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Absurd Theologians and Atheists
Posted: 24 May 2008 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 691 ]  
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Waltercat, I think the assumption that the Christian God exists was taken from the beginning of this discussion.  This is your first comment,

“...by the way, it is crucial to note that a theist who believes that God is the source of morality does NOT believe in objective moral rules….”

Therefore the discussion between you a Silenus has been, given the Christian God’s existence, can this God account for objective morality?  This is why Silenus has constantly been saying,

“This is who we must assume exists to ascertain the E dilemma application or lack thereof to the Christian God.”

I’m not sure why the discussion has been moved, all from your end, to whether the Christian God exists or is it logical for another God to exist.  Arne’t these points off topic?  Given what Silenus has been saying is it illogical for objective morality to have an ontological basis, given the attributes of the Christian God?

If I misrepresented you I’m sorry, its just how I see it.

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Posted: 24 May 2008 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 692 ]  
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Let’s get one thing clear fletch and Silenus.

We can always pretend to refute our opponents arguments by assuming precisely what it is at issue.  But then we have not created an interesting argument.  It is mere sophistry.

The Euthyphro dilemma does depend on the claim that it is possible for God to do other than He actually does, to be other than He actually is, or to not exist all together. 

Now we can just assume that God is necessary.  That would serve to block the Euthyphro dilemma. But it would not be an interesting argument because it would merely assume precisely what is at issue: namely, whether God can be and do other than He is and does.

I find it very telling that Silenus has claimed that, so long as we are not speaking in the confines of the Euthyphro Dilemma, he is not sure whether Hewhay is possible.  In essence, this is an admission that they key premise of the Euthyphro argument may in fact be true.

Once again, in cased you missed it, the premise it:

P*: It is possible for God to be other than He is (this includes the possibility that He may not, in fact, exist).

The fact that Silenus has admitted that he does not know whether it is possible for a God to exist who enjoys torturing children (again, this God is named Hewhay) entails that he does not know whether P* is true.  If it is possible that Hewhay exists (and also possible that Yahweh exists), then P* is true.

End of story and end of argument.  If Silenus does not know whether P* is true, then he does not know whether the Euthyphro argument can be refuted.

And yet Silenus has been telling us for over a year now that the Euthyphro argument has been refuted.  Why?

Sure, we can say, well, if P* is false, then the Euthyphro dilemma is refuted.

Fine, but notice that great big IF.  And it is an if the Silenus has said he isn’t even sure of.

I find it very disingenuous to claim that you don’t know whether some premise is false (in one context) but then to claim that, in another context, the we can assume that it is false.  The only reason that Silenus wants to claim that P* is false in the context of the Euthyphro Dilemma is that is the only way he can think to refute the argument.  But by admitting that he does not know whether it is actually false, he is admitting that he does not know whether the Euthyphro dilemma has been refuted.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 24 May 2008 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 693 ]  
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silenus - 24 May 2008 11:52 AM

You basically reposted the argument, except you added the possible entities

Yes, because you continue to miss the point, as your most recent post indicates.

but none of this responds to my argument as to why there is no parity.

There is no such argument to respond to; just an assertion that this is the case.  You continue to fail to even understand what you are required to argue for. 

You need to demonstrate that God’s existence is necessary.  Demonstrate it; argue for it.  But you have just been assuming it.

 

The Christian God is an eternal being (outside of time, immutable).
“”  created ex nihlio and therefore, by definition, without him, nothing.  He is the ground of being.

Fine.  But this does not mean that He is a necessary being.  Why?  Because even if He is the ACTUAL ground of being, this does not prove that there cannot be other Grounds of being.  In particular, it does not prove that there is not some other possible scenario involving another God who, in that scenario, is the ground of being.

“” created man in his image, and therefore, by definition, man’s natural moral intuition matches God’s

I am sorry but this just does not follow.  This is an assumption that you have been getting aways with for far to long.  There is nothing that prevents an all-powerful being from creating creatures in His image who have a very different moral intuition.  There is nothing contradictory about that supposition.  Why?  Because the phrase “in His image” is just too vague.  It could mean “Physical Image” only.

Further, the claim that humans share God’s moral intuition is refuted by the observation that all humans do not share the same moral intuition.  How can we share God’s if we don’t even share the same intuition ourselves?

This is who we must assume exists to ascertain the E dilemma application or lack thereof to the Christian God.

Yes. This is the being that I have been assuming exists, for the purpose of this argument.  This is Yahweh; assuming He exists, He is the ACTUAL God.  But this does not rule out other scenarios with other possible Gods.

It does rule out the actual existence of Hewhay.  So, by assumption, Hewhay does not exist.  But that does not imply that Hewhay’s existence is impossible.

