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Dr. Craig vs. Peter Millican: "Does God Exist?"
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2011, 02:08:04 pm »
pinkey wrote:
How are they baseless?


You did not back up what you said at all. Let's talk about Craig v. Millican and the related arguments, which have nothing to do with ID, which I know you don't understand, because you call it creationism. If you want to discuss Craig's views on ID and if it's creationism, then start a new thread and I'd be happy to discuss it with you.


Back it up? Simply listen to the Q and A session of the debate.
And on intelligent design, maybe you need to look deeper into the concept and the proposers of the idea.
Maybe I'll start a new thread on it. I'll let you know if I do.

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Matt

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« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2011, 03:12:19 pm »
revo74 wrote:
You have created a straw man argument – I have not proposed a "timeless" world, but an eternal world.

The word "eternal" is pretty ambiguous, so I apologize! But if you're positing a world with an infinite past, you run into all the philosophical and scientific arguments against such a past that Craig raises.

You said a "timeless physical universe cannot be the cause of our universe". Why is this impossible? I don't believe this is the case, but I don't see how a non-physical anything could be a more reasonable causal explanation.

Because, for reasons I named, a timeless physical universe in a causal position would yield a timeless effect. On the other hand, a powerful personal being has free will, the only kind of cause that can conceivably, from an atemporal initial condition, transcend atemporality, as a free will is not determined or constrained by its prior conditions. A man timelessly intending to get up, for example, could decide to get up.



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belorg

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Dr. Craig vs. Peter Millican: "Does God Exist?"
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2011, 03:54:35 pm »
silentmatt wrote: Because, for reasons I named, a timeless physical universe in a causal position would yield a timeless effect. On the other hand, a powerful personal being has free will, the only kind of cause that can conceivably, from an atemporal initial condition, transcend atemporality, as a free will is not determined or constrained by its prior conditions. A man timelessly intending to get up, for example, could decide to get up.
A man, timelessly intending to get up, would also timelessly be standing up.
The  result of this man's intention cannot be 'delayed' as there is no time to delay anything.
That's exactly why Craig's KCA is incoherent.


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Ray Mag

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Dr. Craig vs. Peter Millican: "Does God Exist?"
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2011, 06:08:52 pm »
silentmatt wrote: The word "eternal" is pretty ambiguous, so I apologize! But if you're positing a world with an infinite past, you run into all the philosophical and scientific arguments against such a past that Craig raises.


The philosophical and scientific arguments Craig raises are geared toward 'our Universe' for which we are familiar with. They are used to show that our Universe had a finite beginning, nothing more.

Because, for reasons I named, a timeless physical universe in a causal position would yield a timeless effect. On the other hand, a powerful personal being has free will, the only kind of cause that can conceivably, from an atemporal initial condition, transcend atemporality, as a free will is not determined or constrained by its prior conditions. A man timelessly intending to get up, for example, could decide to get up.


Just as you may argue that a timeless anything would not be able to cause something with time, I argue that an immaterial anything would not be able to cause something with matter.

The bottom line is, in order for Craig to define the transcending cause of the Universe as being spaceless, timeless and immaterial, he must make an 'assumption' that these properties only exists in our space-time continuum. This renders the arguments invalid. The only thing the argument shows is that the Universe has a cause that transcends it, nothing more.

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« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2011, 07:06:33 pm »
belorg wrote:
A man, timelessly intending to get up, would also timelessly be standing up.
The  result of this man's intention cannot be 'delayed' as there is no time to delay anything.
That's exactly why Craig's KCA is incoherent.


A man can intend to stand up but not actually be standing up. A timelessly sitting man of sufficient power intending to stand up could decide to stand up now, and in this decision create a temporal sequence.


revo74 wrote: The philosophical and scientific arguments Craig raises are geared toward 'our Universe' for which we are familiar with. They are used to show that our Universe had a finite beginning, nothing more.

