An OUGHT From An IS

By Tim Stratton

Does objective truth apply to morality? This question has major ramifications depending on how you answer it, because it ultimately asks, “DOES GOD EXIST?” We can see this demonstrated through the use of logic in a deductive syllogism known as “The Moral Argument.”[1] Here it is:

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

2- Objective moral values and duties exist.

3- Therefore, God exists.

To avoid this theistic conclusion, those committed to their atheistic presuppositions desperately seek to find a way to refute at least one of these premises. Many wind up stating that objective moral values and duties do not exist. By making this move, however, they affirm that there is nothing reallywrong with Hitler’s Holocaust, the molestation of young boys in the Penn State locker room by Jerry Sandusky, or the murderous actions of ISIS. Since rejecting premise (2) tacitly affirms the atrocities of these evil men, they feel the pressure to either find another way to ground objective morality, or become theists. Some atheists, such as Sam Harris, have attempted to find a logical way to ground objective morality in the “science of human flourishing,”[2] stating: “Whatever advances the flourishing of humanity is objectively good and whatever hinders human flourishing is objectively bad.”

Harris has failed on several accounts. For instance, even if (and that’s a very big “IF”) moral values could be grounded via this “science of human flourishing,” it would be powerless to explain why the flourishing of humans is objectively good. After all, in the movie, “The Matrix,” Agent Smith referred to the flourishing of humanity as a “virus,” and a “cancer of the planet.”[3] Is Agent Smith objectively wrong, or do we simply have differing subjective opinions? It would be circular reasoning to argue that the flourishing of humanity is objectively good because one assumes it is objectively good when humanity flourishes.

I’ve also heard it said that human flourishing is objectively bad for the earth and all other forms of life. A fellow human actually argued, “If all insects on earth disappeared, within fifty years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within fifty years all (other) forms of life would flourish.”[4] So perhaps it is objectively bad for humans to flourish, at least from the perspective of “all other forms of life.” The question then becomes, why is it good for humanity to flourish, even if human flourishing hinders other forms of life?

Atheism cannot answer why the flourishing of humanity is objectively good. All the atheist can do is simply presuppose and assume it is. On the other hand, if God exists and created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy a relationship with God for eternity, then it is objectively true (independent from human opinion) that it is objectively good (and right) for humanity to flourish.

Moreover, atheism is impotent to explain why we are obligated to fulfill or align our lives with any of these moral values that lead to human flourishing. If one were not to carry out any of these moral codes leading to human flourishing, and instead devoted their lives to kidnapping, rape, murder, etc., the worst they could be accused of is merely acting unfashionably, nothing more![5] The last time I checked, no one has made a case that it is objectively wrong to be considered “uncool,” or a “nerd” by the subjective opinion of the majority. Although it seems implausible that objective moral values can exist apart from God, it is logically impossible to ground objective moral duties if atheism is true.

On top of all of this, to make matters worse, this atheistic philosophy is ultimately self-refuting! Harris, as a naturalist (the view that only nature exists), holds to “scientific determinism,” which means he believes our thoughts and actions are causally determined by natural forces like physics, chemistry, and the initial conditions of the big bang. All of these things are outside of human control. Harris makes his view clear:

Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have. Free will is actually more than an illusion (or less), in that it cannot be made conceptually coherent. Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.[6]

Therefore, humans could never freely choose any action, including actions with supposed moral properties. Given these objections to the idea of a scientific foundation for an epistemology of objective morality, we must come to the conclusion that science cannot derive an ought from an is, and therefore, cannot tell us anything about how we must conduct our lives in any ethical or moral sense. If naturalistic atheism is true, we have no logical grounds of objective moral values, no logical grounds of objective duty to align our lives with any set of subjective code of ethics, and no ability to do otherwise since all would be determined by outside causal forces. Since ought implies can, and there is no ability to do otherwise in a cause and effect/determined universe (on atheistic naturalism), it follows that it is completely nonsensical for the naturalist to talk about how we ought to think, act, or behave.

Bottom line: If moral values and duties are objective, God must exist!

Stay reasonable my friends (Phil 4:5 ESV),

Tim Stratton

Visit Tim’s Website: Free Thinking Ministries

Click here to see the source site of this article


 

Notes:
[1] The Moral Argument: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/moral

[2] Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig debate: https://youtu.be/yqaHXKLRKzg

[3] The Matrix, https://youtu.be/L5foZIKuEWQ

[4] This quote was attributed to Jonas Salk; however, I cannot find the source. Be that as it may, some people actually believe it is better for insects to flourish than it is for humans to flourish.

[5] William Lane Craig, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/navigating-sam-harris-the-moral-landscape

[6] Sam Harris, Free Will, (Free Press, New York, 2012), Page 5

58 replies
  1. John B. Moore says:

    Atheism can indeed explain why the flourishing of humanity is objectively good. Atheism has a clear and forceful explanation for why we are obligated to pursue human flourishing. You would know this if you paused and thought about it, or if you honestly tried to find out the truth.

    Do you want me to tell you? Or would you prefer to guess what I’m going to say? I can’t believe you really don’t know.

    Reply
  2. Andy Ryan says:

    The logical argument fails as it doesn’t explain how or why the proposed ‘is’ of God’s existence would lead to or explain ‘oughts’. Why would the existence of moral truths make a God’s existence more likely? If a moral truth is dependent on (subject to) a God’s existence then how can it actually be an objective truth? If the wrongness of the holocaust is dependent on a God existing then how is it objectively wrong? Surely it’s either wrong or it isn’t, regardless of whether a God existed? If it turns out the Nazis were right and that God approves of the holocaust, does that mean the holocaust was actually good? I doubt many would say yes to that.

    Reply
    • Tim says:

      It’s good to hear from you again, Andy. I hope all is well. Thanks for some friendly pushback. If you don’t mind, I’d like to provide a little resistance to your resistance.

      You said, “The logical argument fails as it doesn’t explain how or why the proposed ‘is’ of God’s existence would lead to or explain ‘oughts’.”

      The structure of the argument is certainly valid, Andy, and the explanation is found in the defense of the premise.

      You asked, “Why would the existence of moral truths make a God’s existence more likely?”

      What else could moral values that are objectively true apart from human subjective opinion be logically grounded in, Andy? Sam Harris realized this problem and tried to ground objective morality in science. My article demonstrates his failure.

      You said, “If a moral truth is dependent on (subject to) a God’s existence then how can it actually be an objective truth?”

      We are talking about moral values and obligations that are true apart from human opinion, Andy. God is not a human but the creator of humans. The omniscient and perfectly intelligent God created humanity on purpose and for a specific purpose that is true apart from your opinion or even the majority vote of humanity. Therefore, you have an objective purpose in life that you are free to approximate and correspond to or not.

      You said, “If the wrongness of the holocaust is dependent on a God existing then how is it objectively wrong?”

      If God created humanity for the objective purpose to love Him and love all people, then holocausts would violate the objective purpose in which we were created. Thus, holocausts are objectively wrong apart from human opinion.

      You said, “Surely it’s either wrong or it isn’t, regardless of whether a God existed?”

      How does that follow, Andy? If naturalistic determinism is true, then the big bang and the laws of nature causally determined the holocaust just as nature causally determines appendicitis, receding hairlines, and thunderstorms. There is nothing really wrong with nature or the way nature ought to be. There are no “shoulds” to how nature ought to be if it were not created according to a design plan. There just is the case, not how it should be. This is why the title of my article shows that you cannot derive “An OUGHT from an IS.”

      If there is no libertarian free will on a naturalistic worldview, then there is no ability to do or think otherwise. Thus, there was no genuine ability for the Holocaust not to occur. It logically follows that Hitler was just a “falling domino” in a chain of physical events and he was not genuinely responsible for the holocaust – blame it on the big bang and the laws of physics!

      You said, “If it turns out the Nazis were right and that God approves of the holocaust, does that mean the holocaust was actually good? I doubt many would say yes to that.”

      On naturalism their differing responses would be causally determined via the laws of nature. No one would stand in a position to rationally affirm their determined answers as even their thoughts about their answers would be forced via external factors outside of their control. They would only be left with their question-begging assumptions and zero logical arguments. However, your question is like asking if it turns out that triangles really can have four corners is geometry still true? Be that as it may, we stand in an epistemic position to rationally affirm and to *know* that holocausts really are objectively evil based on the teachings of Jesus (love your neighbor and your enemy). Who doesn’t want to live in a world where everyone follows the teachings of Christ? If we did, that would be heaven on earth!

      Here’s another article I wrote the morning after the terror attacks in Paris. It demonstrates that between Islam, atheism, and Christianity, the followers of the teachings of Christ are the only ones that stand in a logical position to condemn these Islamic terror attacks as objectively wrong and evil:

      http://freethinkingministries.com/islam-vs-atheism-vs-jesus/

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “What else could moral values that are objectively true apart from human subjective opinion be logically grounded in, Andy?”

        Tim, that’s not a defence. I’m asking why X = Y. Your reply is to say nothing else could = Y. That gets you no closer to showing that X = Y.

        Further, you didn’t answer my question about the holocaust. If it turns out the Nazis were right and they were doing God’s work in killing Jews – I mean you get to heaven and Hitler’s in prime spot up in heaven, and God says ‘Yes, I wanted Hitler to kill Jews’ – then by your logic, the holocaust was actually moral.

        You also go back to the libertarian/free will argument that I already debunked on the previous thread.you can re-read that thread to see it demonstrated that your objection there doesn’t work.

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “We are talking about moral values and obligations that are true apart from human opinion, Andy.”

        Why specify HUMAN opinion, Tim? There’s nothing in the definition of objective that means human opinion is irrelevant but other opinions are. A triangle has three sides regardless of ANY opinion. That’s what objective means – it doesn’t stop being a triangle if a dog or an alien or a robot thinks otherwise. And yes, I’d say that WOULD go for any God you can conceive of either. So yes, my point stands – if it’s dependent on a God then it’s subjective rather than objective.

        As Luke points out, you’re trying to smuggle in some ‘oughts’ by saying going against a purpose you’ve been created for is objectively immoral. What principle is this based on? What makes THAT principle objective? You can say it’s simply obvious, or axiomatic – but you’re the one saying that we can’t even say the murder of 6 million people can’t be described as axiomatically wrong, so you’ve a lot of work ahead of you to demonstrate and back up any principles you wise to rely on to argue for objecte morals coming from God. If I have a child for the objective purpose of using them for spare body parts when they’re an adult, would it be objectively wrong for them to object, given that that was the purpose they were born for? [BTW, it’s a dodge for you to reply that God’s purpose for them supercedes mine. Try to address the analogy itself].

        By the way, if it’s important to have been created by another being for an objective purpose, where does this leave God? Does he have no purpose?

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “The structure of the argument is certainly valid, Andy”

        I didn’t say the structure was invalid. However, the premises don’t stand up.

        1) You’ve not shown that objective morals exist.
        2) You’ve not shown that God existing would explain objective morals.

        “After all, in the movie, “The Matrix,” Agent Smith referred to the flourishing of humanity as a “virus,” and a “cancer of the planet.”[”

        So what? I can quote movies at you where people call God a terrible being. Does that invalidate your argument? I can quote dozens of REAL people who disagree that the holocaust was evil. By your logic, that invalidates your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral.

        Your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral REGARDLESS of human opinion is that humans are of the opinion that it’s immoral. Do you not see the problem here, Tim? To show that it’s OBECTIVELY immoral, then even by your own definition you need to find a demonstration or argument about its immorality that does NOT depend on human opinion.

        You can ask me if I think the holocaust was immoral, but I can only give you my opinion on that. That doesn’t get you closer to proving a God exists. I can tell you that it caused immense suffering and that I view that as axiomatically bad, and that’s immoral by my definition. But my definition doesn’t depend on a God existing – I would see it as equally bad in a Godless universe (if not worse, as the victims have no afterlife to look forward to).

        Of course, you can ask ‘but what makes human suffering BAD’. I’d say only a sociopath could ask such a question. I know you’re not a sociopath, so I’d see the question coming from you as disingenuous. But if you really want to push it and ask anyway, I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”. And ultimately I think most people would agree with that – present people with a scenario where a God is creating people simply to torture them for his own pleasure, I think the majority would say that was an evil God. In other words, my axiom would trump yours. People will only accept a God as good if his edicts match what they already view as good.

        You can argue that they are all wrong, but then you lose the right to appeal to consensus when it comes to the holocaust. And if you argue that ‘human good/flourishing’ doesn’t make more sense than ‘fulfilling God’s purpose’, but then you need some other axiom to explain why. And then we’re just comparing axioms. But you ARE just as reliant on axioms here as I am when it comes to deriving an OUGHT from an IS.

        Reply
        • Gary says:

          “1) You’ve not shown that objective morals exist.”

          1. You live every moment of everyday as though they do. So what does this kind of answer really denote? It denotes dishonesty at worst, poor reasoning at best.Your own life and behavior prove that, no matter what you say, you really do believe in objective morality.

          2. Have you shown that they do not? Would you even make the attempt to try? Allow us to doubt it since you know you would fail.

