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wiploc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:38 pm  Does Objective Morality Require the Existence of God? Reply with quote

The Peanut Gallery is here:
https://debatingchristianity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=33976

Those who wish to comment on this discussion may do so there. Once this thread is closed, Tanager and wiploc may post there too. In the meantime, we may respond here to comments made there.

Topic: Does Objective Morality Require the Existence of God?

Tanager's position -- if I understand it -- is that objective morality is possible if a god exists, but not possible otherwise.

My own position is this prejudice: If objective morality is possible with a god, then it is also possible without a god; if it is not possible without a god, then it is also not possible with a god.

I invite Tanager to expound on his position.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 61: Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:30 pm
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I think we just came into this discussion thinking we were doing different things. But, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that whatever explanation I give to point to moral realism rooted in God could be turned around and used to point to a moral realism rooted in a world without God. That this is your approach in this thread, to turn the tables on me using my own logic. I don't think your approach is successful.

If my theistic worldview is true, then God owns us like a potter that owns a pot she made. A potter owns the pot simply because she made it. The pot owes her everything it is and can do. God created us and is the one responsible for us being at all. Without God we are literally nothing, non-existent. If ownership creates obligation, then we are obligated to God.

If theism is false, then what is ownership? A man with more power claims to own another man, but is that ownership or theft? Nature doesn't give the man with more power ownership. The power system claims ownership is occurring, but why is this ownership and not theft? I think that if atheism is true, then we each own ourselves. People may possess us, but they can't own us, even if they want to play-use the term 'ownership' and right laws down on paper.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 62: Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:08 am
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If you want to look at morality in line with what is good for humans, then our two views also come to different pictures. There is an objective reality of what is best for all humans on my theistic view because of how God has made human nature to thrive. There is a pattern of humanity. On your atheistic view, there are different human natures that thrive through different actions. Joe and Sara are different, but there is no pattern against which one is said to be objectively wrong; here wrong would just mean "what one doesn't like." There is one moral 'good' for humans on my view (rape is not in accord with anyone's human nature) and multiple goods on your atheistic view (rape is in accord with Joe's nature, but not Sara's nature).

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 63: Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:53 am
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The Tanager wrote:

I think we just came into this discussion thinking we were doing different things.


When a theist offers a reason to believe that objective morality can't exist in the absence of gods, the same logic would show that it can't exist even with gods. When a theist offers reason to believe objective morality can exist in the presence of gods, the same logic shows it can also exist in the absence of gods.

Thus, the claim (that objective morality can exist with gods but can't exist without gods) never survives inspection.

This has been my experience over the life of the internet. Every time a theist says objective morality is possible only with god, that claim fails to hold up.

In another thread, you made the claim. You said something to the effect that objective morality requires god. I probably double-checked, asking whether you meant that it can exist with gods but can't exist without gods. You presumably affirmed, so I offered a one-on-one discussion of that topic, and you agreed.

My desire is to show you that your argument doesn't work. When you prove that X can exist if god does, you also prove that it can exist if god doesn't; when you prove X can't exist if god doesn't, you also prove it can't exist if god does.

That was my expectation coming into this discussion.

Your expectation, if I understand, is that I would offer separate definitions of morality, objectivity, obligation, and so on, and then you would reject some part of that as unsatisfactory.

I'm happy to stipulate that, were I to invent an atheist moral theory for this thread, you would find it unsatisfactory. I don't know much about morality. I couldn't come up with a good theory.

What I can do is point out that your claim doesn't work. You either prove that X is possible regardless of whether gods exist, or you prove that it is impossible regardless of whether gods exist. You can't prove that it is possible with god but impossible without god.

Here's a parody argument:

1st Man: "My car is better than yours because it has a white top."
2nd Man: "Mine has a white top too."
1st Man: "But your car is ugly because it has a blue bottom."
2nd Man: "Your car has a blue bottom too."
1st Man: "But you're forgetting that mine has a white top."