 

Now, if this being exists, another being that creates human with an opposing moral intuition to his nature cannot exist nor can another God with a different moral nature exist.

Yes.  And in the context of possible world semantics (the context in which we are forced to converse), this statement is rendered as:

If this being exists in the actual world, another being that creates humans with an opposing moral intuition to his nature cannot exist in the actual world nor can another God with a different moral nature exist in the actual world.

And I have no problem with this statement, as read,  But it most certainly does not imply that another God with a different moral nature cannot exist in another possible world.

The actual in this case is based on God, depends on God to exist, by the definitions above.

Yes, the ACTUAL.  But not necessarily the possible.  All that actually is depends on Yahweh, since He is the God that exists.  But, if Hewhay existed, all that actually would be would depend on Hewhay.

By these definitions, God is non-contingent and all else is contingent.

No.  This is where you go astray.  You have not proven that God is non-contingent.  You have only indicated that He is the ground of ACTUAL being.  But this does not imply that He is necessary.  If there is another POSSIBLE ground of being, then Yahweh’s existence is not necessary.  And you have not ruled out the possibility of their being other possible grounds of being.

[Side note: This is hard stuff.  No doubt.  But we must, therefore, be extra careful.  And when people do not reply in a fashion that we find acceptable, this may be do to fatigue or frustration, or failure to find a decent method of communicating one’s argument.  That and no other reason.]

Metaphysical possibility exists only if something could have happened.

True.  But something else could have happened.  A different God could have existed.  Hewhay could have existed.

Now, you can say, yes, but I am assuming that God is a necessary being.  Well, but then you are just assuming precisely what is at issue, and the discussion becomes pointless since you will see no reason to argue for your assumptions. 

But, (1) everything depends on this God for its existence because the God creates out of nothing.

Again, translated:  (1) Everything that actual exists depends on this actual god for is actual existence because the actual God creates out of nothing.

So, how it is possible for any other world to exist

Again, you are misunderstanding possibility. Possible worlds do not EXIST in the sense that the actual world exists.  They are mere possibilities, not actualities.  But that does not diminish them as possibilities. To say that something is possible is NOT to say that somewhere far off in outer space in the universe, or even in another universe, it is actual.  Possible worlds are NOT like the alternate universes of quantum physics which, on some interpretations, actually do exist, just in another universe.  Possible worlds are not like this.  Possible worlds do not exist, anywhere.  They are only possibilities, not actualities.

So when we imagine a possible world that includes Hewhay, we are not imagining an actually existing place that must have been created somehow. NO.  We are imagining an alternate scenario in which creation would have been very different than it is in the universe that includes Yahweh.  So, Yahweh did not and does not create or realize or have anything to do with Hewhay’s possible world.  There is nothing for Yahweh to do with respect to it because (by assumption), it does not exist.  It does not actually exist and thus was not created.  It is only a possible scenario.  That is all

since all worlds depend on this God as per the definitions of this God’s essence.  Out of nothing means, unless he creates . . . nothing.  There is no possibility of a different God, because we are assuming this God’s existence and contradictions are incoherent babble, not possibilities.  And there is no possibility of a worlds coming into being independent of this God because of the principle of ex nihilo creation . . .

You are also misunderstanding the nature of ex nihilo creation; but the root problem is your too literal understanding of possible worlds.  To say that Yahweh creates ex nihilo is to say that he creates the ACTUAL world out of nothing.  And, since Hewhay’s world does not exist (by assumption), but is only a possibility, its being a possibility does not require that God have created it.  God does not create the metaphysical possibilities (since they do not exist), He creates the actualities.

So, yes, in the ACTUAL world it is the case that if there is no Yaweh, then there is nothing (by the assumption that Yahweh exists).  But this says nothing about other possibilities (again, possibilities that, since they are mere possibilities and not actualities, are not created by God. They are not created, period).  So, there is another possible world in which there is another God, Hewhay.  And this possible world is such that, if it existed, Hewhay would have created it out of nothing and everything in it would depend for its existence on Hewhay.

 

(2) Since the God is eternal (immutability being as aspect of eternality) he cannot change.  Hence there is no possibility of that same God creating a different world than he did create because that would also entail a change in that God’s will and telos.

Entirely irrelevant since we are considering the possibility of there existing a different God, not of whether Yahweh can change.

(3)  The god’s essence itself cannot change, again, by the definition of eternal.  We cannot assume this God existence and then talk about this God changing so that he becomes a God with a different will or a different essence.  That, again, would be a contradiction.

No.  The definition of eternal does not imply no change.  But again, this is entirely irrelevant for the same reasons.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 May 2008 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 694 ]  
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Probably my last comment:

Waltercat said,

We can always pretend to refute our opponents arguments by assuming precisely what it is at issue.  But then we have not created an interesting argument.  It is mere sophistry.

