Orion

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Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« on: May 03, 2016, 09:59:40 pm »
The question of objective morality is clearly a hot topic on this forum, with some excellent logical argumentation and impressive philosophical analysis on both sides. This post approaches the Moral Argument for God’s Existence from a slightly different angle. As has been noted in multiple other debates, a common version of the Moral Argument is as follows:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective morality does not exist.
Premise 2: Objective morality does exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

Let me start with Premise 2—the idea that objective morality undeniably exists. There are those who attempt to deny this truth, but ironically, the denial of objective morality’s existence is, in itself, an attempt at creating an objective moral truth. Case in point: if there is no objective moral law that divides right from wrong, then everything is in fact justified ... which is effectively equivalent to saying that everything is objectively good, regardless of anyone’s opinions. And that is indeed a form of objective morality. So since even the attempted negation of objective morality ends up espousing objective morality, it is 100% safe to say that objective moral truth exists.

But before we start looking at the implications of objective morality’s existence for worldviews, it is important to note that the old adage of “there is no good without evil” is totally false. At first it seems ironclad—if there’s an up, there’s a down. If there’s a right, there’s a left. So doesn’t evil somehow help lend good its substance? As a necessary opposite—two sides of the same eternal coin? In a word, no.

To demonstrate why evil is not goodness’s necessary opposite, simply look at good and evil through the same lens as truth and falsehood. Truth stands true on its own, but falsehood only gains its definition by contradicting/perverting truth. The same is true of good and evil. Life can exist just fine without murder, but murder only gains its definition by attacking life. Sex can exist just fine without rape, but rape is a brutal perversion of sex. A similar duality holds for every other good thing and its evil counterpart. The good has substance in itself, whereas the evil is always parasitic on the good. Translation: there is good without evil, but there is no evil without good. Evil is inherently inferior and unnecessary.

But if objective goodness exists (distinct from inferior, unnecessary evil), there must be some sort of explanatory ultimate that defines goodness, which leads us to the three fundamental worldviews: atheism, pantheism and theism. At this point in the debate, the Euthypro Dilemma is usually invoked, first by the atheist in an attempt to knock down the necessity of God for objective morality, then countered by the theist, then countered by the atheist, and back and forth until it results in infinite regression. Once the Dilemma has run its course, the debaters are forced to turn to other logical tools, since objective morality must have a stopping point. And we are again left with our three basic worldviews:

ATHEISM: Atheism proclaims an impersonal ultimate, namely non-sentient matter and energy. So if atheism is true, any objective moral laws would be an inherent part of the eternal physical cosmos—axiomatic values akin to the laws of physics.

PANTHEISM: Pantheism also proclaims an impersonal ultimate, only it is impersonal spirit instead of physical matter and energy. Again, objective moral laws would be an inherent part of the eternal spiritual cosmos—perhaps a law of karma.

THEISM: Theism alone proclaims a personal ultimate—an eternal, sentient, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent Being. Objective moral goodness would be part of God’s inherent nature. Any moral imperatives would stem directly from God’s nature.

So which ultimate explanation for the existence of objective morality is the most plausible? If more than one is potentially valid, then the Moral Argument cannot be used to support just one worldview. But on the other hand, if only one explanatory ultimate could possibly be valid, then the Moral Argument instantly narrows truth to that worldview.

Interestingly, both atheism and pantheism attempt to define objective morality through an impersonal ultimate, which would leave us with equations like:
-Impersonal Matter and Energy = Goodness/Love
-Impersonal Spirit = Goodness/Love
But the insurmountable problem for both worldviews is that concepts like goodness, love, compassion, loyalty and honesty are, without question, personal in nature. So how could personal attributes possibly find their ultimate stopping points in something completely impersonal? Asteroids do not love and cannot be the embodiment of goodness. Though pantheistic spirit is more mystical than straight-up atheism, non-sentient spirit still cannot truly be good and cannot be the embodiment of love.

In stark contrast, an ultimate personal Deity could indeed be the embodiment of both goodness and love. Of course, this is precisely the contention of the Bible in 1 John 1:5 and 1 John 4:16 (among other Scriptures). As such, theism is the only possible valid explanation for the existence of objective morality, which leads us straight back to Premise 1 and the resulting Conclusion—the Moral Argument for God’s Existence is correct.

