Randy Everist

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #195 on: August 05, 2010, 05:40:33 pm »

jbiemans wrote: To reject a claim is true is not the same as accepting its falsehood.  It is to simply reject the claim.

Oh but it is the same! There are only two truth values, and to reject something as true means it is not-true. What is not true is false, and false is the opposite, or negation, of true. So to reject the claim is to embrace its opposite. Perhaps you mean instead that you merely do not accept the claim, but this removes much of the force of the original sentence.

I have said that it is not evidence of objective moral values, but simply evidence of moral values.

You may have said it, but I don't see why, as no reason has been provided. For what we see is what we would expect to see were morals to be real (that is, exist) and hence, objective. You saying they are not objective just counts as a bare assertion (which may also qualify as circular reasoning).

If you did, then I did not see the part about evidence supporting it, all I saw, if it was not shown to be false.
This is curious, as the three sentences directly preceding the first sentence of the quote clearly state the parameters for knowledge including "justified" true belief, and I tackled those concepts in order.
But I would add, that there is a threshold of evidence required, before it should be believed.  One piece of evidence is not enough, and as I have said before, the evidence should make the belief to be beyond a reasonable doubt, not simply more plausible then its negation.
So it seems you are backing off from epistemic certainty, which is a step in the right direction. But I should remind you that "beyond a reasonable doubt" entails its being more plausibly true than its negation. In fact, it is this epistemic threshold the entire thing reduces to. That is what makes up "beyond a reasonable doubt"--more plausibly true than false. It is just "even more" plausibly true than false. But a standard made up of more than itself is simply more of the same. So why can we not say something should be regarded to be true if it is more plausibly true than false? It means we have more reason to regard it as true than false. This is just an arbitrary increasing of the same standard. More is better, agreed, but it is hardly necessary. Winning a basketball game by 100 is nice, but 1 will do. What we must ask is what fulfills the criterion of knowledge as "justified true belief."

...I was not saying that it was equal to chance, I was saying that I may as well flip a coin, because it has the same likelihood of being correct.
Aren't "chance" and "likelihood" synonyms? And even if not, isn't flipping a coin in the realm of chance? How is this not identical to chance? Since chance is not a force but a factor of statistics, I just don't see a difference.

The appeal to certainty is only in regards to deduction.
But you can't have it both ways here. You see, if the moral argument's premises can be regarded as true, the conclusion follows, whether it is labelled as deduction or not. (Coincidentally, this is the distinguishing feature of deductive arguments) Now you may object that in order to call it "true" we must be certain. But that's not what you said in this very post. You said we could regard it to be true if it was "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is epistemically uncertain. Yet if the premises are true, the conclusion follows. So if you just don't want to label it deductive
   , although this is strange, that is OK. As long as you admit you can't forge certainty onto the premises in order to say they are true (else you must retract the paragraph where you agree if we have sufficient evidence to say something is more plausibly true than false, then we can say it is justified. Then apparently we would be unjustified in saying something was true, even if we had sufficient evidence to regard it as more plausibly true than false!).

is what plausible means, then I agree.  But I disagree with adding "then its negation" to the end.  As I have said, there are things that are more plausible then their negations, but just barely.  In cases like this, it is not simply be enough to be more plausible then not, it needs to be true.
This is again confusing the truth-values with our warrant for such. There are only two truth values. This should be agreed upon. "True" and "false." This means "plausible" is not a truth value, but epistemic. Further, the two are not mutually exclusive. That is, what we can say is true is more plausibly true than its negation, seeing as we know it is true!

If your criteria were true, then anything that is more plausible then its negation should be thought of as, and treated as true.
I think you mean "if your [criterion] alone [was] true,...." For I always argue for the criteria (plural of criterion) together.
I will never win the lottery.  (would be true, so why bother playing)
There is life on other planets. (would be true)
God does not exist (to me God is highly implausible)

The likelihood that I would be here is so small, so it is more plausible then not that I would not exist, then I would exist.

So I do not exist ?  Or does the rule stop as soon as you have demonstrated something that is more plausible then its negation is actually false ?

I am trying very hard to be patient. Please consider that what I am about to say I have said nearly every post since we began discussing the nature of deduction. We evaluate knowledge as "justified true belief." This means the criteria (plural) for accepting a premise or argument as true is that the form is valid, the premises are true (that is, not shown or known to be false), and the premises must be more plausible than their negations. So in your first example, the parenthetical comment is an informal fallacy known as appeal to consequence (as it doesn't tell us about the truth of the premise). The first example should be regarded to be true, since it is not known to be false, it presumably doesn't violate any form (as we cannot see the argument it is in),  and it is more plausibly true than false. If you won the lottery, the criteria as a whole is not fulfilled, and thus we should not believe it. Further, after the fact, we would not think the premise is more plausibly true than false (in a fully-specified premise), since we think it is false! In the second example, the fact you are here functions as a defeater, and thus the criteria is not met. The third qualifies as begging the question, so I would hesitate to use it in an argument if I were you. (Defeating the argument with the conclusion "Therefore, God exists" by saying "God does
    not exist is more plausibly true than false," one can only affirm this by saying the conclusion is false; hence begging the question against the conclusion).

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #196 on: August 05, 2010, 07:01:14 pm »
Perhaps you mean instead that you merely do not accept the claim, but this removes much of the force of the original sentence.

I would say that rejecting a claim and not accepting a claim, mean the same thing.

You may have said it, but I don't see why, as no reason has been provided. For what we see is what we would expect to see were morals to be real (that is, exist) and hence, objective. You saying they are not objective just counts as a bare assertion (which may also qualify as circular reasoning).