          Worse, you can never show any such thing and every effort you make to do so would refute your effort.
          How so? Because the only way to make the attempt is to deny all morality as having any validity. Of course, that is exactly what atheist philosophers always do, although not one of them can live a single day without contradicting themselves in their own actions. Just as you yourself do every moment.
          – every time you make any kind or flavor of moral judgment.

          “2) You’ve not shown that God existing would explain objective morals”

          Actually yes he did. Your failure to discern it notwithstanding.
          But to make it clearer: Morals are purely conceptual. Ergo, objective morality can ONLY have come from a conceiving mind.
          Morality denotes purpose and preference of one thing against another. A will. A will implies a mind as clearly as sunrise implies a sun.
          Only a mind with will could therefore be the source of objective morality. Does that correspond to God? Got any other feasible candidates? No of course you don’t. There are none. Which is why the great masses of humanity, throughout all history have believed in a God of one kind or another.

          As Isaac Newton so rightly noted, “Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.” It still has nothing compared to the vast human population, over 6.5 billion of which are not atheists. And for very good reasons.

          “I can quote movies at you where people call God a terrible being. Does that invalidate your argument? I can quote dozens of REAL people who disagree that the holocaust was evil. By your logic, that invalidates your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral.”

          Go ahead and quote your Nazi references. You won’t win any Brownie points with anyone with a functional brain on that.

          You have gravely missed the point anyway. That being, “Is Agent Smith objectively wrong, or do we simply have differing subjective opinions? It would be circular reasoning to argue that the flourishing of humanity is objectively good because one assumes it is objectively good when humanity flourishes.”

          Indeed, circular reasoning at its best. Another fallacy atheists are always committing very nicely without ever even realizing it.

          “Your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral REGARDLESS of human opinion is that humans are of the opinion that it’s immoral.”

          Wrong again. As though we don’t know that many thousands of humans saw it as morally right!
          So was it objectively right or wrong?
          According to atheism is was neither since neither right nor wrong objectively exist. How could they with no objective, ultimate mind to determine what is good?

          The real question is why do you keep missing the point and making feckless arguments against a point you fail to grasp?
          Why don’t you just argue that the holocaust, or any other genuinely evil thing, was not evil at all? Because, according to atheism, evil does not even exist.

          “Do you not see the problem here, Tim? To show that it’s OBECTIVELY immoral, then even by your own definition you need to find a demonstration or argument about its immorality that does NOT depend on human opinion.”

          And that is precisely where a moral mind must obligatorily come in. Without which no such thing is even possible.
          What you are really doing is denying the validity of logical inference to the best explanation. A very bad idea.
          That explanation being an Ultimate, overruling Mind, a being that in creating humankind had, exactly as Tim explained, specific goals and purposes in mind for. Without which, morality is only another human delusion.
          And, if that is your stance than you must abandon all moral judgment forever. You can no more make a moral evaluation, if morality is the illusion that atheism explicitly says it is, than you can be objectively rational if human free will and reason are evolutionary illusions.

          “You can ask me if I think the holocaust was immoral, but I can only give you my opinion on that.”

          Really? Then why should anyone give a damn? No reason at all. Your personal opinion is, according to atheism, nothing but the illusions created in your brain by chemical processes for which you cannot be responsible and that you cannot control. Processes that are themselves, mindless, without purpose or goals and most definitely amoral.

          “That doesn’t get you closer to proving a God exists.”

          Of course not. Your opinion is precisely as I just describe, IF atheism is true. Thank God it isn’t. Your opinion has no more objective meaning than a rock, unless there is a God who endowed you with a real faculty of reason that is indeed reliable and based on objectively real logic.

          Reply
        • Gary says:


          ” I can tell you that it caused immense suffering and that I view that as axiomatically bad,”

          You are mistaken. Nothing can be axiomatically “bad” in a universe in which “bad” does not even exist. Just as the atheist gurus virtually all state categorically.

          “Evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.” -William B. Provine, atheist professor of biology at Cornell University
          Provine would also say that “No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there any absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life” – Provine, W. 1998

          “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, NO PURPOSE, NO EVIL AND NO GOOD. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.” – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), 133

          You can pretend that they are wrong or whatever you please, but if there is no God, they are absolutely right, merely taking their atheist assumptions to their inevitable logical conclusions. Something that you have clearly not done.

          “and that’s immoral by my definition”

          You do not even have a real, objective definition! Can’t you see that this is the whole crux of the matter? There is NO SUCH THING AS “IMMORAL”, in a universe with no God. You are assuming the existence of objective morality everywhere in your attempt to refute it!!

          “But my definition doesn’t depend on a God existing – I would see it as equally bad in a Godless universe (if not worse, as the victims have no afterlife to look forward to).”

          Your def is futile and meaningless, according your own self.
          It only applies to yourself in your own brain, and no one else need bother to give a rats ass what you find moral of not. Your reasoning on this is blind. You refute yourself at every step and can’t even see it.

          Morality itself is an illusion in atheism. It does not even exist as a real thing.

          “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.” (Michael Ruse:1995:248-9)

          So how can you possibly talk as thought they do, as an atheist?! You contradict yourself completely, that’s how.
          That means no good and no evil exist – nothing can ever be right or wrong, ALL is purely neutral. There is NOTHING immoral or moral about anything if morality is an illusion. The way the chemicals in your brain fool you into thinking that some things are somehow “good” or “bad” is pure chemically induced illusion.

          “Of course, you can ask ‘but what makes human suffering BAD’. I’d say only a sociopath could ask such a question.”

          In reality, only someone totally missing the point and failing to see his own self-contradictions could give such a response to the question. And it’s nothing but an evasive maneuver to pretend otherwise.

          “I know you’re not a sociopath, so I’d see the question coming from you as disingenuous.”

          It is your own strange, untenable “logic” that is seriously flawed, seeing how you fail to grasp the reason for the question. And thus we are entitled to question your honesty.

          “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

          Why? Because you say so?
          Indeed. That’s the ONLY thing you can answer. And given that no matter what you say, according to atheism, it’s all nothing but the byproduct of chemical reactions in 3 lbs of meat in your skull, and ultimately as meaningless as the movement of atoms in a rock, why should anyone give a crap for your neurons’ “opinion”?

          Your word, “forced” is highly revealing as well.
          You are just as foolish in using that word – denoting your inane view that somehow God’s will must be tyrannical, “forced” on us – as the idiot who claims that all laws placed upon human behavior are “forced on us” by the ruling authority and therefore are somehow bad. You’re an anarchist. All atheists are anarchists at heart. They want no gods but themselves and no moral laws but their own. Go to the nearest police station, start yelling that the law is forced on you and that you do not believe in objective morality and therefore in any law of any kind. I’d love to see the reaction.

          Worse, you are STILL using the word “good” as though it had objective meaning!!
          It doesn’t. Not in atheism. It is meaningless. Like I said, the poor thinking atheist, in attempting to refute objective morality, only confirms it every time, right in the attempt. As you are proving so kindly.

          You are in dire need of some proper training in logic. Like 99% of all atheists posting junk logic all over the web.

          “And ultimately I think most people would agree with that”

          1. Why?

          2. And who cares what a bunch of brains in vats in a Matrix are doing? That is exactly your position as an atheist. You are predetermined by your genetics to behave one way, to believe one thing and not another.
          You dance to your DNA atheistically and others dance theistically and some don’t dance at all. Some dance as psychopaths and others as philanthropists, and neither are right or wrong. None of it has any objective value. No more than the movement of leaves in the wind. THAT is atheism.

          ” – present people with a scenario where a God is creating people simply to torture them for his own pleasure,”

          Think ya can get any worse in your wicked atheists’ version of “theology”? You are suffering from a viral strain of the Dawkins Delusion. So obvious given your nasty and very clueless choice of words.
          As though your implied affirmation had the slightest grain of validity. You are in fact proving the whole point of the moral argument!!!

          Worse – You invoked some objective moral standard that you really do believe exists!! Geez, wake up!
          You appealed to some unnamed, unreferenced, yet assumed moral Law that states, “You must not torture people for pleasure”.

          Pray tell. Where did you get this assumed moral law from? Did you just pull it out of your butt? It certainly does NOT exist according to your own atheist assertions! You are here fighting against objective morality and yet still appealing to it!! Oh the irony! Oh the self-refutation.

          “I think the majority would say that was an evil God.”

          Really? And upon what objective standard would they base such a claim for it to be true? Oops. Shot yourself in the foot again. There is no such thing as evil anything in your atheist universe.

          “In other words, my axiom would trump yours.”

          Your logic is in fact abominable. You cannot have ANY axioms of morality in atheism. Indeed, the very word axiom denotes absolute objectivity!! DUH!!

          “People will only accept a God as good if his edicts match what they already view as good.”

          Good Lord, but that is dull! So you honestly claim that when people wrote, “do no adultery, do no murder, do not steal, do not lie, do not fornicate, ..”, that these people, who have no reason at all for writing laws that contradict themselves and their real inner desires, had fun making up a God who will condemn them?! Is that what YOU would do? No. You would invent the gods of the Greeks who were identical to themselves, stabbing each other in the back, fornicating every day, lying, scheming against each other, hating each other, making war against each other, … So bloody obvious.

          Moreover, you just invoked objective good again! Why should anyone view anything as good or evil at all, unless objective good and evil exist? NO REASON!
          All while you are foolishly trying to refute its existence! What is going on in the 3 lbs of meat in your head? Like I said, you CANNOT escape objective morality without denying ALL morality and Morality itself. As your atheist masters do, all while living as though nothing they say is true!! Just steal their wallet, rape their wife and suddenly morality is objective and real and they want objective justice!! But even justice is an illusion if morality is an illusion.

          “You can argue that they are all wrong, but then you lose the right to appeal to consensus when it comes to the holocaust.”

          And yet another glaringly bad argument! The whole point of the moral argument is that consensus is NOT a measure of anything. Consensus equals subjective.
          THAT is exactly what OBJECTIVE MEANS! NOT RELYING ON, or BEYOND mere Consensus! Turn on the lights kid! You do not even have consensus on your side! It is useless to affirm consensus on anything in atheism. ALL is subjective, relative, opinion and NO axioms exist. Axiom = objective truth!

          “And if you argue that ‘human good/flourishing’ doesn’t make more sense than ‘fulfilling God’s purpose’, but then you need some other axiom to explain why. And then we’re just comparing axioms. But you ARE just as reliant on axioms here as I am when it comes to deriving an OUGHT from an IS.”

          You have still failed miserably to even demonstrate that there is a real objective “WHY” for your flourishing nonsense argument.
          The whole point which you have totally missed since the start is that if there is no God, moral AXIOMS do not and cannot exist! Even as your own high priests tell you in black and white.

          Go back to the beginning and start thinking – this time using proper logic and at least trying to see where and why you have contradicted yourself entirely here. And may the Living God enlighten your darkened mind.

          Reply
  3. Luke says:

    Tim said::If G-d created humanity for the objective purpose to love Him and love all people, then holocausts would violate the objective purpose in which we were created.”

    Why is it wrong to violate the objective purpose for which one was created?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Tim says:

      Hi Luke! You asked, “Why is it wrong to violate the objective purpose for which one was created?”

      That is a fantastic question, Luke! I also like it because it is short, clear, and to the point! Thank you!

      To answer your great question let me be clear that I’ve made the case that if a perfectly intelligent being creates humans for the purpose to love, be loved, and to flourish for eternity, then one is free to disagree with this perfectly intelligent being for eternity. One might argue that this does not make it “wrong” but it would make it utterly stupid (unless one wanted to make a case that it is intelligent for humans not to love, be loved, or to flourish). That would be even far more extreme than Hitler and ISIS as they at least think Nazis and Muslims should flourish.

      However, as I explained to Andy, if one disagrees with a perfectly intelligent being, what does that imply about the thoughts of the not-so-intelligent objector? If you think it is “good” to be intelligent and “bad” to be stupid, then if one is freely choosing to be objectively stupid, you can call that “bad” if you’d like. I guess calling something that is objectively stupid as “bad” is your subjective opinion. However, it would still be objectively stupid or less than intelligent.

      Thanks for the question.

      Tim

      Reply
      • Luke says:

        Hi Tim,

        Thanks for your response (and compement).

        Would you say it’s fair to say that your answer is “maybe it’s not “wrong” per se, but one would be hard pressed to argue that it’s wise.”?

        It seems like you’re saying that it’s not objectively wrong to violate the purpose, but alligning with purpose is (far) more rational.

        Thanks,

        Luke

        Reply
        • Tim says:

          Hi Luke,

          You asked: “Would you say it’s fair to say that your answer is “maybe it’s not “wrong” per se, but one would be hard pressed to argue that it’s wise.”? It seems like you’re saying that it’s not objectively wrong to violate the purpose, but alligning with purpose is (far) more rational.”

          I’m willing to grant that for the sake of argument at the moment (other philosophers would make a different case than I am). My case is simply to demonstrate that choosing to not correspond to perfect intelligence is unintelligent (“stupid”). Choosing to reject commands from a perfectly intelligent being who created humans to love and flourish is unintelligent. Usually us humans refer to that as “bad.”

          Again, thank you for your one-at-a-time questions. I don’t even have time to read all of the “books” Andy is writing.