And round and round they go, switching back and forth between different tests of car goodness.

Now, as it seems to me, you and I are engaged in a similar argument. One moment you're claiming that god has moral authority because he owns us the way a potter owns his pots. When I point out that, according to that logic, a potter would have moral authority over his pots even in the absence of gods, you reverse yourself, denying any similarity between god's relationship with people and a potter's relationship with his pots.

And you make that switch in a matter of paragraphs. You make both claims in the same short post.

One moment you say, "If my theistic worldview is true, then God owns us like a potter that owns a pot she made." The next moment, you say, "If theism is false, then what is ownership? A man with more power claims to own another man, but is that ownership or theft? Nature doesn't give the man with more power ownership. The power system claims ownership is occurring, but why is this ownership and not theft? I think that if atheism is true, then we each own ourselves. People may possess us, but they can't own us, even if they want to play-use the term 'ownership' and right laws down on paper."

If ownership doesn't give potters moral authority over their pots, then why does being like a potter give god moral authority over people? If you reject your own analogy, then you need another argument.

If you reject your own analogy intermittently--whenever it is convenient to you--then you need another analogy. You need an argument that you can stick with, one you don't have to repudiate in alternate paragraphs.




Quote:

But, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that whatever explanation I give to point to moral realism rooted in God could be turned around and used to point to a moral realism rooted in a world without God.


If god is like a potter, having moral authority over us because potters have moral authority over their pots, then potters have moral authority even in the absence of gods. We don't need gods to have morality.

If we can't have morality without gods because potters have no moral authority over their pots, then you can't establish god's authority by saying he's like a potter. Potters have no authority.

If you pick either position and stick to it, you won't have an argument. You can only even think you have an argument by switching back and forth.




Quote:

That this is your approach in this thread, to turn the tables on me using my own logic. I don't think your approach is successful.


This amazes me. How can you not see that your every argument for god-based morality works equally well for godless morality? How can you not see that your every argument against godless morality works equally well against god-based morality?



Quote:

If my theistic worldview is true, then God owns us like a potter that owns a pot she made.


Yes, your roof is white. And, yes, theistic ownership provides moral authority because atheistic ownership provides moral authority.



Quote:

If theism is false, then what is ownership? A man with more power claims to own another man, but is that ownership or theft? Nature doesn't give the man with more power ownership. The power system claims ownership is occurring, but why is this ownership and not theft? I think that if atheism is true, then we each own ourselves. People may possess us, but they can't own us, even if they want to play-use the term 'ownership' and right laws down on paper.


Yes, your body is blue, and atheistic ownership provides no moral authority.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 64: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:16 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

If you want to look at morality in line with what is good for humans, then our two views also come to different pictures.


Okay.



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There is an objective reality of what is best for all humans on my theistic view because of how God has made human nature to thrive.


Nothing is best for humans without gods? If you can arbitrarily pick your god as a standard of goodness, why can't I arbitrarily pick the neighbor kid, Timmy? What makes your pick more objective or more real?



Quote:

There is a pattern of humanity.


So if gods didn't exist, there would be no pattern? Aren't you about to describe the pattern in your next paragraph?



Quote:

On your atheistic view, there are different human natures that thrive through different actions. Joe and Sara are different, but there is no pattern against which one is said to be objectively wrong;


Utilitarianism is as objective and real as anything gods offer.



Quote:

here wrong would just mean "what one doesn't like."


There, "wrong" would just mean "what gods don't like."

(Note that I don't think that criticism is exactly fair. But it is as fair as the claim that atheist morality amounts to calling "things one doesn't like" wrong.)



Quote:

There is one moral 'good' for humans on my view


Because god only has three natures? Because you only pick one god? What if I only pick utilitarianism?



Quote:

(rape is not in accord with anyone's human nature) and multiple goods on your atheistic view (rape is in accord with Joe's nature, but not Sara's nature).


I'm not really following your argument. If we all elected a single king and let him decide what was good for us, would that satisfy your test?