I have said it, because I do not see reason to think that they are something real, outside of our conception of them.  The fact that we tend to see things as right and wrong, does not mean that they actually are, right and wrong.  To me it is evidence to the idea that we have moral values, but it does not show those values are reflections of something that actually exists.

This is just an arbitrary increasing of the same standard. More is better, agreed, but it is hardly necessary. Winning a basketball game by 100 is nice, but 1 will do. What we must ask is what fulfills the criterion of knowledge as "justified true belief."

But giving just enough evidence for something to make just pass into the realm of plausibility is not enough to justify that it is true.  So me what fulfills the criterion of knowledge is beyond a reasonable doubt, that is not arbitrary, but a distinct limit.  Also, that limit is not just my limit, but an inter-subjective limit, because what is considered a reasonable doubt, is not just my opinion, but the opinion of others as well.  

I want to believe as few false things as possible, and as far as I can tell this is the best method of doing that.  Also my criteria does not discuss the negation at all.  I do not think that you have to even consider the negation of a premise to determine if it is true, or not ? To say that 2+2=4, I do not have to know that it is more plausible then 2+2 =/= 4.

You see, if the moral argument's premises can be regarded as true, the conclusion follows, whether it is labelled as deduction or not.

But the moral arguments premises cannot be regarded as true, unless we use your criteria, as more plausible then its negation.  If you simply feel that it is likely that God exists, if objective moral values exist, then your premise should reflect that.

Not using your criteria:

1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.

1) If God does not exist, then it is likely that objective moral values do not exist.
1A) If it is likely that objective moral values exist, then God exists.

I do not see how 1a is defensible.     an>

the premises are true (that is, not shown or known to be false)

And again, it takes more then something not being shown to be false for it to be true.

Further, after the fact, we would not think the premise is more plausibly true than false (in a fully-specified premise), since we think it is false!

But you said we cannot use after the fact justification, combined with a priori.

The third qualifies as begging the question, so I would hesitate to use it in an argument if I were you. (Defeating the argument with the conclusion "Therefore, God exists" by saying "God does not exist is more plausibly true than false," one can only affirm this by saying the conclusion is false; hence begging the question against the conclusion).

If would only qualify as begging the question if I used it in an argument.  But if I simply use it as a blanket statement, or a premise, then I am OK.

If I took your moral argument:

1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2) God does not exist.
3) Therefore objective moral values do not exist.

This is valid, and sound, and if I use your criteria for determine the truth of a premise, 2 is more plausible then its negation, because God, by definition is implausible.
It is not begging the question, because the argument shows objective moral values do not exist.

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Randy Everist

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« Reply #197 on: August 05, 2010, 09:07:13 pm »
jbiemans wrote:
I would say that rejecting a claim and not accepting a claim, mean the same thing.
Certainly, rejection of something entails not accepting it, but I fail to see how not accepting something entails its rejection! For what of those who have never heard of a belief, much less hold it? They too do not accept a belief, but they hardly reject it. Even if they had heard a belief, but decide they've heard too little to hold a position, they do not accept it, but it hardly follows they are rejecting it. A rejection is to say it is not true, not simply lack of an opinion.

...because I do not see reason to think that they are something real, outside of our conception of them.  The fact that we tend to see things as right and wrong, does not mean that they actually are, right and wrong.  To me it is evidence to the idea that we have moral values, but it does not show those values are reflections of something that actually exists.
I think you'd find this argument to be lame against an argument for reality. Just substitute "reality" in for the rest and I think you'll see what I mean.

But giving just enough evidence for something to make just pass into the realm of plausibility is not enough to justify that it is true.  So me what fulfills the criterion of knowledge is beyond a reasonable doubt, that is not arbitrary, but a distinct limit.  Also, that limit is not just my limit, but an inter-subjective limit, because what is considered a reasonable doubt, is not just my opinion, but the opinion of others as well.
To your first statement: why? That's just a bare assertion. Why not? Any reason you supply can be used against the criteria of "beyond a reasonable doubt." Contrapositively, any reason supplied for the criteria of "beyond a reasonable doubt" for being able to say something is true is contained fundamentally in more plausibly true than its negation. Replying that one is better than the other is irrelevant to the issue. The question isn't which is better, but which allows us to say something is true. It seems both. We've yet to see any reason why this cannot or even should not be so that does not also apply. Next, it seems "arbitrary" is misunderstood. As used in philosophy, it more closely associates with "random" in the specific sense of lack of necessary reason, a pure choice. Lastly, if you're attempting to argue that more philosophers believe your criteria than mine, I think you'll find that to be untrue.

Also my criteria does not discuss the negation at all.  I do not think that you have to even consider the negation of a premise to determine if it is true, or not ? To say that 2+2=4, I do not have to know that it is more plausible then 2+2 =/= 4.
Yes you do. If something is objectively true, and known to be true, then it is inherently more plausible than its negation to the know-er. If you knew 2+2=4 but didn't know that it was more plausibly true than false, in what sense do you know it is true? This is bizarre.
And again, it takes more then something not being shown to be false for it to be true.
Dude, you are either quote-mining or not paying attention! I have been trying to give the benefit of the doubt, but I am emphasizing and saying something over and over and over and over (just like on every other thread), and for whatever reason you continue to misrepresent my view, sometimes presenting it in contradiction to the very paragraph in which it is used!

But you said we cannot use after the fact justification, combined with a priori.
What I said was that it is arbitrary to use a priori on one premise, and post facto on another in the same argument.

   n>1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2) God does not exist.
3) Therefore objective moral values do not exist.

