Does an Objective Moral Compass Point to God?

By Tim Stratton

Question

Hey Tim,

A question from your fellow Nebraska Reasonable Faith chapter director! When discussing the Moral Argument with my Reasonable Faith chapter in Omaha, I received some pushback from one of our members, who just so happens to have his PhD in meta-ethics. The objection he had to the Moral Argument was to the premise, “If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.” Erik Wielenberg, an atheist philosopher from DePauw University, proposes a model by which the atheist is able to hold to objective morality without need for the existence of God. I’ll restate his model as best as I can (apologies for the long question, but there’s a lot to discuss).

Wielenberg proposes that there exists some of what he calls basic ethical facts. These are ethical facts that are metaphysically necessary, substantive (actually mean something and are not tautologous), and brute. Brute facts, according to Wielenberg, are facts that need not be explained in terms of other facts. An example of a basic ethical fact is the fact that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad. This fact isn’t true in virtue of any other facts, but rather it just is the case that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad. In other words, the fact that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad needs no explanation.

Here is where I think Wielenberg has a good point. We as theists seem to hold to the existence of God as being a necessary, substantive, and brute fact. When he says that theists hold to the existence of God as being an example of this kind of fact, he is speaking in an ontological sense, not an epistemological one. Certainly we can come to know the fact that God exists through explanations and other facts, but the truth of the fact of God’s existence is not dependent on other facts, thus making it a brute fact. So why does Wielenberg point this out? Well, his argumentative purpose in pointing to types of brute facts to which theists are committed is to show that the theist cannot consistently reject his (that is, Wielenberg’s) proposed means of accommodating objective morality in an atheistic worldview simply by rejecting the tenability of the existence of brute facts. With this in mind, Wielenberg sees no guiding principle as to which facts are brute and which ones require further explanation. They need to be examined on a case-by-case basis. If we accept his analysis of brute facts as correct, then it seems we need to give some sort of reason as to why ethical facts are facts in need of further explanation and cannot be considered brute. Because if ethical facts can just be considered as brute facts, then it seems atheism would have no trouble accounting for objective morality, since it is false that these ethical facts need a foundation (because they’re brute).

Let me show you what I mean. As Christians, we might say that something is good because it approximates God’s nature. In saying this, we imply that we believe that the Good is God’s nature. If this is the case, then we seem to be positing a basic ethical fact: An action is considered good if it approximates God’s nature. We don’t have an explanation for why this is the case, but rather we simply seem to hold it as a brute fact! So, what’s the issue for the atheist then? If Christians are allowed to posit certain basic ethical facts that require no explanation, then it seems arbitrary to say that atheists cannot do the same when they posit basic ethical facts such as “causing pain for fun is morally wrong.” Both sides must posit these basic ethical facts that have no external foundation.

We could say something similar about moral obligations. As Christians, we might say that, if God commands you to do something, then you are morally obligated to do that thing. Well why is this the case? It seems to me this fact has no explanation, and thus it is a brute fact. Why couldn’t the atheist merely posit a basic ethical fact that says “you ought not do something that is morally wrong”? Both facts posited here by the theist and atheist have no external foundation, and thus both seem equally justified.

I know Dr. Craig will be debating Dr. Wielenberg on this very topic next year, but I thought we might get a head start on the conversation. Keep fighting the good fight brother! Thanks!

– Scott Olson

Objective Moral Compass God

Tim’s Response 

Hey Scott! It’s great to receive a fantastic question from a good friend (and a fellow RF Chapter leader)!

I am really looking forward to William Lane Craig’s interaction with Erik Wielenberg this February. I have not discussed this matter with Dr. Craig so I have no idea as to what “angle” he is going to take with Wielenberg. With that said, however (and with all due respect to Wielenberg), I think there are several problems with his proposed model.

“Need Not” vs Cannot

Regarding the claim that basic ethical facts and God share the same three properties — metaphysically necessary, substantive, and brute — is not accurate (or so it seems to me). This is because God is metaphysically necessary and simply CANNOT (as opposed to “need not”) be explained by other facts. However, as you noted, other facts like the premises in the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument demonstrate that a necessary being (God) must exist. Ethical facts seem to be necessary as well, however, if they are metaphysically necessary in all possible worlds, it seems that these facts CAN ONLY be explained by other facts — the existence of God and the purpose in which He created mankind. It is important to note that if one asserts that brute facts “need not” be explained by other facts, it does not logically follow that these factscannot be explained by other facts (I will discuss these other facts below).