If your god designed Joe and Sara to be different people with different natures, would that somehow defeat your test? I don't see the relevance of your there-can-only-be-one test.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 65: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:40 pm
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I feel like I've been pretty debatey in my last couple of posts. You asked for a discussion, as opposed to a debate. I was happy to agree. It's not like I want my beliefs to be considered out of bounds.

I guess I was feeling frustrated. Maybe this parody will explain why:

You: "I make this claim, and I can defend it."
Me: "Okay, how do you defend it?"
You: "Let's talk about your beliefs."

I of course have beliefs about morality. They aren't robust and developed, but I'm happy to talk about them, to let you help me to test and evolve what I believe. I'm not against that.

I'll name three books that I find interesting and illuminating.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris.

Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene.

The first one is fascinating, full of epiphanies. Changed the way I think about morality. The author became more conservative while writing this book. I was raised conservative, but when this guy talks, I become happy to call myself a liberal.

The second one made me a moral realist. I think there are things that you should and shouldn't do. Science is the way to figure out what those things are.

The third one, I'm not that far in yet, but he's pretty much offering to explain it all. Including, he's going to produce a coherent defense of utilitarianism. I'm excited. He's doing a good job. Normally, with a brag that big, you'd expect a book to turn out worthless, but he's doing well so far.

So anyway, that's three books on morality that make sense to me. Maybe you're familiar with or curious about one or more and will want to discuss them or my reactions to them. That's cool with me.

What I don't want is for you to think you're defending you claim when you're changing the subject. If I claimed to have a hundred billion dollars in my pocket, and you said, "Show me," I wouldn't respond by saying, "Well, what's in your pocket?"

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 66: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:47 pm
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wiploc wrote:
I feel like I've been pretty debatey in my last couple of posts. You asked for a discussion, as opposed to a debate. I was happy to agree. It's not like I want my beliefs to be considered out of bounds.

I guess I was feeling frustrated. Maybe this parody will explain why:

You: "I make this claim, and I can defend it."
Me: "Okay, how do you defend it?"
You: "Let's talk about your beliefs."

...

What I don't want is for you to think you're defending you claim when you're changing the subject. If I claimed to have a hundred billion dollars in my pocket, and you said, "Show me," I wouldn't respond by saying, "Well, what's in your pocket?"


This assumes we came into this with the same idea of what this discussion was about. We didn't. I didn't think I was the only one making a claim. That's why I said I wanted the title to be a question. Questions have multiple answers and any answer needs to be defended. I debated with myself a lot whether to share my summary of this thread, but finally decided to. I think your frustration is warranted because of misunderstandings we both played a role in. I don't think your claim of my changing the subject is warranted. In the next post I will return to the philosophical issue of this thread.

You: "Here is the topic for our discussion: does objective morality require the existence of God?"

Me: "I answer the question that "yes, objective morality requires the existence of god and I will defend it. How do you answer the question?"

You: "I thought this was going to be about you defending your answer to this question, but I'm still going to talk about my view and how it gives us moral realism for a little while because while I feel it is off-topic, I am a nice guy and you seem nice and sincere here (note: if you are like me you hate leaving questions unanswered, even if you feel they are off-topic, but I'm speculating here for you), but it's really inconsequiential to the subject of this thread."

Me: "[Missing that it's off-topic to you and thinking you are taking the same approach since you are sharing your view.] Your utilitarian theory doesn't seem to lead to moral realism [we go back and forth there a while] and with the failures of atheistic moral platonism and ethical naturalism (to be viable theories, although if true they would lead to moral realism), I think the most reasonable position to hold is that atheism cannot give us moral realism. But I'm open to how you think it can."

You: "Talking about my view is off-topic, anyway, and your theistic worldview can't account for moral realism."

Me: "I don't see how it's off-topic, but I also think my view can account for moral realism because God creates us."

You: "That fails because..."