          Reply
          • Tim says:

            Hi Luke, I just wanted to clarify that holocausts are still objectively wrong as they do not correspond to the perfectly intelligent designer’s design plan and goal for all humanity (which is true apart from human opinion or majority vote) to love, be loved, and to flourish. We also have instructions as to how to reach this goal given to us by our perfectly intelligent designer.

            Thus, based on my model, I think I can affirm that not only is it unintelligent to choose to do holocausts or harm humans in any manner, it is “stupid” as well.

            Here’s my ten-point model (you probably already saw this) which explains my view:

            1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

            2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

            3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

            4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

            Here we have deductive *proof* that God (Ultimate Reality) provides a foundation for humans to approximate to when we have moral disagreements! This seems to be the only way to ground objective meaning, value, and purpose to human life apart from human subjective opinion.

            I can continue adding points to the argument:

            5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

            6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

            7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a good leader).

            8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and perfectly *good* to accomplish His purpose.

            9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we *ought* to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

            10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

      • Andy Ryan says:

        Tim, you’ve not answered Luke’s question at all. Your whole basis for what makes objectives seems to rest on it being objectively wrong to behave contrary to the purpose set for you by God – although you after talking about having a purpose set by God you then said it was false – FALSE! – for me to say that was your view.

        So if this is the nub of where the ‘is’ becomes the ‘ought’ then you need to explain it pretty thoroughly. Again:

        Why is it wrong to violate the objective purpose for which one was created?

        “Unless one wanted to make a case that it is intelligent for humans not to love, be loved, or to flourish”

        You made exactly that argument, Tim. You said yourself that human flourishing is not a reasonable basis for morality. You said that the holocaust cannot be condemned by secular means, yet it clearly contravenes love, loving and flourishing, and causes suffering.

        “if one disagrees with a perfectly intelligent being”

        You’re trying to argue that the being is the source of objective morals. You’ve not shown that being smart = moral, nor that perfectly smart = perfectly moral.

        “one is free to disagree with this perfectly intelligent being for eternity.”

        No-one asked whether one could disagree with him, so this response has no relevance to the question. Here it is again:

        Why is it wrong to violate the objective purpose for which one was created?

        Reply
        • Tim says:

          Andy, you used different words! You need to copy and paste my quotes. It is hard to have a conversation with someone who takes my words out of context. Without looking, I believe I stated that you had quoted me as saying God “forced” morality upon us, but now you use words like “set by God.”

          These can all have different meanings, please notice that I copy and paste your words so that I will respect you by dealing with your exact words. Sometimes you do this, but I’m asking you to always do this if you are going to attribute words to my mouth.

          Anyway, you said, “Here it is again: Why is it wrong to violate the objective purpose for which one was created?”

          My argument is that it is utterly stupid to do so. Humans typically regard intelligent decisions as “good” and stupid decisions as “bad.” If the perfectly intelligent creator of humanity created us on purpose and for the specific purpose to love and flourish, and he gives us perfectly intelligent commands to reach that end (love all people), then it is stupid to act contrary to the purpose (true apart from human opinion) humans were created for.

          Again, your blind faith of atheistic naturalism is morally bankrupt:

          1- No objective ground for moral values
          2- No objective ground for moral obligation
          3- No ability to do or think otherwise

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I believe I stated that you had quoted me as saying God “forced” morality upon us, but now you use words like “set by God.”

            I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that you said that. You’re accusing me of misquoting you, while misrepresenting what I actually said!

            I never said ‘forced morality’. I said:

            Me: “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

            You: “Don’t put words in my mouth, Andy. That is NOT my quote or my view!”

            I said the purpose was forced, not the morality. Whether or not we ignore the purpose, that is the purpose we have, no? I’m not saying we’re forced to fulfil it, I’m saying we are force to HAVE that purpose, in that we don’t set it ourselves.

            You moan that I’m writing “books” in my responses, but we’ve wasted quite a few paragraphs arguing over one of us misrepresenting the other, based on you misunderstanding or misreading what I wrote.

            You’ve now apparently given up trying to respond to my actual arguments, and have got more bad tempered in the process, reverting to determinism arguments, and repeatedly calling me ‘morally bankrupt’ and so forth. I’ll take this as a tacit admission of defeat on your part, so I’ll just say thanks for the conversation.

  4. Tim says:

    (1)

    Hey again, Andy! Thanks for commenting further. I’ve got limited time to interact here since I have other responsibilities, however, I do want to address your last few thoughts. I would add that it is quite difficult to respond to all points when you make so many all at once. I want to honor you by addressing all of them, but everything just gets so muddled when you offer several comments on a single thread before I even have a chance to reply to one of them.

    For the sake of clarity I encourage you to try to make one objection stick. If your best objection works then there is no need to go any further. If it doesn’t, then go to the next and try that one out. With that said, I’ve tried to respond to all of your points thus far here:

    I had asked you the following: “What else could moral values that are objectively true apart from human subjective opinion be logically grounded in, Andy?”

    You responded: “Tim, that’s not a defence. I’m asking why X = Y. Your reply is to say nothing else could = Y. That gets you no closer to showing that X = Y.”

    I had already explained this in the article and in my response, Andy. Let me clarify it for you:

    1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

    2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

    3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, be loved, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

    4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

    *We can end the argument here to deductively conclude that an objective purpose to humanity exists apart from human opinion. We can add to it to come to further conclusions:

    5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

    6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

    7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a “good” leader).

    8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and “good.”

    9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we ought to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

    10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

    You said, “You also go back to the libertarian/free will argument that I already debunked on the previous thread.you can re-read that thread to see it demonstrated that your objection there doesn’t work.”

    Wow! I sure don’t remember that, Andy! You did absolutely no debunking regarding my Freethinking Argument. I do remember so many comments in that thread that perhaps I missed something you may have said, but everything I read fell far short of a refutation. I remember responding to you at length and when I left the conversation, my argument was unscathed to say the least.

    I said, “We are talking about moral values and obligations that are true apart from human opinion, Andy.”

    You asked, “Why specify HUMAN opinion, Tim?”

    Because the question people have been asking is if there is a law above the law humans might come up with – especially when humans disagree with each other. This was front and center in the Nuremberg trials after WWII. What makes America’s subjective opinion that the Nazis were wrong any better than the Nazi’s subjective opinion that their actions were good and right? If there is a law above the law to refer to, then we can actually stand in a position to confidently proclaim it is evil to do the things that Nazis, ISIS, the KKK, Ted Bundy, Jerry Sandusky, and Jeffrey Dahlmer do. It is objectively wrong to shoot up elementary schools and movie theaters. Atheists stand on no logical ground to condemn these people or their actions. In fact, if naturalistic determinism is true, they had no ability to do otherwise!

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a “good” leader)”

      Who says, Tim? What makes what he does ‘good’? Just saying he’s smart therefore he has to be ‘good’ isn’t an argument, and doesn’t get you ‘oughts’ from the supposed ‘is’ of his intelligence, perfect or otherwise.

      “Wow! I sure don’t remember that, Andy! You did absolutely no debunking regarding my Freethinking Argument.”

      Luckily for you the whole thread is still there for you to read! Either way, you can’t refer back to the ‘determinism’ argument and claim that trumps my argument, as I already addressed it.

      “my argument was unscathed to say the least”

      I don’t think so, Tim.

      Reply
      • Tim says:

        Andy, according to your worldview of naturalistic determinism, you are determined to think you properly addressed my Freethinking Argument even if you failed miserably (and you did)! According to your own worldview, even your thoughts about your beliefs and your beliefs about your thoughts are forced upon you by external factors that you have no control of. All you are left with is your blind faith in your assumptions.

        In regards to my Freethinking Argument, basically, premise (1) is synonymous with “if naturalism is true, nature is all that exists.” That is pretty straightforward. Premise (2) is tantamount to “if all that exists is nature, then all that exists is causally determined via the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the big bang.” Premise (3) is equivalent with “if all things are causally determined, then that includes all thoughts and beliefs.” If our thoughts and beliefs are forced upon us, and we could not have chosen better beliefs, then we are simply left assuming that our determined beliefs are good (let alone true). Therefore, we could never rationally affirm that our beliefs really are the inference to the best explanation – you can only *assume* it. Assuming your determined beliefs that could not be otherwise are correct to argue they are correct is the epitome of begging the question (a logical fallacy) and any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all, Andy. All you are left with is blind faith that nature forced you to hold the true belief that atheism is true with no way to ever rationally affirm that belief because even those thoughts are determined as well.

        This is a huge problem for the atheistic naturalist, Andy! It logically follows that if naturalism is true, then atheists — or anyone else for that matter — cannot possess knowledge. Knowledge is defined as “justified true belief.” One might happen to hold true beliefs; however, if they do not possess warrant or justification for a specific belief, their belief does not qualify as a knowledge claim. If one cannot freely infer the best explanation, then one has no justification that their belief really is the best explanation. Without justification, knowledge goes down the drain. All we are left with is question-begging assumptions (a logical fallacy).

        Obviously humans possess rationality and knowledge. To argue this would affirm it as one would have to offer knowledge to the contrary. Moreover, if one rejects knowledge, why should anyone listen to them? Therefore, libertarian free will and the soul (or some immaterial aspect of humanity) exists, and therefore, naturalism is false.

        Feel free to hold to your blind faith, Andy (oh wait, you don’t think you have the freedom to make that choice — sorry)!

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          Tim, I already addressed all the objections you make above on the other thread on determinism. And on that thread, you tried to use your conclusion – that knowledge was impossible under determinism – to defeat my arguments against knowledge being impossible under determinism. That’s textbook question begging, as I explained on that thread. It’s equivalent to claming someone was hit on the head by a rock, and then rejecting their refutations to your claim on the basis that they’d can’t be trusted as… They’d been hit on the head by a rock!

          None of that helps your argument here. Under Luke’s gentle questioning you seemed to reduce your claim from it being moral to go with God’s purpose for us, to it simply being more rational. Perhaps you mean ‘in our best interests’ – which isn’t the same as ‘objectively moral’.

          You also appealed to me, asking why I would object to a worldview that encourages loving and human flourishing. But you yourself questioned elsewhere on this same thread why human flourishing is a good basis for objective morality, so you seem to be contradicting yourself. Is it a good basis or not?

          Reply
          • Tim says:

            Andy, you said: “Tim, I already addressed all the objections you make above on the other thread on determinism.”

            Andy, what you fail to understand is that a response does not qualify as a refutation. Your responses failed miserable. Let’s take a look at your next attempt. You said:

            “you tried to use your conclusion – that knowledge was impossible under determinism – to defeat my arguments against knowledge being impossible under determinism. That’s textbook question begging…”

            Andy, my Freethinking Argument deductively proves that knowledge is impossible if all that exists is nature and all is determined. It does not argue that Andy Ryan cannot possess knowledge because he believes naturalistic determinism is true; rather, my argument logically and deductively proves your belief about naturalism is wrong. There is no question-begging going on here (at least on my part), Andy. You once again misunderstand the very thing you attack. That leads to mistakes on your part.

            As I made clear in my articles I shared with you, naturalism could happen to be true, my argument simply proves that if it is true, no one (including Andy Ryan) can possess knowledge. Including the knowledge that atheism is true. All you are left with is blind faith question-begging.

            Better luck next time you are up to bat, Andy. Remember, a response does not qualify as a refutation.

            Switching gears: You said, “Under Luke’s gentle questioning you seemed to reduce your claim from it being moral to go with God’s purpose for us, to it simply being more rational.”

            To clarify, if you want to have a son for spare parts (as you mentioned), that is objectively wrong as it goes against the purpose all humans were created for and the commands of Jesus that we have access to (all people ought to love all people). Thus, there is a right and wrong way for humans to act and correspond with each other. When Hitler tries to kill Jews, or ISIS tries to cut off the heads of both Christians and atheists, we can say, “No, Hitler and ISIS, you guys are objectively wrong. This is not the purpose that humans were created for, even if you subjectively disagree.

            So, it is wrong to use a hammer for a screw driver. That is not what the inventor of hammers or screws had in mind. Inventors and designers invent and design with purposes in mind. When a perfectly intelligent designer creates humans on purpose and for the specific purpose to be loved and to flourish, when a human disagrees with another human, there is a truth to our existence that is true apart from human opinion, majority vote, or all disagreement amongst humans.

            Thus, there is an objective truth to the purpose of your life, Andy Ryan (it is not meaningless). You can choose to fulfill it, or you can choose to objectively waste your life.

            I don’t believe I used the words “more rational” as you seemed to suggest as my position. No, I argued that it is utterly STUPID to choose to reject the instructions of a perfectly intelligent being who wants you to thrive, love, and flourish for eternity. It is stupid to affirm any view that says there is nothing objectively wrong or right with love or flourishing. It’s stupid to affirm a morally bankrupt view or any view that suggests there is no objective meaning, value, or purpose to human life. Especially when your belief in atheism is held via blind faith alone.

            You said, “Perhaps you mean ‘in our best interests’ – which isn’t the same as ‘objectively moral’.”

            I do think it is in your best interests, Andy, and isn’t it unintelligent to not do things that are in the best interests, of not just you, but, for all humans? As I mentioned, humans typically equate stupidity and ignorance with “bad” and “wrong.” Feel free to disagree and call stupidity a “good” thing. However, I think your confusion here is regarding what is objectively right and wrong regarding human actions in correspondence to the purpose God had in mind for humans, with the design plan that God had in mind for humans.