This is valid, and sound, and if I use your criteria for determine the truth of a premise, 2 is more plausible then its negation, because God, by definition is implausible.
It is not begging the question, because the argument shows objective moral values do not exist.

The argument presumes, however, God does not exist, which is the conclusion of the argument we are discussing. Hence, without any evidence from you, this is begging the question against the conclusion. Now you say God, by definition, is implausible. I think most philosophers would be stunned to hear that claim! I've never yet seen a definition of God that included "implausible" as an attribute. Perhaps you simply mean that you find God to be implausible, moreso than its opposite (God exists). This is fine, but we'd need to see some evidence. But in any case, the second premise in yours must be used to counter one or more of the premises in mine; or else yours is simply begging the question against the argument's conclusion.

You also claimed the argument was sound, which must mean you have some pretty strong evidence God does not exist. I'd like to hear that, since if God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist as well! I think you have the much more difficult burden here, for I must only show it is more plausible than not objective moral values exist, while you must show the whole deal--that it is more plausible than not God does not exist. Go for it!
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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #198 on: August 06, 2010, 05:36:13 am »
Perhaps you simply mean that you find God to be implausible, moreso than its opposite (God exists). This is fine, but we'd need to see some evidence. But in any case, the second premise in yours must be used to counter one or more of the premises in mine; or else yours is simply begging the question against the argument's conclusion.

That is right, I find it more plausible that God does not exist, then God does exist.  If my argument is separate from yours, it is not begging the question. The conclusion of my argument is what counters yours.

Since there is no evidence that I am aware of for the existence of God, then I find it probable that God does not exist.  When I said, by definition, I meant that God was an all powerful, all knowing, etc. and those properties are all not plausible to me.  

You also claimed the argument was sound, which must mean you have some pretty strong evidence God does not exist. I'd like to hear that, since if God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist as well! I think you have the much more difficult burden here, for I must only show it is more plausible than not objective moral values exist, while you must show the whole deal--that it is more plausible than not God does not exist. Go for it!


I do not need strong evidence, I just need to think that the premise is more plausible then its negation, right ?  And since God's existence has never been demonstrated, then it is not plausible, therefore his non-existence is more probable.

Quote:
...because I do not see reason to think that they are something real, outside of our conception of them.  The fact that we tend to see things as right and wrong, does not mean that they actually are, right and wrong.  To me it is evidence to the idea that we have moral values, but it does not show those values are reflections of something that actually exists.
I think you'd find this argument to be lame against an argument for reality. Just substitute "reality" in for the rest and I think you'll see what I mean.

We can show that reality is real by using multiple methods, each of our 5 scenes can confirm the other ones, and then we can confirm with others senses, and we can use machines to verify everything that our senses tell us.

Reality and values are two vastly different things.  

To your first statement: why? That's just a bare assertion. Why not?

Why not ? I have already said, because if that were the case, you would be more likely to believe more things that are not true, then you would if your standard were higher.

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Randy Everist

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« Reply #199 on: August 06, 2010, 05:59:22 am »

jbiemans wrote: [That is right, I find it more plausible that God does not exist, then God does exist.  If my argument is separate from yours, it is not begging the question. The conclusion of my argument is what counters yours.

What do you mean "separate from" mine? You mean not logically related? If that's the case, it is, for your second premise counters my conclusion, and does so without any evidence. That's begging the question.

Since there is no evidence that I am aware of for the existence of God,
Now that is also begging the question.

I do not need strong evidence, I just need to think that the premise is more plausible then its negation, right ?  And since God's existence has never been demonstrated, then it is not plausible, therefore his non-existence is more probable.
You mean it has not been shown to be more plausible than its negation? That's just begging the question again. Further, because something has not been shown, it doesn't follow it's opposite is true. And you do need strong evidence; at least as strong as more plausibly true than false!
We can show that reality is real by using multiple methods, each of our 5 scenes can confirm the other ones, and then we can confirm with others senses, and we can use machines to verify everything that our senses tell us.
Machines and senses are both a part of reality, so to use them relies on reality being real, which is circular reasoning. Further, our sense experiences is what you describe and what we rely on, which is exactly what we rely on. Your criticisms apply equally to both arguments. All our experiences point to is that we experience something, but we could just be brains in a vat.  

Why not ? I have already said, because if that were the case, you would be more likely to believe more things that are not true, then you would if your standard were higher.

This doesn't make sense. If you're relying on an individual premise's plausibility, it is already more plausibly true than false. This is what makes up knowledge. All you are saying is you can't because one standard is higher. But what about the standard being higher constitutes the lower standard not being knowledge? You simply say the likelihood increases that it's false. But if likelihood of falsity is the standard, then the lower standard still passes, for it is more plausibly true than false.

In any case, I think this discussion has exhausted itself, as you have tried to: show the moral argument is invalid, to show it is not deductive, to argue all premises are necessary, to argue all must be certain, to argue all must be beyond a reasonable doubt, to argue a premise's negation may be assumed, to argue something is plausibly true when it is known to be false, and to argue that all of our experiences pointing to an objective moral reality is not enough to justify saying there is objective moral reality; all of which have been unsuccessful.

So I challenge you: what evidence do you have for God's non-existence, to back up your claim? Why deny the first premise if it is coherent and there exists not a counterexample? Why deny the second premise if exactly the same standard of evidence is used to justify reality? Finally, if both of these premises' warrant is not either undercut or defeated, why not believe the conclusion? I am more inclined to believe you do not want to accept it, rather than that you are intellectually unable.
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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #200 on: August 06, 2010, 03:07:04 pm »
You mean it has not been shown to be more plausible than its negation? That's just begging the question again. Further, because something has not been shown, it doesn't follow it's opposite is true. And you do need strong evidence; at least as strong as more plausibly true than false!