Me: "You are right, it's more than just about creation. God sustains us as well."

You: "That fails because..."

Me: "I don't think it does, what I'm talking about is God having creative and sustaining power over us."

You: "Creation didn't work. You changed your tune. Sustainer didn't work. You changed your tune. Now it's power. How convenient."

Me: "No, it's clarification of my views."

You: "Fine. If it's power, then atheism can provide us with the same moral realism."

Me: "I think there are different ideas of power here of a creator/sustainer and between two fellow creatures. One leads to moral realism and the other doesn't."

You: "They aren't different."

Me: "Yes they are. It may be better to use the term ownership to better get at the difference."

You: "Power didn't work. You changed your tune. How convenient."

Me: "No, it's clarification."

You: "You are so nice, I'll say fine again then. If it's ownership, atheism has that, too, so if theism can provide moral realism from ownership, then so can atheism."

Me: Thinking to myself: I think these would be very different ideas of ownership, but since this is a discussion and to avoid begging the question (although I don't think I am), I'll ask wiploc what he thinks of the concept. When we come to a consensus on the term, we can analyze theistic and atheistic moral theories. "What do you mean by 'ownership'?"

You: "This is about how you define ownership, you are trying to shift the burden and acting weasely again. You've done this a lot in this thread from the very beginning. It's so frustrating."

Me: "I can understand how that would feel frustrating if it was true, but I don't I've done this. It's been a lot of misunderstanding. This is what I thought we were doing here."

You: "No, we were doing this."

Me: "I didn't think we were. But we can do that (post 61). Here is what I mean about ownership and how it seems to apply to a theistic world and an atheistic world to me."

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 67: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:57 pm
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wiploc wrote:
Now, as it seems to me, you and I are engaged in a similar argument. One moment you're claiming that god has moral authority because he owns us the way a potter owns his pots. When I point out that, according to that logic, a potter would have moral authority over his pots even in the absence of gods, you reverse yourself, denying any similarity between god's relationship with people and a potter's relationship with his pots.

And you make that switch in a matter of paragraphs. You make both claims in the same short post.

One moment you say, "If my theistic worldview is true, then God owns us like a potter that owns a pot she made." The next moment, you say, "If theism is false, then what is ownership? A man with more power claims to own another man, but is that ownership or theft? Nature doesn't give the man with more power ownership. The power system claims ownership is occurring, but why is this ownership and not theft? I think that if atheism is true, then we each own ourselves. People may possess us, but they can't own us, even if they want to play-use the term 'ownership' and right laws down on paper."

If ownership doesn't give potters moral authority over their pots, then why does being like a potter give god moral authority over people? If you reject your own analogy, then you need another argument.

If you reject your own analogy intermittently--whenever it is convenient to you--then you need another analogy. You need an argument that you can stick with, one you don't have to repudiate in alternate paragraphs.


The analogy of a potter owning the pot is that the potter can place whatever commands/intentions on the pot it wants. If it wants the pot to be used as a cup then that is what it should be used for. Pots don't have moral obligations because they are not free agents. So, the analogy is picking out the principle that ownership allows one to place commands/intentions/obligations on what they own. Applying it to free-agent-creatures, this would include moral obligations.

The next moment in talking about atheism and ownership I don't negate that analogical principle. The principle is that ownership allows for obligations. What I said was slavery isn't ownership even though society has given it that name. If atheism is true, I think everyone owns themselves. Slavery or trying to control another human is not ownership, if atheism is true. If everyone owns themselves, then moral obligations can only come from oneself. Morality becomes subjective, dependent on each human's desires/opinions/thoughts. There would be no moral realism.

wiploc wrote:
Nothing is best for humans without gods?


Upon atheism as far as I can tell, what is best is different for different humans. For you, the greater good is 'best'. For Joe, his own personal good is 'best'. What is the objective standard that judges your utilitarianism as truly the best moral result? If you say "because greater good will result" you are begging the question because that standard is one of the two choices under consideration. This isn't moral realism, but subjectivism.

wiploc wrote:
If you can arbitrarily pick your god as a standard of goodness, why can't I arbitrarily pick the neighbor kid, Timmy? What makes your pick more objective or more real?


