Agnostic with no axe to grind one way or the other here but I have some honest questions about the 'argument from morality' for God that I hope some kind anons, from either side of the argument, will answer.
I fully appreciate there are other ways to formulate it but the way I keep seeing it given is...
1) If objective morals exist then God exists.
2) Objective morals do exist.
3) Therefore God exists.
My questions are....
a) Is it true? Do objective morals exist? And can we say that 1) is true i.e. is it true that if objective morals exist then God exists?
b) Is it valid? Obviously the above wording is valid but if we dig deeper into logical justificiation is it valid? Because it seems that 2) is usually justified by saying that objective morality comes from God, which would make the whole argument circular.
c) What are the other ways to formulate the moral argument and are they worse / better?
Thank you /his/
How can morality ever be objective when it deals entirely with the outcomes for subjective beings?
Oh yes, because some people are scared of answers as complicated as 'it's good for this person but not this person'.
Objective morality is a logical contradiction. And when it's presented seriously, it's always elevating one subject to the status of object, so their outcomes are considered above all others.
I understood the first two lines fine but I did not understand this...
>Objective morality is a logical contradiction. And when it's presented seriously, it's always elevating one subject to the status of object, so their outcomes are considered above all others.
What do you mean by 'elevating one subject to the status if object'?
Sorry if I am being dumb.
>What do you mean by 'elevating one subject to the status if object'?
When people say that objective morality is defined by god. They aren't saying there is objective morality, they're saying that god is the only subject that matters.
Gotcha. That made sense. Thanks anon.
Sorry for another question, because that made sense in its own terms, but does that mean they are making an 'is-ought' fallacy or am I getting mixed up?
Point two is not explained. How is the correlation made.
Point 2 isn't backed up by anything. Having objective morality is a huge bitch in philosophy. We can all agree that killing is wrong but that's just a subjective agreement. In order to for something to be objective it must exist independant of the subject. So if there are no humans is there still such thing as 'good'? You'd have to get into some really literal interpretations of Plato to do that, in which there is some spooky 'form of good' floating around and all goodness is measured by how close it is the form.
Its a terrible argument for the existence of God. Absolutely terrible. Because there is zero correlation between premise and conclusion.
If a God exists, does that mean an objective morality has to exist? No, no it doesn't. God could be a dick.
If objective morality exists, does that mean there has to be a God? No, no it doesn't. There are about eighteen different possible 'objective moralities', none of which require a God to justify them.
There's no connection at all, and thus the argument is retarded. Inb4 buttmad theists call all ethical philosophers wrong for proposing frameworks that work without divine intervention. Inbafter some noble Aquinas-loving motherfucker points out even most theistic moralities work without God.
If you want a basic rundown when it comes to divine 'proofs' [note that I don't find any of these extremely convincing]
God-tier: The Cosmological Argument
Good-tier: The Cosmic Teleological Argument [the idea that the physical constants are fine-tuned]
Okay-tier: The Ontological Argument
The Biological Teleological Argument
The appeal to beauty
The appeal to morality
The appeal to NDE's
The appeal to supernatural phenomena that is never recorded or repeated
The appeal to the conviction of the founders [EG: Why would X let himself be martyred if Y wasn't true?]
I think there are better ways to formulate it, but I think I understand the argument. It makes sense because anchoring morals to something absolute that doesn't exist in our (transitory and fallible) world is the only way to deal with it without depending on culture or other things that change with time and location.
The problem is: how can you be sure that this absolute source for the moral (something or someone that states what is good and what is bad) is God? It could be some abstract Platonic form, for example.
Atheists don't consider it a good argument because it jump to the conclusion that this absolute source is God (it is claimed to be because in the Old Testament God acts this way, as a legislator, giving the ten commandments that are supposed to represent laws that are absolutely to not be broken).
I'm agnostic too (leaning to theism), and I think this is not a very good argument for the existence of God alone BUT it is to be used (like the others inductive arguments) cumulatively.
I'm saying that there is no way to prove God, but you could make inferences of his existence using various arguments of differente nature if they don't contradict each other (ontological argument, cosmological, argument from desire, morality, etc.)
Isn't that just mixing up and extrapolating an inference from arguments that don't infer each other just because they don't contradict each other?
My general feeling is that atheists can't even be bothered because they aren't interested in abstract arguments at all, because they don't believe the burden of proof falls on them. They could list cumulative arguments against God existing that don't contradict each other but they aren't terribly persuaded by the strength of making abstract arguments at all.
Its the only theistic argument that is both reasonably convincing [its the reason I'm agnostic, not full atheist] and depends purely on logic. In short it states
1. All contingent-reality depends upon its existence for something else.
2. An infinite regression is logically impossible.
3. Therefore a necessary [not-contingent] reality must exist.
Or in its more popular form.
