YouTuber Rationality Rules created a video called "WLCs Moral Argument Debunked" (https://youtu.be/FQfujdlO4oY)P1 : If God does not exist there are no Objective moral values or duties. P2 : Objective moral values exist. C1 : Therefore God exists.He raises the following objections : 2:00 Because God does not exist P1 is false and the argument is a non sequitor. 2:33 If you replace the word God with Cthulu you will realise how ridiculous this argument is. 2:49 I can interpret "Objective" to have different meanings therefore the use of the reference marker "Objective" in the syllogism commits the false equivocation fallacy. 3:40 If Craig is using the definition that Objective moral values are universal then it needn't refer to God there are other theories like Kants deontological ethics, the golden rule etc. (note these are normative!)4:35 If Craig means a reference point that exists independently of human experience by "Objective" then he is wrong because in Utilitarianism (Harris) pleasure/pain is an objective reference point or consequence is. 6:00 - 6:55 ish - In these two quotes taken out of context Craig appears to contradict himself so he is wrong. 7:33 Equivocation Fallacy. 7:57 Argument from ignorance fallacy 8:22 Craig commits the God of the gaps fallacy. 8:31 Burden of proof fallacy. Craig shifts the burden of proof so he is wrong. 9:04 Craigs argument doesnt support monotheism. ------What do you think of the video?I think this was an incredibly dishonest and I don't even think the smarmy way he puts across these "logical fallacies" when it's not even an appropriate use most of the time - it's a completely dishonest engagement of Craigs argument. However I would like to know what other people think and whether it is even worth debunking terrible (yet worryingly popular) videos like these?
Let me start by restating the argument below, for reference.(1) If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.(2) Objective moral values do exist.(3) Therefore, God exists.Now let's address the objections which Rationality Rules (RR) presents and which you have cited."The entire argument [is] a non sequitur", (2:00)RR does not say that (1) is false because God does not exist (this would beg the question). Rather, he claims that (1) is unsubstantiated, and that therefore the entire argument is a non sequitur. Unfortunately, he has misunderstood what it is for an argument to be a "non sequitur", namely, that the argument must be invalid. But the argument (as presented above) is quite clearly deductively valid, and so RR is wrong on this score. I think what RR really means is that he rejects (1). However, he fails to engage with any of the justification Craig provides for the premise. In any case, claiming that (1) is unsubstantiated should merely leave him an agnostic with regards to the truth of the argument."Replace the word God with Cthulhu, and you'll quickly appreciate how absurd this argument is." (2:33)If you replaced "God" with "Cthulhu", Craig would deny (1). RR develops his view somewhat by saying that if the argument is not a non sequitur, any justification for (1) must be question begging. This is simply an empty assertion, and RR does not grapple with any of the justification for (1) that apologists present.An equivocation fallacy? (2:49, 3:40, 4:35)Craig is not committing the equivocation fallacy. The definition of "objective" that he uses is something akin to the first example RR presents. On this assumption, RR rejects (1) by appealing to the existence of other meta-ethical theories . However, RR fails to provide a defence of any of the theories he names, and so his objection fails. (Craig's endorsement of (1) implies that he rejects all meta-ethical theories that are not equivalent to his own.)A contradiction? (6:00)RR accuses Craig of contradicting himself on the existence of moral "absolutes". But RR simply misunderstands Craig. Craig is distinguishing between specific action categories (e.g. killing someone) which may be right in some circumstances and wrong in others, and more general action categories (e.g. disobeying God) which are always wrong.Fallacies? (7:57, 8:22, 8:31, 9:04)These points all suffer from RR's failure to formulate them as objections to one of the argument's premises, and so his line of thought is sometimes unclear. The disconnection of the alleged fallacies from the formulation provided makes a response to them not only difficult but also completely unnecessary. Finally, Craig does not claim the argument proves monotheism.To conclude, I would not accuse RR of being intentionally dishonest. I think he just makes plenty of mistakes and is unable to clearly and correctly formulate his objections.