Normally you would be correct, but you have stated that showing something to be more plausible then its negation, is equal to it being true.  So that also means that not showing something to be more plausible then its negation, is equal to it being false.

So I was attempting to use what I thought was your criteria.  

If A is true, then A must be more plausible then its negation.
A is not more plausible then its negation.
Therefore A is false

Or to simplify:

If A, then A is X
A is Not X
Therefore Not A

To summarize, the consequence of something being true because it is more plausible then its negation, is that is something is not more plausible then its negation, then its negation is true.

I would skip all of this and use the contrapositive:
If A is not X, then Not A.
Or if A is not more plausible then its negation, then Not A is true.

And you do need strong evidence; at least as strong as more plausibly true than false!

Do you have that strong evidence for God's existence ?  If not, then it is not more plausible then its negation, and God does not exist.

You can easily flip this on me though, and say that because I do not have strong enough evidence for God's non-existence, that would mean therefore God exists.  And technically you would be correct.  That is why I think this method of determining truth is flawed.

Since I have showed above, I don't really need to defend this point, I will still try.  My argument towards God's non existence: (By God I am referring to the Christian God)

I would say that the absence of evidence for God is strong evidence for his absence.  (Yes, absence of evidence can be used as evidence for absence, in situations where we should expect to find evidence.).  If God is acting in the natural world, then we should expect to find evidence of that action.  Also, God (if you believe the Bible) made numerous appearances, and allowed people to test him, so looking for evidence is well within the realm of expectation.

To me that is more then enough evidence to say that it is more plausible then not.

This doesn't make sense. If you're relying on an individual premise's plausibility, it is already more plausibly true than false. This is what makes up knowledge. All you are saying is you can't because one standard is higher. But what about the standard being higher constitutes the lower standard not being knowledge? You simply say the likelihood increases that it's false. But if likelihood of falsity is the standard, then the lower standard still passes, for it is more plausibly true than false.

It passes by your standards, but not by mine.  Imagine if a court of law worked under your criteria for truth ?  I think it is more probable then not that he is the killer, therefore he is the killer.  It only passes, if your standard is 50%, mine is not.  Just like some university courses, just skating by at 51% is not good enough.

In any case, I think this discussion has exhausted itself, as you have tried to: [1] show the moral argument is invalid, [2] to show it is not deductive, [3] to argue all premises are necessary, [4] to argue all must be certain, [5] to argue all must be beyond a reasonable doubt, [6] to argue a premise's negation may be assumed, [7] to argue something is plausibly true when it is known to be false, [8] and to argue that all of our experiences pointing to an objective moral reality is not enough to justify saying there is objective moral reality; all of which have been unsuccessful.

[1] I said that because I disagree with your criteria for discerning a true premise. (more plausible then its negation)   >

[2] It is not deductive, unless we call premise 1 true, based on the above noted criteria that is in contention.

[3] This got confused, what I was attempting to argue, was that in order to argue using modus tollens, there must be a sufficient and necessary connection between the antecedent and the consequent.

[4] Again, this was a misinterpretation of what I was trying to say, probably due in part to the way I wrote it.

[5] I still agree with this point, and I defend this by saying that it is the best method by which to hold as few false beliefs as possible. (which is important to me, if that is not important to you then....)

[6] I defended this one above.

[7] Again, I think you misunderstood.  What I meant by this one is that someone who was unaware of the truth, could be justified in saying that something was true, even though most other people knew it was false (by your criteria)

[8] I was arguing that your interpretation was wrong, and I still hold this.  You say that our experience points to an objective moral reality, and I contest that our experience simply points to the fact that we hold to moral values, because of the society that we grew up in.

I am running out of time, so I hope I do not rush this too much.  Your challenge:

So I challenge you: [1]what evidence do you have for God's non-existence, to back up your claim? [2] Why deny the first premise if it is coherent and there exists not a counterexample? [3] Why deny the second premise if exactly the same standard of evidence is used to justify reality? [4] Finally, if both of these premises' warrant is not either undercut or defeated, why not believe the conclusion? I am more inclined to believe you do not want to accept it, rather than that you are intellectually unable.

[1] See above, argument from divine hiddenness.
[2] Why deny the first premise ?  Because I do not see how God's existence is required for objective moral values.  How is it that God is the only way that objective moral could exist ?  If it is not the only way, as you have admitted already, then the premise is not true, as objective moral values could exist, and God could not.
[3] It is not exactly the same standard of evidence, because reality has empirical evidence, do you have empirical evidence for moral values ?  No, and I would not expect there to be, because they are conceptual, not physical.  So to say that they are using the same standard is not true.  I am still unsure how you demonstrate that something that is conceptual by nature, is based on an objective fact, and not a subjective thought.
[4]  I do not believe the conclusion, as I have problems with the premises.


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Randy Everist

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« Reply #201 on: August 06, 2010, 05:06:12 pm »

jbiemans wrote: Normally you would be correct, but you have stated that showing something to be more plausible then its negation, is equal to it being true.  So that also means that not showing something to be more plausible then its negation, is equal to it being false.

I have never said that; I've only said it's being more plausible than its negation should have us regard it to be true. It is simply part (criterion) of the whole (criteria), which includes it's being either actually true or false.

