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Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

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Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God
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Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

A slight amendment to the last section of my post.

Philosopher wrote:
Commander Eagle wrote:And you have absolutely no evidence to support this assertion. "Wrong" in whose eyes? The universe's? The universe doesn't care.

Seriously? Once again, this is not an argument, this is a definition. I was not giving an argument, but an illustration of what I mean by objective.

Yes, I knew this. Admittedly, I should have left of the rider "the universe doesn't care", but this was a serious question.

In whose eyes would it be wrong?
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:24 am
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Once again, I'll respond in chunks. I would prefer it you responded to slightly larger chunks of text, since I think most of what I say is being missed when you respond to each point in isolation, especially when it comes to the moral argument.

Causation

You misunderstand me. I am not talking about thought experiments being evidence of it being, possible. The point of this debate is for you to present evidence that simultaneous causation actually, happened. A thought experiment is not evidence in that context.

Not really. If a thought experiment does not conform to our physical reality, then it is useless to us in the context of providing evidence that such a thing not only can but did occur in our physical reality. You need actual evidence, not hypothetical situations.

Yes, it is, but this state of affairs cannot exist within our universe. That experiment does not apply here.

Not within our universe, it isn't. The thought experiment which you use to justify this statement does not apply here. We do not have an infinite expanse of time for a cup and table to exist.


Nonsense. Your argument is that the KCA is false because causation is necessarily temporal. All I have to do to to refute that argument is to simply point out that it is possible that causation be simultaneous. You argued the following:

PREMISE 1. The universe consists of the space-time continuum and everything inside it.
CONCLUSION 1. If the universe does not exist, by definition, time does not exist.
PREMISE 2. Causality cannot exist without time.
CONCLUSION 2. Causality did not exist "before" the universe existed.
CONCLUSION 3. The universe could not have been the result of a causal relationship.


If premise (2) is false, then the argument falls apart. All that I have to do so falsify (2) is to show its negation: "Causality can exist without time." This does not involve proving that it actually does, only that it's possible. By saying that I have to establish that simultaneous causation actually happened, you are guilty of moving the goalposts. It's being possible is quite relevant to this discussion.

As it turns out, I haven't seen anything which suggests that the thought experiments I offered are incoherent. For example, suppose that there has been a cup which has been eternally sitting on a table. Since both entities are eternal, it would not be the case that one succeeding event was causing another succeeding event. Now, of course there's no such thing as an eternal cup and an eternal table, but to fault a thought experiment on the basis that it doesn't actually obtain in reality misses the point completely. The fact that such a scenario is consistent with our reality is enough to establish that it is possible.

Craig, in fact, argues a fortiori that all causation is simultaneous:

"Why can't the cause and effect exist at the same time in an asymmetric dependency relation? For example, a heavy chandelier hanging on a chain from the ceiling. The ceiling and chain hold up the chandelier; the chandelier and chain don't support the ceiling! "

"Indeed, you could ask them if all causation isn't in the end simultaneous. Imagine C and E are the cause and the effect. If C were to vanish before the time at which E is produced, would E nevertheless come into being? Surely not! But if time is continuous, then no matter how close to E's appearance C's disappearance takes place, there will always be an interval of time between C's disappearance and E's appearance. But then why or how E came into being when it does seems utterly mysterious, for there is no cause at that moment to produce it."
[1]

David Oderberg's Argument

No. An equally valid negation of the premise is the simple "Nothing begins to exist", which renders the first premise unsound, as it is nothing but bare assertion.

Even if your objection here had merit, it isn't an actual refutation. It is a nitpick. That the argument negates the second premise as well as the first makes it no less of a death blow to your position.


It seems to me that you aren't even discussing Oderberg's argument anymore, at least, your criticisms are aimed toward something other. The premise "Nothing begins to exist," if true, would indeed neutralize the first premise, but that's not the objection that Oderberg (Nor I, at least in this section) was arguing against. The argument you gave didn't attack Oderberg's argument at all, but the second premise. In other words, you're arguing against something that Oderberg did not claim.

What he was arguing against was the idea that it is possible that something comes from nothing (He argued that this entails a formal contradiction). As of yet, I haven't seen anything which shows that it is possible that something come from nothing, only off-base criticisms.

Equivocation

Not at all. As Craig and other defenders of the argument has stated, the definition of "cause" as employed by the argument is simply something which produces an effect,, regardless of whether or not that effect is out of nothing or out of pre-existing materials. The first premise only states that an, efficient, cause is necessary, not a, material, cause. Whether or not a, material, cause happens to be present has nothing to do with the first premise.[/quote]

Okay. I apologize if the following seems childish or insulting, but less subtle methods have proven ineffective.

This is still equivocation.

Your argument - and Craig's - rests on nothing more than an underhanded attempt to lump two separate definitions of "cause" together under one term and claim that evidence for one is evidence for the other., 

It is not.

There are two types of causes: those which cause an effect with pre-existing materials, which are supported by the evidence, and those which cause an effect with newly-existing materials, which are not. You cannot claim that evidence for things happening with material which already exists is evidence for things happening with material that does not.

This argument is nothing more than equivocation. That is the end of the discussion. There really is nothing more that can be said.


This is not equivocation.

The definition of a "cause" that is employed by the KCA is simply that which produces an effect. Whether or not that effect is with pre-existing materials or pre-existing materials is irrelevant. It is still a cause. The only difference between ex nihilo causation and ex materia causation is the effect, not the cause.

The difference is in the effect, not the cause.

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

No., You, are assuming your conclusion. You need to prove that the universe needs an explanation.

You misunderstand my objection. One, you have not proven that the universe is contingent. You have simply stated that there is a possible world where the universe does not exist. There is absolutely no reason to believe this. You need evidence.
Two. You again misunderstand my objection when it comes to God. I do not argue that,, if he were necessary, he would not exist. I argue that he is not necessary, and so far you have given absolutely no evidence to state that he is. You can, define, something as a necessary being, but defining something as necessary does not actually make it so. Reality does not have to conform to your definitions. You need evidence.