The thing is I looked over this forum and it seems you have allowed certain metaphysical principals for one round of discussions and than later on get mad when we continue as if the rules haven’t changed.  Around post 619 is really when you began to change the rules.

Waltercat said,

Now we can just assume that God is necessary.  That would serve to block the Euthyphro dilemma.

In the Euthyphro Dilemma Plato is asking whether the Greek Gods can logical meet the ontological demands for morality.  For Plato morality needs to be grounded in something that is eternal and fixed.  The question isn’t whether one worldview is true.  What the theists who have claimed an ontological basis for morality have been doing is providing an explanation for why Christianity can logically account for morality.  Therefore what you need to do is show how the Christian God cannot logically account for objective morality.

Again my original point in my initial post, “Absurd Theologians and Atheists” states that Christianity has a basis for objective morality and atheism does not.  Now does this prove God’s existence?  Not at all.  Does this prove that the God, in the Western religions, is true?  Not at all.  All this proves is if the God of Christianity is true it can account for objective morality.  And this is exactly what I have been saying from the very beginning.  It’s an assumption but not an illogical one.  From the Christian metaphysical standpoint Plato’s requirements are met, morality is grounded in an eternal necessary being, after all isn’t this the God of Christianity?  It is awful similar to the ontological basis of where Plato gets his morality as well.

Besides claiming that Christianity can account for objective morality I also claimed that atheism cannot.  I don’t want to discourage you but after reading through the comments I found your arguments for an objective morality from atheism to be unconvincing.  As you know I am hardly alone in sharing this viewpoint, these viewpoints come from both sides of the camp.  So I still stand on the claim that objective morality cannot be grounded through a naturalistic worldview.  The dots have not been connected on how your nerve endings go beyond yourself. 

Pertaining to your arguments against a Christian account for objective morality it appears you have given two main ones (hopefully there are no strawman’s from my end).  I know I am breaking down your points to the bare bones.  1)  God’s character can change and thus this makes morality arbitrary.  2)  We can think of the possibility of a God allowing and declaring boiling babies to be right, therefore morality based on God is subjective. 

Your first objection was discussed by B.B., Galwah, and Silenus.  Given the Christian God it is impossible and therefore the claim that God’s character can change is equal to the claim of drawing a square circle.  Now I know this doesn’t make the God of Christianity true but at the same time this claim isn’t illogical and therefore allowed to be held to, this isn’t something that we have to prove.  I’m willing to hold to the assertion as it is.  That said I’ll just give a couple quotes from Silenus that I didn’t see you addess:

Silenus:

The word unconstrained is poorly chosen because it tries to separate the essence of God and the desire of God, from the will of God, which is impossible with an eternal being.  My desires are not constraints.  It’s simple A=A, Waltercat.  God cannot be what he is not.  God cannot be not God and there is a character involved in this.  This is also part of the point the beloved spear quote is making.  Plato equates the good with participating with the good.  In Plato the good is an eternal form, in Christianity an eternal person, but the flavor is the same in both, participation in the good.  The eternal nature, the non-contingency, “groundingness” is what establishes this ontologically.  You cannot use a Platonic argument against something that doesn’t contradict Platonism.

His character is the ground of creation.  His purposes are the purposes of reality and the ground of metaphysics.  You have yet to show how the euthyphro dilemma meets my objections. It says the gods like it because it is good, but with a creator God, what God has made and what God desires are a unified teleology.  Something the god’s of Greece have nothing to do with, being non-eternal creations themselves.  For something to be objective it must apply to everyone.  The laws of physics are objective because they are ontological realities and they apply to everyone.  A morality from an eternal creator who sustains being is objective because it is an ontological reality and it applies to everyone.  Perhaps you’re objection has to do with the fact that, if ethics comes from God, they don’t apply to God.  That the one who binds cannot also be the one who is bound.  However, the eternality of God eliminates this objection.  If God fails to follow His own morality, he is obviously not eternal.  The actions of an eternal god are necessary, not arbitrary, because they stem from an eternal nature.

Nothing forces his character to be what it is; his character is not something that floats outside of God, His essence is His essence, A=A.  Therefore, he could not have the character of torturing babies.  But this is all beside the point.  The whole problem here has to do with the possibility of God changing his mind.  If God can somehow change morally, then morality is non-objective.  But he cannot, he is eternal.  Therefore, any such morality would be static and objective because of his eternal nature and because of the contingency of our existence and moral make up on his.