You noted that Wielenberg claims that,

An example of a basic ethical fact is the fact that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad. This fact isn’t true in virtue of any other facts, but rather it just is the case that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad. In other words, the fact that causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad needs no explanation.

I disagree! It seems to me that causing pain for fun is unloving; however, the question is raised: is it bad to be unloving? How would we ground this truth or come to know it is true, if it is in fact true? The fact that it is bad (missing the mark of the purpose of human existence) to cause pain for fun is explained by other facts. The fact that causing pain for fun is bad, wrong, and/or evil is explained by the fact that God created humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose to love Him and all other people (from our neighbors to those who consider us enemies). Since causing pain for fun is definitely unloving, then causing pain for fun does not approximate to the objective purpose of the human existence (an objective truth about humanity irrespective of the subjective opinions from humanity). To a degree that a thing or being does not approximate to its objective purpose, then to that same degree that thing or being is objectively “bad.”

Actions can only really be good or bad in relation to an ultimate and objective purpose (this does not exist on atheism). So, it might be objectively true that torture causes pain; however, claiming that “causing pain for fun is bad” is nonsensical if life was not created on purpose and for a specific purpose. Namely, we were created to love our fellow man, not harm him.

So, if humanity was not created on purpose and for a specific purpose, then I contend that there are no objective ethical facts regarding human actions. Take homosexuality, for example. If Jesus is right, then God created human sexual relationships to specifically approximate to the following model: one man with one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime (Matthew 19). Thus, it is objectively true that this is one of the specific purposes humans were created to follow. If one engages in homosexual actions — let alone gay marriage — then they are objectively wrong and “missing the mark” (sin). However, if God does not exist, then humans are accidental and there is no objective purpose of our existence or standard in which humanity was created to approximate.

If God did not create humanity to only have heterosexual relationships within the bonds of marriage, then there would be nothing objectively wrong with having premarital sex or any sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage. These sexual boundaries are only objective if God really did create humans to approximate to the one man with one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime model of marriage that Jesus advocated. Humans are free to disagree with God, but they are subjectively disagreeing with the creator of humanity about the purpose and plan He had in mind for humanity. Thus, humans would only subjectively disagree with an objective purpose in which humans were actually created to attain.

Thus, if atheism is true, then there is nothing objectively wrong with anything — including homosexual marriage. With that said, however, it would also not be objectively wrong to persecute homosexuals (See A Biblical Argument for Gay Rights)!

It follows that when ISIS cuts the heads off of homosexuals, atheists, and Christians, these Muslims are opposing the objective purpose of human life and thus, they are objectively wrong. When the Nazis slaughtered Jews, the Nazis were not loving their fellow humans and thus, they were objectively bad. When white supremacists are violent to humans of another skin color or antifa is violent towards those with different political ideas these groups are all objectively wrong and missing the objective mark and purpose of life. Since the objective purpose human life was created for is love, it is objectively evil not to love. That is easy to remember because LOVE backwards is EVOL.

Consider the following argument:

  1. If a truth corresponds to reality, it is objectively true [apart from human opinion].
    2. If God created humanity for a purpose, then this purpose is a truth that corresponds to reality.
    3. Therefore, if God created humanity for a purpose, then this purpose is objectively true.
    4. God created humanity for a purpose. [To Love God and all people]
    5. Therefore, God’s purpose for creating humanity is objectively true [apart from human opinion].

It follows from this argument that if one acts in a manner that is not loving toward God and all people, then they are objectively wrong in their behavior. They are not approximating to the objective purpose of life and are thus, “bad” and “missing the objective mark” (a.k.a., sin).

On Purpose & For a Purpose

Now, if God does not exist, then life was not created on purpose or for any specific purpose. Thus, on an atheistic worldview, there is no objective purpose to the existence of humanity, and thus, there is nothing really good, bad, right, or wrong — let alone evil — with any manner in which one chooses to behave toward his fellow man or woman. There is no objective plan, purpose, or goal about humanity in which humans have a choice to approximate or not.