Let me begin by defining my terms. To be necessarily existent is to exist in all possible state of affairs, that something's non-existence is impossible. Now it seems conceivably that the universe could have failed to exist. It follows that therefore, there exists a possible world (a heuristic tool used to express modal notions) in which the universe does not exist. All I'm saying is that the universe could have not existed. So to say that there exists a possible world in which the universe does not exist is to show that the universe is contingent. To show that the universe is not contingent (necessary), you have to show that it is literally impossible for the universe to not exist, a task that's virtually impossible.

In the case with God, it is plausible to define him as necessarily existent. Why? Because God cannot be dependent on anything for his existence, otherwise he wouldn't be God. That God is necessarily existent is part of the very concept of God, just as having four sides is the very idea of a square.

You just violated, your own argument. If the universe was the, only, entity in existence, then your own argument states that, by necessity, it must be necessary, because it cannot be contingent on anything else.

I told you exactly what the evidence is. The evidence is that we know that the universe exists, but have absolutely no evidence of anything else. Thus, the only logical conclusion is that the universe is necessary. Positing the existence of other entities and stating that the universe is contingent on their existence is pointless, and nothing but bare assertion, as we have absolutely no evidence supporting the existence of these other entities.


Violated my own argument? This attacks a strawman. My own argument doesn't state that something is necessary if it is the only entity that exists. Necessity (as it is used here and in philosophy) is a term that expresses a particular modality, namely, that something's non-existence is possible. That something is the only entity does not make it necessarily existent, as it could have failed to exist (it's non-existence is possible).

The Moral Argument

Okay, this is rather large, so I'll group a lot of what you've said together (a lot of it was repetitive).

Because there is absolutely no evidence that they are.

Straw man. I have not stated that morality does not exist. I have stated that it is, subjective. There is a huge difference., 

Beyond that, this is a false analogy. Morality is not a tree. It is your, perception, of the tree. You, for example, could look at the tree and see a mighty oak, the triumph of nature. On the other hand, I could look at the tree and see something that's in the way of the expressway I'm building., 

To expand further on the analogy, suppose you see a man killing Hitler. Most people would perceive this as a good thing. Others - pacifists, perhaps - might see this as an evil act., 

You are equivocating between "exists" and "objective". No one has argued that morals do not exist. I argue that they are, subjective. And, again, every single thing,, including the appearance of objectivity, can be explained within the context of subjective morality. Since the subjective system is the one which does, not, posit the existence of a magic moral force, the burden of proof is on those who back objective morality. You need evidence.


First, I don't see where I strawmaned your argument. I did not treat moral subjectivism as it if were moral nihilism (Though it could be plausibly reduced down to it... but that's for another time). Now, the term morality refers to the ideas of right and wrong. To assume that morality is one's perception of certain affairs to prove that morality is subjective is completely circular, since the very definition of morality that you're operating on presupposes subjectivism from the outset.

Second, you completely missed the point of the analogy. The point of the analogy was to show that the explanation of morality as objective is superior to the explanation of morality as relative, since the former tends to affirm what many see to be obvious while the latter denies it. Now, that being said, the burden of proof is on the critic of objective morality, the person who denies what many sees to be obvious. If you deny that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong, then you, and not I, owe us the explanation.

Note that simply giving an alternate explanation is not a refutation. You have to show that any alternate explanation is more plausible than the explanation it's supposed to replace. Now, you argue

You constantly accuse me of circular logic. It is becoming tiring. I have not assumed my conclusion. The existence of objective morality is contingent on the existence of a magical force which bestows moral "measurements" on everything. Without evidence of the existence of that force - call it whatever you want, God or Jesus or Lucky the Leprechaun - there is absolutely no reason to believe that morality is objective, because everything we see about morality is explained in the context of subjective morality., 


Again, the very reason I used the moral argument is to prove the existence of God. Yes, the existence of objective morality is contingent on the existence of God, but that doesn't mean I have to prove God first before I prove objective morality. On the contrary, I can do the exact opposite (arguing from effect to cause, just like the KCA).

Yes, subjective morality also explains everything we see, but so does objective morality, with the added bonus that it is more plausible (It tends to affirm the obvious). If that entails that we must posit the existence of God, then very well, that's the point of the argument to begin with.

Asking me to prove a negative? Shame, shame, shame.

You should know better. I have an explanation for why we (or some of us, anyway) believe in it which is entirely natural. Your explanation requires additional evidence. Hardly the genetic fallacy, as you have presented absolutely no evidence beyond anything which is already incorporated into my model.


It's trivially easy to prove a negative, but I digress. Of course we both have explanations, the question is, whose explanation is more plausible. While both of our explanations cover the same content, I contend that mine is the more plausible one because something that is prima facie obvious. That this implies God is the very point of the argument. Your argument is essentially criticizes mine for doing what it's supposed to do.

So, in short, your "objective" system is one hundred percent identical to the subjective one, but with a god tacked on. Great. Now provide evidence for the existence of your god, or the subjective system stands, as yours is nothing but bare assertion.



This essentially misses the whole point, the moral argument itself is supposed to be evidence for the existence of God. You're essentially saying "Your argument for God's existence is unsound because it proves that God exists." That's the very point!

Do you deny that cooperation within a species makes that species stronger? Do you deny that the most efficient - and possibly only - way to ensure that species cooperate is to make them desire to perform certain actions and avoid others?, 


No, of course I don't. But, to use this to undermine belief in objective morality by explaining our belief of it in terms of socio-biological influences (Which you intended it to do) commits a blatant genetic fallacy.