            So, holocausts are wrong in the sense that they do not correspond to the objective purpose our perfectly intelligent creator had in mind, and they specifically go against His instructions that were given for us to know how to accomplish His perfectly intelligent plan for humans to flourish.

            So, apart from human opinion (or Agent Smith’s opinion) it is objectively right for humans to flourish. We should flourish. We ought to flourish! Why, because God (the perfectly intelligent creator of humans) created us to flourish. That was the purpose our perfectly intelligent creator had in mind and that is objectively true (apart from human opinion).

            Thus, I stand in a position (unlike you) to affirm that holocausts are objectively bad, wrong, and evil. We ought not do holocausts. They are not only wrong, they are stupid! A naturalsitic atheist, in regards to Hitler’s holocaust, is only left with this if they are going to be logically consistent: “Look what physics and chemistry is doing to all of the Jews; physics and chemistry makes me not like holocausts but it also determines others to like them.”

            BANKRUPT!

            Andy, you said, that I appealed to you, “asking why I would object to a worldview that encourages loving and human flourishing.”

            You once again, in typical fashion, failed to answer the question. Instead you resorted to this:

            “You yourself questioned elsewhere on this same thread why human flourishing is a good basis for objective morality, so you seem to be contradicting yourself. Is it a good basis or not?”

            Once again, let me ask you to copy and paste my words so you can avoid confusion. And, on top of that, please take them in context with everything else I have said. Context is key! For your convenience, to answer you question (which it would be nice if you would answer mine), let me make my case for you one more time (make sure to read my comments after (4):

            1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

            2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

            3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

            4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

            Wow, look at that, Andy! Deductive *proof* that God (Ultimate Reality) provides a foundation for humans to approximate to when we have moral disagreements! Thus, to answer your question, yes, it is not just a good basis, it is the only way to ground objective meaning, value, and purpose to human life apart from human subjective opinion.

            I can drop the mic right now, but I will continue adding points to the argument:

            5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

            6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

            7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a good leader).

            8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and perfectly *good* to accomplish His purpose.

            9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we *ought* to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

            10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

            Please deal with these ten points, Andy. Again, I ask you: Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?

            ANSWER THIS QUESTION!

            Why do you affirm a view which logically affirms there is nothing really wrong with kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts? In fact, there is no ability for these things not to occur on your view. Why would you affirm this view (besides the fact that you don’t think you have a choice in the matter)?

            ANSWER THIS QUESTION!

            Why do you reject a worldview that says it is objectively good and right to love all people?

            ANSWER THIS QUESTION!

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Again, I ask you: Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

            Tim, can you find a quote of me saying I detest the worldview you describe?

            “Once again, let me ask you to copy and paste my words so you can avoid confusion.”

            Indeed, please go ahead and copy and paste my exact words where you think I said that.

            “Why do you reject a worldview that says it is objectively good and right to love all people?”

            Tim, when Sam Harris said that we should use human flourishing as a basis of morality, you rejected it. So is it a good basis or not?

            “Better luck next time you are up to bat, Andy.”

            Tim, I don’t think these responses help your argument. You irrelevantly sniped about me “books” in your reply to Luke – while later somewhat contradictorily accused me of attempting a “Hasty retreat” – but fill your own responses with what seem to be attempts at ‘slams’. Why not just stick to arguments and points? That’s leaving aside that while asking me to stick to a small number of points, you then wrote a huge new post trying to use the determinism argument here on this thread. Either way, my arguments are as they are – it’s irrelevant that they come from someone who you label a determinist.

            “Andy, my Freethinking Argument deductively proves that knowledge is impossible if all that exists is nature and all is determined”

            Tim, I get that that is what you were attempting to argue. And when I responded, your attempted refutation of my response did indeed involve your conclusion – that knowledge is impossible for me. You tried to use that to discredit my arguments AGAINST knowledge being impossible for me. So yes you were begging the question. My ‘hit on the head’ analogy stands.

            “To clarify, if you want to have a son for spare parts (as you mentioned), that is objectively wrong as it goes against the purpose all humans were created for”

            It was an analogy, Tim. I think you dodge it. If you use an analogy of hammers and screwdrivers fulfilling their purpose then it’s not very persuasive as they’re inanimate objects rather than sentient beings. And if all humans are ultimately created by God then that would apply to hammers and screwdrivers too, meaning any analogies for ‘fulling their created purpose’ would ultimately reduce to God and hence not be of any use to aid understanding on that issue.

            “I don’t believe I used the words “more rational” as you seemed to suggest as my position. No, I argued that it is utterly STUPID to choose…”

            So you’re quibbling about ‘not rational’ vs ‘utterly STUPID’. OK. Either way, you’re talking about self-interest rather than morality.

            [NB: if I’m replying on my computer it’s easy to copy/paste. If I’m replying on my iPad, it’s pretty much impossible. There’s nothing more sinister than that in occasions where I haven’t copy and pasted]

      • Tim says:

        I said, “7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a “good” leader)”

        You said, “Who says, Tim? What makes what he does ‘good’? Just saying he’s smart therefore he has to be ‘good’ isn’t an argument, and doesn’t get you ‘oughts’ from the supposed ‘is’ of his intelligence, perfect or otherwise.”

        You are missing my point, Andy. We call intelligence “good.” Don’t you think it is “good” to be intelligent? Do you not vote for the leaders that you think are the most intelligent? We typically think stupidity should be avoided and refer to it as the way people ought not act (i.e., “bad”). If a perfectly intelligent being tells you how to flourish according to His perfect design plan, then my case is that you are objectively “stupid” (sorry if you don’t like that word), if you choose to think you are smarter than a perfectly intelligent being.

        Reply
        • Tim says:

          Whoops! I think I replied in the wrong spot! All of these comments are hard to keep track of! Here is what I said:

          Andy, I asked you, “Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

          You replied: “Tim, can you find a quote of me saying I detest the worldview you describe?”

          Well, you argue against Christian theism incessantly. Am I incorrect, do you love the Christian worldview? Let me rephrase it: Why do you hold a worldview that affirms that nothing is objectively wrong with kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts? Why do you argue against a worldview that can logically affirm those actions are really wrong?

          I asked, “Why do you reject a worldview that says it is objectively good and right to love all people?”

          Andy, once again you refuse to answer the question (what’s up with that?)! Instead of answering, you responded with an error: “Tim, when Sam Harris said that we should use human flourishing as a basis of morality, you rejected it. So is it a good basis or not?”

          Read the article a little closer, Andy! I demonstrated that Harris cannot logically affirm WHY human flourishing is objectively good AND that there is an ability to do otherwise (so much for genuine moral choices). So, please, Andy, try to understand what you attack before attacking it, and please, ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!

          Seriously, why do you get to write all kinds of questions that you expect me to answer, but then when I ask a question you dodge it time and time again?

          You said, “That’s leaving aside that while asking me to stick to a small number of points, you then wrote a huge new post trying to use the determinism argument here on this thread.”

          Wow! Andy READ THE ARTICLE! The determinism argument is part of my original case! It’s not like I’m trying to change the subject. Moreover, I am simply responding to all of your points.

          You said, “Either way, my arguments are as they are – it’s irrelevant that they come from someone who you label a determinist.”

          Andy, if you are a naturalist then you are either a determinist or you are confused. Moreover, if naturalism is true, then you do not possess knowledge. I have deductively proven that! I am dealing with your other arguments just fine.

          I stated: “Andy, my Freethinking Argument deductively proves that knowledge is impossible if all that exists is nature and all is determined”

          You said, “I get that that is what you were attempting to argue. And when I responded, your attempted refutation of my response did indeed involve your conclusion – that knowledge is impossible for me.”

          No, Andy, again you simply do not understand what you attack! My case is not that Andy Ryan cannot possess knowledge if he thinks naturalism is true. Pay close attention: It is that if naturalism is true, then NO ONE possesses knowledge.

          Since you do not understand what you attack, you wind up attacking a straw man and say that I am begging the question, however, my symbolic form proves my argument is valid and no question begging is occurring and my conclusions (5-7) are all deductive:

          1. N → ¬ S

          2. ¬ S → ¬ LFW

          3. ¬ LFW → ¬ R & ¬ K

          4. R & K

          5. R & K → LFW

          6. LFW → S

          7. S → ¬ N

          Andy, you said, “You tried to use that to discredit my arguments AGAINST knowledge being impossible for me. So yes you were begging the question.”

          Let me reiterate: if you happen to be right about naturalism, then you (and all people) cannot possess knowledge.

          I referred to your analogy of the “spare parts son” and said: “To clarify, if you want to have a son for spare parts (as you mentioned), that is objectively wrong as it goes against the purpose all humans were created for”

          You replied: “It was an analogy, Tim.”

          I realize that, Andy. And it failed to serve your purpose.
          You continued: “I think you dodge it. If you use an analogy of hammers and screwdrivers fulfilling their purpose then it’s not very persuasive as they’re inanimate objects rather than sentient beings.”

          Ha! Well on your naturalistic worldview, you don’t have any more of a choice to make than a hammer or nail does! On your analogy, it is still objectively wrong for you to have a son for “spare parts” even if you disagreed, and on my analogy, hammers and screwdrivers were created for specific purposes that humans with libertarian free will can choose to use appropriately or not.

          Your analogy falls flat; mine stands strong.

          You said, “if all humans are ultimately created by God then that would apply to hammers and screwdrivers too, meaning any analogies for ‘fulling their created purpose’ would ultimately reduce to God and hence not be of any use to aid understanding on that issue.”

          Not if Molinism is true, and I am a Molinist!

          You misquoted me again and I said: “I don’t believe I used the words “more rational” as you seemed to suggest as my position. No, I argued that it is utterly STUPID to choose…”

          You retorted: “So you’re quibbling about ‘not rational’ vs ‘utterly STUPID’. OK. Either way, you’re talking about self-interest rather than morality.”

          I’m talking about both, Andy! But even if it were just about the eternal flourishing and “interests” of all humans, I think that’s enough to make a strong case. However, as I explained to Luke, it is both morally wrong and stupid to do holocausts. Holocausts are still objectively *wrong* as they do not correspond to the perfectly intelligent designer’s design plan and goal for all humanity (which is true apart from human opinion or the majority vote) to love, be loved, and to flourish. We also have instructions as to how to reach this goal given to us by our perfectly intelligent designer.

          These transcend humanity and correspond to ultimate reality (God)!

          Thus, based on my model, I can affirm that not only is it unintelligent to choose to do holocausts or harm humans in any manner, it is “stupid” as well.

          Let’s carefully examine my ten-point model starting with the first four steps:

          1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

          2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

          3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

          4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

          Here we have deductive *proof* that God (Ultimate Reality) provides a foundation for humans to approximate to when we have moral disagreements! This seems to be the only way to ground objective meaning, value, and purpose to human life apart from human subjective opinion. Atheistic naturalism can’t explain objective moral values, objective moral duties, or any ability to make any choices, including choices with supposed moral properties. This is why your worldview is morally bankrupt and Theism offers objective purpose and how humans ought to live according to the design plan of the perfectly intelligent designer. ISIS and Nazis violate the purpose in which humans were created for (this transcends human opinion). Thus, they are wrong even if everyone disagreed.

          I can continue adding points to the argument:

          5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

          6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

          7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a good leader).

          8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and perfectly *good* to accomplish His purpose.

          9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we *ought* to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

          10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

          You said, “[NB: if I’m replying on my computer it’s easy to copy/paste. If I’m replying on my iPad, it’s pretty much impossible. There’s nothing more sinister than that in occasions where I haven’t copy and pasted]”

          Fair enough, Andy. But then be extra careful not to put words in my mouth! I am gone for several days now.

          Thank you for the spirited conversation, Andy. I really enjoyed it! Feel free to take the last word.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “No, Andy, again you simply do not understand what you attack! My case is not that Andy Ryan cannot possess knowledge if he thinks naturalism is true. Pay close attention: It is that if naturalism is true, then NO ONE possesses knowledge.”

            Yes, I got that you believe that. That doesn’t debunk the point that I made, which still stands.

            ME: “You tried to use that to discredit my arguments AGAINST knowledge being impossible for me. So yes you were begging the question.”
            YOU: “Let me reiterate: if you happen to be right about naturalism, then you (and all people) cannot possess knowledge.”

            Right, I get that you believe that – that’s the conclusion of your determinism argument. And I argued against the arguments you used to build TOWARDS that conclusion. You dismissed my arguments on the basis that I cannot know my arguments are correct because knowledge is impossible under determinism. Again, that was your conclusion.

            Tim, this IS begging the question. I don’t know how much clearer this can be made to you. Like you’re frequent ill-advised attempts to slip ‘slams’ into your arguments, I’ll chalk it up to inexperience on your part – you’re young and you’re still studying.

            One last time – you can’t use the conclusion of your argument to defeat arguments AGAINST that conclusion.

            “Moreover, if naturalism is true, then you do not possess knowledge. I have deductively proven that!”