For those who are interested in this topic, I look forward to a robust dialogue! My subsequent posts also expound on it further:
If God Is Good, What Is Evil?
The Moral Argument for the Christian God Alone
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 10:02:46 am by Orion »

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 11:09:34 pm »
Hi Orion,

I can't engage in an extended back-and-forth exchange, but since no one had replied to your post I thought I would offer some critical comments.

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Let me start with Premise 2—the idea that objective morality undeniably exists.

I probably agree with premise 2, but it is hard to be sure since you don't offer an explicit, philosophically precise definition of the key term, "objective morality." You should offer one.

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There are those who attempt to deny this truth, but ironically, the denial of objective morality’s existence is, in itself, an attempt at creating an objective moral truth.

You haven't shown this. I'm pretty sure this is false if I understand what you mean by "objective morality." Premise 2 is a proposition, viz., it has a truth value. To say that premise 2 is false is NOT "an attempt at creating an objective moral truth" just as saying that the proposition, "Mermaids exist," is false is not an attempt at creating an objective moral truth. To say that either or both of these propositions does not presuppose a claim about moral value or moral obligation, so it's hard to understand why you are linking a denial of 2 to an attempt to establishing an objective moral truth.

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Case in point: if there is no objective moral law that divides right from wrong, then everything is in fact justified ... which is effectively equivalent to saying that everything is objectively good, regardless of anyone’s opinions. And that is indeed a form of objective morality. So since even the attempted negation of objective morality ends up espousing objective morality, it is 100% safe to say that objective moral truth exists.

I don't think this works. If there is no objective moral law that divides right from wrong, then nothing is objectively morally right and nothing is objectively morally wrong. That contradicts the idea that "everything is objectively good, regardless of anyone's opinions."

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But if objective goodness exists (distinct from inferior, unnecessary evil), there must be some sort of explanatory ultimate that defines goodness, which leads us to the three fundamental worldviews: atheism, pantheism and theism. At this point in the debate, the Euthypro Dilemma is usually invoked, first by the atheist in an attempt to knock down the necessity of God for objective morality, then countered by the theist, then countered by the atheist, and back and forth until it results in infinite regression. Once the Dilemma has run its course, the debaters are forced to turn to other logical tools, since objective morality must have a stopping point. And we are again left with our three basic worldviews:

By itself, theism doesn't specify the relationship between God and the Good. That is why you have some theists, like Robert Adams, who are Modified Divine Command Theorists, and other theists, like many Catholic philosophers, who are Natural Law Theorists.  Because theism doesn't specify the relationship between God and the Good, it follows that theism by itself doesn't provide an ontological foundation for morality or offer an explanatory stopping point. In order to argue that objective morality requires some sort of theistic explanation or foundation, you have to combine theism with one or more auxiliary hypotheses (such as Modified Divine Command Theory). Mere theism isn't sufficient to do the job. But notice that some of the options which are consistent with theism are ALSO consistent with atheism or naturalism. For example, Natural Law Theory is consistent with atheism.

So, in my opinion, it's a mistake, albeit an easy one to make, to frame the the options as theism vs. atheism vs. pantheism. Instead, you should start with the different theories of moral ontology debated by metaethicists, then assess those theories, and then assess them against theism vs. atheism vs. pantheism.

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Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 07:41:31 am »
Hello,

I'll start out with some basic accurate definitions:

Objective (source: definition.com)- existing independent of perception, individual conception, emotion, or personal bias.  (tldr-true regardless of opinion)

Atheism - Proclaims no God or ultimate authority exists.  With no ultimate law giver, morality would exist only has a subjective preference (not objectively). 

Theism -Proclaims a personal ultimate authority of God that grounds the existence of an objective moral law that differentiates between good and evil. 

note: I emit pantheism since it is just impersonal theism (often polytheistic).  Mostly irrelevant regarding morality.  I'm only talking about the two extremes, being God or no God. 


Good and Evil:
But before we start looking at the implications of objective morality’s existence for worldviews, it is important to note that the old adage of “there is no good without evil” is totally false. At first it seems ironclad—if there’s an up, there’s a down. If there’s a right, there’s a left. So doesn’t evil somehow help lend good its substance? As a necessary opposite—two sides of the same eternal coin? In a word, no.

