Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2012, 06:04:06 am »
Sorry I was not posting much this weekend.

I am indeed making this assumption. Do you mind clarifying you position on what other objective moral standard might exist?

This is the interesting thing though, I do not have to actually have a competing moral standard.  By making that argument, you are the one asserting that God is the only possible standard.  This is a claim that requires a burden of proof to demonstrate that no other standards are possible, and I do not think this burden has been met.  I also partially agree with you that, if God did exist, it's unchanging nature would make a pretty good standard but I am not convinced that it is the only one.



Another note to make is that, appealing to the Moral Argument:

1) Objective evil cannot exist without an objective moral standard.
2) A MGB is the only source of an objective moral standard
3) If a MGB does not exist, then objective evil does not exist
4) Objective evil exists
5) Therefore a MGB exists

I actually agree with the criticism that lehmar leveled against premise 2.  Although I would not have added transcendent to the source.

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2012, 06:06:50 am »
lehmar wrote: Oh, maybe you misunderstood me. I meant that a good case can probably made for the claim that God is the only possible standard for objective morality. I think this case would look at naturalistic interpretations of morality showing how they are inadequate, and would show how only a transcendent source can account for what we know about morality. But that's for another topic, haha.


Ah! So I did indeed misunderstand you. I apologize. But on this note I do agree with your brief assessment on possible standards for objective morality.


lehmar wrote: Regarding your moral argument for the MGB, I'm not sure about premise 2. I agree that objective morality must be grounded in a transcendent source, but why think this source must be the MGB? At most, morality only proves a transcendent source; it doesn't give us the MGB. In other words, morality underdetermines the inference to the MGB. But if morality does lead to the MGB, I'd be very glad to see an argument that shows that!


You raise an interesting point. Let me ponder this for a moment. You are correct that an objective morality would prove the existence of a transcendent source, but not necessarily a maximally great being. But we could go further than this I think, as this transcendent source would be eternal, omnipresent, and have supreme authority (related to being universally binding). What does our rational thinking lead us to think this is? Abstract ideas, such as logic and mathematics, are analytic and so fit some of these properties. But moral statements are not analytic, therefore these abstract ideas cannot be our source of a moral standard.

I believe we are left with one option, that this standard is ground in a personal being. One could then argue whether this being is God, or the universe, or some other spiritual entity. But now this is going very off-topic, though very interesting still (I wonder whether we can draw from a moral standard such properties as omnibenevolence?).


Now getting back to the OP, I believe we have shown here that Steven Carr's ontological disproof of God's existence has been reasonably refuted.
"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
- Mathew Arnold, Dover Beach

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 06:18:32 am »
jbiemans wrote: Sorry I was not posting much this weekend.


Of course. That's quite alright. It is only a discussion on the internet after all.


jbiemans wrote:
I am indeed making this assumption. Do you mind clarifying you position on what other objective moral standard might exist?

This is the interesting thing though, I do not have to actually have a competing moral standard.  By making that argument, you are the one asserting that God is the only possible standard.  This is a claim that requires a burden of proof to demonstrate that no other standards are possible, and I do not think this burden has been met.  I also partially agree with you that, if God did exist, it's unchanging nature would make a pretty good standard but I am not convinced that it is the only one.

It may be put another way in order to avoid this burden of proof. I could assert that if God exists, He is a standard for objective morality. Nothing requires to be said about any other standard. This being said, I believe an argument could possibly be found in that only one standard could exist. If two standards existed, which would be more supreme to the other? If one is more supreme, then there is only one standard after all.


jbiemans wrote:
Another note to make is that, appealing to the Moral Argument:

1) Objective evil cannot exist without an objective moral standard.
2) A MGB is the only source of an objective moral standard
3) If a MGB does not exist, then objective evil does not exist
4) Objective evil exists
5) Therefore a MGB exists
I actually agree with the criticism that lehmar leveled against premise 2.  Although I would not have added transcendent to the source.

Like in my above post, I have retracted my support for premise 2. It could be rephrased to be more coherent.

What makes you think that such a source would not be transcendent? Firstly, I would claim that if a standard exists, it would necessarily exist in all possible worlds. Secondly, this source would not be material in nature - it would exist outside of time, matter, energy, and space - which is the definition of transcendent, no?


Edit: Does anyone know why my quotes broke? They have the correct tags... This forum is a little fidgety at best.

"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
- Mathew Arnold, Dover Beach

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lehmar

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2012, 06:19:52 am »
Jbiemans, I think you're right, the burden of proof is on the one claiming that the only possible standard for objective morality is God. That's a fascinating research topic to work on! But again, this is for another topic sometime.

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lehmar

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2012, 06:27:53 am »
TheDyslexicPoet, you raise interesting suggestions regarding what we can infer from morality. Perhaps another line of thought worth pondering over is whether we can infer that the MGB has to be source of morality. Maybe it is a perfection to be the source of morality. I don't know. But you're right, this is off-topic.

Going back to the OP - yes, I have to agree that Maydole's argument can be used to rebut Carr's second premise. So thank you for that helpful reference to Maydole!

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2012, 06:07:16 am »
lehmar wrote: TheDyslexicPoet, you raise interesting suggestions regarding what we can infer from morality. Perhaps another line of thought worth pondering over is whether we can infer that the MGB has to be source of morality. Maybe it is a perfection to be the source of morality. I don't know. But you're right, this is off-topic.


I'm afraid I can't help myself, and must put forward another related idea. Under naturalism, if a objective moral standard existed, what properties would it have? It cannot be formed from matter, energy, space, or time, surely. Does this mean that it must be an abstract concept like that of logic? Is there any other form it could take? If you're interested in continuing this line of thought, perhaps you could create a post in the Moral Argument sub-forum?

lehmar wrote: Going back to the OP - yes, I have to agree that Maydole's argument can be used to rebut Carr's second premise. So thank you for that helpful reference to Maydole!


No problem, but you should be thanking DrewMazanec. Now, even in the case that Maydole's argument fails, the atheist must still assert that a MGB is impossible. This position can only be held by the strongest atheist (in terms of weak/strong atheism). Not even well known atheists such as Richard Dawkins believe that God is impossible - just highly improbable (I seem to recall he put himself as a 7 on a 1-10 scale).
"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
- Mathew Arnold, Dover Beach

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lehmar

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An ontological disproof of God's existence
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2012, 10:11:19 pm »
I don't know what properties an objective moral standard would have under naturalism. I'm skeptical about whether it's even possible to have any normative properties - including moral values and duties - under naturalism. Where would these normative properties come from in the first place?  (Plantinga's argument against evolutionary naturalism is relevant here too.)

Perhaps any appeal to a naturalistic account of morality would be undercut by criticisms against naturalism itself. I think the critic owes us, not only a naturalistic account of morality, but also an account of naturalism which can withstand those criticisms. The critic has his work cut out for him. In short, the viability of naturalistic morality stands or falls with the viability of naturalism.

These thoughts are what come to mind right now. Yeah, I'll consider starting a thread in the Moral Argument sub-forum.