            Tim, since you love the ‘slams’ so much, I’ll leave one for you. Have you even seen Monty Python’s Quest For The Holy Grail? Google for the Black Knight scene. It’s the one where the knight gets all his limbs chopped off but still declares that he’s the winner in the fight. He’s lying on the ground with no limbs and he shrieks “The Black Knight is always triumphant!”. That’s pretty much you here claiming to have deductively proven something that you’ve come nowhere close to proving.

  5. Tim says:

    (2)

    Andy, you said, “There’s nothing in the definition of objective that means human opinion is irrelevant but other opinions are.”

    Is there a truth to the matter that corresponds to reality no matter what any human thinks? That is the question, Andy. If reality is that a perfectly intelligent being created humanity on purpose and for the objective purpose to freely choose to love their creator and all of his creation, then there is a purpose to our human lives that is true and corresponds to reality even if you disagree (and you are free to disagree)!

    You said, “A triangle has three sides regardless of ANY opinion. That’s what objective means – it doesn’t stop being a triangle if a dog or an alien or a robot thinks otherwise.”

    Exactly! And if it is *objectively* good for all humans to flourish (if that is why we were created by a perfectly intelligent designer), then it is objectively bad (or stupid) to do things like holocausts. My article demonstrates how Christianity grounds the fact that it is objectively good and right for all humans to be loved and to flourish for eternity. Naturalistic atheism does not ground objective moral values, objective moral duties or obligations, or the ability to do otherwise.

    What a morally bankrupt worldview!

    Reply
  6. Tim says:

    (3)

    Andy, you said, “I’d say that WOULD go for any God you can conceive of either.”

    “You would say…”?!? Is that just your subjective opinion? Do you have a real and genuine ability to think or say otherwise? If not, how can you know or rationally affirm your determined thoughts are any good (let alone true)? Again, all you are left with is assumptions on top of presuppositions and more question begging. Those are not reasons.

    Anyway, even though you don’t think you have the ability to think or say otherwise, why should we put any stock in your subjective opinion or what “you think?”

    According to your words, it seems as if you think there is some abstract standard of “the good,” that would apply to any and all persons including a maximally great being. However, if “the good” can be grounded in some immaterial abstract thing, why can’t it be grounded in an immaterial concrete and perfectly intelligent mind? That makes far more sense.

    You said, “So yes, my point stands – if it’s dependent on a God then it’s subjective rather than objective.”

    For the sake of argument, if I grant that proposition, Andy, what does it prove and where does it get you?

    If you make this move, now you would be left with a perfectly intelligent being (God) creating humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to be loved and flourish for eternity. Thus, your life is not meaningless, valueless, or purposeless like it is on atheism. This perfectly intelligent being provides commands via Jesus so that the humans He has created will know how to flourish on earth and in eternity. We know how we *ought* to live. Again, there are no “oughts” on naturalistic determinism.

    God gives you the freedom to subjectively disagree with His perfectly intelligent purpose and the commands that help us attain that purpose, Andy. You are free to disagree with perfect intelligence, but that would make you objectively stupi… (well, to be kind I will simply say “not objectively smart.”

    If you disagree with a perfectly intelligent being and don’t think that it is objectively good and right for humans to be loved and to flourish, then go ahead and make that case.

    Andy, you said, “you’re trying to smuggle in some ‘oughts’ by saying going against a purpose you’ve been created for is objectively immoral.”

    No, I’m actually making a case that it is objectively stupid. According to Christian theism, God created us on purpose and for the specific purpose to love our creator and to love all people (Mark 12:30-31). According to the bankrupt view of atheistic naturalism, morality is meaningless and so is all human life – including yours! Thank God you are wrong about atheism! Because you are wrong, your life is objectively meaningful, valuable, and you exist for a purpose that transcends human opinion! That’s pretty cool!

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “why should we put any stock in your subjective opinion or what “you think?””

      Likewise, Tim. If we’re to have a discussion then an essential part of it is that we consider each other’s arguments!

      “For the sake of argument, if I grant that proposition, Andy, what does it prove and where does it get you?”

      It shows that you’ve failed to demonstrate morality is objective under your theistic worldview.

      “now you would be left with a perfectly intelligent being (God) creating humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to be loved and flourish for eternity”

      If you can argue that under atheism there’s nothing objectively wrong about the holocaust then equally there’s nothing objectively good about loving and flourishing for eternity. If you can appeal ‘common sense’ that loving and flourishing are good things then it’s true with or without a God.

      Reply
  7. Tim says:

    (4)

    Andy, you said, “If I have a child for the objective purpose of using them for spare body parts when they’re an adult, would it be objectively wrong for them to object, given that that was the purpose they were born for? [BTW, it’s a dodge for you to reply that God’s purpose for them supercedes mine. Try to address the analogy itself].”

    It is no “dodge” at all, Andy, because you are offering an analogy that is dissimilar. God is the creator of *all* humanity and this would include the human child that you are having for “spare parts.” Thus, your opinion about your “spare parts child” is objectively wrong as it does not correspond to reality and the purpose that God (the *ultimate* creator of your son) has for your son. You are basically appealing to the same tactics of argumentation the Nazis employed after WWII. That’s not a good bunch to be associated with, Andy.

    You asked, “By the way, if it’s important to have been created by another being for an objective purpose, where does this leave God? Does he have no purpose?”

    God has no purpose in a sense but He can do things on purpose. God is simply the Maximally Great Being. He is the standard of ultimate reality. We can choose to approximate to his perfection or not. With that said, God does not have a “purpose” that He must accomplish. He has no obligations. He is perfectly intelligent, and we can choose to correspond to perfect intelligence or we can freely choose to be stupid. It’s your choice.

    In the same way, I state that God does not engage in the process of rationality as humans do. One might say, “So, God is not rational.” In a sense, they are correct, because an omniscient God does not have to think things through (one-at-a-time) to come to logical and rational conclusions. He simply knows all things (omniscient) and is perfectly intelligent.

    Reply
  8. Tim says:

    (5)

    Andy, I pointed out that in the movie, “The Matrix, Agent Smith referred to the flourishing of humanity as a “virus,” and a “cancer of the planet.”

    I went on to ask: “Is Agent Smith objectively wrong, or do we simply have differing subjective opinions? It would be circular reasoning to argue that the flourishing of humanity is objectively good because one assumes it is objectively good when humanity flourishes.”

    You responded without addressing my point, Andy. You exclaimed: “So what? I can quote movies at you where people call God a terrible being. Does that invalidate your argument?”

    Come on, bro! Deal with my point here and don’t run from it. What makes your subjective opinion any better or worse than Agent Smith’s subjective opinion which differs from yours? Christians have logical ground to stand on and show why Agent Smith is objectively wrong. Atheism is morally bankrupt!

    Andy, you incorrectly stated: “Your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral REGARDLESS of human opinion is that humans are of the opinion that it’s immoral.”

    FALSE! I stated that humans stand in an epistemic position to know (justified true belief) that it really is objectively wrong to do holocausts based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We have good reason to come to these conclusions regarding objective reality. That is to say, there is a reality to morality and we can choose to approximate to reality or not.

    You said, “To show that it’s OBECTIVELY immoral, then even by your own definition you need to find a demonstration or argument about its immorality that does NOT depend on human opinion.”

    That’s easy: the resurrection of Jesus is best explained by supernatural means. This is the fact because Dave Hume made the case that “Dead men don’t rise naturally.” What is the best explanation of a supernatural resurrection of Jesus? It’s pretty easy to make the case that God is that explanation; the same God that created the entire universe. Based on my ten-point case above, we have good reason to logically conclude that humans were created on purpose and for the specific purpose to love and flourish?

    Do you not like human love and flourishing, Andy? Whether you subjectively like love and flourishing or not, we were created for the objective purpose to love and flourish. Some people disagree and do things to stop it. They are objectively stupid and wrong. Regarding the Holocaust, all the atheistic naturalist can say is: “Look what physics and chemistry is doing to all the Jews!”

    You said, “You can ask me if I think the holocaust was immoral, but I can only give you my opinion on that.”

    That’s right: your opinion vs. Hitler’s opinion! What makes your opinion better or worse than Hitler’s in an objective sense? NOTHING if atheism is true! Moreover, given naturalistic determinism those differing opinions that you and Hitler hold were forced upon the two of you via external factors outside of your control. You have no ability to have a differing opinion and neither did Hitler.

    What a meaningless life!

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      You said: “Many wind up stating that objective moral values and duties do not exist. By making this move, however, they affirm that there is nothing reallywrong with Hitler’s Holocaust. Since rejecting premise (2) tacitly affirms the atrocities of these evil men, they feel the pressure to either find another way to ground objective morality, or become theists”

      I said: “Your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral REGARDLESS of human opinion is that humans are of the opinion that it’s immoral.”

      You said that I’m falsely summarising you here, but I don’t think I am. You say that’s false – in other words that is NOT the evidence you have for objective moral values – because the bible demonstrates that the holocaust is immoral.

      OK Tim, let’s put that in your syllogism then..

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

      2- The bible demonstrates that objective moral values and duties exist because it really is objectively wrong to do holocausts based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, which has moral authority because he is God.

      3- Therefore, God exists.

      Tim, don’t you see that you’re begging the question here? Your proof of the existence of God contains the assumption that God exists.

      “Is it objectively bad to be a sociopath?”

      Tim, I already addressed this. I anticipated your objection and addressed it already, so can only direct you back to the post you replied to.

      “You are just sweeping your gigantic problems underneath the rug”

      By avoiding the objections I made to your argument, it is you who sweeping the problems under the rug.

      Reply
      • Tim says:

        I said: “Many wind up stating that objective moral values and duties do not exist. By making this move, however, they affirm that there is nothing really wrong with Hitler’s Holocaust. Since rejecting premise (2) tacitly affirms the atrocities of these evil men, they feel the pressure to either find another way to ground objective morality, or become theists”

        Andy, you said: “Your proof that the holocaust was objectively immoral REGARDLESS of human opinion is that humans are of the opinion that it’s immoral.”

        That’s not true at all, Andy! I’m stating that if God exists and created humans to love and flourish, then holocausts would be objectively wrong apart from human opinion or the majority vote. In fact, even if Hitler would have won WWII, and killed or brainwashed everyone that disagreed with him, the holocaust would still be directly opposed to the purpose in which humanity was created.

        Man, you are starting to sound like a Nazi! Do you think that is objectively wrong? Do you think it is objectively wrong for me to say that? Do we merely have differing subjective opinions?

        Please stop misrepresenting me, Andy!

        You said, “OK Tim, let’s put that in your syllogism then..”

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

        2- The bible demonstrates that objective moral values and duties exist because it really is objectively wrong to do holocausts based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, which has moral authority because he is God.

        Andy, I agree with (1), but you are making a huge error in (2) by confusing moral ontology with epistemology! You are completely misrepresenting the argument and thus, your argument falls flat. We can talk about the different ways in which we can come to know objective morality, but that is different and separate from the moral argument.

        That is not my case at all. Again, you attack a straw man, and thus, I am not reasoning in any circles as you are fond of doing (as well as committing other logical fallacies).

        This is getting a bit tiresome, Andy. You refuse to answer many of my questions and then you repeatedly attack straw men all while begging (a whole lotta) questions and confusing ontology with epistemology.

        Reply
  9. Tim says:

    (6)

    Andy, you said, “Of course, you can ask ‘but what makes human suffering BAD’. I’d say only a sociopath could ask such a question.”

    Again, that is your subjective opinion and you have no ability to even think differently than sociopaths. Is it objectively bad to be a sociopath? You are just sweeping your gigantic problems underneath the rug, but the rug is not hiding your problems in the slightest. After all, in a deterministic worldview, which was not created for an objective purpose, you cannot claim that it is objectively bad to be a sociopath. So the question remains (if a sociopath asks it or not): Is it objectively good and right for humans to flourish? Is it objectively bad and wrong to torture, rape, and murder humans?

    The Christian has logical grounds to affirm love and flourishing and condemn evil. On your atheistic view, there is no such thing as objective evil. All you are left with is your subjective opinions. Moreover, according to your subjective opinion, you don’t even have an ability to have a different subjective opinion.

    Atheistic naturalism is bankrupt!

    Reply
  10. Tim says:

    (7)

    Andy, you said, “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

    Don’t put words in my mouth, Andy. Please deal with my exact words. That is NOT my quote or my view! God does not “force” anyone to correspond to him. In fact, you are free to exist apart from His perfect love and flourishing for eternity if you’d prefer. It’s your free choice.

    You said, “Ultimately I think most people would agree with that – present people with a scenario where a God is creating people simply to torture them for his own pleasure, I think the majority would say that was an evil God. In other words, my axiom would trump yours.”

    Several problems here, Andy! First: we are talking about objective truth as opposed to what “most people would agree with” or the majority vote. It’s irrelevant what you or most people subjectively think about morality if there are no objective moral truths. Second: you offer a view of God and hell that I utterly disagree with! See my article regarding “The Logic of Hell”:

    http://freethinkingministries.com/true-love-free-will-the-logic-of-hell/

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Me: “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

      You: “Don’t put words in my mouth, Andy. That is NOT my quote or my view!”

      So you deny that we have a purpose set by God?

