Thursday, December 28, 2017

Naturalistic atheism and the value of truth

One could make this argument: 

1) People ought, in areas of religion, to form beliefs in accordance with truth only if there are objectively correct moral values. 

2) If naturalism is true, there are no objectively correct moral values. 

3) Therefore, if naturalism is true, then we have no moral obligations to form beliefs in accordance with truth. 

But this wouldn't be a response to all forms of atheism, only naturalistic ones. An atheism that allowed for the existence of the Form of the Good, or a Law of Karma, or an inherent purpose for human life, could avoid this conclusion without difficulty. But such views are dismissed as so much woo my typical atheists of the present day. 

32 comments:

Hugo Pelland said...

There are more options than that I believe...

If theism is true, there may or may not be objectively correct moral values:
1) If moral values are what God decides them to be, then they are subjective, by definition, as it's God's opinion.
2) If moral values are not what God decides them to be, but they exist nonetheless, they are objective, based on general truths.
3) If moral values are not what God decides them to be, because they don't even exist, well they don't exist, so it's all a moot point.

If theism is not true, we get only 2) and 3), so it yields perhaps 5 options in total, though they collapse to only these 3 above, regardless of God.

Therefore, objectively correct moral values may or may not exist, and God is either irrelevant or explicitly making morality relative, subjective.

So the real question is more about whether we can conclude that reality has some objective truths to it, and whether these facts yield moral facts.

Joe Hinman said...

If theism is true, there may or may not be objectively correct moral values:
1) If moral values are what God decides them to be, then they are subjective, by definition, as it's God's opinion.

God's view cannot be subjective, God is the one unique universal mind he has a true form of objectivity that other minds are not capable of forming. He knows all, thus he knows all from all perspectives.God is the only truly objective observer.

2) If moral values are not what God decides them to be, but they exist nonetheless, they are objective, based on general truths.

You make two false assumptions here: (1) you assume divine command theory is the only basis of Christian morality it is not, I am not a divine command guy(me for example).()(2) You assert some from of moral judgement part from God but I doubt can name one,

3) If moral values are not what God decides them to be, because they don't even exist, well they don't exist, so it's all a moot point.

again assuming it's based upon God's arbitrary whim rather than his objective character

If theism is not true, we get only 2) and 3), so it yields perhaps 5 options in total, though they collapse to only these 3 above, regardless of God.

you must demonstrate a standard apart from God of ethical grounding or you have no argument because you have nothing to which we might compare God's standard,

Therefore, objectively correct moral values may or may not exist, and God is either irrelevant or explicitly making morality relative, subjective.

based upon your false asumptions

So the real question is more about whether we can conclude that reality has some objective truths to it, and whether these facts yield moral facts.

yes it does, the objective truth is God

Victor Reppert said...

But the "opinion" of an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being would, by definition, be reality, wouldn't it?

Hugo Pelland said...

Would we really call such "opinion" an opinion?

I don't think so; that's my #2 above.
God is just a label on some objective reality in that case, or a mind that knows about that reality but did not decide to make it that way, otherwise it becomes subjective again.

Hugo Pelland said...

Joe, you stated your beliefs clearly, thanks, but misinterpreted mine.

Joe Hinman said...

Hugo Pelland said...
Would we really call such "opinion" an opinion?

I don't think so; that's my #2 above.
God is just a label on some objective reality in that case, or a mind that knows about that reality but did not decide to make it that way, otherwise it becomes subjective again.

I may be wrong but I seem to detect there the notion that objective has to mean no personal perspective. But there is is no reason why a personal sentient view point can't be objective if it is held by universal mind. Universal mind would know all perspectives.

To be ethical a stance must be based upon value. Value is subjective That fact may lead one to assume that all ethics must be subjective. But there can be an objective mind that holds the value and yet understands it in light of other perspectives.



Hugo Pelland said...
Joe, you stated your beliefs clearly, thanks, but misinterpreted mine.

how so?

Stardusty Psyche said...

Victor Reppert said...
December 29, 2017 10:44 AM

" But the "opinion" of an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being would, by definition, be reality, wouldn't it?"
--Yes, by definition, but that is a mere speculative tautology.

If X only issues perfectly good instructions then the instructions of X are perfectly good.

However, on the existence of evil the simultaneous assertions of
omnipotence
omniscience
perfect goodness
are logically incompatible and therefore incoherent.

If evil exists then...
Since X is omniscient X knew it was creating evil.
Since X is omnipotent X could have created otherwise.
Therefore X intentionally created avoidable evil and cannot be perfectly good.
If X was compelled to create evil in order to implement a greater good then X is not omnipotent.