As stated before, your second objection to objective morality grounded in God is as follows: We can think of the possibility of a God allowing and declaring boiling babies to be right, therefore morality based on God is subjective.  Yet I hardly see how this helps your case at all.  I can certainly think of Waltercat declaring boiling babies to be right, and yet your many claims for objective morality have been grounded by your intuition.  It doesn’t take much to find people with a radical different intuition than yours.  In fact I got a man three hundred yards from my house who recently thought rapping a young girl wasn’t wrong, how’s that for intuition?  Now this is where Silenus has made the claim that yes one can conceive of a God that allows this.  However this hardly strikes a blow in the case being made.  I can certainly, on its own, conceive of a God that allows boiling babies.  Yet I can’t conceive of a metaphysical claim that holds to a monotheistic God which has an eternal fixed character that is at opposites with boiling babies and at the same time think of this same God allow/approve of boiling babies.  I believe this is what Silenus was saying earlier.  Yes on it’s own its conceivable however given the metaphysical claims of Christianity it’s illogical.  It makes as much sense as a married bachelor.  So Silenus is giving you two different answers and this is why.  What I would like you to do is show where this is being illogical.  As Silenus has said,

Once you changed the standard from arbitrary in any sense to morally arbitrary, you set up what I have argued is a situation impossible for any objective morality . . . and so it becomes incumbent upon you to show me how any morality under such circumstances can be objective or to respond to why my concept is flawed.  Furthermore, the discussion began because you claimed that objective morality exists and that we can’t account for it.  The discussion never centered just on our belief in objective morality from God but it has always been about the possibility of objective morality granted both our starting points which is why I would assume you took such pains to try (and failed) to establish boiling babies as morally wrong earlier on.  If you thought it was irrelevant, why did you take such pains to produce elaborate proofs?

what does “epistemically possible” mean and how does it impact this discussion?  Does it mean simply something that is conceived?  I’m not sure how the term epistemology couples with the term possibility, epistemology being concerned with how we know things.  I feel like there is a phantom assertion being made here.

In a fit of mental merriment, I once conceived of a lawn gnome who spoke to me in Arabic.  Obviously I did not immediately assert that my conception was possible, just funny.  Does this mean it is now possible that lawn gnomes speak in Arabic?  Should I hold my breath in passing, hoping for that clarion moment of tongues from the windless, mouthless, motionless entity, based solely on that fact that I conceived it?

Because of these thoughts I do feel like the two objections that you have attempted have been addressed well enough and interestingly enough can be effectively turned back against your viewpoint.  On the side this will most likely be my last post.  I have found reading books and discussing these things in person, or through email, is much more efficient than forum posts.  Besides this post took me about two hours to write, I could have read an entire chapter by Michael Martin in this amount of time :)  So with that said, can you recommend for me the best book that supports your side?  Also, I recently saw parts of a debate between William Lane Craig and Dr. Louise Antony.  There are two parts; you can either view it through video or audio.  Here are the video links, I just tried it through the Sam Harris site, they take a second to load:

Video:
Part One:  http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/Other_clips/U-Mass-Is-God-Necessary-for-Morality/part1.php

Part Two: http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/Other_clips/U-Mass-Is-God-Necessary-for-Morality/part2.php

[ Edited: 29 May 2008 06:44 PM by fletch_F_Fletch]
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Posted: 29 May 2008 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 695 ]  
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fletch,

You made up your mind long ago.  The fact that you have not been convinced tells me much more about you than it does about the Euthyphro Dilemma. 

You shouldn’t have wasted your time with this response which is little more than an “I can’t imagine it” argument. Instead you should just say, I can’t understand the point, so I won’t engage in the conversation.

Nice crack at Michael Martin.  Classy

[ Edited: 29 May 2008 08:21 PM by waltercat]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 May 2008 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 696 ]  
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From the Christian metaphysical standpoint Plato’s requirements are met, morality is grounded in an eternal necessary being, after all isn’t this the God of Christianity?  It is awful similar to the ontological basis of where Plato gets his morality as well.

Well, that is the debate isn’t it.  I do not think that it is part of the concept of God that he is a necessary being.  In fact I think that there are good arguments that it cannot be part of the concept of God that He is being who necessarily exists.

In any event, neither you nor Silenus nor anyone else has proven that God is a necessary being.  That is the substance of the current state of the argument.  If you care to contribute to the argument, I would be happy to respond.

Otherwise, you are simply begging the question.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 May 2008 03:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 697 ]  
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Waltercat,

You shouldn’t have wasted your time with this response which is little more than an “I can’t imagine it” argument. Instead you should just say, I can’t understand the point, so I won’t engage in the conversation.

Nice crack at Michael Martin.  Classy

This was a rather childlike response. Oh and it wasn’t a crack on Michael Martin, if you couldn’t see that then that tells me a lot about you.