      “Please deal with my exact words.”

      Sure, Tim, I’m happy to quote you precisely:

      Tim: “if God exists and created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy a relationship with God for eternity”

      Sorry Tim, but you pretty clearly say there that God has a purpose for us. You DO think that is our purpose, and you do NOT think that we had a choice in the matter, so quite clearly this is a purpose that was forced upon us.

      “I offered a logical argument above, Andy.”

      Based on false premises, as I already explained.

      “why do you detest a worldview which states it is objectively wrong and evil to cause pain and suffering to people?”

      When I offered ‘causing human suffering is wrong’ as an axiom, it was YOU who rejected it.

      “Especially when there is reason to think your blind faith in atheism might be false?”

      You’ve yet to offer a decent reason, I’m afraid Tim.

      “Why do you hate that view and prefer a view that says there is nothing *really* wrong with Hitler, Bundy, Sandusky, or ISIS?”

      If you truly believed they were REALLY wrong then you’d say they were wrong with or without a God. But you say without a God those things are no different to Reagan, Mother Teresa, The Pope etc. So to me it is YOU saying they’re not objectively wrong.

      Weird!

      Reply
      • Tim says:

        Andy, I asked, “why do you detest a worldview which states it is objectively wrong and evil to cause pain and suffering to people?”

        You avoided answering the question and asked: “When I offered ‘causing human suffering is wrong’ as an axiom, it was YOU who rejected it.”

        Let me clarify, it is wrong in the sense that it does not correspond to the purpose humanity was created for by a perfectly intelligent being (GOD). Humans were created to eternally flourish not to eternally suffer. This is true apart from human opinion. God gives us instructions on how to live so that we can fulfill the objective purpose of humanity. To freely choose to reject perfectly intelligent ideas is less than perfectly intelligent (i.e., stupid)!

        Here is the logic one more time:

        1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

        2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

        3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

        4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

        5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

        6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

        7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a good leader).

        8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and perfectly good.

        9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we ought to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

        10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

        What are you left with on atheistic naturalism? Let me list it for you:

        1- No logical grounding for objective moral value
        2- No logical grounding for objective obligations
        3- No ability to do otherwise

        This is why I state that atheism is morally bankrupt. There is no logical grounding to condemn ISIS today. On your view, it is nothing but chemistry and physics. ISIS has no ability to do otherwise on your view, and even if they did, there is no logical grounding for any moral values or duties. Bankrupt!

        I said, “Especially when there is reason to think your blind faith in atheism might be false?”

        You were forced to reply: “You’ve yet to offer a decent reason, I’m afraid Tim.”

        You missed the first point (albeit a subtle)! Why should we think your blind faith in naturalistic atheism is true? Do you have any good arguments? Christian have around 30 or so at our disposal. So far, the moral argument alone is unrefuted on this thread! Moreover, if you are not even in control of your thoughts (according to your own worldview), then you have no good reasons to think any of your determined thoughts are good or not (let alone true). All you can do is assume, presuppose, and hold a blind faith that nature forced you to hold true beliefs and me to hold false ones. That is the epitome of begging the question, and any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all.

        Thus, all you are left with is blind faith!

        Again, I ask you: why do you detest a worldview that commands humans to love and flourish over your view that says there is nothing really (objectively) right or wrong with flourishing or suffering? Let me reiterate: your worldview is morally BANKRUPT! You are free to change it and come over to the side that can logically condemn holocausts and ISIS.

        I asked: “Why do you hate [the Christian] view and prefer a view that says there is nothing *really* wrong with Hitler, Bundy, Sandusky, or ISIS?”

        Again, you ran scared from answering that question, Andy! You gave this as a response:

        “If you truly believed they were REALLY wrong then you’d say they were wrong with or without a God.”

        FALSE! There you go putting more words in my mouth while running away from the actual question. Let me correct you: If I thought naturalistic atheism were true I’d say, “look at what physics and chemistry did!”

        You said, “But you say without a God those things are no different to Reagan, Mother Teresa, The Pope etc. So to me it is YOU saying they’re not objectively wrong. Weird!”

        Andy, it logically follows that if all is nature, then there is only the way nature is and not how it ought to be. Moreover, there would be no ability to make any free choices, moral or otherwise, thus, on naturalism there is no difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa. We are left with nothing but physics and chemistry. Let me remind you of the title of my article: You cannot logically derive “An OUGHT from an IS.”

        Reply
  11. Tim says:

    (8)

    Andy, you said, “People will only accept a God as good if his edicts match what they already view as good.”

    That’s utterly FALSE, Andy! I personally know so many people who have completely transformed their lives to correspond to reality once they realized that Christianity was true! I see people come to see how bankrupt the blind faith of atheism is and then come to see the good reasons to think that Christianity is probably true. At this point, they see that the life of drugs, pornography, stealing, etc… are objectively wrong and stupid according to the design plan that they were created for. They freely choose to correspond to reality instead of running from it. When one corresponds to reality they avoid painful collisions with reality.

    You said, “You can argue that they are all wrong, but then you lose the right to appeal to consensus when it comes to the holocaust.”

    I NEVER DID THAT!!! You obviously don’t understand my view, Andy. Please read my article again. I never appealed to Consensus! I appeal to God.

    You said, “And if you argue that ‘human good/flourishing’ doesn’t make more sense than ‘fulfilling God’s purpose’, but then you need some other axiom to explain why.”

    I offered a logical argument above, Andy.

    Here’s my questions for you: why do you detest a worldview which states it is objectively wrong and evil to cause pain and suffering to people? This same worldview you have a revulsion against also states that it is objectively good and right to love all people (even your enemies)! Why do you hate that view and prefer a view that says there is nothing *really* wrong with Hitler, Bundy, Sandusky, or ISIS?

    Especially when there is reason to think your blind faith in atheism might be false?

    Weird!

    Reply
  12. JAdido says:

    Oughts can only be grounded in purpose since a purpose says how something ought to be. But I think what gives a purpose force is obligation which is property of ownership/jurisdiction. I distinguish between the moral content, the ought and the obligation which is an accidental property of an ought, given that an ought is first and foremost rooted in purpose. And not all purposes have the property of obligation. So what makes up the moral content for humans is human nature. Aka what is good for a thing is determined by its nature. The issue then comes with moral obligation:

    In a naturalistic worldview it is still possible to be realist in a qualified sense and say “what is good for a thing is determined by its nature.” However one couldn’t say that people *ought* to follow what is good for a nature simply because it *is*. Not only does it fall prey to the Naturalistic Fallacy but I think in principle you can’t have oughts in a materialistic world. Oughts which are the base of rights presuppose a purpose for a specific thing. Because if there are no purposes for things then there is no way it *ought* to be. Purpose then presupposes a mind or intelligence which sets it.

    Naturalism both denies that immaterial things such as value, rights and purposes can exist. Or that there is a mind or intelligence behind the universe and humanity.
    If there is no overarching purpose then there are no morals with the force *obligation*. Even if I were to decide to give myself purpose or if society voted on one (ignoring the fact that it can’t exist in a materialistic world), to act in moral outrage when someone violates or prevents our purpose would be a massive game of pretend. Since in actuality other than our subjective opinions, no such overarching purposes and therefore obligations exist.

    Why then would the purpose of the Mind behind the universe have the power of obligation and not just mere opinion? I would argue because of the nature of what an obligation is. Obligation is established by the very fact that the Mind has a purpose and for that purpose made everything that exists. And by virtue of having made everything and therefore owning it, that ownership is the principle of obligation. It seems then to deny that ownership carries obligation is simply to deny the very grounds of there being any rights or obligations at all. In which case one couldn’t even object to the Mind exercising authority over creation, on the basis that “this Mind *can’t* do that, because they have no *right*. Or that the Mind *ought* not do that.

    In conclusion, while it is possible to imagine the basis of moral content existing in a naturalistic worldview. It seems that there is no basis for obligation in such a world. In fact it is the oughtness that takes it from being a mere fact of the matter (humans flourish when living X way) to being moral (it is right that humans flourish by living X way). And to deny that a Mind in having ownership of creation has the power of obligation, one is in fact denying the basis of any obligation whatsoever.

    So too I think the argument from from maximally intelligent and good being may suit more the moral content aspect of the argument. While it may be the most rational thing to follow such a being, the question then becomes why is one obligated to do what is rational? Because, the most rational being said you should. But why are we obligated to listen to the most rational being? Because it is rational. One its own it is circular. But combined with the principle of obligation, it makes the *obligarion* a rational one. So God’s attributes, his rationality and love, are the basis upon which the moral content Is determined (we are made in God’s image and flourish when living accordingly, so being rational and loving is good for us), his purpose in creating the world give it its objective oughness (so because the world exists *to be* a certain way, that is as a fact its purpose) but then it is by virtue of God having made all things and having ownership and sovereignty over it that his purpose has the priopertty of obligation. So moral content is not arbitrary but based on who God is, the oughtness stems from the purpose since without such there can be no ought and lastly what separates His purpose from others (besides that His is built into the nature of things making and is a matter of fact) is the obligatory nature of the oughts of His purposes by virtue of His ownership. That’s how I see it.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “And by virtue of having made everything and therefore owning it, that ownership is the principle of obligation”

      So are you saying that ‘property rights’ are an objective truth? And we can use that objective truth to ground God as being the source of morals?

      That’s very interesting. If theists can use property rights as an axiomatic source to ground God as the source of morals, then equally atheists can refer to property rights too as an axiomatic source of morals. Thus the holocaust clearly contravenes these rights.

      “It seems then to deny that ownership carries obligation is simply to deny the very grounds of there being any rights or obligations at all”

      That sounds fair enough to me. This seems a pretty big hurdle for a theist to jump over if they want to deny that morals would exist without God.

      Note that theists could attempt to argue against the above by claiming that these property rights would only exists if there IS a God who is the source of morals, but then they can’t use those property rights to GROUND God as the source of morals without begging the questions. In other words ‘Property rights flow from God’s morality and God’s morality flows from property rights’. Thus it would be special pleading to allow themselves to use the ‘property rights’ argument and deny atheists to use it too.

      Reply
      • JAdido says:

        Thanks for your response Andy. Here are some thoughts on what you’ve said:

        //That’s very interesting. If theists can use property rights as an axiomatic source to ground God as the source of morals, then equally atheists can refer to property rights too as an axiomatic source of morals. Thus the holocaust clearly contravenes these rights.//

        No that doesn’t work. Morality includes, the moral content, the overarching purpose and the obligation. Atheists per a worldview can have the first. Not the latter two. Without the other two morality loses objectivity and collapses into emotivism. And no the holocaust won’t work either as an example. Since God owns all creation, such that even if a lesser authority could be said to have jurisdiction, it loses moral legitimacy when it violates God. So per Christianity, we ought to obey the State, but the State ought to adhere to God. And if the two are in conflict, get what Christians are called to do?

        //“It seems then to deny that ownership carries obligation is simply to deny the very grounds of there being any rights or obligations at all”
        That sounds fair enough to me. This seems a pretty big hurdle for a theist to jump over if they want to deny that morals would exist without God.//

        Again, morals are more than the moral content. Per naturalism you can’t have the principle of obligation + the telos/purpose in relation to what exists needed without falling into the is/ought fallacy. If there is no purpose behind what is, then any that you give it is pretend.

        //Note that theists could attempt to argue against the above by claiming that these property rights would only exists if there IS a God who is the source of morals, but then they can’t use those property rights to GROUND God as the source of morals without begging the questions.//

        This is mixing a few things. Rights stem from purpose, since without purpose which determines how things *ought* to be, there is no *right*. But what gives the purpose its force is the principle of obligation, which I’m currently arguing for is ownership. That distinguishes the legitimacy of one purpose against another (e.g my design for how my room should be decorated as opposed to a strangers). So the moral content of, the good, comes from God’s nature. And he makes things to function accordingly according to his purpose. And obligation is the rational relation of ownership/jurisdiction between rational persons. It stems from our being creatures to the Creator.

        //In other words ‘Property rights flow from God’s morality and God’s morality flows from property rights’.//

        That’s not the case. First of all, morality encompasses the whole; moral content, purpose and obligation. Rights are a subset of purposes. And since there is no purpose above God determining him, He does not appeal to rights. So the property of obligation is not something outside of himself that he appeals to. Thus in saying God’s morality, we are not describing something prescriptive of God but only descriptive, aka, this is how God acts.

        What makes the moral content of God’s actions is his character, so love + rationality would be included in and He has them without any privation. So everything flows from them two. In other words, morality is content + purpose + obligation. God’s “content” is the basis of the other two. So his purposes will be rational and loving (in keeping with God’s character) and the principle of obligation stems from God’s character (rationality and love) as well. Thus since obligation is a relation based on God’s character, obligation is said to be the loving and rational relational between persons established by the ownership/jurisdiction at play. That’s simply is the meaning of obligation. And using ownership/jurisdiction is not circular here since they are matter of facts. Some either owns X or does not own X. So “ownership” is not a prescriptive principle that God is appealing to, but simply descriptive of what is the case.