The arguments against actual infinities, whether formed by successive addition or simply in themselves, apply to any conceivable universe with a past. The scientific arguments apply to multiverse models that are on average expanding, which includes your proposed scenario.

Just as you may argue that a timeless anything would not be able to cause something with time, I argue that an immaterial anything would not be able to cause something with matter.

I can substantiate my argument, namely, that a timeless sufficient cause is, because it is timelessly sufficient for its effect, inescapably therefore the cause only of timeless effects.

On the other hand, it is difficult to see why immaterial things would not be able to influence matter. Why not?


The bottom line is, in order for Craig to define the transcending cause of the Universe as being spaceless, timeless and immaterial, he must make an 'assumption' that these properties only exists in our space-time continuum. This renders the arguments invalid. The only thing the argument shows is that the Universe has a cause that transcends it, nothing more.

I think, when Craig refers to "the universe," he's talking about the whole of physical space and time. Philosophy and current science seem to concur with his assessment that physical existence has a finite past. In any case, the argument is clearly valid, in that its conclusions follow from its premises, once the premises are properly understood. The only question is whether it is in fact sound.

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belorg

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« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2011, 03:33:03 am »

silentmatt wrote:  

A man can intend to stand up but not actually be standing up. A timelessly sitting man of sufficient power intending to stand up could decide to stand up now, and in this decision create a temporal sequence.


No, he can't, the 'now' when he stands up coincides with the 'beginning' of his intentionn, and since his intention did not begin, neither did the 'temporal sequence'. It might, in principle be possible for such a man to create a temporal sequence, but this sequnece would be beginningless. And since, as the KCA states, the universe began, there is no logically possible way for this man to create the universe.
So, whereas the first 3 premises of the KCA are valid and may be sound, the conclusion that the cause must be a personal entity is demonstrably false.

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Ray Mag

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« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2011, 07:24:09 am »
silentmatt wrote: The  arguments against actual infinities, whether formed by successive  addition or simply in themselves, apply to any conceivable universe with  a past. The scientific arguments apply to multiverse models that are on  average expanding, which includes your proposed scenario.


I  am postulating an eternal realm of existence with at least one of the  three attributes being discussed (space, time, matter/energy). I don't  see how a "scientific argument", which requires observation and testing,  can apply to anything beyond its methods.

Cosmological arguments  simply argue for a First Cause. This realm I am postulating would be  such. The First Cause does not have to be a deity.

I  can substantiate my argument, namely, that a timeless sufficient cause  is, because it is timelessly sufficient for its effect, inescapably  therefore the cause only of timeless effects.

On the other hand, it is difficult to see why immaterial things would not be able to influence matter. Why not?


Provide me one example of an immaterial thing solely influencing a material thing.

I  think, when Craig refers to "the universe," he's talking about the  whole of physical space and time. Philosophy and current science seem to  concur with his assessment that physical existence has a finite past.  In any case, the argument is clearly valid, in that its conclusions  follow from its premises, once the premises are properly understood. The  only question is whether it is in fact sound.


When  Craig refers to "the Universe" he is specifically talking about our  space-time continuum, which had a finite beginning some 13.7 billion  years ago. It is in his interest not to speculate about other physical  realms.

Philosophy is worthless when it comes to confirming the  boundaries of reality and science requires observation and testing,  therefore, it is restricted to our space-time continuum.

From  our perspective space, time and matter came into existence at some  finite point in the past, but our perspective is very restricted.

If  you read the KCA argument carefully, you can clearly see it tries to  show that our Universe and its properties came into existence ex nihilo  at some finite point in the past and that the cause transcends these  properties. It clearly makes the 'assumption' that these properties did not exist anywhere  prior to the birth of our Universe 13.7 billion years ago.

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« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2011, 07:27:14 am »
silentmatt wrote: The  arguments against actual infinities, whether formed by successive  addition or simply in themselves, apply to any conceivable universe with  a past. The scientific arguments apply to multiverse models that are on  average expanding, which includes your proposed scenario.