[ Edited: 30 May 2008 03:55 AM by fletch_F_Fletch]
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Posted: 30 May 2008 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 698 ]  
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No.  The definition of eternal does not imply no change.  But again, this is entirely irrelevant for the same reasons.


I will, for the third time now on this word, whip out the dictionary. 
e•ter•nal  
–adjective
1.  without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to TEMPORAL): eternal life.

2.  perpetual; ceaseless; endless: eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
3.  enduring; immutable: eternal principles.
4.  Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.
–noun

Obviously, being in the realm of metaphysics, we would definitely want to use definition four and definition three would apply as well.  This is a common understanding of the word eternal, especially when considering God.  If you want to argue that eternal doesn’t mean immutable, argue with the dictionary.  It doesn’t matter anyway, because the Bible asserts God as immutable in James, one of many places.

Yes. This is the being that I have been assuming exists, for the purpose of this argument.  This is Yahweh; assuming He exists, He is the ACTUAL God.  But this does not rule out other scenarios with other possible Gods.

I’m having a hard time conceiving of the scenario by which your imagined God could ever become actual.  Consider.  Yahwah is eternal.  He has no beginning or end, he is without origin.  How then could your alternate conception ever come into being?  It’s not as if there is a chance that yahwah could not have been and hayday could have been.  Yahway did not originate, so there’s no chance that a different God could have had origin.  Yahway cannot change, so he couldn’t become hayday by a change of nature.  I’d like to know the scenario by which Hayday could become actual.  The only way I can think of hayday ever being actual is if we don’t know whether yahway is or is not an existing entity.  But that would be outside of the realm of discussion.  So, by what scenario does Hayday exist?

I am sorry but this just does not follow.  This is an assumption that you have been getting aways with for far to long.  There is nothing that prevents an all-powerful being from creating creatures in His image who have a very different moral intuition.  There is nothing contradictory about that supposition.  Why?  Because the phrase “in His image” is just too vague.  It could mean “Physical Image” only.

Remember, we are talking about the Christian God as an assumed entity.  Man created in the image of God is right there in the first chapter of Genesis.  I still think the eternal nature of god precludes this not happening in any God, but it is irrelevant.  The God we are assuming created man in his image and there are many versus in scripture that support that image as being more than physical.  In fact, the very notion that” in His image” means a simple physical resemblance is, well, absurd considering the nature of God itself.  I think the E dilemma isn’t as powerful as you thought, so you need this wiggle room.

Further, the claim that humans share God’s moral intuition is refuted by the observation that all humans do not share the same moral intuition.  How can we share God’s if we don’t even share the same intuition ourselves?


No, Christians believe in the fall in which individual and social moral intuitions are damaged.  In fact, such a concept makes sense when comparing the near universal consistency in moral law, the universal breaking of moral intuition by those who hold said intuitions, and the slight deviations in moral consciousness across cultural boundaries.  However, this is a huge obstacle for Waltercat’s argument for objective morality from Waltercat’s personal moral intuition.

True.  But something else could have happened.  A different God could have existed.  Hewhay could have existed.

How?  You said there are scenario’s by which this could take place.  By what scenario?

Now, you can say, yes, but I am assuming that God is a necessary being.  Well, but then you are just assuming precisely what is at issue, and the discussion becomes pointless since you will see no reason to argue for your assumptions.

 
Interesting, what is at issue is whether the Christian God can overcome the E dilemma.  If the argument was whether any God could overcome the E dilemma, I could assume anything I wanted about God.  My assumption here is that you are arguing that the Christian God is not necessary.  However, I guess you are taking back this statement you made a few miles back

Regardless, I will be working on a post in which I will give Silenus everything he wants:  The necessity of the existence of God, the fact that God’s character is essential to Him, the fact that God is the ground of all being, and still show that, on this conception, the DCT implies that morality is arbitrary.

Since you are so vigorously arguing against God being necessary, I take it you are acknowledging that if God is necessary the E dilemma has no weight.  Otherwise, why spend so much time here?

So when we imagine a possible world that includes Hewhay, we are not imagining an actually existing place that must have been created somehow. NO.  We are imagining an alternate scenario in which creation would have been very different than it is in the universe that includes Yahweh.  So, Yahweh did not and does not create or realize or have anything to do with Hewhay’s possible world.  There is nothing for Yahweh to do with respect to it because (by assumption), it does not exist. It does not actually exist and thus was not created.  It is only a possible scenario.  That is all


Wait a minute, I though imagining things didn’t create possibility, only conceiving of things did.  Because I acknowledge that this God could be imaged, but not that he could be conceived, since, under the definition you used, conceptions are constrained by considerations of logic.  I’m giving that lawn gnome Arabic lessons as we speak.  According to you, imagination proves nothing.  I’d like to know under what scenario this possibility could become an actuality.
As an aside, I’ve combed over the more recent posts and I found this definition for the requirements of objective morality that you gave.