There is confusion in this quote above.  In a world that contains freedom to choose, there is freedom to choose wrongly, which is why "There's no good without evil" is true.  When there's an up, there's a down.  When there's truth, there's choice to pervert it.

To demonstrate why evil is not goodness’s necessary opposite, simply look at good and evil through the same lens as truth and falsehood. Truth stands true on its own, but falsehood only gains its definition by contradicting/perverting truth. The same is true of good and evil. Life can exist just fine without murder, but murder only gains its definition by attacking life. Sex can exist just fine without rape, but rape is a brutal perversion of sex. A similar duality holds for every other good thing and its evil counterpart. The good has substance in itself, whereas the evil is always parasitic on the good. Translation: there is good without evil, but there is no evil without good. Evil is inherently inferior and unnecessary.

Good cannot be looked at through the same lens as evil.  Why?  As you said, evil cannot exist without goodness.  Evil is wanting what goodness brings through objectively wrong means.  In other words, the intention of goodness can exist alone, but the existence of evil cannot.  Simply because one is dependent on the other and one is not, doesn't mean they aren't necessarily co-existent.  This is especially important when freedom is factored in.  Evil is inherently necessary when the existence of love or objectively true good intentions are to exist.  If the ability to choose wrong doesn't exist then honest true love doesn't exists, the ability to hate must exist cooperatively.   All worldviews must take into account the problem of evil.  This is why. 

On atheism, objective moral values do not exist.  Objective good and evil are fabrications of the imagination.  Any morality is a subjective preference and grounding it in anything, but God holds no ground.  Orion states that this worldview's ultimate is matter and energy, why?  on what grounds?   On who's authority?  As Richard Dawkins states, we're all just dancing to our DNA. 

I personally believe in the Christian God.  A personal ultimate, but i'm specifically speaking morality on general theistic terms. 

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RealFishman

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 08:56:27 am »
They way I understand evil is akin to the reason why "God gave us the law so that we may know what sin is". That is a paraphrase from the OT. Now then, like you mention Orion, up and down - How would we know what good is without bad. I am understanding you correctly - that we (free will creatures) could know what good is without bad.

While I would agree that God could know good without bad, I do not think I could agree that humans could know good without bad.

Personally, I think it is great answer for the problem with emotional and natural evil, that is to say that all types of evil exists so that we may know what all types of good are. The only problem with what I am saying is that I would not want to confuse it with Polytheistic norms such as "Yen and Yang".

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aleph naught

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 10:11:42 am »
Baabaadoo's definition of "objective" is lacking. Notice that, if God exists then, as the creator of all things and as an omniscient being, nothing is independent of his perception or opinion. No statement can be true without God believing that it is true, and nothing can occur without God perceiving and permitting it to occur.

But then, given this definition, morality is trivially subjective given theism. We need a better definition.

The problem is that "dependence" is too broad, as there are a number of different sorts of dependence. On theism everything (or, most things) are dependent on God and his attitudes in virtue of being contingent on them, and being caused by them. But these are not the sorts of dependences we're talking about when we talk about objectivity and subjectivity. To be objective is to be constitutively independent of anyone's attitudes. It is the sort of dependence relationship water has on H2O, and lightening has on the discharge of electrons, and that the property of being alive has on certain properties of molecular biology.

Now everything (or, nearly everything) is dependent on God in virtue of being contingent on God's attitudes and caused by God's attitudes, but most things are not constituted of God's attitudes. Material things are made up of particles in motion and energy, and not anything supernatural.


But now, with this suitable definition, we can easily show that atheism is compatible with objective morality. Note that if morality is fundamental, and is not constituted of anything further, it must be objective. (If morality is not constituted of anything then it cannot be constituted of anyones attitudes, and by definition cannot be subjective). Such a view would be a dualistic view of morality, similar to dualism about the mind. And, since theists are already committed to a dualism of a sort (typically, dualism about the mind), they're in no position to offhandedly reject dualism about morality. But a dualistic morality would not be constitutively dependent on God, either, nor would it entail God's existence. And so the atheist can very consistently, at least as consistently as the theist, accept this dualistic view of morality and, thus, that morality is objective.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 10:15:45 am by aleph naught »

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Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 11:38:18 am »
Notice that, if God exists then, as the creator of all things and as an omniscient being, nothing is independent of his perception or opinion. No statement can be true without God believing that it is true, and nothing can occur without God perceiving and permitting it to occur.