        //Thus it would be special pleading to allow themselves to use the ‘property rights’ argument and deny atheists to use it too.//

        Atheists can’t use it. As I said “obligation is said to be the loving and rational relational between persons established by the ownership/jurisdiction at play.” Atheists could affirm the first part as an active principle of their worldview. But that again is simply to appeal to moral content. Eg, they could say to relate in such a way *is* rational and loving. However obligation isn’t simply to behave in a manner that is rational and loving. Obligation is a rational and loving relation established by the *ownership/jurisdiction”. Per Atheism, there is no matter of fact universal ownership/jurisdiction from which lesser amounts can be delegated and distributed. And even if Bob were to claim ownership of himself, saying he were free, and Sam were to claim ownership of Bob, saying Bob is not free. Neither of them, per atheism could claim that it is their right. Since not only is there no universal jurisdiction of appeal, there is no purpose or end of how things ought be behind Bob and Sam’s existence, so there’s no way that things *ought* to be and thus no *rights*. Atheism could at best appeal to moral content, but has no grounds for purpose or obligation. As such it falls prey to the naturalistic fallacy.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “Morality includes, the moral content, the overarching purpose and the obligation. Atheists per a worldview can have the first. Not the latter two.”

          JAdido, you said that God’s morality flowed from property rights.
          • In other words, you can’t use God’s morality to argue FOR property rights.
          • Therefore these rights exist EXTERNALLY to God’s morality.
          • Therefore these rights exist with or without a God.
          • Therefore they exist in a Godless universe.

          It’s that simple.

          “Some either owns X or does not own X. So “ownership” is not a prescriptive principle that God is appealing to, but simply descriptive of what is the case.”

          In your analogy with Bob and Sam, Sam claiming to own Bob then would simply be a false claim – like claiming a triangle has four sides. Or someone in a theistic universe denying that God has property rights. Whether or not either can appeal to a ‘universal jurisdiction of appeal’ or not makes no difference.

          “And no the holocaust won’t work either as an example”

          It works fine – the holocaust violated property rights whether or not there is a God.

          Reply
          • JAdido says:

            You’re not addressing my argument because you’re claiming I’m saying God’s morality comes from property rights, which I’m not considering that
            I’ve already given the defintition of morality which has three parts (content, purpose, obligation), with rights falling as a subsection of the purpose. And since there is no purpose above God establishing what he “ought” to do, then strictly speaking the category of rights as an external factor doesn’t apply to God. So not only does it make no sense to say I’m arguing that God’s morality comes from property rights (since morality has a threefold content, so what you’re saying has no meaning in that sense) but there is no external category of rights that can apply to God and I have not said such.

            You’re actually trying to deal with the third part of morality, obligation. Which I said is 1) a relation 2) based on love and rationality given 3) ownership and jurisdiction. What gives it its force is that the relation is based not on some external right, but on the fact that it is a rational and loving way for persons to be given ownership. And as it is rational and loving it is based on and flows from the character of God. So God’s character doesn’t flow from obligation but obligation from God’s character.

            Second, simply stating that Sam claiming to win Bob is wrong, doesn’t demonstrate why. It pressuposes either that neither of them have any rights to ownership since such don’t exist or that Sam has no right to claim such. Which then pressuposes that he ought not. Oughts pressupose purpose behind the way things should be. In an atheistic universe, there is none. Ergo Sam’s claim has no less grounds than Bob’s. Both are in this case a matter of preference. And yes you need the universal jurisdisction of appeal or rather ownership by one person, who can then dele beta individual freedoms. Otherwise per an atheistic universe, no one actually owns anything as a right. Not even yourself.

            If there is no God then so called property *rights* are social constructs and preferences with no more weight than a society which denies that most or any people have such. Since rights pressuposes which in such a world ere would not be, bar private opinion.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            But without the property rights, how do you get to ‘God has the right to create our purpose’? What gives him those rights? A person is created by a God – how does that create ‘oughts’?

            “Oughts which are the base of rights presuppose a purpose for a specific thing”

            How so? How are you deriving ‘Bob ought to do this’ from ‘God created Bob’? I can try to come up with analogies, but as we say when I tried to discuss with Tim, any other example of a person or animal creating something for a purpose fails, because they would all ultimately have been made by God anyway. So in the absence of me vein allowed to present a countering analogy, I’ll just have to ask again – how are you deriving ‘Bob ought to do this’ from ‘God created Bob’?

  13. Tim says:

    Thank you for the clarification, Andy.

    You said: “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

    I said: “Don’t put words in my mouth, Andy. That is NOT my quote or my view!”

    You responded: “I said the purpose was forced, not the morality.”

    Well gee whiz, Andy, some things are logically impossible. I’ve never made a claim that God could do the logically impossible. If God created humans on purpose and for the purpose to love and flourish, then this is simply the purpose He had that would be true apart from human subjective opinion (including yours). Moreover, God gives us libertarian freedom to choose to correspond to His purpose for humanity to love and eternally flourish or not. So, there is no forcing morality upon us and if you want to say that the purpose God had in creating us is “forced” upon you, well, sorry He wants you to experience ultimate love and flourishing. God desires the best for you but gives you freedom to have it your way.

    You said, “Whether or not we ignore the purpose, that is the purpose we have, no?”

    Yes, God really wants you to love, be loved, and to eternally flourish. That is what you were created to do, but God is super cool and does not force you to do this against your will. In fact, you are free into the infinite future to eternally reject God’s desire for you to love and flourish. I call that hell, but you are free to call it whatever you’d like. I shared an article I wrote on that topic above. Here it is again:

    http://freethinkingministries.com/true-love-free-will-the-logic-of-hell/

    You said, “I’m not saying we’re forced to fulfil it, I’m saying we are force to HAVE that purpose, in that we don’t set it ourselves.”

    Yeah, so what? Do you wish God created you for the purpose of agony? You are free to go that route if you’d like as my article I just linked to demonstrates.

    You said, “You moan that I’m writing “books” in my responses, but we’ve wasted quite a few paragraphs arguing over one of us misrepresenting the other, based on you misunderstanding or misreading what I wrote.”

    Andy, I simply asked you (in my first response today) to make it a little easier to follow along and write one objection at a time (like Luke does)! I told you that if your first at bat is a home run (or even a base hit) then my argument is defeated. If your first up at bat doesn’t go so well, then come back up and try a different objection. In this manner, it will save us both time and we can be sure not to miss anything.

    You said, “You’ve now apparently given up trying to respond to my actual arguments…”

    That’s a hasty conclusion if I’ve ever seen one! How does asking you to copy and paste my exact words for clarification purposes logically lead to “giving up trying to respond to actual arguments?”

    Andy, you said that I have become “more bad tempered in the process, reverting to determinism arguments, and repeatedly calling me ‘morally bankrupt’ and so forth. I’ll take this as a tacit admission of defeat on your part, so I’ll just say thanks for the conversation.”

    Ha! Wow, are you looking for an excuse to leave, Andy? What an example of yet another hasty conclusion. I don’t see how I’ve become “bad tempered,” Andy. You might confuse the fact that I have demonstrated that naturalistic atheism is logically bankrupt with a “bad temper,” but I am simply pointing out logical facts. This along with the determinism argument were the three points in the original article above, so I am not “reverting” to this (as you say), rather, I am sticking to my case.

    Reply
  14. KR says:

    Tim,

    People are obviously in deep disagreement on many moral issues and it seems to me a lot of heartache could be avoided if there was an objective standard to refer to. How would we determine what the objectively correct position is on a given issue?

    Reply
    • Tim says:

      Hi KR,

      What a great question! In fact, it’s so good that I want to paste it here for everyone to read again:

      “People are obviously in deep disagreement on many moral issues and it seems to me a lot of heartache could be avoided if there was an objective standard to refer to. How would we determine what the objectively correct position is on a given issue?”

      I believe your question touches on two important topics: 1- ontology, and 2 – epistemology. So, regarding ontology, we must first determine what would qualify as a legitimate “objective standard to refer to.” As I’ve made clear in my article, atheism is morally bankrupt as it cannot logically ground objective moral values, objective moral duties, or an ability to make choices — including choices with supposed moral properties. There is no ability to do otherwise on naturalistic atheism.

      Given the ten point argument I’ve posted on this thread, I’ve demonstrated why God is the standard all humans can (and should) approximate to. The existence of God allows for a law above human law; a standard above human opinion. So, when humans disagree on small moral issues or big ones (like holocausts and ISIS), we can refer to God and say, “No, holocausts are objectively evil; Hitler, you ought not act in that manner.”

      So now that brings us to epistemology. Since objective moral values and duties can only be grounded in God, how the heck can we come to know what they are? I think there are several ways to know these things, but the resurrection of Jesus seems to be divine validation on the moral law that Jesus taught (which was different than the Old Testament law — also why they killed him). Jesus summed up the entire law and said it was all about loving God and loving your neighbor (he even went on to tell us to love our enemies)!

      Who doesn’t want to live in a world where all people genuinely love all people? Sign me up for that world! It sounds like heaven on earth!

      So, in a nutshell, I think we know we ought to love and do all things out of a genuine love for all people. This does not mean everything is always black and white and clearly known to us, but it is black and white that if you cannot do something out of love, then don’t do it at all. Many Christians fail at this miserably and they are objectively wrong when they act in this manner. When I fail at this, I am objectively wrong and I ought to change.

      However, if atheism is true, when a churchgoer is intolerant, mean, or nasty, there is nothing really wrong with that.

      Thanks again for the great question!

      Reply
  15. KR says:

    Tim,

    Thank you for your response. I would certainly be in favour of doing all things out of a genuine love for all people. The problem I see is that we rarely come across a moral conflict where one side is in favour of being loving and kind and the other side promotes being unloving and unkind. What we usually find is that both sides see themselves as kind, empathic people working for the common good. Would you agree that in order to provide moral guidance, objective moral values should be able to resolve such conflicts? Wouldn’t that be the point of objective moral values – to eliminate moral disputes?

    You wrote: “This does not mean everything is always black and white and clearly known to us, but it is black and white that if you cannot do something out of love, then don’t do it at all.”

    If not everything is black and white, does this mean that there are some moral values that cannot have any objective basis but are left to our subjectivity? If so, how do we determine which moral values are objective and which are subjective? If not everything is clearly known about these objective moral values, how can we derive any guidance from them? Wouldn’t the first requirement for any moral guide be that it’s accessible to everyone? How else can it guide us?

    Reply
  16. Trevor Ray Slone AKA The Messed Up Apologist says:

    Hey Tim. Great article. If I may add a few points to strengthen your argument.

    One. That which is either moral or immoral is that which does or does not coincide with the nature/essence of God.
    Therefore the existence of God and the actuality of a moral rule system/law are necessarily interlinked to one another.
    Two. If God created human beings or anything at all then these laws necessarily transcend said created things, for that which creates is greater than that which is created, and since He is the only eternal being, and necessarily so which is shown by the Kalam argument as well as the principle of indiscernables, then everything that exists must exist through and as a result of Him and His creative power, and so that law applies to that which is created.

    Keep in mind, atheists and non-Christians, before you reply to this message that I have not said that God has decided or chosen anything moral or immoral. Rather I simply stated that what defines morality is that which coincides with His essence/nature, and God cannot logically cause or choose, or even be responsible for His own nature, for then He would have to have created Himself, which is logically impossible, for then He would have to exist before He existed.

    Thanks again Tim, and Frank, for your hard work for the Kingdom.
    Tim, See you tonight at the gym. 😉

    Reply
  17. Tim says:

    Andy, I asked you, “Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

    You replied: “Tim, can you find a quote of me saying I detest the worldview you describe?”

    Well, you argue against Christian theism incessantly. Am I incorrect, do you love the Christian worldview? Let me rephrase it: Why do you hold a worldview that affirms that nothing is objectively wrong with kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts? Why do you argue against a worldview that can logically affirm those actions are really wrong?

    I asked, “Why do you reject a worldview that says it is objectively good and right to love all people?”

    Andy, once again you refuse to answer the question (what’s up with that?)! Instead of answering, you responded with an error: “Tim, when Sam Harris said that we should use human flourishing as a basis of morality, you rejected it. So is it a good basis or not?”

    Read the article a little closer, Andy! I demonstrated that Harris cannot logically affirm WHY human flourishing is objectively good AND that there is an ability to do otherwise (so much for genuine moral choices). So, please, Andy, try to understand what you attack before attacking it, and please, ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!

    Seriously, why do you get to write all kinds of questions that you expect me to answer, but then when I ask a question you dodge it time and time again?

    You said, “That’s leaving aside that while asking me to stick to a small number of points, you then wrote a huge new post trying to use the determinism argument here on this thread.”

    Wow! Andy READ THE ARTICLE! The determinism argument is part of my original case! It’s not like I’m trying to change the subject. Moreover, I am simply responding to all of your points.

    You said, “Either way, my arguments are as they are – it’s irrelevant that they come from someone who you label a determinist.”

    Andy, if you are a naturalist then you are either a determinist or you are confused. Moreover, if naturalism is true, then you do not possess knowledge. I have deductively proven that! I am dealing with your other arguments just fine.

    I stated: “Andy, my Freethinking Argument deductively proves that knowledge is impossible if all that exists is nature and all is determined”

    You said, “I get that that is what you were attempting to argue. And when I responded, your attempted refutation of my response did indeed involve your conclusion – that knowledge is impossible for me.”