I  am postulating an eternal realm of existence with at least one of the  three attributes being discussed (space, time, matter/energy). I don't  see how a "scientific argument", which requires observation and testing,  can apply to anything beyond its methods.

Cosmological arguments  simply argue for a First Cause. This realm I am postulating would be  such. The First Cause does not have to be a deity.

I  can substantiate my argument, namely, that a timeless sufficient cause  is, because it is timelessly sufficient for its effect, inescapably  therefore the cause only of timeless effects.

On the other hand, it is difficult to see why immaterial things would not be able to influence matter. Why not?


Provide me one example of an immaterial thing solely influencing a material thing.

I  think, when Craig refers to "the universe," he's talking about the  whole of physical space and time. Philosophy and current science seem to  concur with his assessment that physical existence has a finite past.  In any case, the argument is clearly valid, in that its conclusions  follow from its premises, once the premises are properly understood. The  only question is whether it is in fact sound.


When  Craig refers to "the Universe" he is specifically talking about our  space-time continuum, which had a finite beginning some 13.7 billion  years ago. It is in his interest not to speculate about other physical  realms.

Philosophy is worthless when it comes to confirming the  boundaries of reality and science requires observation and testing,  therefore, it is restricted to our space-time continuum.

From  our perspective space, time and matter came into existence at some  finite point in the past, but our perspective is very restricted.

If  you read the KCA argument carefully, you can clearly see it tries to  show that our Universe and its properties came into existence ex nihilo  at some finite point in the past and that the cause transcends these  properties. It makes the assumption that these properties did not exist anywhere  prior to the birth of our Universe 13.7 billion years ago.

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« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2011, 04:38:23 pm »
Provide me one example of an immaterial thing solely influencing a material thing.

Souls and bodies, for instance. But even if I couldn't provide such an example, the conclusion of the Kalam itself implies that such a cause exists, since everything that begins to exist has a cause, and if physical reality itself began to exist, obviously it has a non-physical cause.


I am postulating an eternal realm of existence with at least one of the three attributes being discussed (space, time, matter/energy). I don't see how a "scientific argument", which requires observation and testing, can apply to anything beyond its methods.

The BGV theorem, which seems to be Craig's favourite scientific argument in this regard, applies to any universe which is on average expanding. What you are proposing is simply a larger conception of the universe, where it is only our local area tha began to exist, but that material existence overall is eternal.  Such a larger conception of the universe, since it is continuously generating new expanding areas, is indeed on average expanding, and therefore must have a beginning.

Further, a realm in which there is time could not be eternal, that is, it could not have an infinite past, so your idea is vulnerable both to scientific and philosophical criticism.

When Craig refers to "the Universe" he is specifically talking about our space-time continuum, which had a finite beginning some 13.7 billion years ago. It is in his interest not to speculate about other physical realms.


I think that you'd be wrong if you said that Craig never considers this possibility. Check his work, and you'll find it addressed over and over again.

If you read the KCA argument carefully, you can clearly see it tries to show that our Universe and its properties came into existence ex nihilo at some finite point in the past and that the cause transcends these properties. It makes the assumption that these properties did not exist anywhere prior to the birth of our Universe 13.7 billion years ago.


That's not a premise or assumption in the Kalam at all.

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Gerald Ian Ford

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Dr. Craig vs. Peter Millican: "Does God Exist?"
« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2011, 04:59:39 pm »

Hi Revo,


I believe I have discovered a knock-down argument against the KCA.

I agree.  You could also argue that it relies on defining God as not being part of the Universe.  If I invent a new word - 'multiverse' - and define it to mean 'everything that exists, whether material or not', I can still run the KCA at its full strength.  Yet clearly God cannot now be the answer, since if He exists he's part of the multiverse and if he doesn't he clearly can't have created anything.  