1. All effects have causes.
2. An infinite cause-effect chain is impossible [as it leads to regress]
3. Therefore a first cause must exist.
-The First Cause does not have to be any given god, or even sentient for that matter. The argument just proves the universe had a beginning. The singularity at the Big Bang could be the First Cause.
-Saying "What caused the first cause?" in response to that argument is an exercise in clinical retardation. The argument proves an Uncaused Cause had to exist. Saying 'what caused it' is a contradiction in terms. Or in short, saying "Who created God?" is like saying "What came before the first thing?"
It makes no sense. If something came before, it would be the first thing, and the 'first thing' would be the second thing. The overall argument isn't effected. The only way to dismiss the argument is to argue against either causality, or against the idea that an infinite regression is impossible. Both of which are hard axioms to fight.
I would have queries about that as well though.
a) Is it true? No one has shown that is true that infinite regress is impossible. I'm not sure anyone has proven that that at any point.
b) Is it valid? Surely declaring a 'first cause' is 'special pleading' if the argument is based on cause and effect.
Yes, most of the atheists don't really bother looking into these arguments, because they think they don't PROVE anything (they really don't in the scientific way).
I don't think using these various arguments is extrapolating, for example: the cosmological and the ontological arguments are two ways of arguing that God is a necessary being; teleological argument, moral argument, argument from beauty and the likes are just different ways of saying that some transcendent and all-good being must be the source of definitions of good and bad.
I don't think using various arguments cumulatively is mixing up. To clarify: when you have a crime scene and don't have ways to prove someone commited the crime FOR SURE, you can infer how it all happened using reasoning and different evidences that don't contradict each other).
Of course, you could be wrong in the end (the problem of induction etc. etc.), but if all points to one conclusion, this conclusion is more likely than the others. It just strenghten the case.
An infinite regression is impossible because it involves a logical contradiction, among other reasons. To address just the first, it makes it necessary to traverse an infinite series.
Imagine if the cosmos was infinite years old. This would mean there was an infinite number of past events. This would mean that we passed an infinite number of past events to get to today. But you cannot traverse an infinite series, its a paradox. Therefore an infinite regression is impossible.
Note that time itself is not necessary for this argument. Any contingent object is by definition dependent upon its existence on another object. An infinite chain of contingent-objects would lead to a similiar regress, meaning some object in this chain must not be contingent, but necessary.
It doesn't have to be empirically demonstrated, if its denial results in a logical contradiction. This is the single biggest thing you have to learn when discussing God. God is by definition not empirical, not material, not composed of phenomena. You cannot glean an understanding of Him through actually finding 'Him' and looking at 'Him'. Its more like deducting things in mathematics. You start with certain axioms [usually just the three laws of classical logic, or certain facts about Creation] and make deductions from there.
Note that the above is just for understanding theologians and old philosophers themselves. As I've said, I'm an agnostic atheist.
And you're only covering belief in Augustine gods.
The real physical presence of the Greek Gods, both as statues and in social enactments is a real and appreciable proof.
So is the buddhist argument for the non-local phenomena of consciousness from ontological inspection.
Now admittedly both of these are empirical arguments, which means that their "gods" may cease existing tomorrow, in an amusing black swan problem, but if you're going to argue about the existence of god in a contemporary setting you need to move beyond Augustine and Spinoza.
Try reading some Holocaust theology: most people take the shoah as concrete evidence that Ha'Shem does not exist.
The moral argument and the argument from beauty are absolutely terrible, because there is zero reason whatsoever that the [might I add, extremely divergent] definitions of good, bad, beautiful, ugly, etc had to have some common transcendent source.
Its infinitely more likely the terms were invented like all other language. By men.
The Holocaust as an argument against God? That's just a lazier form of the Problem of Evil isn't it?
Also kind of funny, given Jewish mythic history. What, the exile to Babylon, diaspora, and slavery in Egypt were fine, but some German dude makes some BBQ and suddenly the universe is on its head?
Not that guy, but to put it simply: infinite regression is impossible because there is a now. Things could never start nor end. If you treat time as a chain and recognize you're in a link that has links before and after, there is a now; you could never exist in this link if the chain was eternal. It's logically impossible.
I never understood how infinity is a paradox? What is paradoxical and contradictory about it? Infinity is unfathomable, but does not seem inherently paradoxical.
This is like Zeno getting stuck on infinitesimals.
>The Holocaust as an argument against God? That's just a lazier form of the Problem of Evil isn't it?
You need to understand that the real physical presence of Ha'Shem is part of exile worship. Spinoza's universal god was so controversial because it wasn't immanently present in Friday night in the kitchen.