If A is true, then A must be more plausible then its negation.
A is not more plausible then its negation.
Therefore A is false
This is almost exactly what it is. If A is known to be true, for instance, then it is in fact more plausible than its negation, and thus we avoid the conclusion (which should be, "therefore, A is not known to be true"). This first premise really entails that it is known to be true (since the first premise wouldn't hold because some things can be true and yet no one ever know them; thus they are not more plausible than their negations, strictly speaking). If A is more plausible than its negation, and A is not known to be false, A can be known as true; this is also an accurate statement of the entire criteria.
I would skip all of this and use the contrapositive:
If A is not X, then Not A.
Or if A is not more plausible then its negation, then Not A is true.
With the modifier described by me above with "knowing," then yes. If something is not more plausible than its negation, it should hardly be regarded to be true!

Do you have that strong evidence for God's existence ?  If not, then it is not more plausible then its negation, and God does not exist.
This is attempting to shift the burden of proof. One of the premises of your counterargument is that God does not exist.

You can easily flip this on me though, and say that because I do not have strong enough evidence for God's non-existence, that would mean therefore God exists.  And technically you would be correct.  That is why I think this method of determining truth is flawed.
No, I wouldn't. It's a fallacy to assume that "not more plausible than its negation" is equivalent to its negation being more plausible than the original! The criteria's contrapositive merely demands that we cannot say we know it is true if it is not more plausible than its negation. But from this, it is simply a non-sequitur to claim that its negation is now more plausible! Without any evidence, it is simply even. Once we introduce some evidence (argument, background knowledge, empiricism, whatever), then, if valid, we can say its negation is more plausible.
View it like this: we start out with two stacks of zero building blocks. We have 10 total blocks, none of which, all of which, or some of which of any amount may be assigned to each stack. The stack with the most amount wins (though it can end in a tie). Suppose we gave each stack one block. Now we may go to add a block to the left stack, but we both agree not to do this. We end up in a deadlock and decide against giving out any more blocks. I look at the stack on the left, as before, and lament, "It appears the left stack has not won. It does not have more blocks than the right. Therefore, the right stack has won." You would look at me like I was nuts. The thought experiment is imperfect, but demonstrates one point: without any addition of blocks (evidence), one side does not become regarded to be the winner (true)! If this experiment perhaps does not seem directly analogous, re-do it and assume we assign zero blocks to the right stack and one to the left; then suppose we remove the block from the left and try to come to the same conclusion!
If God is acting in the natural world, then we should expect to find evidence of that action.  Also, God (if you believe the Bible) made numerous appearances, and allowed people to test him, so looking for evidence is well within the realm of expectation.
Well that's all? The good news is, I have a deductive argument, which means it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. However, yours is an inductive argument through and through; it is possible for all your premises to be true and the conclusion false. If the Christian God exists, then He did in fact intervene in the natural world (as He created it), and did in fact leave evidences (which we are discussing now). Because if the deductive argument is true, yours is impossible to be true (whereas even if all your premises are granted as true, it is still possible for my conclusion to be true), we ought to discuss the premises. I expected some very powerful argument; instead it merely begs the question (as there's no reason to believe God didn't act unless He didn't exist [since acting entails creation; and God is always posited as creator]).

It passes by your standards, but not by mine.  Imagine if a court of law worked under your criteria for truth ?  I think it is more probable then not that he is the killer, therefore he is the killer.  It only passes, if your standard is 50%, mine is not.  Just like some university courses, just skating by at 51% is not good enough.
None of this addresses why it cannot be regarded as true, and thus functions as a red herring. Your court example, at best, can only be used to say one is not certain, but that can be levied against beyond reasonable doubt. Again, the argument is not which is a higher standard, but which is sufficient for knowledge. Why, again, if a premise has more evidence to support it (as in better), is one not justified in believing it?

[1] I said that because I disagree with your criteria for discerning a true premise. (more plausible then its negation)
That wouldn't make it invalid, just unsound.

[2] It is not deductive, unless we call premise 1 true, based on the above noted criteria that is in contention.
Bare assertion. An argument is deductive so long as it is impossible for its premises to be true and the conclusion false. Beyond this, it is a red herring, as whether or not you'd like to call it deductive, you have not shown any possible way both premises could be true and the conclusion false.

[3] This got confused, what I was attempting to argue, was that in order to argue using modus tollens, there must be a sufficient and necessary connection between the antecedent and the consequent.
Which is also false (and incidentally indefensible as it does not live up to its own standard). By this standard semantics, the if-then conditional "if my team scores more points than the other team in basketball, then we will win the game," is false because it is logically possible the referee retroactively changes the rules of the game. This strikes me as absurd.

[4] Again, this was a misinterpretation of what I was trying to say, probably due in part to the way I wrote it.
It may be because you said it must be certain.

[5] I still agree with this point, and I defend this by saying that it is the best method by which to hold as few false beliefs as possible. (which is important to me, if that is not important to you then....)
It fails its own test. For you have not shown that in order to have justification for a claim, one must have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to be beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the claim itself fails.
[7] Again, I think you misunderstood.  What I meant by this one is that someone who was unaware of the truth, could be justified in saying that something was true, even though most other people knew it was false (by your criteria)
That's because any knowledge (regardless of the standard) is subjective in nature. That is, what you know is not necessarily what I know, regardless of certainty. This criticism applies to any standard, up to and including certainty. It wouldn't then follow that one is not justified in believing something to be true, even if he was certain!