You noted that,

If we accept his analysis of brute facts as correct, then it seems we need to give some sort of reason as to why ethical facts are facts in need of further explanation and cannot be considered brute

I do not accept his analysis of brute facts as correct, but even if I did, ethical facts make no sense to postulate apart from a design plan or purpose of mankind which is true irrespective of the subjective opinions offered from mankind. Ethical facts are necessary in that they are grounded in the nature of a necessary being in which any possible world — including the actual world — is contingent. Moreover, if God created this world and all humanity on purpose and for the specific purpose of love, then it is true apart from human subjective opinion that humansought to love one another. After all, this would be the reason humans exist.

You pointed out that,

As Christians, we might say that, if God commands you to do something, then you are morally obligated to do that thing. Well why is this the case? It seems to me this fact has no explanation, and thus it is a brute fact.

Some Christians “might say” this kind of thing, but I do not. Well, I am sure I probably have said similar things in the past, but if I am being careful to articulate my views clearly, then I contend that something is objectively good for a human if it approximates to the objective purpose of human existence. This objective purpose of the human existence must be up to something external to humanity, and thus, cannot be up to humanity. Thus, this fact does have an explanation! Moreover, it stands to reason that a perfectly intelligent and loving being would only issue commands to humanity that approximate to God’s loving purpose for creating humanity (which is a purpose true apart from human opinion). Thus, although we have the freedom to disobey God’s commands, since God has eternal human flourishing in mind, we ought to choose to approximate to His commands.

However, God gives us the freedom to choose not to flourish. This brings me to my final point:

An Eternal “Or Else!” 

If atheism is true (and human persons are not immaterial and eternal souls), then all humans ultimately share the same fate. If this is the case, why should it matter if one chooses to live like Mother Theresa or Hitler — like Ghandi or Ted Bundy? If atheism is true, each one of those individuals is equal in that none of them are experiencing any punishment or benefit for choosing to approximate to any supposed moral brute facts in the absence of God. In fact, it could be argued that Hitler and Bundy experienced more physical pleasures during their lives than Mother Theresa or Ghandi. If all people always share the same ultimate fate, then why should anyone care how they live on earth. Why should Hitler and Bundy not “go for the gusto”?

Jesus offered a big “or else” to humanity! If one does not wish to live according to the Law of Christ and God’s purpose for humanity — to always love all people — they are free to spend eternity apart from God’s loving plan. They are free to do things their own way for eternity. Jesus referred to this state of affairs as hell.

If Wielenberg’s view were true — even if it could account for abstract objective moral values — why should anyone care? So what if some things are objectively wrong to do? We are all just going to die anyway! And who cares about legacy either? Eventually the entire universe is going to suffer a cosmic heat death (there will be no heat, light, or life anywhere in the entire universe) and ultimately “no one will remember your name” or any of your supposed moral actions you performed. In the end, this atheistic attempt to desperately account for objective morality is fairly useless. After all, what good is a moral theory if one has no reason to act morally?

Conclusion

So, to recap, it seems to me that there are at least three problems with Wielneberg’s model. First, the assertion that one “need not” provide an explanation does not entail that one cannot provide an explanation. Second, if God exists and created humanity on purpose and for a specific purpose, then this purpose would logically ground human actions as objectively good or bad. Atheists have no access to this foundation. Third, on Christian theism, Jesus provides an eternal “or else,” which provides additional reason to approximate to the Law of Christ.

I just do not see how Wielenberg’s view is tenable if humans are accidental and that it is not a fact of the matter that humans were created for the purpose of love and flourishing. There is no objective standard about human existence in which we were created to approximate if atheism is true. There is no such thing as “missing the mark” or the objective purpose of our existence. On atheism there is no objective purpose — and that is why there is nothing really wrong with homosexuality or anything else if God did not create humanity on purpose and for a specific purpose.

Thus, on Wielenberg’s view, the phrase, “causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad,” is metaphysically meaningless. This is due to the fact that on atheism, “bad,” does not have any real meaning in a logically broad sense. If God did not create humanity on purpose or for a specific purpose, then one cannot logically claim that causing pain for fun is “bad” or “wrong,” because there is no objective purpose to the human existence in which causing pain for fun does not approximate. The reason Wielenberg’s view is useless is because phrases like, “causing pain for fun is bad and wrong,” are vacuous. On atheism, these claims literally mean nothing!

