God’s nature does not make his commands non-arbitrary

Many modern defenders of the divine command theory frequently claim that God’s commands are not arbitrary because they flow from his essential nature. Their argument is bad. That a commander issues consistent commands based on his/her own character does not mean that those commands are not arbitrary. Whether a command is arbitrary depends on whether there are reasons for the command. That commands are based on the commander’s nature tells us nothing about whether there are reasons for the com … [Read more...]

Objections to Objectivism – Part 2: More Popular Objections

In this post I will examine three more populuar arguments against ethical objectivism from Russ Landau's textbook The Fundamentals of Ethics (hereafter: FOE).  I will present Landau's criticisms of these arguments, and I will also present a few of my own criticisms. Objection 4: Moral Objectivity Supports Dogmatism 1. If there are objective moral standards, then this makes dogmatism acceptable. 2. Dogmatism is unacceptable. 3. Therefore, there are no objective moral standards. ( … [Read more...]

Objections to Objectivism – Part 1: Three Popular Objections

I have many textbooks, handbooks, and readers on ethics, so I didn't really need to buy another introduction to ethics this weekend. But I glanced through Russ Landau's textbook The Fundamentals of Ethics (hereafter: FOE) and the third and final section of his book caught my attention: "Part Three: The Status of Morality".  In Part Three, he has a chapter on ethical relativism, a chapter on moral nihilism, and a chapter on objections to ethical objectivism.Objectivism is relevant to p … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 9: The Supreme Moral Lawgiver

In Phase 1 of his case for the existence of God (in When Skeptics Ask, hereafter: WSA), Norman Geisler argues for the existence of  a "supreme moral Lawgiver".  The argument goes like this (see WSA, p. 22):Geisler's Moral Argument32. There is an objective moral law.33. Moral laws imply a moral lawgiver.THEREFORE:34. There is a being that is the supreme moral lawgiver.Premise (32) is a controversial claim, and so a good reason or agument is needed to support this claim.   … [Read more...]

Quibbling over Semantics While Missing the Point

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm a linguistic relativist. I don't think words have objective meanings. I think the meaning of words is relative to time and place. So when I encounter someone who is adamant about defining a word in a different way than I do, I just shrug my shoulders. I'm much more interested in the concepts represented by certain labels than the labels themselves.I recently discovered (or re-discovered) an exchange on this site in which a Christian apologist … [Read more...]

LINK: “Ethics and Evolutionary Theory” by Erik J. Wielenberg

I haven't read this, but I'm posting the link because (1) I respect the author; and (2) I think the topic will of interest to many of our readers.LINK (Note: this article is behind a paywall)Reminder/Disclaimer: Posting links does not necessarily constitute endorsement. … [Read more...]

Euthyphro Dilemmas

As I explained on page 25 of my Primer in Religion and Morality I think there are multiple dilemmas floating around under the name "Euthyphro Dilemma" (hereafter, ED). ED: The literal, original formulation of the ED is this: "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it loved by the gods?" In that formulation, it's argubaly not really applicable to any contemporary discussions of theistic metaethics.In order to make it applicable, people often revise it. … [Read more...]

Are Atheism and Moral Realism Logically Incompatible?

I am a regular reader of Victor Reppert's blog, Dangerous Idea. In the combox for one of his recent posts, Steve Hays claimed that atheism and moral realism are logically incompatible. I wrote a lengthy reply to Hays in the combox and have decided to republish it here.Before I republish my comments, I will make one general observation about moral arguments for God's existence.Theists often claim that the so-called 'problem of evil' (read: arguments from evil for atheism) and the o … [Read more...]