Oh, and btw, on omniscience and omnipotence free will in man or god is incoherent as well, but in fairness, that was not the subject of the OP, just an observation.

Hugo Pelland said...

That's perfectly said SP.
The only counter-argument is that we have freewill, which doesn't seem to exist in a literal sense. But conceptually, it's still possible.

Hugo Pelland said...

Joe,

"Hugo Pelland said...
Joe, you stated your beliefs clearly, thanks, but misinterpreted mine.

how so?
"

A few things from your comment above, as in the 2 assumptions you claimed I make; they are not accurate. It's just not a response to my views but, again, it's clear what you believe and why so I was happy to hear about that.

What's the plan for your debate invite btw?

Stardusty Psyche said...

Hugo Pelland said... December 30, 2017 12:35 PM
" The only counter-argument is that we have freewill, which doesn't seem to exist in a literal sense. But conceptually, it's still possible."

How can a logically incoherent notion exist as a possible concept?

If any being anywhere has omniscience then no being anywhere has free will.

The reason is that omniscience includes perfect foreknowledge, which means our futures are absolutely predetermined and therefore strongly deterministic. On strong determinism free will is illusory.

A great many attempts have been made to put forth counter speculations to this clear and rather simple logic.

One of the favorites is a magical being that can somehow travel through time or outside of time to find out what we "freely" chose. That doesn't work logically because irrespective of such speculations we are confined to our unidirectional timeline. If such a being has the ability to inform me of my future now on my timeline then at any future time there is only one thing that can possibly happen, not a multiplicity of possibilities.

Once this magical being informs me now I will do X in the future the probability of doing X is 1, which is the very definition of determinism, only 1 thing can possibly happen and the probability of anything else happening is 0.

Another common flaw for those who wish to retain the incoherent notion of free will combined with an omniscient being is that this magical being only knows, but does not direct future events, so they can still be free. That is simply irrelevant. It doesn't matter what the mechanism of determinism is, whether perpetual divine intervention or a mechanistic clockwork universe, either way, if the magical being can tell me on my timeline that with a probability of 1 I will do X in the future and with a probability of 0 I will do ~X in the future then determinism is the case by some means, and therefore free will is ruled out.

Legion of Logic said...

Upon request, I could name an online debate within the last month in which I learned I was wrong and had to amend my position. Fun speculation, I wonder if Stardusty can recall any such event ever occurring?

Stardusty Psyche said...

@LoL
That sounds somewhat familiar but I must confess I do not recall the specifics.

Perhaps that is because I am such a "Massive Troll", mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

Joe Hinman said...

oe Hinman said...
However, on the existence of evil the simultaneous assertions of
omnipotence
omniscience
perfect goodness
are logically incompatible and therefore incoherent.

wrong that argumet makes fallacious assumptions

If evil exists then...
Since X is omniscient X knew it was creating evil.
Since X is omnipotent X could have created otherwise.
Therefore X intentionally created avoidable evil and cannot be perfectly good.
If X was compelled to create evil in order to implement a greater good then X is not omnipotent.

false: (1) God does not create evil but only the potential for evil.
(2) God knowing what choice would be made does not constitute God making evil because the nonexistence the possibility is necessary,since free will is necessary, since not all oral agents choose evil those who who choose it don;t'have to,


Oh, and btw, on omniscience and omnipotence free will in man or god is incoherent as well, but in fairness, that was not the subject of the OP, just an observation.

you are making an arbitrary statement with no grounding

Oh, and btw, on omniscience and omnipotence free will in man or god is incoherent as well, but in fairness, that was not the subject of the OP, just an observation.

your understanding of omnipotence is fallacious since it does not mean God can do illogically contradictory things, He can't create a moral universe with no free will, Thus FWD takes out your arguent

Joe Hinman said...

ugo Pelland said...
That's perfectly said SP.
The only counter-argument is that we have freewill, which doesn't seem to exist in a literal sense. But conceptually, it's still possible.

yes it does

Joe Hinman said...

A few things from your comment above, as in the 2 assumptions you claimed I make; they are not accurate. It's just not a response to my views but, again, it's clear what you believe and why so I was happy to hear about that.


premises you did not mean to make but you are denying the logical consequence of your statements

Hugo Pelland said...

'yes it does' is exactly what a robot programmed to show signs of freewill would say

Absurd, I know, but possible. While complete libertarian freewill doesn't even seem possible in our real world. We're constrained in so many ways by our bodies.

Joe Hinman said...

How can a logically incoherent notion exist as a possible concept?

Because it;s not coherent you don't understate it.