A moral claim is objective when it is NOT a matter of opinion; when it applies to everyone regardless of their beliefs and/or desires.

Now, using this definition, a God would not have to be necessary to make morality objective.  If a God created the world as per specified, his morality would apply to everyone regardless of beliefs or desires.  So, as long as God is the ground of actual being, morality is objective, by the above definition.  Possibilities don’t concern us because they don’t affect the above definition.  This morality would apply to all beings and this morality would not change.  So how is necessity even an issue, under your definition of objectivity?  How does any of the possibilities being discussed contradict your above definition of objectivity?

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Posted: 30 May 2008 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 699 ]  
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whoa, I missed a post . . . I never admitted this waltercat that I recall

The fact that Silenus has admitted that he does not know whether it is possible for a God to exist who enjoys torturing children (again, this God is named Hewhay) entails that he does not know whether P* is true.  If it is possible that Hewhay exists (and also possible that Yahweh exists), then P* is true.

I did not admit that this is possible, I said i’d have to think about whether a God can create a being with a contrary moral intutition than His own. I later clarified that I don’t think it is because it would fall under the same principle as an immutable being changing, which is acontradiction.  Furthermore, I do remember saying that I can imagine it, but not conceive it, according to your redefinig of the words conceivable and imaginable.  I’ll look back through when i get time to see if my recollection is correct.

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Posted: 30 May 2008 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 700 ]  
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fletch_F_Fletch - 30 May 2008 07:49 AM

Waltercat,

You shouldn’t have wasted your time with this response which is little more than an “I can’t imagine it” argument. Instead you should just say, I can’t understand the point, so I won’t engage in the conversation.

Nice crack at Michael Martin.  Classy

This was a rather childlike response. Oh and it wasn’t a crack on Michael Martin, if you couldn’t see that then that tells me a lot about you.

Childlike?  Hmm…

No.  I did misread your claim about Martin.  I thought that you wrote “I could have written an entire chapter by Michael Martin in that amount of time.” That would clearly be a crack at Martin since you would be suggesting that he does not take much time to carefully construct his writing.  However, I see that it now says “I could have read . . .”  But I also see that your post has been edited.  So maybe my initial observation was veridical at the time..  Of course, I was also tired when I read it and it was near the end of your post and I was past the point of annoyance, so probably I just misread what you wrote.

In any event, I stand by my claim that the fact that you are unimpressed by the Euthyphro Dilemma tells us more about you than about the Dilemma. You don’t understand the Euthyphro dilemma because you don’t want to.

I know that this will not impress you.  But in the field of philosophy, filled with people far more brilliant than you or I, the Euthyphro Dilemma is almost universally regarded as undermining any view that grounds morality in the will or nature of God. The fact that you disagree with them tells us more about you than it does about the Euthyphro Dilemma

This is an argument from authority, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with an argument from authority.  An argument from authority can become a fallacy when the alleged “authority” really is not an authority.  But professional philosophers are authorities on arguments, and those that work in the field of ethics and/or the philosophy of religion, nearly universally regard the Euthyphro Dilemma as a good argument.  The fact that you cannot see that it is powerful tells us all that we need to know about you.

True, the fact that most authorities agree that X is the case does not prove that X is the case.  But it should give anyone pause who wants to claim that all of the authorities are wrong.

As an authority on the Euthyphro Dilemma, I can say that I don’t think that you have adequately understood it and also that your response above contains nothing relevant to resolving the dilemma.  The fact that God is eternal or that His nature does not change is 100% irrelevant for reasons that I have been explaining for over a year now.  The only possibly relevant claim is that God is necessary.  But this, as I have said, is the heart of the matter. And if you care to argue for this point, rather than just assert it as you have done, then we can continue.

[ Edited: 30 May 2008 09:40 AM by waltercat]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 May 2008 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 701 ]  
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silenus - 30 May 2008 08:23 AM

No.  The definition of eternal does not imply no change.  But again, this is entirely irrelevant for the same reasons.


I will, for the third time now on this word, whip out the dictionary. 
e•ter•nal  
–adjective
1.  without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to TEMPORAL): eternal life.

2.  perpetual; ceaseless; endless: eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
3.  enduring; immutable: eternal principles.
4.  Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.
–noun

Obviously, being in the realm of metaphysics, we would definitely want to use definition four and definition three would apply as well.  This is a common understanding of the word eternal, especially when considering God.  If you want to argue that eternal doesn’t mean immutable, argue with the dictionary.

OK???? And I am obviously using ‘eternal’ in the first sense.