Thanks for the great question, Scott! I hope to see you in Rhode Island at the next Reasonable Faith chapter director annual meeting. If not, I am only a three hour drive away!

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Tim

Notes

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8 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    ” I contend that something is objectively good for a human if it approximates to the objective purpose of human existence”
    How are you making that leap? What’s the connection between ‘God makes man for a particularly purpose’ and ‘It is objectively MORAL for that man to approximate that purpose’?
    If a God made a species on a planet for the express purpose of amusing the God by torturing and killing another species on that planet, would that make it objectively good to torture and kill?
    .
    “A maximally great, perfectly good and intelligent being would only issue commands to humanity that approximate to God’s loving purpose for creating humanity”
    What do you mean by ‘perfectly good’ here? You’re trying to argue that perfect goodness can exist as a coherent concept, and you’re doing so by making reference to commands from a ‘perfectly good’ God. This strikes me as circular. It’s like a recipe for how to make pasta sauce including the instruction to ‘add a jar of pasta sauce’. We still need to know how to make the sauce! By what metric is He ‘perfectly good’?
    .
    “If Wielenberg’s view were true — even if it could account for abstract objective moral values — why should anyone care?”
    That’s an argument from consequences – you not liking what you perceive to be the consequences of a conclusion has no bearing on the veracity of that conclusion.
    .
    “Jesus offered a big “or else” to humanity!”
    Similar to my last point, whether or not there’s a punishment for immorality makes no difference at all to Wielenberg’s argument.
    .
    “phrases like, “causing pain for fun is bad and wrong,” are vacuous”
    Why is it any more vacuous that saying ‘Not fulfilling the purpose you were created for is bad and wrong’? There’s a punishment for not doing so, sure, but that’s an argument for it being UNWISE. What makes it wrong?
    .
    Tim, I foresee you replying that my questions involve ‘denying reality’ – with ‘reality’ meaning ‘God made man for a purpose’ – note that I’m saying that even if one grants you as a fact that ‘God made man for a purpose’, I don’t see how that gets you closer to objective morality.

    “If Jesus is right, then God created human sexual relationships to specifically approximate to the following model: one man with one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime (Matthew 19)”
    Given the ‘for one lifetime’ line, why are right-wing Christians trying to stop gay marriage and not trying to stop divorce? They keep electing politicians who’ve been married several times and boast about how much pre-marital sex they had. It’s almost like they just don’t like gays, and are cherry picking Bible verses to justify that post-hoc.

    Reply
  2. toby says:

    1. If god exists he is a maximally great being (ontological argument).
    2. Maximal greatness entails maximal intelligence (ontological argument—a subjective supposition on the part of theists).
    3. Maximal greatness entails maximal power (to create and to destroy) (ontological argument—a subjective supposition on the part of theists).
    4. A maximally intelligent being knows what circumstances would have to occur in order to convince all of his creations that he existed without violating their freedom. (1, 2, 3)
    5. A maximally great being could create such a world. (from 1, 2, 3, and 4)
    6. This is not what we observe.
    7. Therefore god is not a maximally great being.
    8. Therefore god does not exist.

    Reply
  3. jcb says:

    Tim Stratton Does an Objective moral compass point to god article

    Yes, if god does not exist, then godly OMVs do not exist (T)
    EW: OM does not entail god. (Depends on what OM means)
    There are basic ethical truths that are not tautologies, such as causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad (F)
    (Q: What does “bad” mean here?)
    A basic fact is not made true by other facts (by Definition). It is “just” true (F)
    So CPFF is a basic fact (F)
    “Causing pain for fun usually makes others more unhappy than not” (T, and not a tautology)
    That CPFF is IB needs no explanation (F. We need to know what IB is)
    God is a necessary, brute fact (F)
    We can know god exists through other facts (F)
    “god exists” is not dependent on other facts (F)
    “God exists” is a brute fact (F)
    If one claims X is a brute fact, another can claim – X is a brute fact (T)
    There is no guiding principle as to which facts are brute or not (T)
    If one gives a reason for why X is a brute fact, then X is not a brute fact! (T)
    If ethical facts are brute facts then god is not needed (T), OM exists regardless of god (T)
    “something is good b/c is approximates god’s nature” (F gibberish)
    Theists have no explanation for all this (T!)
    If theists can posit brute facts, so too can atheists (T)