jc: You can find in any logic textbook that a non sequitur is a material fallacy, not a formal fallacy. That is to say, the reasoning itself is not questioned, but the matter of the reasoning. Valid and invalid are distinctions regarding formal fallacies, not material fallacies.im: This is simply incorrect, as far as I can see. I have always heard people use 'non sequitur' to mean formal fallacy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_fallacyjc: It has an appearance of a deductively valid argument, but in fact the classes are not established. People are thinking clearly neither about God, nor objective moral values. Hence though the form appears correct, the argument is attacked as a material fallacy.im: That argument as formalised by Craig is deductively valid. Arguments are deductively valid or invalid independent of their semantic content (i.e. material).jc: This is hand waving, unless you at least summarize a few of Craig’s attempts to make (1) meaningful. You do not list even one, and I’m sure these attempts are easy to challenge.im: What? I'm not trying to defend the moral argument! I'm simply pointing out RR's failure to engage Craig's justification for (1). I think Craig would simply say that without God there can be no grounding for moral facts.jc: RR would be justified calling himself an atheist, when theists think so badly. God ought to be found with an intelligent crew on His side, even those throwing down theists.im: I said, "agnostic with regards to the truth of the [moral] argument". This is nothing to do with theism/atheism. I'm simply saying that you cannot declare an argument incorrect because you are agnostic with respect to the truth of one of the premises.jc: This one takes some time to understand. (1) of itself does not establish that objective moral values can only exist if there is a God. In fact I argue the angels derive their own objective moral values independently of God, from awareness of the soul and the total existential situation of many created souls. Wanting good in the creation, they seek good effects in their friends. God smiles, but the angels devise this themselves.im: Of course (1) does not establish itself! It requires justification, which Craig provides.jc: The religionists are thinking very primitively about objective moral values arising from God, typically drawing it back to the Ten Random Suggestions from Moses, and supposing anybody who can holler, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” must be the wisest monk ever.im: Craig's argument has absolutely nothing to do with the Law of Moses.jc: I’ve looked around and like RR, I find none of it convincing. RR looks more like he belongs in God’s tribe, than Craig. The point here is rather sophisticated, as he reiterates that (1) is not a self-establishing or self-evident thesis. If you want to be sophisticated too, then this argument must be a much longer one, including justification for (1).im: Craig doesn't claim that (1) is self-evident. As I have said before, RR never grapples with justification Craig does provide for (1).jc: It’s an interesting objection, since “objective” from (1) could be interpreted as: If God does not exist, the type of objective moral values that God decrees do not exist. But (2) might refer either to the type of objective moral values that God decrees, or to the type of objective moral values that angels decree. (We must leave humans out in this consideration, who never rise to objective moral values, i.e. that have profound, long-term positive impacts.) I’d defend this other meta-ethical theory, and perhaps RR would too.im: Craig intends (2) to refer to the type of objective moral value that God decrees. His use of "objective" is consistent between (1) and (2).jc: Actually RR provides more insight, since “Thou Shalt Not Kill” has higher ramifications among the wise. The wise never kill, but they also never exhibit a cause why they should be killed. Humans are not this way, committing despicable acts. Moses never bothered to explain this, which is why im is trapped in a contradiction here, since the commandment as recorded is not, “Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless They Deserve It.” This is why I’ve said “The Ten Random Suggestions,” since Christians interpret them as such.im: I don't think Craig would regard “Thou Shalt Not Kill” as being absolute. It would seem impractical for God to have to spell each and every circumstance under which killing is permissible. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is a good general heuristic.jc: I glossed over the majority of RR’s arguments, for although he appears closer to God than Craig because of his rationality, his mind is comported in hostile modes against the false image of God that the theists promulgate, and would likely deny the actual God too. Yet it would be correct to say that this argument as it stands, could point to alternative deities. Let us say Apollo and Athena are both gods capable of generating objective moral values. Then you can say, “If Athena does not exist, the objective moral values Athena declares do not exist.” You can also say, “If Apollo does not exist, the objective moral values that Apollo declares do not exist.” Of course, if these are both objective one wonders why they are not exactly the same, but in fact Apollo might have a slight edge of wisdom over Athena, therefore his objective values have a slightly better effect than hers.im: Yes, I think there is an interesting objection to the notion of "objective" morality here.jc: RR finds himself in a position superior to Craig, but has not awakened awareness of it. The theists are ridiculous, and God attacks them too. The image of God in the world is a slave to human desire, not an actual Creator-God. God lives though religion calls Him dead.im: You seem to believe in God, but you don't call yourself a theist? Are you a deist? - Imperator
The sky is blue.The sea is blue.Therefore the sky is the sea.is a formal fallacy. ButGrass is greenI feel depressed today.Therefore the grass is to blame for my depression.is a non sequitur.