This is ridiculous.  Only one of your four definitions says that “eternal” means “not subject to change.”  Sure it has the word ‘metaphysics’ in it. But so what?  Eternality is a metaphysical concept and all of the definitions are metaphysical in nature.  Period.

My point is that there is a perfectly coherent notion of eternality that does not imply that that which is eternal is not subject to change.  The most basic sense of ‘eternal’ is “persisting indefinitely in time.”  This corresponds to the FIRST definition above.  And on this most basic conception it certain does not follow that that which is eternal does not change.  The universe may be eternal (some cosmologists think that it is) in the sense that it had no beginning and it will have no end.  But clearly the universe changes continually.

Now, if you want to say that God is eternal in another sense, fine. Go ahead.  But you don’t win just because ONE of the dictionary definition corresponds with how you are using the term.  Especially when one of the other defintions clearly corresponds to how I am using the word.

But if God is eternal in the fourth sense, then Christians have a serious problem since they want to claim that the Word became flesh.  How does something that is immutable and cannot change become anything???????

[ Edited: 30 May 2008 10:18 AM by waltercat]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 May 2008 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 702 ]  
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silenus - 30 May 2008 08:23 AM

I’m having a hard time conceiving of the scenario by which your imagined God could ever become actual.

An uninteresting biographical fact about you.  And irrelevant in any event since, as is clearly indicated in my post, I am not arguing that Hewhay is actual, only that He is possible.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 May 2008 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 703 ]  
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silenus - 30 May 2008 08:23 AM

As an aside, I’ve combed over the more recent posts and I found this definition for the requirements of objective morality that you gave.

A moral claim is objective when it is NOT a matter of opinion; when it applies to everyone regardless of their beliefs and/or desires.

Now, using this definition, a God would not have to be necessary to make morality objective.  If a God created the world as per specified, his morality would apply to everyone regardless of beliefs or desires.  So, as long as God is the ground of actual being, morality is objective, by the above definition.  Possibilities don’t concern us because they don’t affect the above definition.  This morality would apply to all beings and this morality would not change.  So how is necessity even an issue, under your definition of objectivity?  How does any of the possibilities being discussed contradict your above definition of objectivity?

No. And this is actually a very important point.

You have not shown and the Divine Command Theorist and Divine Character Theorists have never shown that God’s commands really are universally binding.  You have not shown that God’s “morality” really does apply to everyone.  In virtue of what does it apply to me?

You want to say that the reason is that we are created in God’s image.  But so what?  How does this fact make it the case that I should follow God’s rules?

Furthermore, as has become clear during the course of this incredibly protracted conversation, the issue is that the “moral” rules that flow from the Divine Character Theory are arbitrary.  Again, this means that there is no particular reason why we have these rules rather than some other rules since there is no particular reason why God has this character rather than some other character.

[ Edited: 31 May 2008 06:54 AM by waltercat]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 May 2008 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 704 ]  
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silenus - 30 May 2008 08:23 AM

True.  But something else could have happened.  A different God could have existed.  Hewhay could have existed.

How?  You said there are scenario’s by which this could take place.  By what scenario?

Unless you are willing to tell me by what scenario Yahweh exists then I don’t see that I am under any obligation to tell you a story about how Hewhay might exist. 

Again, I am not describing a scenario in which Yahweh exists and then ALSO in the same world (somehow) Hewhay exists.  I am describing a scenario (which is counter-actual, given the assumption that Yahweh exists in the actual world) in which Yahweh does not exist and instead Hewhay exists. 

And, once again, I apparently need to remind you that the fact that some being is actual does not imply that it is impossible for it not to exist.  Only if an actual being is also necessary does it follow that it is impossible for the being not to exist.  And you have not shown that Yahweh necessarily exists.

Hewhay’s existence is a possibility.  Prove that it’s not.

You want to claim that Yahweh is not only possible but is actual.  But I have yet to hear you describe the scenario by which this could take place.  I want to claim that Hewhay’s existence is possible.  I don’t see why I need to describe a scenario (whatever that might imply) in order to establish this.

[ Edited: 31 May 2008 07:03 AM by waltercat]
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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 06 June 2008 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 705 ]  
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My point is that there is a perfectly coherent notion of eternality that does not imply that that which is eternal is not subject to change.  The most basic sense of ‘eternal’ is “persisting indefinitely in time.” This corresponds to the FIRST definition above.  And on this most basic conception it certain does not follow that that which is eternal does not change.  The universe may be eternal (some cosmologists think that it is) in the sense that it had no beginning and it will have no end.  But clearly the universe changes continually.

Ahhh, but, as I have said before many times, I am using it in the third and forth sense (immutable means not changing.)  The first time this came up I posted ALL the definitions and clarified which ones I was using, to clear up miscommunication.  I am simply pointing out that I am using the word in an acceptable fashion, so if you want to argue against my use, fight the dictionary.  not me.  As for the word becoming flesh, this entailed no change in his nature at all . . . He didn’t suddenly become something he wasn’t before.