It's not arbitrary. It's based in God's ownership of us (which is rooted in His creation and sustaining us). The neighbor kid, upon atheism, doesn't own us because we each own ourselves.

wiploc wrote:
So if gods didn't exist, there would be no pattern? Aren't you about to describe the pattern in your next paragraph?


I then went on to say that (upon atheism) there are different patterns.

wiploc wrote:
Utilitarianism is as objective and real as anything gods offer.

...

There, "wrong" would just mean "what gods don't like."

(Note that I don't think that criticism is exactly fair. But it is as fair as the claim that atheist morality amounts to calling "things one doesn't like" wrong.)


On your view one person has a utilitarian desire and another doesn't. You don't think 'goodness' exists in some other realm that the utilitarian desire participates in. You don't think the utilitarian desire can be reduced to a physical property that people have. What is there besides two competing human desires/opinions that judges between them? If there isn't anything, then we are left with wrong being "whatever each person doesn't like" and that changes.

To say moral wrongness is what gods don't like is moral realism, it's to say moral values are objective because they are not dependent on human thoughts.

wiploc wrote:
Because god only has three natures? Because you only pick one god? What if I only pick utilitarianism?


There is one moral good for humans on my view because God makes rape wrong for every human. God does so because of His nature. God doesn't say it's okay for Joe to rape and that it's not okay for Jim to rape. If atheism is true and Joe has a natural desire to rape and will be made happier by doing so, but Jim doesn't, then there are two different 'goods'.

wiploc wrote:
I'm not really following your argument. If we all elected a single king and let him decide what was good for us, would that satisfy your test?


I'd have to think about this more, but my first thoughts are that if we own ourselves and decide to give ourselves away to another, then that person's moral obigations would be objective and binding on us, by our own choice.

wiploc wrote:
If your god designed Joe and Sara to be different people with different natures, would that somehow defeat your test? I don't see the relevance of your there-can-only-be-one test.


If my god did this, it would be a god of a different character than it actually supposedly is. But if a god did, then it would seem that this would result in different moral goods for humans.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 68: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:11 am
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The Tanager wrote:

This assumes we came into this with the same idea of what this discussion was about. We didn't. I didn't think I was the only one making a claim.


I believe that your claim is unjustified, that it is unjustifiable, that nobody has ever successfully defended it, that you can't defend it yourself.

That's what I believe. The last bit, that you can't defend it yourself, is the only part I can try to prove here. So that is my claim.

If you prove that moral realism can exist if gods exist, then I intend to show--using your logic--that it can also exist if gods don't exist. If you show that it can't exist in the absence of gods, then I'll show--using your own logic--that it also doesn't exist in the presence of gods.

This is my claim: You cannot successfully defend the claim that moral realism can exist with gods but can't exist without gods.


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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 69: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:07 am
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The Tanager wrote:

The analogy of a potter owning the pot is that the potter can place whatever commands/intentions on the pot it wants.


Pots don't have hopes, fears, desires. They don't know or care if you smash them. If pots were aware and articulate, it wouldn't be true that potters owned them.

Suppose a troll could carve new trolls out of stone, and animate them, make them living people. Would that mean the first troll owned the trolls she created? Would that make them her slaves?

No, it wouldn't. Our moral sense recoils from that result. Slavery is bad, immoral, and creating people doesn't mean you own them.

If it did, parents would own their children. That wouldn't be right.

So the potter analogy fails when the created thing is a person.

The ownership that a potter has over his pots is a social convention, a way of getting along better than we would if potters just took whatever pots they wanted regardless of who made them. Thus, this ownership is a relationship between potters, not between a potter and her pots.