You are absolutely correct! Where your flaw in logic occurs is you equate God as a dependent being (or a created one).  God isn't dependent on any virtue or other being for anything (including God's existence).  If God were dependent on any principals then his authority wouldn't be objective would it?  Something greater would have to be the authority.  God is the uncaused first cause.  He is the truth, the way, and the light.  He isn't bound by principals; He is them!  He is the personal embodiment of truth. 

To equate God as a being with mere attitudes, which are fleeting, is immature logic that you haven't qualified with evidence.

Attitude:  manner, disposition, feeling, position, tendency, orientation. 

God is not subjective, like the philosophy of atheism, as you so eloquently put for me.  The atheist sits on God's lap to slap Him in the face.  Feet firmly planted in mid air, as the brilliant WLC puts it.  The only duelist mind is yours.  You pit your own beliefs against one another. 

A true belief contains sound logic and is based on true premises.  Consistency is included in sound logic, but consistency without true premises leads to broken philosophy.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 11:41:47 am by Baabaadoo »

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aleph naught

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 01:43:05 pm »
Notice that, if God exists then, as the creator of all things and as an omniscient being, nothing is independent of his perception or opinion. No statement can be true without God believing that it is true, and nothing can occur without God perceiving and permitting it to occur.

You are absolutely correct! Where your flaw in logic occurs is you equate God as a dependent being (or a created one).  God isn't dependent on any virtue or other being for anything (including God's existence).  If God were dependent on any principals then his authority wouldn't be objective would it?  Something greater would have to be the authority.  God is the uncaused first cause.  He is the truth, the way, and the light.  He isn't bound by principals; He is them!  He is the personal embodiment of truth. 

To equate God as a being with mere attitudes, which are fleeting, is immature logic that you haven't qualified with evidence.

Attitude:  manner, disposition, feeling, position, tendency, orientation. 

God is not subjective, like the philosophy of atheism, as you so eloquently put for me.  The atheist sits on God's lap to slap Him in the face.  Feet firmly planted in mid air, as the brilliant WLC puts it.  The only duelist mind is yours.  You pit your own beliefs against one another. 

A true belief contains sound logic and is based on true premises.  Consistency is included in sound logic, but consistency without true premises leads to broken philosophy.

I didn't say that God is contingent or caused or created, or that he is subjective. But yes, God does have attitudes. God is a person with beliefs and preferences which motivate his behavior, just like any other person. Sure God is unlike any other person in many respects, but he's still a person and has these basic personal characteristics.

My point was just that, given a dualistic view of morality, morality is both objective and compatible with atheism. And that theists aren't in any position to reject a dualistic view of morality offhand, since they themselves are committed to a form of dualism (i.e., dualism about the mind).

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Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 03:48:54 pm »
I didn't say that God is contingent or caused or created, or that he is subjective. But yes, God does have attitudes.
Your logic presumes that God is as fallible and fickle minded as a created/caused being, which you then use to disqualify God as a moral law giver.  How do you come to this conclusion?  What evidence do you offer?

God is a person with beliefs and preferences which motivate his behavior, just like any other person. Sure God is unlike any other person in many respects, but he's still a person and has these basic personal characteristics.

God is like a person as in God has a person-hood meaning a self-consciousness or rational being.  God has personal characteristics, but this doesn't disqualify God as being a moral law giver as I have described in my previous response. 

My point was just that, given a dualistic view of morality, morality is both objective and compatible with atheism. And that theists aren't in any position to reject a dualistic view of morality offhand, since they themselves are committed to a form of dualism (i.e., dualism about the mind).

What do you mean dualistic view of morality?  In what sense is objective morality compatible with atheism?  How do you ground something to be morally objective (as defined below)? If you disagree with the definition below, please redefine and qualify the changes with evidence. 

Objective (source: definition.com)- existing independent of perception, individual conception, emotion, or personal bias.  (TLDR-true regardless of opinion)

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aleph naught

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 05:33:07 pm »
I didn't say that God is contingent or caused or created, or that he is subjective. But yes, God does have attitudes.
Your logic presumes that God is as fallible and fickle minded as a created/caused being, which you then use to disqualify God as a moral law giver.  How do you come to this conclusion?  What evidence do you offer?

No it doesn't, I haven't come to that conclusion.