Hardly, as the clear areas of agreement are also incorporated into my model - there are some actions which are extremely bad for society, and are heavily selected against (and, of course, this is, still, ignoring the freaks). As both of our models agree that there will be clear areas of agreement, their existence is irrelevant, unimportant to either side., 
The only area which matters to us, then, is the one where there is, disagreement. Presumably there would not be such disagreement within an objectively moral system - unless your objective system is entirely equivalent to my subjective one, in which case you, still, require additional evidence to support the existence of your magic force.


The claim that there would not be disagreement within an objective moral system is patently false. First, why should I believe it? Second, disagreement occurs within objective systems all the time! Not all scientists agree on certain issues, but certainly science is still objective. You have confused moral epistemology with moral ontology.

_________________

Sources

[1], William Lane Craig, Causation and Spacetime, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/New ... le&id=7935
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:22 am
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Busy tonight. I might have the reply up late, say at around midnight my time. If not, it'll be up by noon tomorrow.

I apologize for the constant delays. I've had a string of schedule changes, and my life is getting pretty crazy right now.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:15 am
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Completely fine with me. I kind of dislike the whole 1 day time limit idea.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:45 am
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Philosopher wrote:Completely fine with me. I kind of dislike the whole 1 day time limit idea.

I don't dislike it, per se. I just seem to be having trouble keeping up with it.

Anyway, reply is coming up in a minute.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:51 pm
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Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Aaaand cue surprise! Back in half-hour or so.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:10 pm
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Take your time. I'm soon going to be busy as well. :?
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:32 pm
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Causation

You misunderstand me. I am not talking about thought experiments being evidence of it being, possible. The point of this debate is for you to present evidence that simultaneous causation actually, happened. A thought experiment is not evidence in that context.

Not really. If a thought experiment does not conform to our physical reality, then it is useless to us in the context of providing evidence that such a thing not only can but did occur in our physical reality. You need actual evidence, not hypothetical situations.

Yes, it is, but this state of affairs cannot exist within our universe. That experiment does not apply here.

Not within our universe, it isn't. The thought experiment which you use to justify this statement does not apply here. We do not have an infinite expanse of time for a cup and table to exist.


Nonsense. Your argument is that the KCA is false because causation is necessarily temporal.

No, my argument is that the KCA is entirely unsupported, because there is no evidence that causation can be anything other than temporal. You need evidence that it can happen without time. I also think that causation is necessarily temporal, but again, that is another thing entirely - which is why I suggested the thread split. Even if I cannot prove that causation is necessarily temporal, your argument is still baseless, because it assumes the need for causation in an atemporal situation, which as of yet you have presented absolutely no evidence to support.
There is another point which is rather critical here. You don't just have to prove that it is possible for your god to have used simultaneous causation to create the universe. You have to give evidence that it actually did. So far, you haven't.

All I have to do to to refute that argument is to simply point out that it is possible that causation be simultaneous. You argued the following:

PREMISE 1. The universe consists of the space-time continuum and everything inside it.
CONCLUSION 1. If the universe does not exist, by definition, time does not exist.
PREMISE 2. Causality cannot exist without time.
CONCLUSION 2. Causality did not exist "before" the universe existed.
CONCLUSION 3. The universe could not have been the result of a causal relationship.


If premise (2) is false, then the argument falls apart. All that I have to do so falsify (2) is to show its negation: "Causality can exist without time." This does not involve proving that it actually does, only that it's possible. By saying that I have to establish that simultaneous causation actually happened, you are guilty of moving the goalposts. It's being possible is quite relevant to this discussion.

Debate title: "There is good evidence for the existence of God"

I haven't moved the goalposts anywhere. Proving that something is possible does not prove that it is actually true. You are taking the affirmative position in this debate, which means that you need to provide evidence that it is true. If I moved the goalposts anywhere, it was closer to you, by taking a stance and arguing for it (that causation is not possible without time) when I am not required to do so.

And no, whether or not it is possible really doesn't matter if you cannot prove that it actually happened. It is possible that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. However, if I am taking the affirmative position in a debate titled "There is good evidence for the existence of the Great Green Arkleseizure", proving that it is metaphysically possible for it to have occurred does not matter. Being metaphysically possible is not the same as being true.

Now, for the sake of the debate, I will drop my objection about time being necessary for causation. I will accept that it is possible for causation to be atemporal or simultaneous. This still leaves several questions that you have to answer.
How can you prove that the universe requires a cause? Causation being possible in an atemporal situation is not necessarily the same thing as it being necessary. How can you prove that the cause was personal?

David Oderberg's Argument

No. An equally valid negation of the premise is the simple "Nothing begins to exist", which renders the first premise unsound, as it is nothing but bare assertion.

Even if your objection here had merit, it isn't an actual refutation. It is a nitpick. That the argument negates the second premise as well as the first makes it no less of a death blow to your position.


It seems to me that you aren't even discussing Oderberg's argument anymore, at least, your criticisms are aimed toward something other. The premise "Nothing begins to exist," if true, would indeed neutralize the first premise, but that's not the objection that Oderberg (Nor I, at least in this section) was arguing against. The argument you gave didn't attack Oderberg's argument at all, but the second premise. In other words, you're arguing against something that Oderberg did not claim.

What he was arguing against was the idea that it is possible that something comes from nothing (He argued that this entails a formal contradiction). As of yet, I haven't seen anything which shows that it is possible that something come from nothing, only off-base criticisms.

Because no one has been trying to establish that something came from nothing. That is my criticism of Oderberg's argument. No one says that something came from nothing, so his argument is a straw man. Since his argument is a straw man, it is not a valid criticism of the argument that the first principle is false. The objection to the first principle is the same thing that I have been saying all along: you have no evidence to back it up.

And now we get into the whole thing about things coming into existence versus things being created out of pre-existing matter, so I'll move on to that section.

