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A False Dilemma?

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A False Dilemma?
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 357Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post A False Dilemma?

Following a conversation I had today, I would like some thoughts on this.

Whilst discussing Euthyphro's dilemma, my interlocutor declared that this is a false dilemma. I disagree. My reasoning is as follows -

1 - The theist already accepts that the God exists so this operates as a given under E/D (Euthyphro's dilemma not Erectile Dysfunction)

2 - The question posed is "Is the God the author of morality or is he/it not the author of morality?" (I know the origins, piety etc, and I know it's worded as "Is an action moral because the God says so or is it moral in and of itself and the God is just letting you know etc) but I submit that this is the same question essentially.

3 - With this in mind, this is a binary proposition. The answer is either "Yes, the God is the author of morality" or "no, the God is not the author of morality"

4 - There is no third option under this framing, which I contend is proper framing for Euthyphro's dilemma. Any answer other than "yes [God is the author of morality]" is an automatic "no" (If Bob Smith is the author of morality that's an automatic "no" to the question proposed by Euthyphro's dilemma.

5 - A false dilemma is when only two options are given when IN FACT there are MORE than two options. The question posed is "Is the God the author of morality or is the God not the author of morality?" and this is binary thus forming a "true" dilemma as opposed to a false dilemma.

The purpose of this thread is not to actually discuss Euthyphros dilemma, it is rather to examine whether this is a false dilemma or a true dilemma.

I submit that for the THEIST, this is a true dilemma as there is no third option. Either yes God is the author, or no the God is not the author. Which is exactly the question posed under E/D. For the atheist this would not be a true dilemma as it contains a premise the atheist does not accept (that there is a God in the first place to be the author of anything at all, morality included) and so under the actual phrasing of this dilemma (Or is an action moral per-se and the God is just letting you know) this would be a false dilemma for the atheist. The theist accepts the premise that the God exists and when posed to such a theist E/D is actually a "true" dilemma.

Your thoughts?
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:39 pm
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psikhrangkur
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Post Re: A False Dilemma?

I'm assuming that this theist you spoke to made an argument similar to William Lane Craig's argument? That morality is the nature of God?

I think that the above is ultimately a fruitless response. While it may preclude the idea that that which is pious is pious because God says so, it only does so by characterizing morality as something which aptly describes God but is ultimately not decided by God.

To answer your question, I would say that the Euthypro Dilemma is a true dichotomy.
Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:07 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 357Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

Believe it or not he's an atheist! Or says he is. But he has a strange habit of arguing as if he's a theist. For some reason.

Thank you for your response, glad you agree. I don't really see how it could be any other way, either God is the author of morality or he bloody well isn't (assuming this God exists, which is why this is a dilemma for theists) and there is no third option, thus forming a true dilemma. TY Sir :)
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:15 pm
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psikhrangkur
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Post Re: A False Dilemma?

Really? Well, I suppose they have their reasons, though I doubt that I would agree with them concerning those reasons.

No problem. Really, the only counter-argument I can think of off the top of my head would be to accuse you of improperly rephrasing the dilemma, which would appear in my eyes as a way to deflect rather than address.
Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:23 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 357Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

So the original framing as as per point 2, I say this boils down to yes or no either way and it's still binary. Going with the "correct" phrasing if the God is just letting us know what is moral because those actions are moral anyway that negates him being the author of morality. So it's just a quicker way to ask the same question really.

1 - Grant the premise/assumption that the God in question exists

2 - Is that God the author of morality or is that God not the author of morality.

3 - If that God is the author of morality the answer is "yes"

4 - If that God is not the author of morality the answer is "no"

5 - If that God is just letting us mere mortals know what is moral even though that God isn't the author of morality then he is simply the mouthpiece / messenger so the answer to the question of "is that God the author of morality" is still no

True dilemma if posed to a theist (and only to a theist would this be a true dilemma. This was all of it in a nutshell.
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:38 pm
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he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3505Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

The Euthyphro Dilemma is a true dichotomy for the theist. I am not sure why an atheist would pretend otherwise. As you point out either the god created X or it did not. There is no middle ground on this.
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:16 pm
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 357Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

he_who_is_nobody wrote:The Euthyphro Dilemma is a true dichotomy for the theist. I am not sure why an atheist would pretend otherwise. As you point out either the god created X or it did not. There is no middle ground on this.


Completely. Thank you HWIN for your reply - genuinely appreciated!
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Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:19 pm
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SparhafocPosts: 2648Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

The intelligent theists I have spoken to over the years would respond saying that God is intrinsically moral and also the author of morality by creating humans with that component 'in his image'. So essentially their answer to 2 would be 'yes' to both.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:57 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2752Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

I think the problem theists have with this dilema, is not so much about either or not God makes it moral, but the way in which God makes it moral.
The dilema tries to make it either:
a) Arbitrary, making it worthless
b) Not from God, making God superfluous

Many theists do indeed believe that God is the source of morality, no questions asked.
Now you can ask the question, is it arbitrary? Did God just picked a set of do and don'ts, while he could have picked a different set? Is it good just because God said so?
A potential answer for this is, "Yes, God is what makes things moral, but he had no choice but to pick that set of dos and don'ts" , an Interesting solution, but it is also one that throws Omnipotence out the window.

But then one can ask, "What makes it moral to us?" Is it just because God says so? I have seen theists say, yes, yes it is.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:50 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2648Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:But then one can ask, "What makes it moral to us?" Is it just because God says so? I have seen theists say, yes, yes it is.



Yup... both God could say anything and it would be moral and also God couldn't choose to make murder moral because it's against his nature.

That kind of response usually means the believer is lost beyond hope and there's little to be gained from discussion unless there's a peanut gallery.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:33 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2752Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

Sparhafoc wrote:Yup... both God could say anything and it would be moral and also God couldn't choose to make murder moral because it's against his nature.

That kind of response usually means the believer is lost beyond hope...


Well not entirely. See, anything God could say, yes, but then again God couldn't just say anything.
If God could say A, it would, but God couldn't say A.

Still consistent, although not the kind of thing Christians would want to admit.

However an easier escape from this is that yes, indeed God can make murder moral, in fact he has, it does it all the time.
1. Many examples to be found in the bible. True, for the most part the "morality" of it is quite questionable at best.
2. People can murder morally, by let's say a SWAT operator killing a criminal to save an hostage.

I'm not saying that Christians are making this sort of argument, but this sort of argument can be made.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:18 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2648Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

I didn't mean to imply it made sense, just that it's a common response from theists; particularly the woollier ones who hadn't thought too much about it until you pressed them! :)
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:53 pm
psikhrangkur
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Post Re: A False Dilemma?

So I had the opportunity to speak with the person that SD mentions, and I figured I would just post a quick update:

The person in question made the argument that God is literally goodness, and that this bypasses Euthypro's Dilemma because this means that God isn't dictating goodness, and also means that God is necessary for goodness.

At this point, I asked them how it would be possible for anything which isn't God to be good, and made an attempt to reduce their argument to absurdity with a couple more questions (Best question I offered: If I perform a morally righteous action, is that action God?).

I didn't receive any response at this point. My understanding is that this person isn't using the server anymore, either.
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:19 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 357Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: A False Dilemma?

psikhrangkur wrote:I didn't receive any response at this point. My understanding is that this person isn't using the server anymore, either.


Yes, the person in question has left the building :)
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Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:17 pm
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