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God is a person with beliefs and preferences which motivate his behavior, just like any other person. Sure God is unlike any other person in many respects, but he's still a person and has these basic personal characteristics.

God is like a person as in God has a person-hood meaning a self-consciousness or rational being.  God has personal characteristics, but this doesn't disqualify God as being a moral law giver as I have described in my previous response.

I never said otherwise! But, if you think God is a "moral law giver" you have other problems. There are two senses of the word "law", neither of which helps your case:

In one sense when people talk about laws they're talking about legislative laws. And in this sense it makes sense to talk about law givers and law makers. Legislative laws are made up and handed down by governments--groups of powerful people who are able to enforce the laws they make up. In this sense a law is just a codified and enforced expression of the governing bodies will.

But, this sort of a law is subjective (or intersubjective). So as long as morality is not subjective, then there cannot be such a thing as a "moral law" to be given. Morality, in other words, is not a sort of legislation handed down by some divine government. (If you think otherwise, you'll have to defend that).

In the other sense, when people talk about laws they're talking about universally quantified truths. It's in this sense that we would talk about the laws of logic, or the laws of mathematics, or the laws of nature. One such law of nature is e=mc2 or, in other words, for all physical systems x, the amount of energy contained in x is equal to the amount of mass in x times the speed of light squared. And so a law in this sense is just a sort of true sentence or theory.

But a sentence is true in virtue of whatever it is about being the case. For example, the sentence "theft is wrong" is about theft being wrong, and so is true if and only if there is such a thing as theft and it is wrong. But then why think that there was, once upon a time, a cause of theft being wrong? It's not as if some time ago in the past theft began to be wrong, and thus would have required a cause at that time. The wrongness of theft seems timeless. Moreover, it's hard to see what it would even mean for God to cause theft to be wrong. It's not as if we're talking about a particular object, that exists in some particular time and place. We're taking about a kind of thing (an act of theft) being another kind of thing (a wrong kind of thing). While we might think that all particular things have causes, it's not clear that kinds of things must have causes.

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My point was just that, given a dualistic view of morality, morality is both objective and compatible with atheism. And that theists aren't in any position to reject a dualistic view of morality offhand, since they themselves are committed to a form of dualism (i.e., dualism about the mind).

What do you mean dualistic view of morality?  In what sense is objective morality compatible with atheism?  How do you ground something to be morally objective (as defined below)? If you disagree with the definition below, please redefine and qualify the changes with evidence. 

Objective (source: definition.com)- existing independent of perception, individual conception, emotion, or personal bias.  (TLDR-true regardless of opinion)

I explained these things in my original post, but in short:

The dualistic view of morality is that morality is ontologically fundamental, and not constituted of anything further.

It follows from the dualistic view of morality that objective morality is compatible with atheism.

The term "ground" is technical jargon, and as such I doubt you know what it means (heck, I don't even think I fully grasp what it means). You'll need to define "ground" without the use of further jargon before I answer that question (try to explain what you're talking about in terms your grandmother would understand).

And that definition of objective isn't good because given theism morality (and everything else) is trivially subjective. A better definition is, as I've said before, being constitutively independent of anyone's attitude.

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Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 09:01:07 pm »
You're not answering my questions.  Even worse, you are avoiding them.  You aren't explaining you're beliefs; you are simply rejecting mine.  You cannot reject a belief as false without explaining the truth. 

My first post in this topic contained my definition of theism.  I did state that God is not just a moral law giver, but that He alone is the embodiment of the moral law. 

I'll make this very simple for you since you seem incapable of answering the most basic question.  Make your case of what you believe to be true.

"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself"
-Albert Einstein

I hear you redefining objective morality as subjective in an attempt to reduce God to mere human fallibility.  If that is true, you are saying that morality is subjective in every sense.  If that is the case, then I ask, How do you know that the statements you are saying are true?  If everything is subjective, then why are you even here on this forum?  If you can't define the most basic concepts in this discussion, then there isn't much of a discussion to be had. 

Explain you thoughts fully or this conversation is done.  Stating "No it doesn't, I haven't come to that conclusion"  is not only an immature thought, but it doesn't say anything other than "I didn't say that."  Give the readers and myself the respect and time it takes to make your case or don't do it at all. 