Equivocation

Not at all. As Craig and other defenders of the argument has stated, the definition of "cause" as employed by the argument is simply something which produces an effect,, regardless of whether or not that effect is out of nothing or out of pre-existing materials. The first premise only states that an, efficient, cause is necessary, not a, material, cause. Whether or not a, material, cause happens to be present has nothing to do with the first premise.


Okay. I apologize if the following seems childish or insulting, but less subtle methods have proven ineffective.

This is still equivocation.

Your argument - and Craig's - rests on nothing more than an underhanded attempt to lump two separate definitions of "cause" together under one term and claim that evidence for one is evidence for the other., 

It is not.

There are two types of causes: those which cause an effect with pre-existing materials, which are supported by the evidence, and those which cause an effect with newly-existing materials, which are not. You cannot claim that evidence for things happening with material which already exists is evidence for things happening with material that does not.

This argument is nothing more than equivocation. That is the end of the discussion. There really is nothing more that can be said.


This is not equivocation.

The definition of a "cause" that is employed by the KCA is simply that which produces an effect. Whether or not that effect is with pre-existing materials or pre-existing materials is irrelevant. It is still a cause. The only difference between ex nihilo causation and ex materia causation is the effect, not the cause.

The difference is in the effect, not the cause.

How many times do I have to explain this to you? You just keep repeating yourself over and over. You haven't answered my objection. You've confirmed it.

You say they are both causes. Fine. All well and good. But the existence of ex nihilo causes has not been proven. You cannot use evidence for ex materia causes as evidence for ex nihilo causes. Do you understand why this is?

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

No., You, are assuming your conclusion. You need to prove that the universe needs an explanation.

You misunderstand my objection. One, you have not proven that the universe is contingent. You have simply stated that there is a possible world where the universe does not exist. There is absolutely no reason to believe this. You need evidence.
Two. You again misunderstand my objection when it comes to God. I do not argue that,, if he were necessary, he would not exist. I argue that he is not necessary, and so far you have given absolutely no evidence to state that he is. You can, define, something as a necessary being, but defining something as necessary does not actually make it so. Reality does not have to conform to your definitions. You need evidence.


Let me begin by defining my terms. To be necessarily existent is to exist in all possible state of affairs, that something's non-existence is impossible. Now it seems conceivably that the universe could have failed to exist. It follows that therefore, there exists a possible world (a heuristic tool used to express modal notions) in which the universe does not exist. All I'm saying is that the universe could have not existed. So to say that there exists a possible world in which the universe does not exist is to show that the universe is contingent. To show that the universe is not contingent (necessary), you have to show that it is literally impossible for the universe to not exist, a task that's virtually impossible.

Ah, then I was misunderstanding your definition of "contingent". I apologize.

However, this does not grant your argument any more credence. Simply being able to say "the universe might not have existed" means nothing. You have to give evidence that not only could the universe have existed in some other form (or not existed at all), but it would have without the intervention of your god.

In the case with God, it is plausible to define him as necessarily existent. Why? Because God cannot be dependent on anything for his existence, otherwise he wouldn't be God. That God is necessarily existent is part of the very concept of God, just as having four sides is the very idea of a square.

Yes. Fine. All well and good up to this point. You can define God as "a necessary being". However, merely defining him as necessary in your philosophical situation does not make him so in reality, because reality does not necessary conform to your hypotheticals. You need evidence that he is.

You just violated, your own argument. If the universe was the, only, entity in existence, then your own argument states that, by necessity, it must be necessary, because it cannot be contingent on anything else.

I told you exactly what the evidence is. The evidence is that we know that the universe exists, but have absolutely no evidence of anything else. Thus, the only logical conclusion is that the universe is necessary. Positing the existence of other entities and stating that the universe is contingent on their existence is pointless, and nothing but bare assertion, as we have absolutely no evidence supporting the existence of these other entities.


Violated my own argument? This attacks a strawman. My own argument doesn't state that something is necessary if it is the only entity that exists. Necessity (as it is used here and in philosophy) is a term that expresses a particular modality, namely, that something's non-existence is possible. That something is the only entity does not make it necessarily existent, as it could have failed to exist (it's non-existence is possible).

Ah, again I have made a mistake. I got my definitions of "necessary" mixed up. Again, apologies.

The Moral Argument

I have snipped some parts from this section that I think were getting repetitive (my fault; my last post was pretty repetitive. I'll try to cut down on that). If you see a section which I did not address but you feel merits a response, please let me know.

Because there is absolutely no evidence that they are.

Straw man. I have not stated that morality does not exist. I have stated that it is, subjective. There is a huge difference., 

Beyond that, this is a false analogy. Morality is not a tree. It is your, perception, of the tree. You, for example, could look at the tree and see a mighty oak, the triumph of nature. On the other hand, I could look at the tree and see something that's in the way of the expressway I'm building., 

To expand further on the analogy, suppose you see a man killing Hitler. Most people would perceive this as a good thing. Others - pacifists, perhaps - might see this as an evil act., 

You are equivocating between "exists" and "objective". No one has argued that morals do not exist. I argue that they are, subjective. And, again, every single thing,, including the appearance of objectivity, can be explained within the context of subjective morality. Since the subjective system is the one which does, not, posit the existence of a magic moral force, the burden of proof is on those who back objective morality. You need evidence.


First, I don't see where I strawmaned your argument. I did not treat moral subjectivism as it if were moral nihilism (Though it could be plausibly reduced down to it... but that's for another time). Now, the term morality refers to the ideas of right and wrong. To assume that morality is one's perception of certain affairs to prove that morality is subjective is completely circular, since the very definition of morality that you're operating on presupposes subjectivism from the outset.

Second, you completely missed the point of the analogy. The point of the analogy was to show that the explanation of morality as objective is superior to the explanation of morality as relative, since the former tends to affirm what many see to be obvious while the latter denies it. Now, that being said, the burden of proof is on the critic of objective morality, the person who denies what many sees to be obvious. If you deny that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong, then you, and not I, owe us the explanation.