Instead, we need to look at other answers such as a self-causing multiverse or a causeless multiverse.  And either of those would destroy the KCA as an argument for the existence of God.  The KCA applied to the multiverse shows either that the KCA is invalid, or that solutions other than God are possible.  In either case, it is refuted.
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Gerald Ian Ford

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« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2011, 05:00:55 pm »
[Edited to fix formatting]

Hi Silentmatt,


Positing a timeless, impersonal physical world or thing as the cause of our physical world would not yield the temporal universe we observe- if something exists in a timeless state, then any effect it causes in that timeless state

But why does that apply to God any less than to any other cause?  


I think that Craig's option, of an immaterial, personal free will of great power is still the superior alternative.

I disagree, unless you can explain how being a 'personal free will' affects the argument one way or the other.  


I think Craig would probably say that other options are false options. He already makes mincemeat of naturalistic accounts of objective morality

Again, that's rather a matter of opinion.  I thought his arguments against them were rather weak.  Perhaps he has used stronger arguments elsewhere?  


A timelessly sitting man of sufficient power intending to stand up could decide to stand up now,.

There is no 'now' for a timeless man; or, alternatively, all times are equally 'now'.  Either way, what you say makes no sense to me.  


Provide me one example of an immaterial thing solely influencing a material thing.

Souls and bodies, for instance.

OK, now try a *real* immaterial thing  

Could you state what effect exactly a soul has on a body?  Could you use that to develop a test to see whether any given body has a soul?  Might be useful to be able to demonstrate at what point during pregnancy ensoulment occurs.  Or whether animals have souls.  

Or is this more of an asserion than a demonstration?  

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Gerald Ian Ford

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« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2011, 05:07:42 pm »

Hi Pinkey,


Now that's a false dichotomy. Surely it's not left to either knowing nothing about God's mind, or knowing everything about God's mind.

I don't think that is a dichotomy at all, false or otherwise.  I am simply pointing out an inconsistency in Craig's argument.  

A dichotomy is when only two mutually exclusive options are possible.  Craig is trying to hold two mutually exclusive positions simultaneously.  I am happy to entertain the possibility of other options; that doesn't change the fact that Craig's position is incoherent and therefore untenable.  


You've got to understand that Craig (and the majority of philosophical theists) define God as "the greatest conceivable being" so God must be perfectly good and desire that all people will come freely into a saving relationship with Him.

Whoa!  There's a heck of a lot of Christian theological assumption in there.  For starters, why would a 'greatest being' necessarily require 'saving relationships'?  

But even if we accept that - by that definition, four of the five arguments Craig used in the Millican debate do not even address the question of whether God exists!  The KCA doesn't say anything about 'greatest conceivable being', nor does fine tuning, nor morality, nor the Resurrection (I will grant personal belief might, if that's what Craig believes, but it's hard to take that argument seriously).  Craig himself says you cannot infer omnipotence from the KCA or fine tuning during the Q&A at 02:08.


As it stands, Millican can simply retort that 'anti-God made the universe for maximum suffering', and his argument is just as strong as Craig's position.

if Craig's moral argument works to show that objective moral values are grounded in God as the moral law Giver

But the anti-God argument can counter the argument from morality - perhaps anti-God made the moral laws.  Perhaps he even deceives us about what those laws are.  How, from this theistic base, can you argue that God is not tricking us into thinking murder and rape are evil, when in fact charity is the most heinous crime imaginable?  Or perhaps God really is good, but lying is also good.  Morally-perfect God is therefore compelled to lie to us about morality - again, murder is good, charity is evil.  

My point is that even if God does create morality, we cannot use that to decide what is right and wrong.  Human morality is indistinguishable from the morality we would have if God did not exist; therefore it cannot be used to argue that God does exist.  


There are other options for objective morality than a divine lawgiver.  So for Craig to insist that only two options are possible (God or subjective morality) is a false dichotomy.  

Like what? It's Craig's argument that there are none. You have to argue against him that there are some good alternatives to God for objective morality, and he will argue back that they are not good. You have to win this to show that it's a false dichotomoy because it's not self-evident.

