demand that he give me a demonstration of his objective moral values. Unsurprisingly, he’s avoiding the issue. They always do.

        • Greg G.

          First i am presupposing scripture is true. If i presuppose this, then i have a GROUNDING

          Let me stop you right there, Patrick.

          Presupposing does nothing. Anything can be presupposed and that has no effect on reality. You need to start with true premises. Without true premises, you can never reach a valid conclusion.

          Making presuppositions are how you disprove the premise. If you have a sound logical structure and you can show that an absurd conclusion can be reached, then the premise is shown to be wrong.

          Is that what you are trying to do? You succeeded at that weeks ago.

        • Kodie

          Sam leaves for about over a week and comes back with no apparent recollection of a previous conversation. This is his 3rd time. I don’t expect any progress.

        • You’re raining on my parade! I’m sure I’ll force him to see his error this time.

        • Susan

          How does objective morality exist if God doesn’t exist?

          Define “God” and explain why it would be necessary for morality of any sort.

          Also how it is sufficient.

          Your question is silly until you do that.

        • Sam

          God is the eternal creator of the universe, life and source of all moral goodness.
          Gods NATURE is THE GOOD. That is, he is a MAXIMALLY great being, ie, the GOOD meaning peace, love etc. His commands flow from his nature.
          So we can identify acts that are congruent with his commands as being right and acts that are contrary to his commands as being wrong.

        • Joe

          God is the eternal creator of the universe, life and source of all moral goodness.

          That’s what you believe. The existence of such a being has yet to be established.

        • Sam

          How would such a being be established?

        • Joe

          How did you do it?

        • Sam

          Proper basic belief

        • Joe

          You can believe anything into reality?

        • Sam

          No…do you know what a proper basic belief is?

        • Joe

          Do you? I don’t think you do, or you’re misusing the term.

        • Sam
        • Pofarmer

          That’s – convenient.

        • epeeist

          Proper basic belief

          How do we know that the idea of “proper basic belief” is properly basic?

        • Susan

          God is the eternal creator of the universe

          What is your evidence?

          life

          What is your evidence?

          all moral goodness

          What is moral goodness? What is your evidence that it is created by something you call “God”?

          the GOOD meaning peace, love etc.

          Why is peace good? Why is love good?

          Why is “peace, love etc.” good?

          IF whatever you mean by “peace, love, etc.” is good, why the need for
          an unevidenced being you call “God”?

          Good is good.

          Which is how you judge “God” good.

          What is your grounding for judging whatever you mean by “God” good?

        • Sam

          Creator of the universe? Deductive argument from the Kalam Cosmological argument

          Moral goodness? The moral argument. God by definition is a maximally great being. If he isnt then he isnt God.
          Why are they good? Because Gods nature is THE good and such properties exist necessarily in his nature.

        • Susan

          Deductive argument from the Kalam Cosmological Argument

          Which KCA? None of them are sound.

          The moral argument.

          Which one? None of them escape Euthyphro’s Horns/ None of them to this day, If that’s the best you’ve got, I can only assume you have no justification for your position. .

          You ignored my questions.

          Referring to arguments that don’t do what they claim to do is not an answer.

          On what basis do you judge what you call “God” good?

          How do you ground your judgement of what you call “God”?

        • Sam

          Why isnt the KCA sound? We can discuss this is another thread. This thread is about OM.

          The Euthyphro is a false dilemna.

          God by definition is a MAXIMALLY great being. That is, GREATEST conceivable being. A property of such a being is moral perfection.

        • Joe

          Greatness is not an innate property of things.

        • Susan

          Why isn’t the KCA sound?

          Because the premises aren’t necessarily true, for one thing.

          We can discuss this in another thread.

          We’ve just discussed it. If you don’t have a deductive argument in which the premises are necessarily true, you don’t have a sound deductive argument. So, we can throw that out (unless you can demonstrate that the premises are necessarily true).

          This thread is about OM

          I responded to your confusion about OM or any M existing without what you call “God” and I asked you what it was about what you call “God” that makes it either/both necessary and/or sufficient for morality.

          You responded with goo.

          The Euthyphro is a false dilemma.

          If you can explain to me on what basis you judge what you call “God” good, instead of just making assertions, you might have something.

          But you haven’t done that.

        • Sam

          Which premise do you doubt?

          Where did you respond to my supposed “confusion”?

          Well, we get an insight into the Gods moral goodness through Christ.

        • Susan

          Which premise do you doubt?

          Irrelevant. Show that the premises are necessarily true if you claim to have a sound argument. This is basic stuff.

          we get an inisght into the Gods moral goodnes through Christ

          On what basis do you evaluate that?

        • MR

          This would be more fun if cognitive dissonance had sound effects, ’cause I know it would have cool sound effects.

        • Susan

          it would have cool sound effects.

          Boi-oi-oi-oi-oing.

          They are never able to rectify “good” and “God”.

          They just think they can assert it.

          ‘Cause someone told them so and it’s easier than thinking about it.

          It’s not just religion that plays this card.

        • MR

          After a while, it’s not even like you’re talking to a person, you just parry apologetic talking points. I’m tired of having what I think regurgitated through apologetic filters.