Note that simply giving an alternate explanation is not a refutation. You have to show that any alternate explanation is more plausible than the explanation it's supposed to replace.

If you didn't mean to compare moral subjectivism to moral nihilism, then no, you didn't strawman my argument, but that very much appeared to be your intent.

I do not assume that morality is my perception of events. I conclude that morality is my perception of events. Why? Several reasons. The largest is that of the existence of moral grey areas, but I'll cover that below. Another reason is the lack of evidence for any moral measurement system outside of our own minds. Your argument has done nothing to alleviate this last issue. You have simply stated "Well, I believe that it's objective. Prove me wrong."
Not exactly compelling.

Now, you argue

You constantly accuse me of circular logic. It is becoming tiring. I have not assumed my conclusion. The existence of objective morality is contingent on the existence of a magical force which bestows moral "measurements" on everything. Without evidence of the existence of that force - call it whatever you want, God or Jesus or Lucky the Leprechaun - there is absolutely no reason to believe that morality is objective, because everything we see about morality is explained in the context of subjective morality.


Again, the very reason I used the moral argument is to prove the existence of God. Yes, the existence of objective morality is contingent on the existence of God, but that doesn't mean I have to prove God first before I prove objective morality. On the contrary, I can do the exact opposite (arguing from effect to cause, just like the KCA).

No, you can't. Your argument:

"Objective morality exists, and objective morality only exists if God exists, so God exists, and therefore objective morality exists..."

This is textbook circular logic.

Yes, subjective morality also explains everything we see, but so does objective morality, with the added bonus that it is more plausible (It tends to affirm the obvious). If that entails that we must posit the existence of God, then very well, that's the point of the argument to begin with.

Obvious to whom? You? Certainly not me. Not to a lot of people. It is your own opinion that objective morality "obviously" exists. This is not convincing. And it is only "more plausible" if you put it in a dim light, off to one side, and only let people look at it out of the corner of their eye, as it has the giant "I NEED MAGIC TO WORK" bit, which makes it a little less easy to swallow.

So, in short, your "objective" system is one hundred percent identical to the subjective one, but with a god tacked on. Great. Now provide evidence for the existence of your god, or the subjective system stands, as yours is nothing but bare assertion.


This essentially misses the whole point, the moral argument itself is supposed to be evidence for the existence of God. You're essentially saying "Your argument for God's existence is unsound because it proves that God exists." That's the very point!

No. I am saying "Your argument for God's existence fails because it presupposes the existence of God." You cannot use "objective morality exists" alone as your justification for God, because objective morality only exists if God exists.

To expand further, the problem here is that your objective system proposes nothing that would not be expected in an entirely subjective system. You have built a system which is entirely identical to one which is subjective, but you claim it to be objective with absolutely no justification beyond "I say it's objective". This is circular logic.

The claim that there would not be disagreement within an objective moral system is patently false. First, why should I believe it?

If everything were objectively wrong or right, why should there then be areas of such vehement disagreement?

Second, disagreement occurs within objective systems all the time! Not all scientists agree on certain issues, but certainly science is still objective. You have confused moral epistemology with moral ontology.

Hardly. Rather, you have made a false analogy. In science, one thing and one thing alone is correct. In morality, I see no reason to believe this is true - unless you would care to present evidence that it is.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:53 pm
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

I have my own delays today, I'll have my next post up later tonight or tomorrow morning.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:16 pm
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Well, I don't really think I'm in any position to raise an objection. Take all the time you need. :P
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:45 am
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Apologies, I'll need another day. :x
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:33 am
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Again, no problem. I have no issue with waiting for your replies, so don't worry about the twenty-four-hour limit. I won't call for the debate to be closed. If one of the mods decides to close it on their own, well, there's nothing I can do about that, but I have no issue with waiting.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:26 pm
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Thanks for your patience. :)

Simultaneous Causation

No, my argument is that the KCA is entirely unsupported, because there is no evidence that causation can be anything other than temporal. You need evidence that it can happen without time. I also think that causation is necessarily temporal, but again, that is another thing entirely - which is why I suggested the thread split. Even if I cannot prove that causation is necessarily temporal, your argument is still baseless, because it assumes the need for causation in an atemporal situation, which as of yet you have presented absolutely no evidence to support.
There is another point which is rather critical here. You don't just have to prove that it is possible for your god to have used simultaneous causation to create the universe. You have to give evidence that it actually did. So far, you haven't.


It would be foolish, indeed, to argue for something based on its mere possibility. Anyone would be able to justify all sorts of things based on that criteria... but that's not what I'm doing here.

My argument, to be clear, is not that atemporal causation happened because it was possible, only that it's possible. As for the argument that it actually happened -- that's left to the first two premises of the KCA. Your challenge to the KCA, mind you, granted these premises (At least, I haven't seen you object to them thusfar), but denied the third premise because it implied the occurrence of something which you objected as impossible (Atemporal causation). My response was to simply point out that atemporal causation is possible, in which case that barrier to the third premise is eliminated. The first two premises, if true, must then imply the third premise, making the argument successful. What I'm doing is similar to unlocking a door -- I make it possible for the argument go succeed. I'm showing the third premise possible so the first two can do their job.

Oderberg's Argument

Because no one has been trying to establish that something came from nothing. That is my criticism of Oderberg's argument. No one says that something came from nothing, so his argument is a straw man. Since his argument is a straw man, it is not a valid criticism of the argument that the first principle is false. The objection to the first principle is the same thing that I have been saying all along: you have no evidence to back it up.


There are critics of the KCA, (Quentin Smith is one example), who argue that something can come from nothing. I merely offered Oderberg's argument as an advance response, to that particular objection should you have used that. Since you didn't, you could've just ignored it, instead of faulting it for something it wasn't supposed to address from the very beginning. The point can thus be dropped.