Yes, we need to have that argument - by simply assuming we don't, Craig is offering a false dichotomy.  Craig offers only two options (A or B), demonstrates that one (B) is disproved and then declares the other (A) therefore proven.  Millican offers several other options (C and D).  Craig offers no refutation of those (up to this point I think we agree).  

But where does that leave Craig's argument?   He's now saying that we have several options, A, B, C and D.  B is disproven, therefore A is proven.  But this is obviously bunk - what about C or D?  Simply saying C and D are not options won't do, Craig has to show they are not options.  If he doesn't do this - and I don't think he did - he has no case here.  

As for what C and D might look like - I would argue that our evolutionary psychology makes certain behavioural rules universally binding (at least on humans).  Millican ran briefly through some non-religious ethical systems also (though I accept the challenge that Craig no doubt meant to make, that they all rely on the basis that harming people is bad without explaining how we come to that conclusion - evo psych offers such an explanation, theistic morality on the other hand cannot).


Do you really think that gravity disproves strict physicalism? I'm pretty sure gravity is the type of thing that has to exist inside a physical universe.

I would say gravity is perfectly consistent with physicalism, unless you mean that in some specific sense I am not aware of.  I don't know how you have concluded things like gravity cannot exist without a physical universe - can you explain?  It seems to me that gravity is more likely to be able to exist without matter than that minds are.  


I don't know what it would mean for gravity to just exist by itself for all eternity not effecting anything and then at a finite point in time, producing a universe, which it then makes things fall to the ground, etc.

Same as it would for God to do likewise, presumably.  


Craig's argument that the cause of the universe must possess agent freedom of the will to exist for all eternity without it's effect

Craig didn't make that argument in the Millican debate - and if he had, it would have contradicted his second point, that for anything to exist for an infinite period ('all eternity') is philosophically impossible.  


The point is, that your arguments against Craig's have to work (which I don't think they do) before you can accuse him of presenting a false dichotomoy.

No.  A false dichotomy is when someone declares there are only two options where there are in fact three or more.  Craig did this at numerous points (yet another example would be dualism vs epiphenomenalism).  Where there are more than two options, Craig has to address them all, not just one of them - and particularly not just the weakest one of them.  Instead, he doesn't even acknowledge they exist until Millican corrects him - which is presenting a false dichotomy.  


Sorry, I didn't see this. Can you please elaborate because these are strong claims.

Funny thing; I could have absolutely sworn this was in the Q&A session.  So I listened to the whole thing again, and couldn't find it.  I was just on the point of writing a grovelling and highly embarrasing retratction when I remembered I'd made a mental note of 1hr 20mins when listening to the podcast while out running.  Here's what I found:

That leads to the ninth objection, that the Nicene Creed says that there is only one incarnation of the son of God.  I think the Nicene Creed is written from our perspective on this planet.  God, if he has created intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos can easily provide for the salvation of those beings, perhaps through another incarnation, perhaps through another means of salvation, perhaps those beings never fell into sin and need forgiveness and cleansing as we do, that's God's perogative.  

Prof Craig, 01:27

Strong claims indeed - but I think fully justified.  


ID, which I know you don't understand, because you call it creationism.

It's not just Blank (and me) who think this.  The A US court ruled in 2005 that:

The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labelling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.  

(Dover vs Kitzmiller)

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Gerald Ian Ford

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« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2011, 05:08:14 pm »

Hi Blank,


Intelligent design is creationism in new clothes.

Quite.  Listening back to the Q&A looking for the Nicene Creed section, I remembered the exact wording that rang alarm bells.  Craig used that argument about evolution being unable to create information (he actually said 'sufficient information in the time available', or words to that effect).  This language is used by creationists and ID theorists only - without a measure of 'information' it is meaningless.  (In Craig's case, he also needs to place an upper limit on how much information can be created in a given period of time.)  But it sounds scientific.  