[8] I was arguing that your interpretation was wrong, and I still hold this.  You say that our experience points to an objective moral reality, and I contest that our experience simply points to the fact that we hold to moral values, because of the society that we grew up in.
Now this last part is the genetic fallacy. How one comes to hold a belief does nothing to its ontology. But again, your criticism can be applied to reality itself. You may say all of our experiences show reality exists, but I contest that our experiences simply show we think this reality is real, but it really isn't. This prove-me-wrong kind of thinking will result in the failed philosophy of Descartes.

So I challenge you: [1]what evidence do you have for God's non-existence, to back up your claim? [2] Why deny the first premise if it is coherent and there exists not a counterexample? [3] Why deny the second premise if exactly the same standard of evidence is used to justify reality? [4] Finally, if both of these premises' warrant is not either undercut or defeated, why not believe the conclusion? I am more inclined to believe you do not want to accept it, rather than that you are intellectually unable.

[2] Why deny the first premise ?  Because I do not see how God's existence is required for objective moral values.[/QUOTE] It only matters whether or not the premise is actually true, regardless of its necessity. You're simply punting to necessity, but the real question is: is it true that if God does not exist, then do objective moral values exist? The question to answer for that is this: what is the most likely source for an objective set of moral values, if they were to exist?
[3] It is not exactly the same standard of evidence, because reality has empirical evidence, do you have empirical evidence for moral values ?  No, and I would not expect there to be, because they are conceptual, not physical.
Objective reality is physical, but reality is reality. We observe all of our actions and reactions, and this is the same evidence. That is, I'm not saying we don't have empirical evidence for moral values. We do. The same amount and quality as everyday life and reality. None of this has been undercut so far.
[4]  I do not believe the conclusion, as I have problems with the premises.

That wasn't the question! The question was, if the premises are true, why deny the conclusion? I assume, and hope, your answer would be that you would not deny it.

In any case, the moral argument has stood strong throughout this entire thread, having none of the evidences defeated so far, and thus because there are evidences that stand sufficient to support a concept, the conclusion follows inescapably.

You may have the last word on the subject. I recognize it's not a matter of not being exposed to the disciplines of logic and philosophy, but rather a matter of the will. Reading this thread, it's tough to believe you are sincere. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but now we're going round and round, and we must end. The last word goes to you my friend!
"Every great man was thought to be insane before he changed the world. Some never changed the world. They were just insane."

Check out my blog, "Possible Worlds," at http://www.randyeverist.com

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #202 on: August 06, 2010, 07:45:24 pm »
This is almost exactly what it is. If A is known to be true, for instance, then it is in fact more plausible than its negation, and thus we avoid the conclusion (which should be, "therefore, A is not known to be true"). This first premise really entails that it is known to be true (since the first premise wouldn't hold because some things can be true and yet no one ever know them; thus they are not more plausible than their negations, strictly speaking). If A is more plausible than its negation, and A is not known to be false, A can be known as true; this is also an accurate statement of the entire criteria.

Throughout the past few posts, you have used "known as true" and "true" to be the same thing.  you have said, that if we have cause to say that something is known as true, then we can recognize it as true.  I was simply attempting to skip a few steps for brevity's sake.

No, I wouldn't. It's a fallacy to assume that "not more plausible than its negation" is equivalent to its negation being more plausible than the original!

I never said that they were equivalent.  What I was saying is that is one is true, the other must be false.  I am sure that you do not contest that statement.  Allow me to rephrase the argument to take your "knowing" addition into account.

If A is known to be true, then A is X.
A is Not X.
Therefore Not A is known to be true.

It does not change my argument in the least.

With the modifier described by me above with "knowing," then yes. If something is not more plausible than its negation, it should hardly be regarded to be true!

I am glad that you actually agree.  So given the law of identity, is something is not true, then it is ......false.  Or like I said:

Or if A is not more plausible then its negation, then Not A is known to be true.

View it like this: we start out with two stacks of zero building blocks. We have 10 total blocks, none of which, all of which, or some of which of any amount may be assigned to each stack. The stack with the most amount wins (though it can end in a tie). Suppose we gave each stack one block. Now we may go to add a block to the left stack, but we both agree not to do this. We end up in a deadlock and decide against giving out any more blocks. I look at the stack on the left, as before, and lament, "It appears the left stack has not won. It does not have more blocks than the right. Therefore, the right stack has won." You would look at me like I was nuts. The thought experiment is imperfect, but demonstrates one point: without any addition of blocks (evidence), one side does not become regarded to be the winner (true)! If this experiment perhaps does not seem directly analogous, re-do it and assume we assign zero blocks to the right stack and one to the left; then suppose we remove the block from the left and try to come to the same conclusion!

I would view it differently, but that is an interesting analogy.  If I were to do it the same why that you set it up, I would put blocks on the + side for every piece of evidence that I had, then when I was finished, I would place the remainder on the - side.  If we are speaking of percents, and we are 20% for, then we are 80% against.

Well that's all? The good news is, I have a deductive argument, which means it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. However, yours is an inductive argument through and through; it is possible for all your premises to be true and the conclusion false. If the Christian God exists, then He did in fact intervene in the natural world (as He created it), and did in fact leave evidences (which we are discussing now). Because if the deductive argument is true, yours is impossible to be true (whereas even if all your premises are granted as true, it is still possible for my conclusion to be true), we ought to discuss the premises. I expected some very powerful argument; instead it merely begs the question (as there's no reason to believe God didn't act unless He didn't exist [since acting entails creation; and God is always posited as creator]).

I do not agree to your argument so I do not see it as evidence.  Also, if God left evidence, then I am not sure what it is.