    Tim’s Response
    God is metaphysically necessary (F)
    God exists and cannot be explained by other facts (F)
    Something exists (T) necessarily? (T?)
    An intelligent, all powerful being necessarily exists (F)
    Brute facts do not need further explanation (to be known to be true?), but they can be given further explanation/proof (T by definition?)
    Causing pain for fun is IB (F: What is IB?)
    This needs no explanation (F)
    We all know this to be true without explanation (F)
    No person believes that CPFF is good (F)
    Causing pain is usually unloving (T)
    “is it bad to be unloving” is a meaningful question (F, not without explanation)
    “bad” = “missing the mark of the purpose of human existence” (T by definition?)
    There is one “the” purpose of human existence (F)
    God created humanity (F) on purpose (F) for the specific purpose to love Him (F) and all other people (F).
    CPFFIIB is explained by the fact that God created us on purpose (F)
    Tim’s argument it seems: God wants us to be nice, so being not nice is “bad”/not what god wants (F)
    Causing pain is unloving (T)
    The objective purpose of all humans is to be loving (F)
    Even if a human wants to be unloving, it is “bad” to be unloving (F)
    Even if a human wants to be unloving, causing pain is unloving (T)
    “bad” = not approximating (?) one’s objective purpose (To be nice?) (definition)
    Atheism can have no objective, godly purpose (T).
    On atheism, it is OT that torture causes pain (T)
    “Causing pain for fun is “bad”(apart from the pain) makes no sense: (T!)
    If there is no god/designer who created us with a specific purpose, then “CPFFIB” makes no sense (T)
    We were created to love others (F)
    If there is no god/ultimate purpose, there are no OMTs (T) (even though torture causes pain is T)
    If the Bible is right, gay Behavior isn’t what god wants (T)
    Any GB is OMW (F)
    If God does not exist, there is no godly OMT (T)
    If God does not exist, there is no particular model that humans are “supposed” to emulate (T)
    If God did not make X OMW, then there is nothing that is OMW (T by definition)
    Something is objective only if god made something that way (TbD)
    Some humans are disagreeing with the creator of humanity about its purpose for us (F)
    Thus, if atheism is true, then there is nothing objectively wrong with anything (T)
    If Atheism is true, it is not godly OMW to kill gays (T)
    When ISIS kills gays, they are opposing god’s OMW (F)
    When the Nazis killed Jews, they were opposing god’s OMW (F)
    Nazis killing Jews was usually unloving (T)
    “wrong” is not related to “unloving”, but to “god said not to” (F. the latter doesn’t exist)
    Being unloving is GOMW (F)
    The G O P (godly objective purpose) of all humans is to love others (F)
    It is OMW to not love (F)
    It is unloving to be unloving (T)

    Truth = corresponding to reality (T by definition)
    “cats exists” corresponds to reality, and is true (T)
    Science shows “cats exist” is true (T). This is GOT (godly objective truth) (F)