There is a term for things that try to sound like science but are not: pseudo-science.  

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Matt

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« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2011, 06:52:50 pm »
Giford wrote:
I disagree, unless you can explain how being a 'personal free will' affects the argument one way or the other.

Unlike an impersonal, mechanistic cause, the occurrence of a libertarian free willed decision is not the result of efficient causation by some other state of affairs. Therefore, it need not be efficiently caused by its timeless preconditions, and therefore need not timelessly accompany the presence of its preconditions. A free-willed decision, then, precisely because it is free, can occur despite an initial atemporal state which is not an efficient cause for its occurrence.


Again, that's rather a matter of opinion.  I thought his arguments against them were rather weak.  Perhaps he has used stronger arguments elsewhere?

I think something like the argument used in this Q&A is probably correct- http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7911

In it, he says that duties are necessarily relations to a certain kind of authoritative imperative, and I think that such imperatives entail a personal grounding of such imperatives. This, I think, rules out pretty much all non-theistic groundings of morality.

There is no 'now' for a timeless man; or, alternatively, all times are equally 'now'.  Either way, what you say makes no sense to me.

When a timeless man makes such a decision, he ceases to be timeless.


OK, now try a *real* immaterial thing  

Could you state what effect exactly a soul has on a body?  Could you use that to develop a test to see whether any given body has a soul?

I'm pretty sure that you can distinguish the activities of the soul from that of the body. For instance, when you perceive something, there is something, namely the perception, that has the form of that which you are perceiving. However, the brain doesn't have this form, nor does any part of it have the form. If it did, it would be shaped like the thing that you are perceiving, which is obviously false. Therefore, there is a property of you, since you grasp the form, that can't be said of your brain, therefore, you are not your brain. This "you," the non-neurological seat of identity, I think one can rightly call your soul.

Now, of course, I'm unclear as to how the interactions between the soul and the brain occur, but it seems plain enough that such interactions occur. I act on my perceptions, after all, and upon the concepts that I abstractly grasp- this seems far more likely to be true than not.

Might be useful to be able to demonstrate at what point during pregnancy ensoulment occurs.  Or whether animals have souls.

Interesting questions, to be sure, but I think a bit besides the point. I'm finding hylomorphic dualism to be an interesting solution to both these problems, and I would suggest looking up a copy of Edward Feser's Philosophy of Mind if you want some good reading on the subject.



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Matt

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« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2011, 07:11:23 pm »

But the anti-God argument can counter the argument from morality - perhaps anti-God made the moral laws.  Perhaps he even deceives us about what those laws are.  How, from this theistic base, can you argue that God is not tricking us into thinking murder and rape are evil, when in fact charity is the most heinous crime imaginable?  Or perhaps God really is good, but lying is also good.  Morally-perfect God is therefore compelled to lie to us about morality - again, murder is good, charity is evil.

Anti-god is not a good argument against the moral argument for God's goodness. Whatever the good turns out to be, if it is prescribed by a supremely authoritative being, it would be the good, so whatever is prescribed, a good God exists.

Of course, it is logically possible that the good is not what it seems, just as it's logically possible that our perceptive faculties about the external world are systematically deceived, brain-in-a-vat style. I don't think the mere possibility that we're mistaken overrides the intuitive warrant of the idea that we're not deceived, and that the virtues are truly virtuous, and the vices truly vicious.

My point is that even if God does create morality, we cannot use that to decide what is right and wrong.

Well, I do think that certain virtues do follow from a divine command meta-ethic. If God creates morality, then since it would be for his sake that we perform any moral duty or reverence any act, God would himself be the highest object of duty and reverence.

Human morality is indistinguishable from the morality we would have if God did not exist; therefore it cannot be used to argue that God does exist.

I think that "human morality" would not have any objective moral qualities if God did not exist. Since we observe that there are such objectively such things as duties and values, and scepticism about them is unwarranted, it can indeed be used to argue that God does in fact exist.