    No, Andy, again you simply do not understand what you attack! My case is not that Andy Ryan cannot possess knowledge if he thinks naturalism is true. Pay close attention: It is that if naturalism is true, then NO ONE possesses knowledge.

    Since you do not understand what you attack, you wind up attacking a straw man and say that I am begging the question, however, my symbolic form proves my argument is valid and no question begging is occurring and my conclusions (5-7) are all deductive:

    1. N → ¬ S

    2. ¬ S → ¬ LFW

    3. ¬ LFW → ¬ R & ¬ K

    4. R & K

    5. R & K → LFW

    6. LFW → S

    7. S → ¬ N

    Andy, you said, “You tried to use that to discredit my arguments AGAINST knowledge being impossible for me. So yes you were begging the question.”

    Let me reiterate: if you happen to be right about naturalism, then you (and all people) cannot possess knowledge.

    I referred to your analogy of the “spare parts son” and said: “To clarify, if you want to have a son for spare parts (as you mentioned), that is objectively wrong as it goes against the purpose all humans were created for”

    You replied: “It was an analogy, Tim.”

    I realize that, Andy. And it failed to serve your purpose.
    You continued: “I think you dodge it. If you use an analogy of hammers and screwdrivers fulfilling their purpose then it’s not very persuasive as they’re inanimate objects rather than sentient beings.”

    Ha! Well on your naturalistic worldview, you don’t have any more of a choice to make than a hammer or nail does! On your analogy, it is still objectively wrong for you to have a son for “spare parts” even if you disagreed, and on my analogy, hammers and screwdrivers were created for specific purposes that humans with libertarian free will can choose to use appropriately or not.

    Your analogy falls flat; mine stands strong.

    You said, “if all humans are ultimately created by God then that would apply to hammers and screwdrivers too, meaning any analogies for ‘fulling their created purpose’ would ultimately reduce to God and hence not be of any use to aid understanding on that issue.”

    Not if Molinism is true, and I am a Molinist!

    You misquoted me again and I said: “I don’t believe I used the words “more rational” as you seemed to suggest as my position. No, I argued that it is utterly STUPID to choose…”

    You retorted: “So you’re quibbling about ‘not rational’ vs ‘utterly STUPID’. OK. Either way, you’re talking about self-interest rather than morality.”

    I’m talking about both, Andy! But even if it were just about the eternal flourishing and “interests” of all humans, I think that’s enough to make a strong case. However, as I explained to Luke, it is both morally wrong and stupid to do holocausts. Holocausts are still objectively *wrong* as they do not correspond to the perfectly intelligent designer’s design plan and goal for all humanity (which is true apart from human opinion or the majority vote) to love, be loved, and to flourish. We also have instructions as to how to reach this goal given to us by our perfectly intelligent designer.

    These transcend humanity and correspond to ultimate reality (God)!

    Thus, based on my model, I can affirm that not only is it unintelligent to choose to do holocausts or harm humans in any manner, it is “stupid” as well.

    Let’s carefully examine my ten-point model starting with the first four steps:

    1- Objective truth corresponds to reality.

    2- If a maximally great being (God) exists, He exists necessarily and eternally. God is ultimate reality.

    3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).

    4- Therefore, this purpose is objectively true apart from human subjective opinion.

    Here we have deductive *proof* that God (Ultimate Reality) provides a foundation for humans to approximate to when we have moral disagreements! This seems to be the only way to ground objective meaning, value, and purpose to human life apart from human subjective opinion. Atheistic naturalism can’t explain objective moral values, objective moral duties, or any ability to make any choices, including choices with supposed moral properties. This is why your worldview is morally bankrupt and Theism offers objective purpose and how humans ought to live according to the design plan of the perfectly intelligent designer. ISIS and Nazis violate the purpose in which humans were created for (this transcends human opinion). Thus, they are wrong even if everyone disagreed.

    I can continue adding points to the argument:

    5- If God exists He is a maximally great being.

    6- If God is maximally great then He is perfectly intelligent.

    7- If God is perfectly intelligent then everything He does is for perfectly good reasons (This is the epitome of a good leader).

    8- Therefore, every command God gives is perfectly intelligent and perfectly *good* to accomplish His purpose.

    9- Therefore if we are to correspond to reality we *ought* to obey His perfectly good and perfectly intelligent commands (That would be the objectively smart thing to do).

    10- God gives us the freedom to do otherwise and freely choose to be objectively stupid.

    You said, “[NB: if I’m replying on my computer it’s easy to copy/paste. If I’m replying on my iPad, it’s pretty much impossible. There’s nothing more sinister than that in occasions where I haven’t copy and pasted]”

    Fair enough, Andy. But then be extra careful not to put words in my mouth! I am gone for several days now.

    Thank you for the spirited conversation, Andy. I really enjoyed it! Feel free to take the last word.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “3- God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to know, love, and enjoy him forever (Inventors invent things for specific purposes. Creators create for specific purposes).”

      “Here we have deductive *proof* that God (Ultimate Reality) provides a foundation for humans to approximate to when we have moral disagreements! ”

      Tim, claiming that it’s deductive proof – sorry, *proof* – doesn’t make it so. All you’ve shown is that if a God created us for a purpose then… he created us for a purpose. That doesn’t make that purpose objectively good. You can say “But loving and flourishing are good things!”, but then you already said that Sam Harris can’t use those things as a basis for morality.

      “Why do you hold a worldview that affirms that nothing is objectively wrong with kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts?”

      Same question to you, Tim. You’re saying those things are only wrong if a God exists. In other words, you’re placing a condition on their wrongness. You’re basically saying a child being abused – all that suffering – you see nothing objectively wrong with it.

      If you were presented with two scenarios – a child being abused in a theistic universe, and a child being abused in a Godless one, despite the suffering of the two children being the same in both scenarios, you’re saying the child in the first scenario was worth caring about, but the child in the second is just a bunch of atoms, so you don’t care about it.

      That’s basically what Hitler did with the Jews – “I’ll care about this group, but the other group is less than human”.

      “But then be extra careful not to put words in my mouth!”

      What, like you asking me: “Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

      “I am gone for several days now”

      Great, that gives you lots of time to find a quote from me saying that I detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong”

      Have a GOOD look – you say you hate people putting words in other people’s mouths, so it would be terrible if you’ve made yourself look like a total hypocrite.

      Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “I am gone for several days now.”

      You’ve had several weeks now, Tim. Any luck finding a quote from me to back your claim here:

      “Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

      You told me: “be extra careful not to put words in my mouth!” so you’d have to be a huge hypocrite to do the same to me. And don’t you believe Jesus disapproves of people ‘bearing false witness’?

      Still waiting Tim…

      Reply
  18. Andy Ryan says:

    Just checking in to see if Tim managed to find a quote from me to back up his claim here:

    Tim: “Why do you detest a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”

    Any luck finding a quote from me to back that up, Tim? It’s been five days. You can’t, because I never said I detested such a thing. I don’t believe that your worldview DOES affirm those things are objectively wrong. It’s my view that if you believe those things are objectively wrong then you should believe they are objectively wrong WHETHER or NOT the Christian God exists.

    When I questioned you on the quote, you dodged completely, answering: “Well, you argue against Christian theism incessantly”. No, I argued specifically against your particular brand of Christian apologetics, because I think they are bad arguments. It’s a huge leap from “Andy Ryan disagrees with my arguments” to “Andy Ryan detests an entire worldview”.

    It’s ironic that you would so misrepresent my position given that you spent several posts accusing me of doing the same thing. And the upshot of that was that you in the process misrepresented what I said there too.

    Let’s go back over the conversation:

    Me: “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

    You: “Don’t put words in my mouth, Andy. Please deal with my exact words. That is NOT my quote or my view! God does not “force” anyone to correspond to him”

    I said that the purpose was forced on us, you replied that God does “does not “force” anyone to correspond to him”. But I never claimed you did. I compared two axioms that attempted to explain morality. Even if you’re saying that I was passing the second axiom off as a direct quote from you, it merely said “purpose forced on us by a God”, not “God not forces people to correspond to him”.

    Then, in a huge irony, you admonished me for not cutting and pasting you, and in the VERY NEXT SENTENCE next sentence you did exactly that:

    “You need to copy and paste my quotes. It is hard to have a conversation with someone who takes my words out of context. Without looking, I believe I stated that you had quoted me as saying God “forced” morality upon us, but now you use words like “set by God.”

    Does this not strike you as bizarre? Basically, you tell me off for taking you out of context, then admit you’re going to attempt to summarise my words without looking – exactly what you tell me not to do – and then go on to fabricate a quote from me, saying I had quote you as saying “God ‘forced’ morality upon us”, when in fact it was the purpose I said was forced onto us, on that second axiom I offered.

    Then you ultimately we had this exchange:

    Me: “I’m not saying we’re forced to fulfil it, I’m saying we are force to HAVE that purpose, in that we don’t set it ourselves.”

    You: “Yeah, so what? Do you wish God created you for the purpose of agony? You are free to go that route if you’d like as my article I just linked to demonstrates”

    So what? The use of the word ‘forced’ was the basis of your objection in the first place! So first you vigorously objected, said I was misquoting you, misquoting my quoting of you in the process. Then you finish off saying ‘So what?’. Well, was it worth arguing about in the first place then?

    Several posts arguing about it, and you ultimately say ‘say what’.

    In other words, I hadn’t presented your position inaccurately.

    So, back to square one, the phrase that started your complaint:

    Me: “I’d say that avoiding human suffering being a ‘good’ makes more sense as an axiom as ‘Fulfilling the purpose forced on us by a God is a ‘good”.”

    Feel free to actually address that. I’ll address it again in a second post, directly after this one.

    Reply
  19. Andy Ryan says:

    “Read the article a little closer, Andy! I demonstrated that Harris cannot logically affirm WHY human flourishing is objectively good AND that there is an ability to do otherwise”

    But elsewhere it strikes me that you’re assuming it is axiomatically an objective good. You keep asking me what I have against a worldview that is based on human flourishing.

    Here’s your own words: “But even if it were just about the eternal flourishing and “interests” of all humans, I think that’s enough to make a strong case.”

    Why would it be a strong case unless you’re taking it as axiomatic that those are good things? You’re trying to play it both ways. You plead with me, asking me what I have against human flourishing and so on, you hold up the horrors of the holocaust and basically say I HAVE to be against that. But when a non-theist says human flourishing is good and suffering is bad, you demand that they explain WHY. It’s special pleading to say you don’t have to explain why they do. You’re trying to use the goodness of human flourishing to back up your explanation of why God leads to/explains/grounds objective morality. You can’t therefore use the latter to explain the former when you’re also trying to use the former to explain the latter.

    The only other thing you’re basing the latter on is the ‘Objective morality comes from us fulfilling our purpose’. Which I don’t find compelling. Why would that be so? The last time I tried to ask you, you spend several posts arguing about my use of the word ‘forced’ here. But that’s a red herring (as I explained in my post immediately before this one). You ultimately didn’t really deny that the purpose was forced on us, and at any rate, you claim we have a purpose, and that’s where the morality comes from.

    Now, you said “Well said, JAdido!” to another poster when they appealed to a kind of ‘property rights’ argument. But if you’re using property rights to explain how objective morality comes about, then you must be saying property rights PRECEDE objective morality. The latter (Objective morality comes from God) flows from the former (property rights). If that is the case, then you can’t use the latter to EXPLAIN the former. In other words, property rights would have to exist INDEPENDENTLY of God’s objective morality. Therefore it would exist without or without a God. And if property rights are axiomatic, then they exist in an atheist universe. And therefore a moral system can be established based on them with or without a God.

    “You might confuse the fact that I have demonstrated that naturalistic atheism is logically bankrupt with a “bad temper,”

    No, it was sniping about me to other posters – on twitter people call that ‘sub-tweeting’ – and ridiculous claims like “Man, you are starting to sound like a Nazi!”

    Reply
  20. Luke says:

    I asked:It seems like you’re saying that it’s not objectively wrong to violate the purpose, but aligning with purpose is (far) more rational.”

    Tim answered: I’m willing to grant that for the sake of argument at the moment (other philosophers would make a different case than I am).

    It seems that at this point that you have given up the entire point of your article Tim. You started by saying: “Does objective truth apply to morality?”. It seems you don’t believe it does.

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Luke, Tim’s main argument to me seemed to be emotional pleading. Effectively ‘Hey, why wouldn’t you want a God that is loving and wants the best for mankind’s wellbeing – are you a fan of misery and holocausts or something?’.

      Yet Tim rejected Sam Harris making an argument for loving and for mankind’s wellbeing. Either loving and wellbeing are axiomatically good things or they aren’t. Tim wanted to have it both ways – axiomatically good when it suited his argument, but also not good enough on their own without further explanation when it suited him too.

      Then he lied and accused me of “Detesting a worldview which can actually affirm that kidnapping, child abuse, rape, murder, and holocausts are objectively wrong?”.

      When I asked him to back up this accusation, he disappeared.

      Reply

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  1. […] read. In particular some of the comments I posted on my friend Tim Stratton’s post An Ought From an Is shared on the Cross Examined website. Anyways, now the the introduction is over with, […]

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