There is a certain perspective involved in John chapter one that is later elaborated on which clears this up and that Paul’s words concerning the incarnation in the epistles also clarifies.  But that is for another time.

You want to say that the reason is that we are created in God’s image.  But so what?  How does this fact make it the case that I should follow God’s rules?

I’ve actually given you four:  self-interest, telos, moral ontology, and pleasure.  Now, of course, someone could say I defy my moral ontology, my purpose, my self-interest, and I have no need of true pleasure, but the ability to defy moral obligation doesn’t suddenly disqualify that obligation.  That’s the whole point of morality, after all.  One can’t go from an is to an ought, but one can definitely go from an ought to an is, or I should probably say from an ought to a should.  In the case of the four reasons above, one can always jump off a cliff, but the cliff and gravity will always win.  One reaps what one sows.

Unless you are willing to tell me by what scenario Yahweh exists then I don’t see that I am under any obligation to tell you a story about how Hewhay might exist.

Again, I am not describing a scenario in which Yahweh exists and then ALSO in the same world (somehow) Hewhay exists.  I am describing a scenario (which is counter-actual, given the assumption that Yahweh exists in the actual world) in which Yahweh does not exist and instead Hewhay exists.

And, once again, I apparently need to remind you that the fact that some being is actual does not imply that it is impossible for it not to exist.  Only if an actual being is also necessary does it follow that it is impossible for the being not to exist.  And you have not shown that Yahweh necessarily exists.

Hewhay’s existence is a possibility.  Prove that it’s not.

wow, caught in your tight corner, having to admit that if god is necessary then the E dilemma falls (which is a huge change in your opinion) you continue to shift your approach and try to change the conversation.  I do not have to provide a scenario by which Yahweh exists because, as you have admitted before, his existence is assumed within the confines of the conversation.  However, you are saying that Heyday is a possibility, given Yahweh’s existence.  I ask you to provide me a scenario where, given Yahweh’s actual existence, heyday is still possible, and you choke under the demand.  It doesn’t matter whether we say they both exist together together or not.  I say again As you have previously admitted, Yahweh’s existence is assumed under the conditions of the discussion, I have no need to provide a scenario unless you are proposing changing the discussion.
You are trying to assert that it is still possible, even with Yahweh as an existing entity, that heyday could have existed . . . you say, these are your exact words,

We are imagining an alternate scenario in which creation would have been very different than it is in the universe that includes Yahweh.  So, Yahweh did not and does not create or realize or have anything to do with Heyday’s possible world.

“you are imagining an alternate scenario”  So, please, share with me the alternate scenario that, given Yahweh, heyday is possible.  You said you imagined a possible scenario, share the scenario.  Otherwise, I still have no reason to think of something I am imagining, heyday, as possible within the parameters of this discussion.  How, if we assume an entity that is eternal, and therefore, without origin and without change, could this other being have a chance at existence?  How would he have a chance to get off the ground? 

Furthermore, I have asked, in an attempt to alleviate confusion, what aspects Yahweh lacks that would make him a contingent being, granted his existence.  The answer to such a question would move the conversation on immensely, because I would know why you don’t think Yahweh, granted his existence, is necessary, because to me, an eternal, immutable, ground of being who exists meets those requirements.  This is also a common conception of God in Christian thought.  He has no origin and no ability to change, so there is no chance of any other existence or type of existence.

I also noticed you ignored my comment about objective morality itself.  Under your definition, even if this God is not necessary, his morality would apply to all regardless of opinion or belief.  It is both externally and internally sourced and does not depend on human construction or convention.

The fact that God is eternal or that His nature does not change is 100% irrelevant for reasons that I have been explaining for over a year now.

Yea, that’s just true.  You have changed your point of view many times over the course of this discussion, to name just one of these changes is the fact that the debate is over God being necessary, before and as I’ve shown from your own words on post 630, here let me quote it again,

Regardless, I will be working on a post in which I will give Silenus everything he wants:  The necessity of the existence of God, the fact that God’s character is essential to Him, the fact that God is the ground of all being, and still show that, on this conception, the DCT implies that morality is arbitrary.

Those are your words.  Now, suddenly, God being necessary is the issue where before it didn’t matter?  In fact, one of the earlier arguments you made was that, if God is the source of morality, it is arbitrary because his omnipotence creates the possibility that he might change.  If that was so irrelevant, why make the argument?  This whole God being necessary as the thing needed to block the E dilemma is a new thing from you, so please do not claim that it has been the thing you have been trying to convince us of from the start.  Your own words contradict you.

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