None of this addresses why it cannot be regarded as true, and thus functions as a red herring. Your court example, at best, can only be used to say one is not certain, but that can be levied against beyond reasonable doubt. Again, the argument is not which is a higher standard, but which is sufficient for knowledge. Why, again, if a premise has more evidence to support it (as in better), is one not justified in believing it?

As I have said, I do not think yours is sufficient as I think it has too much possibility to lead to false beliefs.
    My court example says nothing about certainty, it simply says thought to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bare assertion. An argument is deductive so long as it is impossible for its premises to be true and the conclusion false. Beyond this, it is a red herring, as whether or not you'd like to call it deductive, you have not shown any possible way both premises could be true and the conclusion false.

But your premises are not true, only more probable then their negations.  I still assert that there is a difference between the two, and simply saying that something is more probable then its negation, is not enough to demonstrate that it actually is true.

Which is also false (and incidentally indefensible as it does not live up to its own standard). By this standard semantics, the if-then conditional "if my team scores more points than the other team in basketball, then we will win the game," is false because it is logically possible the referee retroactively changes the rules of the game. This strikes me as absurd.

It would be false, if I were to admit that there are other possible ways to win the game besides scoring more points.  But since that is the only possible way to win the game, the your analogy does not work, as in this analogy, they is a necessary connection.

A better premise would be, "If I am getting wet when I am outside, then it is raining".  This premise IS false.  Even though rain is the most plausible way that I can get wet, there are many other ways that I could be getting wet.  In this case, the premise is more plausible then its negation, but it can easily be show to be false, depending on what is actually happening in reality. It would be true if I said "If I am getting wet when I am outside, then it is probably raining".

I wish I could word this better, but that is why I have a problem with this criteria for determining truth.

Now this last part is the genetic fallacy. How one comes to hold a belief does nothing to its ontology. But again, your criticism can be applied to reality itself. You may say all of our experiences show reality exists, but I contest that our experiences simply show we think this reality is real, but it really isn't. This prove-me-wrong kind of thinking will result in the failed philosophy of Descartes.

You are right, I do make the presupposition that reality exists.  And I will admit that, but if I did not make that assumption, then what would the point of anything be, everything is the product of my mind, and this discussion would be pointless.

It only matters whether or not the premise is actually true, regardless of its necessity. You're simply punting to necessity, but the real question is: is it true that if God does not exist, then do objective moral values exist? The question to answer for that is this: what is the most likely source for an objective set of moral values, if they were to exist?

What is the most likely source ?  Well to assume that God is a likely source it so assume that he exists, is it not ?  In order for something to even be a potential source, it would have to exist, so for it to be a likely source, it must exist.  You cannot possibly posit something as the most likely source for something, if that something has not been shown to exist.

That is like me saying this:

1) If Bigfoot did not exist, then there would not be Bigfoot sightings.
2) There are Bigfoot sightings.
3) Therefore Bigfoot exists.

Premise 1 is more plausible then its negation, because its negation would be:
If Bigfoot did not exist, then there would be Bigfoot sightings.

This premise is not plausible at all, therefore the original , is much, much more plausible.

Is that proof that Bigfoot exists ?

In any case, the moral argument has stood strong throughout this entire thread, having none of the evidences defeated so far, and thus because there are evidences that stand sufficient to support a concept, the conclusion follows inescapably.


I still fail to see how saying that we treat morals as if they were based on some objective standard, proves that there actually is an objective standard.

If I told you to think of the number 1, you wou
   ld think of the same thing that I am thinking of.  We can both discuss this number and then make up rules around this number, we could call the rules math.  We all act as if we are basing our math of something objective, but the number 1 is an abstract object.  It does not require anything to ground it to reality, it simply exists as a product of our minds.  

Similarly with morality, it is useless to talk about morality, if there were only one person.  Morality is meaningless unless there are at least 2 minds in existence.



I guess if this is the end then I will end it with this:

I still do not see how you can say that morality is objective, without first showing the source of the objectivity.

I still do not see how God is the best explanation for moral values, when it has not been demonstrated that God even exists.

If you are simply stating that God is the best explanation, then you are making an inference to the best explanation, which is abduction not deduction.


8

Maverick Christian

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #203 on: September 17, 2010, 09:49:47 pm »

First, I apologize for the delay.

The Moral argument

To recap:

  1. If God does not exist, then objective morality does not exist.
  2. Objective morality exists.
  3. Therefore God exists.

I assert that (1) the argument is deductively valid (i.e. the conclusion logically and inescapably follows from the conclusion); and (2) the premises are more plausible than their denials.


jbiemans wrote:
Moreover, please note that my arguments for moral objectivism (which you unfortunately ignored in your previous post to me) do not presuppose theism.

e.g. “what is morally wrong is that which God forbids” provides an ontological ground for what is morally wrong without God personifying evil.


If that is the definition of what is morally Good, then you must presuppose theism in order to say what is morally wrong is that which God forbids, because it would be impossible, under that definition to have morality without God.


But that is not my definition of morally Good, the above quote was simply giving an ontological explanation.


jbiemans wrote:

If God exists, then objective morality exists.
God does not exist.
Objective morality does not exist.
Therefore, if God does not exist, then objective morality does not exist.


Lets look this then:


1) If G then O.
2) ~G
3) ~O
4) Therefore, if ~G, then ~O


That does not follow from the premises.


Actually it does; you don't even need the first premise.  Consider:

  1. ~O
  2. ~G (conditional proof assumption)
  3. ~O (1, repetition)
  4. ~G -> ~O (conditional proof, 2-3)


This of course is using only the material conditional (which, incidentally, is sufficient for the moral argument as I previously stated it), but note that you believe that objective morality does not exist and also acknowledge that objective morality would exist if God exists; so the indicative conditional seems to be true also.

jbiemans wrote:
I believe these premises are true.  Do I also think that they are probably true?  Yes.  There is no inconsistency for me to assert that th
   ey are both true and that we have good grounds for thinking they are true.