    4. God created humanity for a purpose. [To Love God and all people] (F)
    TS: “love” is only “good” (desirable) if it is what god wants “approximates god’s O P” (F)
    TS: Love is “good” if it is “good”: approximates god’s O P”
    Love is what god wants (F)
    Love is what a loving being wants (T)
    ** If God does not exist, nothing is good/bad: approximates god or not (T)
    Ethical facts (CPFFIIB) make no sense without god/design/purpose (F, depending on “bad”)
    ** CPFFIIB makes no sense if “bad” refers to god, and god does not exist (T)
    A loving god would be against loving gay behavior (F)
    Humans simply Ought to love one another (F)
    Humans ought to love one another if god exists (F)
    ** Humans ought to love one another, if god exists, and will punish you for not loving others (or in the case of gays, for loving others), and you want to avoid being punished (T)
    If God created humans on purpose, intending them to love others, then humans ought to do so (F)
    If god commands something, then you are obligated to do it (F)
    * Nothing shows this to be true!!! (T!!), but it is still true, a brute fact (F)
    X is OG if it approximates god’s purpose for humans (Tbd? Is OG something other than AGP?)
    A purpose made by humans is not an OGP (true)
    This fact (Which) has an explanation (??)
    A perfect god would only command (F)/desire (T) perfection, including love (T)
    God has eternal human flourishing in mind (F. What does that even amount to?)
    If God exists, and he will make us happy if we obey, and we want to obey, then we Ought to obey (T)
    We have the freedom to choose thinks that make us unhappy (T)
    If there is no god, no eternal souls/eternality, then all humans will eventually die (T)
    If we will eventually die, it doesn’t matter to anyone how they live (F)
    If there is no afterlife/god, then the dead are not receiving punishment: there is no cosmic justice! (T)
    Hitler might have been happier than Gandhi (T)
    Gandhi is spelled “Ghandi” (F)
    If there is no god, then no one should care how they live on Earth (F)
    If there is no god, there can be no reason why Hitler should not kill (F: he might want to be loving!)
    Theists will be with god (F).
    Atheists will not be with god (T, there is no god.)
    Atheists will still live forever, just apart from god (F)
    If brute moral facts exist, but god does not, no one should/has any reason to care about anything (F)
    If we are going to die anyway, there is nothing to care about (F)
    If there are no GOMTs then there are no OTs (F: cats still exist, torture still causes pain)
    If there are no GOMTs, no human has any reason to do anything (F)
    Atheists cannot account for a godly morality (T)
    Atheists have no reason to not punch others (F)
    Atheists don’t have an infinity of reasons (T), so Atheists might not have a reason for why they value love, fundamentally (T). This shows that atheism is false (F).
    If God has a purpose for humanity, then god has a purpose for humanity (T)
    Some theists call GHAPFH “good” (T).
    Atheists have no access to god (T) “this foundation” (T). This is a problem for atheism (F)
    If we don’t accept Jesus, bad things will happen to us (F)
    If atheism is true, there is no GOMT (T)
    If Atheism is true, anything a human does is not “missing god’s mark” (T)
    If atheism is true, there can be nothing “wrong” with anything (F)
    For many atheists, “CPFFIIB” is meaningless (T)
    “CPFF is undesirable to me” is true for many atheists.
    Hence, CPFFIIB is meaningful to many atheists, if they mean CPFF is undesirable to me”. (T)
    Metaphysical claims are often meaningless (T)
    CPFFIB is an empty, meaningless claim (F, for many)
    For all atheists, “CPFFIB” is meaningless (F)

    To summarize:
    TS seems to equate/define “objectively good” and “does what god wants”.
    If TS means that “doing what god wants” is then “objectively good”, the latter is undefined.
    TS is wrong that “objectively good” is simply understood by all, true, a brute fact, and requires nothing else to show that it is true, and meaningful.
    AR is right: God intending torture doesn’t seem to make torture “objectively good”. But, it does if we define “objectively good” as simply “what God intends”. But then, we can drop the “objectively good” part, and just speak about what God intends, since the remaining assertion is simply “if god intends torture, then god intends torture.” One first has to show that god exists, and show what his intentions are, and then show how/why any of that is relevant to humans (such as how god’s intentions are relevant to what we “ought” to do.
    TS did rightly say: if God exists, and will hurt you if you don’t do X, and you want to avoid being hurt, you should do X. But since there is no god, all of this is irrelevant.

    A perfect, all loving being would not issue unloving commands, such as those criticizing gays for their loving behavior. Since the god of the Bible issues unloving commands, that god is not all loving/perfect.

    AR is again right: TS repeatedly engages in the Argument from Consequences fallacy. The fact that, if there is no god, Hitler is not now being punished for his unloving ways” does nothing to prove that there is a god currently punishing Hitler for his unloving ways.

    TS wrongly claims that “Causing pain for fun is bad” can have no meaning for atheists. In reality, many atheists often here mean “causing pain for fun is undesirable to me”. Thus the assertion is not always “vacuous”, as TS claims. If TS means some such assertions are vacuous, that’s true, but is itself a vacuous (empty, not significant) truth.

    Nothing here proves god. All that is shown is that if god doesn’t exist, certain things follow: we won’t live forever, and there is no godly objective morality, etc. God doesn’t exist, and we won’t live forever, and there is no known godly objective morality.