You say they are both causes. Fine. All well and good. But the existence of ex nihilo causes has not been proven. You cannot use evidence for ex materia causes as evidence for ex nihilo causes. Do you understand why this is?


Equivocation

What do you mean by "ex nihilo causes"? What is ex nihilo is not the cause, but the effect. The difference is not in the type of cause, but in the type of effect. As long as the definition of cause used by the KCA is that which brings about a change, then there's no problem, regardless of whether or not that cause is ex nihilo or ex materia There is no difference between an "ex nihilo cause" and a "ex materia cause" -- they both bring about an effect (That's all the KCA needs to operate on). The type of effect is irrelevant.

Now, can I use a cause which has an ex materia effect as evidence for a cause which brings about a ex nihilo effect? Yes, because the KCA is not concerned with what the effect is (Otherwise it might be problematic), but only with the mere presence of a cause.

Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

However, this does not grant your argument any more credence. Simply being able to say "the universe might not have existed" means nothing. You have to give evidence that not only could the universe have existed in some other form (or not existed at all), but it would have without the intervention of your god.


I do grant that the universe could have existed in some other form or have not existed at all, but that hardly casts doubt on my point. If anything, it strengthens it. In possible worlds semantics, if something's non-existence is even possible (In a metaphysical and not epistemic sense), then it follows that it is contingent on something for its existence. The universe, therefore, is a contingent entity in need of an explanation for its existence.

Yes. Fine. All well and good up to this point. You can define God as "a necessary being". However, merely defining him as necessary in your philosophical situation does not make him so in reality, because reality does not necessary conform to your hypotheticals. You need evidence that he is.


That's simply the definition of God. God is a being who does not owe his existence to another higher source (Otherwise, he wouldn't be God), that's simply what we mean by God. Let me construe it this way: "If there is a God, he's not the sort of being who owes his existence to another being."

Moral Argument

I have grouped several points together in the following quote.

If you didn't mean to compare moral subjectivism to moral nihilism, then no, you didn't strawman my argument, but that very much appeared to be your intent.

I do not assume that morality is my perception of events. I conclude that morality is my perception of events. Why? Several reasons. The largest is that of the existence of moral grey areas, but I'll cover that below. Another reason is the lack of evidence for any moral measurement system outside of our own minds. Your argument has done nothing to alleviate this last issue. You have simply stated "Well, I believe that it's objective. Prove me wrong."
Not exactly compelling.

Hardly. Rather, you have made a false analogy. In science, one thing and one thing alone is correct. In morality, I see no reason to believe this is true - unless you would care to present evidence that it is.

If everything were objectively wrong or right, why should there then be areas of such vehement disagreement?


I hate doing this, but let me reiterate why I believe objective morality exists. It isn't just a process of simply asserting it to be true or basing its truth on my belief that it's true. No, I base the existence of objective morality off our moral intuition. It is objectively immoral to torture babies for fun, for example. I do not need to give an explanation for this (Keep reading before you object) -- it's self-evidently true. If anything, the skeptic of that claim is the one who bears the burden of proof. Strictly speaking, I cannot prove the statement "Objective morality exists" any more than I can prove the statement "The external world exists" to be true. Both are based on the reliability of our cognitive faculties, such that it is the skeptic who owes us an explanation. Sure, you can try to explain our strong belief in objective morality as some sort of survival advantage. That's an alternate explanation. But (apart from committing the genetic fallacy), are these alternate explanations plausible? If an explanation causes you to deny the existence of something you know to be true (It is objectively wrong to torture babies for fun), then why not opt for a different explanation?

To the question of disagreement: Firstly, disagreement does not prove that there is no right answer. Disagreement within science happens all the time, but presumably there's only one right answer in spite of the agreement. Unless one presupposes his conclusion in advance, disagreement doesn't really prove anything. Second, while there are moral disagreements, there are also wide areas of agreement. Sociologists and anthropologists, for example, have noted that many of the world's cultures contain a same basic code of morality.

No, you can't. Your argument:

"Objective morality exists, and objective morality only exists if God exists, so God exists, and therefore objective morality exists..."

This is textbook circular logic.

No. I am saying "Your argument for God's existence fails because it presupposes the existence of God." You cannot use "objective morality exists" alone as your justification for God, because objective morality only exists if God exists.


This attacks a strawman -- that's not how I'm actually arguing. My argument was:

1. If objective moral values exist, then God exists
2. Objective moral values exist
3. Therefore, God exists

There is nothing circular about that. The antecedent in the first premise entails the consequent. I am not using the consequent to prove the antecedent. I'm not supporting P2 by appealing to the existence of God, but to reasons other than my conclusion. So it isn't circular in the slightest.

_______________________

By the way, I'm wondering if it's possible to wrap this debate up in the next 3-4 responses. My time on the computer has been cut. I recently took a job, started a certification program, and have some summer AP coursework to finish.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:18 am
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Back. Reply coming up.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:25 am
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Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Sorry, had some computer issues. Here 'tis.

Simultaneous Causation

My argument, to be clear, is not that atemporal causation happened because it was possible, only that it's possible. As for the argument that it actually happened -- that's left to the first two premises of the KCA. Your challenge to the KCA, mind you, granted these premises (At least, I haven't seen you object to them thusfar), but denied the third premise because it implied the occurrence of something which you objected as impossible (Atemporal causation). My response was to simply point out that atemporal causation is possible, in which case that barrier to the third premise is eliminated. The first two premises, if true, must then imply the third premise, making the argument successful. What I'm doing is similar to unlocking a door -- I make it possible for the argument go succeed. I'm showing the third premise possible so the first two can do their job.

You still don't seem to understand. Even accepting that simultaneous - or atemporal - causation is possible does nothing to help you. You have to prove that it actually happened. That means that you can't just say that the first two premises are true. You have to prove it. You have to give evidence that they are true.

