• cincPhil
    20
    (1) If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    (2) Objective moral values and duties exist.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    Few things...

    Objectivity doesn't entail God, does it? Science is, supposedly, objective and nowhere do they invoke the divine.

    What does it mean to say moral values are objective? Do we mean that there are some truths, unchanging and universal, about morality? What are they?
  • cincPhil
    20

    To say that a moral value or duty is objective is to say that it is true or binding irrespective of human opinion (regardless of what anyone thinks). For example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively wrong is to say that even if the Nazis had succeeded in winning WWII, and brain-washed or exterminated everyone who disagreed with them, so that everyone in the world believed that Naziism was right, it would still be wrong.
  • Noble Dust
    2k


    1) Why are God and objective moral values inseparable?

    But first, you would need to make an argument for 2):

    2) What's the argument for the existence of objective moral values?
  • cincPhil
    20
    On atheism, you don't read morality into nature. Nature is red in tooth and claw. To quote Richard Dawkins, "there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."

    Now, which premise do you deny? Are you really willing to deny the objectivity of moral values and duties? See my reply to TheMadFool
  • Noble Dust
    2k
    Another way to look at premise one is to say that if atheism is true, then morality is not objective. And that is precisely what atheism asserts. Any atheist worth his salt will tell you that you don't read morality into nature. Nature is red in tooth and claw. To quote Richard Dawkins, "there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."cincPhil

    So you're argument here is that atheists don't believe in objective morality, therefore...what? Again, back to my question: Why are God and objective moral values inseparable?

    There are many atheists around these parts who believe in some sort of definable morality, even if they don't choose the word "objective". Dawkins is kind of an atheistic piñata at this point, as far as I'm aware.

    Now, which premise do you deny?cincPhil

    I'm not denying any premise, I'm asking questions about your premises.

    Are you really willing to deny the objectivity of moral values and duties?cincPhil

    Nowhere have I done so.
  • cincPhil
    20
    Forgive me. I don't mean to accuse. My argument is not about what atheists believe. It is about the nature of morality.
  • Noble Dust
    2k


    I didn't feel accused, I was just clarifying. (Y) No apology needed. I'd still be interested to hear your responses to my questions.
  • Noble Dust
    2k
    My argument is not about what atheists believe. It is about the nature of morality if atheism is true.cincPhil

    Ok; can you expand on that?
  • cincPhil
    20
    This strikes a personal cord with me. I've done things I regret. I've hurt people. And I know that if God did not exist, then I would embrace my animal instinct, you know? I would live like the animal that I am. I would rob banks, and maybe worse. I would see no reason not too. I would laugh at any atheist who practiced morality because there is none. Nature is morally neutral. For example, when the lion kills the zebra, it kills the zebra, but it doesn't commit murder. When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female shark, it forcibly copulates, but it doesn't rape. On atheism, what obligations, if any do we owe to other homo sapiens? If we are just animals, then what makes us so special? Why think that we have any moral worth? That is premise one, in a nutshell.
  • Noble Dust
    2k
    This strikes a personal cord with me. I've done things I regret. I've hurt people. And I know that if God did not exist, then I would embrace my animal instinct, you know?cincPhil

    Yes, you're not alone; everyone has done things they regret, and everyone has hurt someone else. It sounds like your shame for having done those things is leading to you questioning God's existence; yes/no?

    For instance, I think what you mean is "if I believed that God did not exist, then I would embrace my animal instinct". From your theistic perspective, the prospect of God's non-existence presents a nihilistic void where animal instinct reigns. So your belief is what's determining the factors here. On the other hand, regardless of the existence of God, there are morally upright atheists and agnostics who exemplify moral behavior, regardless of whether their views are grounded metaphysically in something substantial. Social context forms moral positions; a metaphysical reality doesn't. That doesn't discount the possibility of a metaphysical moral reality existing. Hope that makes sense...

    On atheism, what obligations, if any do we owe to other homo sapiens?cincPhil

    I'm a theist, so I won't speak for them.
  • cincPhil
    20
    I used to doubt, but not anymore.