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aleph naught

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2017, 09:42:26 pm »
You're not answering my questions.  Even worse, you are avoiding them.  You aren't explaining you're beliefs; you are simply rejecting mine.  You cannot reject a belief as false without explaining the truth.

I thought I was answering your questions, which questions exactly are you talking about?

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My first post in this topic contained my definition of theism.  I did state that God is not just a moral law giver, but that He alone is the embodiment of the moral law.

I'm sorry but I think that's incoherent: It doesn't make any sense to say that God is either a piece of legislation or a universally quantified statement.

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I'll make this very simple for you since you seem incapable of answering the most basic question.  Make your case of what you believe to be true.

I did, in my first post. The argument put into a very simple form would be something like:

1. If morality is fundamental, then morality is compatible with atheism
2. If morality is fundamental, then morality is objective
3. Therefore, if morality is fundamental, then morality is objective and it is compatible with atheism

Now maybe I can't show that morality is in fact fundamental, but it's at least an open possibility. You don't know it's not, and so you're not in any position to claim that objective morality is incompatible with atheism.

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I hear you redefining objective morality as subjective in an attempt to reduce God to mere human fallibility.  If that is true, you are saying that morality is subjective in every sense.  If that is the case, then I ask, How do you know that the statements you are saying are true?  If everything is subjective, then why are you even here on this forum?  If you can't define the most basic concepts in this discussion, then there isn't much of a discussion to be had. 

Explain you thoughts fully or this conversation is done.  Stating "No it doesn't, I haven't come to that conclusion"  is not only an immature thought, but it doesn't say anything other than "I didn't say that."  Give the readers and myself the respect and time it takes to make your case or don't do it at all.

No offense, but your attempt to summarize my view isn't even coherent let alone accurate. It's starting to seem like you're intentionally misunderstanding, I don't see how you can be this far off.

I never defined objective morality as subjective, I never said anything about reducing God to mere human fallibility, I never said anything to suggest that morality is subjective in every sense, and I've defined all the concepts you asked me to. I told you I hadn't come to the conclusion you were accusing me of because it was true--I simply wasn't drawing the conclusions you thought I was drawing. I did already make my case, all you've done so far is strawman it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 09:47:11 pm by aleph naught »

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Mammal

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2017, 09:00:42 am »
Referring to the OP, I am not convinced that the distinction between atheism and pantheism is necessarily accurate. For the record - "Pantheism is the belief that all of reality is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism)...or simply put, God = Nature. Not that it really matters i.t.o. the topic under discussion as both (atheism & pantheism) would probably see it in a very similar manner...that morality is seen as an emergent property of human evolution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality), thus entirely natural and not requiring a supernatural cause.
Fact, Fiction or Superstition?
Thank God For Evolution
The Evolution Of God

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Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2017, 12:50:49 pm »
You are not answering my questions.  You aren't even supplying enough evidence for the claims you make in the most recent reply.  Let me explain:

I'm not looking for what you theorize to be potentially true.  I want to know what you believe to be true with certainty.  You aren't doing that when you follow up a post with, "Now maybe I can't show that..."

definition of fundamental according to definition.com:
1. serving as a foundation or basis
2. original or primary source


You stated that you don't know if morality is fundamental or objective (they are synonymous) and ,without proving so, your 3 point argument is firmly planted in mid air.  Fundamental/objective are synonymous because in order for morality to be truly objective it needs to originate from a primary source outside of humanity from an authority greater than humanity.  Anyway, why can't I know if morality is fundamental or objective?  How do you know that statement you just said (or any statement to be true)?  If your belief isn't grounded by a primary source objectively, then everything is mere preference.  Is truth knowable at all? 

That's a premise on which to base a case for subjective morality.  Your logic doesn't match your premises.  My attempt to summarize your view isn't coherent how?  How is my view incoherent if it isn't grounded fundamentally to a primary source, like yours? 

If my biochemical pathways in my brain says it's true.  What's stopping it from being so on your worldview?  You don't out espouse moral subjectivity, but your logic and premises lead to it almost directly. 

On a side note, we can address the statement about God being the personal embodiment of moral law later.  My first concern is definitions.  I haven't straw manned anything.  You do that to yourself.  I'm just doing my best to interpret your logic and apply it to reality.  Read your last post and tell me how any of that makes sense if you can't even prove that morality is fundamental. 