Oderberg

There are critics of the KCA, (Quentin Smith is one example), who argue that something can come from nothing. I merely offered Oderberg's argument as an advance response, to that particular objection should you have used that. Since you didn't, you could've just ignored it, instead of faulting it for something it wasn't supposed to address from the very beginning. The point can thus be dropped.

Fine, except for one thing: I didn't bring up Oderberg. In fact, I originally ignored his argument entirely, as I realized that it had nothing to do with my position. You brought it up as an objection to my position. I spent the next few posts trying to get you to understand that it did not apply to my position.

Equivocation

What do you mean by "ex nihilo causes"? What is ex nihilo is not the cause, but the effect. The difference is not in the type of cause, but in the type of effect.

A nitpick rather than a refutation. What I mean by "ex nihilo causes" is entirely plain: they are causes which result in an ex nihilo effect.

As long as the definition of cause used by the KCA is that which brings about a change, then there's no problem, regardless of whether or not that cause is ex nihilo or ex materia There is no difference between an "ex nihilo cause" and a "ex materia cause" -- they both bring about an effect (That's all the KCA needs to operate on). The type of effect is irrelevant.

Now, can I use a cause which has an ex materia effect as evidence for a cause which brings about a ex nihilo effect? Yes, because the KCA is not concerned with what the effect is (Otherwise it might be problematic), but only with the mere presence of a cause.

No. The type of effect is not irrelevant. The existence of causes resulting in one type of effect has been proven. The existence of the other has not. Thus the Kalam argument is entirely unsupported. It is simply bare assertion.

I cannot state this any more simply. You cannot simply state that the universe requires a cause because all ex materia effects have a cause. You need evidence. Until you present some, you're simply asserting that it is true, which is not a valid basis for an argument.

I do grant that the universe could have existed in some other form or have not existed at all, but that hardly casts doubt on my point. If anything, it strengthens it. In possible worlds semantics, if something's non-existence is even possible (In a metaphysical and not epistemic sense), then it follows that it is contingent on something for its existence. The universe, therefore, is a contingent entity in need of an explanation for its existence.

That is not what I was asking.

I don't doubt that you can conceive of the universe not existing, or existing in another form. I can do the same for your god. But "logically consistent" does not mean "true". Present your evidence that the universe not only could have existed in another form (or not existed at all) without your god's intervention. Unless you can prove this, you are simply asserting that the universe could have.
"Logically possible" does not mean "true". It is logically possible that the universe requires an explanation. It is not necessarily true that it does. You need to present your evidence that this is true.

That's simply the definition of God. God is a being who does not owe his existence to another higher source (Otherwise, he wouldn't be God), that's simply what we mean by God. Let me construe it this way: "If there is a God, he's not the sort of being who owes his existence to another being."

Great. You have defined God as "something which does not have an explanation". Now prove that he exists. Your argument does not do this; it presents a situation in which he could, but it does not prove that this situation is actually true. Your job is to prove that it is.

I hate doing this, but let me reiterate why I believe objective morality exists. It isn't just a process of simply asserting it to be true or basing its truth on my belief that it's true. No, I base the existence of objective morality off our moral intuition. It is objectively immoral to torture babies for fun, for example. I do not need to give an explanation for this (Keep reading before you object) -- it's self-evidently true. If anything, the skeptic of that claim is the one who bears the burden of proof. Strictly speaking, I cannot prove the statement "Objective morality exists" any more than I can prove the statement "The external world exists" to be true. Both are based on the reliability of our cognitive faculties, such that it is the skeptic who owes us an explanation.

No. You are running around in circles. I have been over this countless times. The appearance of objectivity is not evidence of objectivity. Your constant claims that "Well, I think it's objective, so the burden of proof is on you to prove me wrong" are worthless. This part of your argument is complete and utter crap. It is nothing but bare assertion.

No more dancing. You can say that something is "self-evidently true" all you want. That doesn't shift the burden of proof off of you at all. You are the one attempting to establish the existence of something. It is your obligation to build your case. And if it is so obviously true, you should have something to back you up beyond "I think it is".
Present. Your. Evidence.

Sure, you can try to explain our strong belief in objective morality as some sort of survival advantage. That's an alternate explanation. But (apart from committing the genetic fallacy), are these alternate explanations plausible?

1. It is not the genetic fallacy. I have explained this before. Re-read my last few posts. I am tired of explaining this to you over and over.
2. I have presented an explanation. If you see a flaw in my logic, say so.

If an explanation causes you to deny the existence of something you know to be true (It is objectively wrong to torture babies for fun), then why not opt for a different explanation?

You are the only one here who "knows" that objective morality exists. If you want anyone at all to buy your argument, you need evidence.

To the question of disagreement: Firstly, disagreement does not prove that there is no right answer. Disagreement within science happens all the time, but presumably there's only one right answer in spite of the agreement. Unless one presupposes his conclusion in advance, disagreement doesn't really prove anything.

This is true, but if morality is subjective, then there should be no right answer. Disproving subjective morality is simple: find a right answer, and prove that it is right.

Second, while there are moral disagreements, there are also wide areas of agreement. Sociologists and anthropologists, for example, have noted that many of the world's cultures contain a same basic code of morality.

Again, not a blow against subjective morality.

You are simply running around in circles. Present your evidence to back up the truth of your arguments.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:13 pm
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Reply will be up tomorrow.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:22 am
PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

I'll be up in the morning, I'm being forced off the computer 2/3 of the way through my reply.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:36 am
PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

Thank you for bearing with me

Simultaneous Causation

You still don't seem to understand. Even accepting that simultaneous - or atemporal - causation is possible does nothing to help you. You have to prove that it actually happened. That means that you can't just say that the first two premises are true. You have to prove it. You have to give evidence that they are true.