    On atheism, it is as you say, that morality is a product of socio-biological evolution. But let me be clear: I'm not arguing that belief in God is necessary for people to be good. I agree that atheists often live good and decent lives–lives that would put mine to shame. I'm arguing that if God does not exist, then morality is just an evolutionary spin-off. It's a kind of herd morality, but it's not really true in any objective sense. As a theist, don't you see God as the foundation of objective morality?
  • Noble Dust
    2k
    On atheism, it is as you say, that morality is a product of socio-biological evolution.cincPhil

    I'm not saying that; I'm saying environment determines our specific moral positions. Atheism or theism doesn't come in to play yet because whether an objective morality exists or not doesn't come into play yet. I'm just making a simple acknowledgement of how environment determines our disposition towards morality.

    I'm arguing that if God does not exist, then morality is just an evolutionary spin-off. It's a kind of herd morality, but it's not really true in any objective sense.cincPhil

    So far you've only asserted that; you haven't made an argument for that yet.
  • cincPhil
    20
    If morality is dependent upon environmental factors, wouldn't it be subjective?

    Also, herd morality and evolution is just what the atheist espouses. Think about premise (1). If atheism is true, then how can morality be objective? That's the question.
  • Noble Dust
    2k
    If morality is dependent upon environmental factors, wouldn't it be subjective?cincPhil

    I'm trying to highlight that it's not either/or; begin with experience: experience tells you your environment determines some amount of your moral beliefs. That has nothing to say about whether or not an objective morality exists.
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    To say that a moral value or duty is objective is to say that it is true or binding irrespective of human opinion (regardless of what anyone thinks). For example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively wrong is to say that even if the Nazis had succeeded in winning WWII, and brain-washed or exterminated everyone who disagreed with them, so that everyone in the world believed that Naziism was right, it would still be wrong.cincPhil

    I want to believe that there's objective morality. Your Nazi example makes the point well. Indeed, what the Nazi's did and a lot of our ancestors did were, are and will be bad. But, that's from our present perspective. Do you see no possibility that moral values will change with time? There are precedents - your views on the Holocaust are evidence of that.
  • cincPhil
    20
    On atheism, I would agree with you: morality is simply a product of human experience over the course of evolution; it's nothing more than a kind of herd morality. On that view, I see no reason to think that moral values and duties are objectively binding in any way. And if they are not objectively binding, then they must be subjective.
  • cincPhil
    20
    Thanks MadFool. Let me ask your question back to you. Can you give me an example of an objective moral value that changes? For example, can the value of love be sometimes good, and sometimes bad? Or is it always true that it is good for us to love?
  • Thorongil
    2.6k
    Euthyphro would like a word with you. And I notice you failed to provide definitions. What, or who, is God? What are objective moral values? What is existence?
  • TheMadFool
    1.9k
    Thanks MadFool. Let me ask your question back to you. Can you give me an example of an objective moral value that changes? For example, can the value of love be sometimes good, and sometimes bad? Or is it always true that it is good for us to love?cincPhil

    I don't know how to answer your question but I'll try...

    Love is generally accepted to be good but I'm sure you must've heard of the expression ''love hurts''. If ''love hurts'' is true you lose the leverage of happiness in your moral equation and that, I think, is a fatal blow to moral theories based on happiness (I think they call it Hedonism). If your moral theory isn't based on happiness I'd like to know more.
  • jorndoe
    492
    On common usage, subjective is roughly mind-dependent, and objective mind-independent.

    1:

    The conditional seems like a non sequitur, and requires justification.

    Some define God as a mind, implying that morals are subjective.
    (Barring special pleading and word magic (trying to define things into existence).)

    2:

    Requires justification.

    We can assume that anyone likes freedom by default. (Including non-humans.) This informs morals.
    We can assume that anyone dislikes harm by default. (Including non-humans.) This informs morals.
    Liking and disliking are subjective.
    Thus, morals are subjectively informed (in part at least).

    Moral awareness is a prerequisite for moral action.
    Awareness is (part of) mind.
    Thus, morals are subjective.

    3:

    Objective versus subjective morals is misleading, possibly irrelevant.
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