    Reply
    • PDS says:

      JCB,
      Truth is universal and knowledge of truth is irrelevant. 2+2=4 as an equation does not depend on your agreement. It makes a statement and you are free to agree, disagree or even ignore the statement. Whether you are an Atheist or Theist, truth is truth. Absolute truth is not bound by geography or temporal factors, it simply is true. the validity of the TS argument is not weakened by your inability to appreciate the truth; nor, is your argument bolstered by an aggressive ability to abbreviate.

      TS is simply pointing out that the absence of a plan or purpose removes the objective ability to quantify good and bad, right from wrong. If I wrote a script but did not include the rules for the universe I had created, how could I then determine when my hero had defeated the antagonist? Further more, how could I differentiate between the good guy and the bad guy? Good and bad are not Brute facts, they rely on a further accounting of the situation. Causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad unless… I am a physician and must hurt someone in order to heal them and the result of this process is enjoyable to me. the further delineation of this statement has turned it on its head.

      Discounting an argument because it does not agree with a preexistent world-view that you hold is disingenuous. Does any circumstance exist that would reverse your position? I suspect not. That is evident in your bullet pointed rebuttal of “F” to any reference to deity. Therefore, I do not expect you to agree; in fact, I anticipate vitriol and abuse… And that is fun for me.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “TS is simply pointing out that the absence of a plan or purpose removes the objective ability to quantify good and bad”
        The problem for you here is that Christians disagree with each other all the time when quantifying good and bad, so it appears that theism doesn’t solve arguments of what is good and what is bad.
        .
        “the validity of the TS argument is not weakened by your inability to appreciate the truth”
        The validity of our critiques of the argument are not weakened by your inability to appreciate the truth either.
        .
        “Causing pain for fun is intrinsically bad unless… I am a physician and must hurt someone in order to heal them and the result of this process is enjoyable to me”
        Then it’s not the actual causing of pain that you find enjoyable, but the healing part. I don’t really see what your point is here.
        .
        “Does any circumstance exist that would reverse your position? I suspect not.”
        What would reverse your position, PDS?

        Reply
      • jcb says:

        Apparently by “universal” you mean always and necessary. If so, then yes A=A is a universal, always, necessary truth. What you seem to fail to realize is that almost everything else, “cats exist”, “hugs will bring smiles”, etc. are contingent, not necessarily true, statements. “harm is harm” is a necessary truth. “X must prefer not to harm”/”X must not harm” is not a necessary truth. “If X has never harmed, then X must not do harm in order to remain something that has never done harm” is a necessary truth. None of this changes anything I said, nor helps prove god.
        You have failed to show that my commentary is false. Simpy saying “you don’t appreciate TS’s truth” doesn’t show that TS is true (about who knows what: you don’t say).
        It looks like, in your odd analogy, if you had no way to determine when your hero had defeated the antagonist, then you would have no way to determine when your hero had defeated the antagonist. You are right about that. You are right that this is relevant to anything here.
        Yes, we make distinctions of good and bad: the murderer is mean (“bad”), the hugger is nice (“good”). Nothing about these “rules” we have created (language that helps us refer to experiences) proves god. Causing pain for fun is usually frowned upon by others. This does not prove god exists. Calling it “intrinsically bad” is just confusing. Feel free to define that term, then show that it exists, and then show that it leads to god.
        Causing pain is something that most of us prefer not to happen, unless it is situation where the pain is needed for a greater good. That many of us prefer that is not evidence of god.
        Nothing I said about simply “discounted” the argument. Saying that I did is disingenuous.
        My position will be reversed evidence is given to support that reversal. Will you provide such evidence? I suspect not. That I think certain things are false is no evidence that I would never reverse my position. Your deduction there is flawed. Nothing here I’ve said is abusive towards you. I am only referring to your ideas. Feel free to present a good defense of your position here about morality and god. Until then, it appears that the original argument fails: nothing we know about morality proves god.

        Reply
        • jcb says:

          Oops! I meant to say, you are “wrong” that this is relevant to anything here. I see I also forgot an “if” in the phrase “reversed if evidence is given”, and I forgot an “a” in the phrase, “it is a situation where”.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            I see more typos by me! “my position will be reversed IF evidence is given…” Strike the word “about”, and read it as “Nothing I said simply “discounted” the argument.”

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