So, I guess I misunderstood your point of view, according to this, you are asserting that premise 1 is true, that means that there is a necessary connection between objective moral values existing, and God existing.  This is why my assertion that there are other potential methods for objective moral values, besides God, shows that premise to be false.


That does no such thing, because I really only need the material conditional to be true.  Logically, you are committed to accepting the first premise.  Since you acknowledge that if God did exist then objective morality would exist, but you disbelieve both in objective morality and God, it's hard to see how you couldn't see the first premise as an indicative conditional to be more plausible than its negation.  That said, you are logically committed to the material conditional anyway by disbelieving both the existence of God and objective morality.


jbiemans wrote:
Consider the scenario where the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust and thought anti-Semitism was good killed or brainwashed everyone who disagreed with them.  Would not Nazi anti-Semitism be morally wrong?  It seems clear that it would be.  You responded however, “It would not be morally wrong, because no one would think that it was wrong.”  But, at least without further explanation, such reasoning is hugely non sequitur.  Inherent in any commonsense notion of morality is that which is morally wrong ought not to be, and that which is morally right ought to be.  So, is it the case that the Nazis should not be viciously anti-Semitic just because everyone who disagreed with them is killed or brainwashed into thinking otherwise?  Why on earth would, “It ought not to be that the Nazis engaged in vicious anti-Semitic behavior” only true when someone believes it is true?


Why should I believe that it ought to be the case because you think that it seams clear to you that it ought to be.


I presume that's a question, and if so my answer is "I'm not asking you to believe it ought to be the case on my say-so; rather, I'm trying to appeal to your common sense."  I would've thought that "The Holocaust is morally wrong" would be pretty evident.  In any case, you didn't quite respond to my non sequitur criticism or answer my questions.  Is it the case that the Nazis should not be viciously anti-Semitic just because everyone who disagreed with them is killed or brainwashed into thinking otherwise?  Why on earth would, “It ought not to be that the Nazis engaged in vicious anti-Semitic behavior” only true when someone believes it is true?


Off Topic

jbiemans wrote: How do you distinguish between a subjective concept and an objective concept ?
Or in other words,
How do you know that it is bad, because it is bad, and not simply because we think that it is bad ?

How do you know 2 + 2 = 4 because it does, and not simply because we think it does?  Eventually it comes down to intuitive perceptions and what we perceive as plausible.  Some things are plausibly subjective, but it's hard to swallow that "the Holocaust is morally wrong" becomes false simply as a result of the Nazis killing/brainwashing everyone who disagreed with them; the deluded Nazis would be just as mistaken as someone saying 2 + 2 = 5.

jbiemans wrote: So how do you show that the ontology of what is good or bad is not determined by human opinion ?

I normally try to give reductio ad absurdum arguments, but not everyone will accept that the absurdities are indeed absurd.  For example, some people are willing to believe that nothing is morally wrong with the Holocaust, whereas I consider such a belief to be horribly irrational.


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brent arnesen

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #204 on: September 17, 2010, 10:02:42 pm »
joel wrote: Justice is a very frightening topic.
It's only frightening to those who fear.

 For if humanity rejects transcendent morals, then there can no longer be justice.  There can only be power.
Welcome to a universe of only power.  It's not bad - it just is.  (After all, power can be used for Good)

Quote from: jbiemans
Is the law of gravity objective ?

Are any of the laws in physics objective ? (thermodynamics, motion,  conservation of energy, etc).


Yes.  Physical laws apply to everything (so long as we're not dragging quantum nonsense into it again).  I haven't really thought about whether it is possible for them to exist as platonistic ideas.  I would doubt it.  I do believe physical laws are grounded in God.  As in, He made them such as they are, and they are what they are regardless of personal opinions on the matter.  No unanimity of human opinion will change them.
Quote

Why assume someone made them?


Great discussion, btw.
God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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Cletus Nze

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Can objective morality exist without God?
« Reply #205 on: January 18, 2011, 01:20:11 am »
ooberman wrote:
Quote from: joel
Justice is a very frightening topic.
It's only frightening to those who fear.

 For if humanity rejects transcendent morals, then there can no longer be justice.  There can only be power.
Welcome to a universe of only power.  It's not bad - it just is.  (After all, power can be used for Good)

Quote from: jbiemans
Is the law of gravity objective ?

Are any of the laws in physics objective ? (thermodynamics, motion,  conservation of energy, etc).


Yes.  Physical laws apply to everything (so long as we're not dragging quantum nonsense into it again).  I haven't really thought about whether it is possible for them to exist as platonistic ideas.  I would doubt it.  I do believe physical laws are grounded in God.  As in, He made them such as they are, and they are what they are regardless of personal opinions on the matter.  No unanimity of human opinion will change them.

Why assume someone made them?


Great discussion, btw.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! "Quantum nonsense", eh dolt? You think you can pick and choose which of the physical laws apply? Or escape RESPONSIBILITY for the CONSEQUENCES of ANYTHING you do with power? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!  ALL Natural Laws are the expression of a PRECEDING and DOMINATING State of Existence imposed on a SUBSEQUENT and SUBORDINATE State of Existence. Therefore, Natural Laws are an expression of the property of the Higher State of Existence in the lower! They do not just exist - they are based on the Original State of Existence - God!
Pursue Truth - with rigour and vigour!