And it's a cultural thing, this agreeing that potters own pots, not a law of nature or logic. There is no way to establish a similar rule that gods own people. You can make the assertion that gods do (or ought to) own whomever they create, but you can't show that that's true, or that it would be good if it were true.

You say that a scorpion god would own us, and would have moral authority over us, but even you agree that that wouldn't be okay.

It's a rule that you made up. You can't establish that it is true, or that it would be good if it were true. It is a mere assertion.



Quote:

If it wants the pot to be used as a cup then that is what it should be used for. Pots don't have moral obligations because they are not free agents. So, the analogy is picking out the principle that ownership allows one to place commands/intentions/obligations on what they own. Applying it to free-agent-creatures, this would include moral obligations.

The next moment in talking about atheism and ownership I don't negate that analogical principle. The principle is that ownership allows for obligations. What I said was slavery isn't ownership even though society has given it that name. If atheism is true, I think everyone owns themselves. Slavery or trying to control another human is not ownership, if atheism is true.


So owners can create moral obligations if they are gods, but not otherwise. This sounds like special pleading, a logical fallacy. "Here's the rule, but it only works for me, not for you."

Can you explain why gods can own people but non-gods can't? How can this claim be defended so that others can understand and agree with it, so it becomes more than your personal opinion?



Quote:

If everyone owns themselves,


I demur. I don't want to argue this; I just don't want people reading this to believe I agreed that people own themselves.

I don't think of it that way. I don't own myself; I am myself. My relationship with myself is dissimilar from my relationship with the things that I own.



Quote:

then moral obligations can only come from oneself. Morality becomes subjective, dependent on each human's desires/opinions/thoughts. There would be no moral realism.


String of non sequiturs there. The obligation to drive on the right side of the road (in America) comes from the legislature, at least in part. But the logic of it, the morally compelling part, is that driving on the left would result in injury and unhappiness. That doesn't "come only from oneself."

Your use of "objective" is rare, perhaps unique. You say things like, "This is subjective to me but objective to you." And I believe you have agreed that if Timmy the neighbor kid makes a rule, that rule is subjective to him and objective to the rest of us.

So your claim that morality is subjective without gods doesn't follow from what you've agreed to before.

Finally, you haven't supported your your claim that subjective morality is unreal.

I think that some behaviors are better than others, that we really ought to act in some ways and avoid others. If your eccentric use of language allows you to call my morality "subjective," that in no way supports your claim that it isn't real.


Quote:

wiploc wrote:
Nothing is best for humans without gods?


Upon atheism as far as I can tell, what is best is different for different humans. For you, the greater good is 'best'. For Joe, his own personal good is 'best'.


Best for all. Utilitarianism isn't about what an individual person wants.



Quote:

What is the objective standard that judges your utilitarianism as truly the best moral result?


Best for all. The greatest amount of happiness. The happiest people.

That's an admittedly crude representation of the concept, but it isn't arbitrary or capricious. It has to do with facts about the world. Are people happier if they are free or if they are slaves? Are they happier when sexually repressed? These are questions about reality. They are questions that science can help us answer. They deal with facts that most people would call objective.

And if little Timmy orders us all to be utilitarians, even you will agree that this is objective for you and me, right?

I don't see any reason to think that calling a rule "subjective" means we aren't obligated to follow it, nor to think that calling it "objective" means we are obligated.



Quote:

If you say "because greater good will result" you are begging the question because that standard is one of the two choices under consideration. ...


And if you say "because gods said so," aren't you begging the question too?



Quote:

wiploc wrote:
If you can arbitrarily pick your god as a standard of goodness, why can't I arbitrarily pick the neighbor kid, Timmy? What makes your pick more objective or more real?


It's not arbitrary. It's based in God's ownership of us (which is rooted in His creation and sustaining us). The neighbor kid, upon atheism, doesn't own us because we each own ourselves.


You were unable to establish a relationship between creating, sustaining, and morality. So now we're talking about ownership. But we can't establish that human owners can create morality for things they own. Therefore, you posit something different, call it a super-ownership, something unique to gods. Gods super-own us, so they get to create our morality.