          It’s not just religion that plays this card

          Politics, conspiracy theories…. Oof, my mother was going off about Hillary and Hitler the other day. “Where do you get this crap, mom?”

        • Susan

          I’m tired of having what I think regurgitated through apologetic filters.

          I’m tired too.

        • Joe

          Maybe that’s their end game?

        • Pofarmer

          Just wear you down?

        • MR

          Notice how studiously he avoided restating what I actually believe instead of his strawman version. Maybe he’s afraid that if he actually say it out loud, he’d believe it. It’s like saying Beetlejuice three times.

        • Joe

          I still don’t know if he’s deliberately straw-manning or just doesn’t understand the concepts being discussed here. I think it’s a little of both.

          I do like to try to get people to sum up my arguments succinctly. Be it pro-choice, or anti-theistic. I’ve never found anyone that can or would do so, which is quite revealing.

        • MR

          Yeah, seems to be a little of both, but he understands enough to avoid certain areas. And it appears that BlackMamba has sniffed out his little game of deceit.

          What are we to make of someone who comes here to defend the concept of Objective Morality, but uses deceit and strawmanning to do it? This isn’t a man who practices what he preaches. Objective morality comes out of his mouth, but subjective morality from his actions. “By their fruits ye shall know them….”

          Yeah, yeah, what is up with avoiding stating your opponents case. That fascinates me! It completely undermines their credibility. I love the smell of cognitive dissonance in the morning.

        • Kodie

          For a lot of these people, I think they think their arguments are magical mantras, and only have to repeat them enough to magically change our minds, instead of use different words or carry on a dialogue that might change someone’s mind, or has a better chance to persuade someone. He’s taken the dummy route – “I’m not changing my mind no matter what” and repeat the same beliefs they had in the same words as when they arrived, maybe not even as a magic spell on us, but a magic spell of protection for themselves as they get dangerously close to satan’s army. I am thinking more when they quote scripture, that they don’t believe in reasons at all, they just think those magical words will soften someone to god trying to get in this whole time.

          Anyway, I think Sam is one of those, he is not smart, and another example of the kind of Christian I can’t believe a good or intelligent or omnipotent god would depend on to spread his message.

        • MR

          I’ve really noticed how prayers, too, are like magic spells. You’re praying for some good thing to happen, or for some bad thing not to happen, for protection, to change someone’s mind, for the weather to change. You’re trying to influence the outside world. Not much difference between that and voodoo. It’s like a salve on a troubled mind in a scary world. “Abracadabra Jesus, please do this for me or that for me, and help me to show those evil atheists the light because all they insist on is evidence and reason, and we all know you’re not a god of evidence and reason….”

          Side note: Vacation is starting so y’all (that’s KJV for plural you) likely won’t see me as much for a while. I might peek in every once in a while. Pray for good weather for me! Oh, actually, I don’t care. Weather never bothered me that much.

        • Sam

          ????

        • Joe

          The Kalam argument doesn’t prove a god exists.

        • Sam

          It is a deductive argument for a spaceless, timeless and immaterial cause of the universe.

        • Joe

          No it isn’t. It’s a deductive argument for the universe having a cause

        • Sam

          Yes and that cause is spaceless, timeless and immaterial..

        • Joe

          Where’s that in the argument?

        • Sam

          Under the premise P2. If all space time and energy began to exist then by logical deduction the cause of space time and energy must be spaceless timeless and immaterial.

        • Joe

          No it doesn’t say that at all.

          Can you please state the premises, as they are currently understood?

        • Sam

          P2, the universe BEGAN to exist. The universe meaning ALL SPACE TIME AND ENERGY.

        • Joe

          Where does it say energy?

        • Sam

          The universe consists of energy…no?

        • Joe

          No.

          Where does it say energy?

        • Sam

          The universe doesnt consist of energy?

        • epeeist

          So here’s a question for you – does space-time exist or is it only spatio-temporal relationships between objects that exists?

        • epeeist

          The universe doesnt consist of energy?

          Various sorts of fields according to QFT.

        • Joe

          No, it doesn’t.

        • epeeist

          In no exposition of the KCA that I have seen does it mention space, time or energy. This is your interpretation and does not form part of the argument.

        • Sam

          What consists of the universe? All space, time and energy. If all space time and energy began to exist, then the cause by logical deduction is spaceless, timeless and immaterial

        • epeeist

          If all space time and energy began to exist

          This is where your problem arises. You first have to show that space-time and energy began to exist.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Sorry to jump in here, @disqus_UZwwikz6u5:disqus et. al., but I think that it’s worth pointing out a dynamic which I think I see playing out: there’s a frustration from our side because we know your arguments, but you don’t seem to have done your research on ours.

          I think that this youtube playlist by Scott Clifton would be a good thing for you to expose yourself to if you want to understand our problems with the KCA, at least as-expressed by WLC:

          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCCF97F3B92DF3CB8

          In particular, the final video “William Lane Craig and Metaphysical Cherry-Picking” lays out some pretty solid philosophical/logical objections to the arguments provided.

          I understand if you choose not to watch any/all of them, you’re out-numbered here and you have lots to respond to. But if you’re ever curious down the road, take a look – it might help you understand us better.

        • BlackMamba44 </