13

Mammal

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 01:48:01 am »
I tried to post part of this yesterday, but that post is still awaiting moderation...not sure if it is because it was my first post, or due to the fact that I inserted links to substantiate some of the terminology. Let me try again without the links:

Referring to the OP, I am not convinced that the distinction between atheism and pantheism is necessarily accurate. For the record - "Pantheism is the belief that all of reality is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god" (according to Wikipedia)...or simply put, God = Nature. (Perhaps pantheism was mistakenly confused with deism..?) Not that it really matters i.t.o. the topic under discussion as both (atheism & pantheism) would probably regard it in a very similar manner...that morality is seen as an emergent property of human evolution (Evolution Of Morality), thus entirely natural and not requiring a supernatural cause.

The notion that "God is the embodiment of the moral law" would need some clarification. AFAIK moral law predates the emergence of contemporary versions of anthropomorphic gods, in fact the oldest remains of written moral laws or code of ethics were secular and much older than the Mosaic laws. One would thus have to be careful if one wants to specifically link the Abrahamic God with the origin of human morality.

One vital aspect of the argument seems to lie in the distinction between objective morality and morality, if such a distinction exists..? The term "objective moral values" are defined as qualities like kindness or love which are morally good independent of the belief of human beings (a.k.a. universal morality). Logically that would make a strong case for moral naturalism and could in fact be extended to members of our broader family of animals.

One possible answer to the definition of morality is “a set of principles describing how we ought to behave.” Morality is then defined as a certain set of ought-statements, and God seems to fit the explanation of why those ought-statements exist. That is not necessarily the case though. Our species evolved into highly skilled social animals, something that would probably not have happened if we were not able to fine-tune said behavioural patterns. The prominent school of thought among behavioural scientists today is that behaviour is exclusively driven by the interactions between genes and the environment (nature and nurture). So again, no God needed.
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14

Baabaadoo

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Re: Objective Morality—Atheism vs. Pantheism vs. Theism
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2017, 11:50:41 am »
The notion that "God is the embodiment of the moral law" would need some clarification. AFAIK moral law predates the emergence of contemporary versions of anthropomorphic gods, in fact the oldest remains of written moral laws or code of ethics were secular and much older than the Mosaic laws. One would thus have to be careful if one wants to specifically link the Abrahamic God with the origin of human morality.

Sources of secular moral laws predating the Abrahamic God?  Philosophically, a source being older than another doesn't mean it's more accurate or truer than the younger source. 

One vital aspect of the argument seems to lie in the distinction between objective morality and morality, if such a distinction exists..? The term "objective moral values" are defined as qualities like kindness or love which are morally good independent of the belief of human beings (a.k.a. universal morality). Logically that would make a strong case for moral naturalism and could in fact be extended to members of our broader family of animals.

Objective moral values are kindness or love, why?  How are they good independent of human belief?  Because they don't result in humans killing each other?  Why is that a 'good' quality?  Why is human survival a good thing?  What authority is that moral law/trait based on?  How is a pesticide killing an ant colony morally different than human genocide?

One possible answer to the definition of morality is “a set of principles describing how we ought to behave.” Morality is then defined as a certain set of ought-statements, and God seems to fit the explanation of why those ought-statements exist. That is not necessarily the case though. Our species evolved into highly skilled social animals, something that would probably not have happened if we were not able to fine-tune said behavioural patterns. The prominent school of thought among behavioural scientists today is that behaviour is exclusively driven by the interactions between genes and the environment (nature and nurture). So again, no God needed.

I agree with your definition of morality, but not you behavioral interpretation into naturalism.  If behavior is determined by nature and nurture, then humans are pre-hard wired to do what we do and the biochemistry in our brains combined with our experience completely determines our actions and thoughts.  This means that our actions are not objectively wrong unless:

1. We are in control of our actions regardless of our nature/nurture
and
2.  How we ought to behave is fundamentally (of primary source) grounded in something outside of humanity's perception, conception, emotion, or personal bias. 

You lack both of those qualities, just as aleph_naught does.  Your morality is firmly planted in mid air; grounded on nothing. 

----------------------------------

Mammal, I had that issue before.  The below is a message from a mod:

As soon as you reach five approved posts you'll be set free to post at your leisure. Sorry for the inconvenience but this keeps spam and other issues off the forum.

Kind regards,

Pathos.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 12:22:31 pm by Baabaadoo »