But I don't know anything about super-ownership. I don't have any reason to believe that gods exist, or that super-ownership exists, or that it would entail the ability to create morality. "It's like regular ownership only different," doesn't establish an ability to dictate morality.

"But you don't have to believe in super-ownership," you might say. "The question is whether if gods existed, and if they created and sustained us, then then it follows logically that they kind of own us and kind of don't. And if they kind of own us and kind of don't, then it follows logically that they get to dictate morality to us."

But none of that follows logically. Or at least you haven't shown the logic. You haven't offered any reason to agree with you.



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On your view one person has a utilitarian desire and another doesn't.


On your view, one person has a desire to follow gods, and another is baffled.



Quote:

You don't think 'goodness' exists in some other realm that the utilitarian desire participates in.


You're right. I have never had that thought.

I think good is that which makes people happy.



Quote:

You don't think the utilitarian desire can be reduced to a physical property that people have.


Right. Just like I don't think that god-following desire can be reduced to such a property.



Quote:

What is there besides two competing human desires/opinions that judges between them?


It's strange. It's like you're not hearing me. Utilitarianism, the rule that we should try to make each other happy, is the test of what we should do. If Joe wants to hurt people and Sara wants to help people, then, according to utilitarianism, Sara's way is better.

And I don't see you disagreeing with that. After all, you weren't okay with the scorpion god.

I'll be back to finish later.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 70: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:45 pm
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The Tanager wrote:
On your view one person has a utilitarian desire and another doesn't. ... What is there besides two competing human desires/opinions that judges between them?


On your view, one person wants to obey a god, and the other doesn't. What is there besides two competing human desires/opinions that judges between them?



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If there isn't anything, then we are left with wrong being "whatever each person doesn't like" and that changes.


You have the same problem you think I have. Or if you don't have that problem, you haven't explained why not.

As for "that changes," it doesn't fit in with the rest of your argument. You haven't said, for instance, that we should obey gods' will only so long as their will doesn't change. And you didn't define "objective" as unchanging. That's simply not part of the equation.



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To say moral wrongness is what gods don't like is moral realism, it's to say moral values are objective because they are not dependent on human thoughts.


You don't get to be objective by using somebody else's thoughts.

My dog wants me to let her run off-lead. Does that become an objective moral requirement because it doesn't come from a human?

If you get to define your god's thoughts as being objective, then I get to define Timmy's thoughts as objective.

Or, if we define objective as what's true regardless of what people think, then your god counts as a person just like you and I do.

Rape has a strong tendency to decrease happiness. That's true regardless of whether I agree with it, and also regardless of whether your god believes it. By most standards, that's an objective fact. We don't need gods to have objective facts.



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There is one moral good for humans on my view because God makes rape wrong for every human.


Utilitarianism has rape as wrong too.



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God does so because of His nature.


I don't know why we're supposed to care about that. If god's nature approved of rape, then moral people would rape? That seems to me a terrible morality, arbitrary, fatalistic, not really moral at all.



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God doesn't say it's okay for Joe to rape and that it's not okay for Jim to rape.


If Jim wants to rape, then he wants to rape regardless of whether there are gods. If utilitarianism and your god both forbid rape, then the two theories are not distinguished by the fact that Joe wants to rape under both of them.



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If atheism is true and Joe has a natural desire to rape and will be made happier by doing so, but Jim doesn't, then there are two different 'goods'.


Rape isn't good under utilitarianism. It decreases happiness, so it's bad. There aren't multiple answers to that question according to utilitarianism. Rape is bad.

If you want multiple answers, look to following orders from gods. If they want you to rape then rape is good; and if they don't want you to do that then rape is bad. If they want you to rape on Tuesdays but not Wednesdays, then rape is good on Tuesdays but not on Wednesdays.

Under utilitarianism, rape is always bad.

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