The argument put in post-Holocaust theology is that the specific "abandonment" of the people of Israel indicates that there is no meaningful way to talk of God existing.
It isn't evil: it is utter disconnection.
>the exile to Babylon, diaspora, and slavery in Egypt were fine
Most of the redaction happened after people got back from Babylon. And in exile people could say "Next year in Jerusalem" and had the concrete evidence of the defence of Jerusalem and Masada.
But, for a moment, consider that Josephus utterly abandoned God.
The normal narrative is that the wicked of Israel are cast out from their distance from God. The Shoah appeared to be an attack on the "core" and the "righteous" in a way that was undeniable.
>Not that guy, but to put it simply: infinite regression is impossible because there is a now. Things could never start nor end. If you treat time as a chain and recognize you're in a link that has links before and after, there is a now; you could never exist in this link if the chain was eternal. It's logically impossible.
I'm confused again.
Why is that logically impossible other than your assertion that it is?
They are similar to the moral argument. They really depend if you already believe there's something as God or transcendent laws and patterns. There is no way to prove it; everything could (and, if you're strictly materialist/naturalist, IS) be derived from human senses and culture.
Infinity isn't a contradiction. Traversing infinity, which is what is required if there is a "now" and also an infinite past, is.
To put it in a real physical sense, imagine saying "I swam across an infinite ocean" and try and see the contradiction in that. If you swam across it, is not infinite.
I suppose I still don't quite get what makes this different from all the other times the Jews have gotten shafted before.
All the other times the Jews got shafted they blamed backsliders and Ba'al worshippers. They were also busy redacting their religion because for all of the "Torah" stories and up until the Maccabees, the Jews basically were Ba'al worshippers.
The unrighteous were punished by God.
In Modernity the righteous were abandoned by God.
Theres no such thing as Agnostic
Most Agnostics live their life as if God doesn't exist, therefore you're an Atheist. Whether or not you accept this is also irrelevant to the fact that Agnosticism runs on fuel, and you run out on your death bed, you'll have to pick one side eventually.
Also no, we had this thread yesterday, objective morals don't exist
In fairness the original definition of an agnostic is someone that didn't buy any abstract or gnostic arguments for or against God at all and ignored everything except imperical scientific evidence.
Sure, you can believe there might be a god, but depending on how they act is what matters, for example you pray or you don't pray, you go to church or you don't, you fast or you don't, you can have in between or mights
Yes, but not going to church (and/or not praying) doesn't mean automatically that you don't believe in (a) god(s). A lot of people don't do these things but believe there is. Someone can believe there is a creator, but think that he/she/it doesn't care about humans, for example.
>Infinity isn't a contradiction. Traversing infinity, which is what is required if there is a "now" and also an infinite past, is.
>To put it in a real physical sense, imagine saying "I swam across an infinite ocean" and try and see the contradiction in that. If you swam across it, is not infinite
Yes, that was what I was trying to say, but you explained it better. Thanks.
That's deliberately rewording what I said in a more wishy washy way.
I agree and every word of my post agreed that an agnostic claims you cannot disprove or prove God, but they claim that based on a position that you cannot prove or disprove anything without scientific empirical evidence. It is not just a "I'm taking the middle ground because I'm not sure" position. Agnosticism is the refutation of the validity of any abstract or gnostic argument for or against God.
It is more strident than 'atheism' in may ways.
>It is true that if philosophers have suffered their cause has been amply avenged. Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain.
- The man that invented the word 'agnostic'.
Anon, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.
Justice is only useful in times of war.
In days of true peace we are unified as one people.
Life as we know it is war. You are expected to fight to protect your beliefs. At all tiers of everything, your environment is waging war on you.
You can surrender, or fight with all your might.
>God-Tier The Cosmological Argument
>therefore: god exists
>(remember to define god as the thing that created existence but don't make this obvious yet)
>Good-tier: The Cosmic Teleological Argument [the idea that the physical constants are fine-tuned]
>TUNED AGAINST WHAT METRIC?
>Okay-tier: The Ontological Argument
>is it possible to create a fictional character who is described as having the ability to come into really real reality and have it actually start to exist?
>yes, but only once and someone already did it
The problem with the arguments is not that they don't have a cumulative persuasive value - of course they do. The problem is that all the arguments for the existence of God mentioned here each have absolutely zero value on their own - none of them does anything to make the existence of God remotely more likely than the nonexistence of God. This includes the Cosmological Argument, which as has been said, only strongly justifies the existence of an uncaused first cause, which is just as likely to be the singularity at the start of the Big Bang as it is to be God.
And the cumulative value of multiple instances of zero value, is zero.