You seem to have missed what I said previously. My proving that it's possible was only a part of the argument "As for the argument that it actually happened -- that's left to the first two premises of the KCA." The point of my proving that simultaneous causation is possible was to remove an objection to P3. Recall that you objected to the first premise on the basis that causation was temporal. That is, even if the first two premises were true, the third implied what you perceived to be an impossibility. By removing that obstacle, I allow the first two premises to do their work.

So as for the argument that it actually happened, that's left to the first two premises of the kalam, which were:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist

It follows that:

3. The universe has a cause

So you must now either attack P1 or P2, since P3 rests on them. Hope that cleared some things up.

___

I'll just the skip issue of Oderberg's argument, since we've come to an agreement on that. What's central to the KCA now is premises (1) and (2).

___

Equivocation

A nitpick rather than a refutation. What I mean by "ex nihilo causes" is entirely plain: they are causes which result in an ex nihilo effect.

No. The type of effect is not irrelevant. The existence of causes resulting in one type of effect has been proven. The existence of the other has not. Thus the Kalam argument is entirely unsupported. It is simply bare assertion.

I cannot state this any more simply. You cannot simply state that the universe requires a cause because all ex materia effects have a cause. You need evidence. Until you present some, you're simply asserting that it is true, which is not a valid basis for an argument.


Once again, the type of effect is irrelevant to there being a cause. The term "cause" is used in a univocal manner. A cause is something which brings about an effect. Whether or not that effect is out of nothing or out of pre-existing matter is purely incidental. The first premise of the KCA simply states that for any effect in general, there is a cause. This is simply not a problem (I haven't seen anyone use such a bizarre argument). There is no such thing as "cause which produces an ex materia effect" or "cause which produces an ex nihilo effect" -- there is only a cause in general.

Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

"Logically possible" does not mean "true". It is logically possible that the universe requires an explanation. It is not necessarily true that it does. You need to present your evidence that this is true.


In this case, since we're talking about matters of modality, it does follow that because it is logically possible that the universe did not exist that it is therefore a contingent entity. Since it is contingent (ie: a dependent entity), it by definition requires an explanation of its existence (PSR). Of course, you can dispute this point by arguing that the principle of sufficient reason is false, but I have not seen an argument for this yet.

Great. You have defined God as "something which does not have an explanation". Now prove that he exists. Your argument does not do this; it presents a situation in which he could, but it does not prove that this situation is actually true. Your job is to prove that it is.


No, my argument, if sound, does indeed demonstrate that God exists. Restated simply, if the universe is contingent, the universe requires an explanation. This explanation must be itself a necessarily existent being (Otherwise we would conjure up an infinite regression), who is properly known as God.

The Moral Argument

No more dancing. You can say that something is "self-evidently true" all you want. That doesn't shift the burden of proof off of you at all. You are the one attempting to establish the existence of something. It is your obligation to build your case. And if it is so obviously true, you should have something to back you up beyond "I think it is".
Present. Your. Evidence.


This is ludicrous. Of course it's evidence! If I saw a tree, would not the appearance of it be evidence that it actually existed? (In fact, it would be the only non-circular evidence that I could give) Experience is a perfect candidate for evidence. Indeed, you could not live consistently if you affirmed that it was not. Suppose you're standing in the middle of the train tracks, and you see what appears to be a train racing toward you. Given your criteria for evidence, the fact that you appear to see a train would not be evidence that it exists.

I see nothing wrong with using the appearance of objective morality as evidence that it actually exists. Moral experience and sense experience are directly analogous, there is no difference. At the very least, it puts the burden of proof upon you. If our the strong appearance of objective moral values is not evidence for their existence, then we might as well toss out our belief that an external world exists because our sense experiences cannot count as evidence. At the very least, the fact that almost everyone tends to recognize some moral truths as evidence should count as minimal evidence.

So, that being said, let me restate why I think our moral intuition is strong evidence of there being objective moral values. Most, if not all people know that certain moral truths are objectively true. Take for example "Torturing babies for fun is wrong." Such a statement is self-evidently true to almost everyone, such that if you wish to deny that, it is you who shoulders the burden of proof. So mininally, we can say that the default position is that of moral objectivism.

Not withstanding, it seems that you want more evidence (Though I think what I'm using now is quite enough). That being said, here are some other reasons I think it's reasonable to believe in objective moral values.

1. Belief in genuine moral progress
We constantly talk about some societies getting better. For example, we consider it a great thing when a society abolishes slavery or recognizes voting rights for women. But belief in moral progress presupposes that there is a moral standard of "better" and "worse."

2 .Belief in moral reformers
People such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and William Wilberforce are considered to be great moral reformers because they changed bad aspects of their respective societies. But, why consider these person good? Indeed, given cultural relativism, they would have been immoral because they went against the code of their societies. But obviously, we know that what they did was objectively moral. On relativism, there is no difference between a Gandhi and a Hitler.

Your response is to simply explain our moral beliefs in terms of survival advantage. But as I have already stated, this is a blatant genetic fallacy (The genetic fallacy occurs when you attempt to undermine an idea by showing how it originated). Even granting that our moral faculties arose because of evolution, this does not give us a good reason to doubt that objective moral values exist, nor does it falsify moral objectivism.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:36 am
Commander EagleUser avatarPosts: 424Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:58 pmLocation: Green Earth HQ Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

This debate may have to be cut short, or at the very least put on hiatus. I'm going on vacation soon, and I'm not sure how good my internet connection will be.

Apologies.
"Only I can beat me. And I never do."
- Commander Eagle
Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:02 am
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PhilosopherUser avatarPosts: 97Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:22 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Debate: There is good evidence for the existence of God

No problem. I'm fine with either (Though I would prefer we end it, since I have other commitments).

I noticed some chit-chat on the comment thread about someone taking your place. While I would love to debate others, I do not have the time (At least, for the rest of this month and the next) to have a fresh restart on this debate.
We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. - Dallas Willard
Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:07 pm
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