If any being anywhere has omniscience then no being anywhere has free will.

totally illogical bull shit, you can;t give a coherent reason,the reasons for that atheists usually give are based upon misunderstanding omnipotence,

The reason is that omniscience includes perfect foreknowledge, which means our futures are absolutely predetermined and therefore strongly deterministic. On strong determinism free will is illusory.

read Boethius, foreknowledge is not predestination. If I could go back in the Tardis to the day before the Alamo fell,I know the outcome does that mean I caused it to fall?


A great many attempts have been made to put forth counter speculations to this clear and rather simple logic.

but you systematically ignore the one's that work


One of the favorites is a magical being that can somehow travel through time or outside of time to find out what we "freely" chose. That doesn't work logically because irrespective of such speculations we are confined to our unidirectional timeline. If such a being has the ability to inform me of my future now on my timeline then at any future time there is only one thing that can possibly happen, not a multiplicity of possibilities.

that's based upon the previous fallacy so it;s not true

Once this magical being informs me now I will do X in the future the probability of doing X is 1, which is the very definition of determinism, only 1 thing can possibly happen and the probability of anything else happening is 0.


answer my Alamo question how do I become the cause of the outcome just by knowing what it is,? Let's assume your previous example is false there is no maigical being then your wrong,

Another common flaw for those who wish to retain the incoherent notion of free will combined with an omniscient being is that this magical being only knows, but does not direct future events, so they can still be free. That is simply irrelevant. It doesn't matter what the mechanism of determinism is, whether perpetual divine intervention or a mechanistic clockwork universe, either way, if the magical being can tell me on my timeline that with a probability of 1 I will do X in the future and with a probability of 0 I will do ~X in the future then determinism is the case by some means, and therefore free will is ruled out.

that's just a doge you can't show a reason why knowing an outcome causes it.

Joe Hinman said...

Hugo Pelland said...
'yes it does' is exactly what a robot programmed to show signs of freewill would say

but it's just as equally a logical truth so it's irrelevant, just because it happens to conicide with X doesn't mean it is caused by x.

Absurd, I know, but possible. While complete libertarian freewill doesn't even seem possible in our real world. We're constrained in so many ways by our bodies.

I am not sure my FWD requires total libertarian free will

Hugo Pelland said...

Sorry, FWD?

Joe Hinman said...

Happy new year Everyone!!!

another year in which to oppose the of the machinations of the evil Trump!

Joe Hinman said...

Hugo Pelland said...
Sorry, FWD?

free will defense

Hugo Pelland said...

Oh right, how rude of me, almost forgot as it's 5pm here already...

Happy new year!!!

Good call regarding Trump. We'll see what happens next. It was worse than I thought so far so hopefully it gets better from there!

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...

oe Hinman said...
However, on the existence of evil the simultaneous assertions of
omnipotence
omniscience
perfect goodness
are logically incompatible and therefore incoherent.

" wrong that argumet makes fallacious assumptions"
Empty assertion, as are so many of your "arguments" that are often just short throwaway phrases.

If evil exists then...
Since X is omniscient X knew it was creating evil.
Since X is omnipotent X could have created otherwise.
Therefore X intentionally created avoidable evil and cannot be perfectly good.
If X was compelled to create evil in order to implement a greater good then X is not omnipotent.

" false: (1) God does not create evil but only the potential for evil."
Ridiculous. If I drop a brick off the roof and it lands on your head I can say I did not make the brick hit your head I only made a potential for a brick to hit your head. What a stupid argument.

" (2) God knowing what choice would be made does not constitute God making evil"
Of course it does, learn how to think. If god is omnipotent and omniscient he knew the system he was creating would produce evil and suffering and he could have created otherwise therefore he is responsible for all the bad things.

Typical Christian, gives god all the credit for all the good things and rationalizes blame away for the bad things. Learn how to reason.

" because the nonexistence the possibility is necessary,since free will is necessary,"
More idiocy. Free will is impossible on omniscience as I have shown many times. God does not have free will on his own omniscience.

If any being anywhere knows the future on my timeline then I can only do X with a probability of 1, thus X is rigidly determined and not in any sense freely chosen.

The magic traveler outside of time doesn't help because I still must do X on my timeline with a probability of 1.
Therefore determinism is the case by some means.
Therefore free will is illusory on the existence of any omniscient being.


" since not all oral agents choose evil those who who choose it don;t'have to,"
Of course they do, it is the only thing anybody can do, whatever god knew they would do before he even created them.

All these years and you still haven't figured this out?

Oh, and btw, on omniscience and omnipotence free will in man or god is incoherent as well, but in fairness, that was not the subject of the OP, just an observation.

" you are making an arbitrary statement with no grounding"
Which is itself just another one of your many throwaway quip lines that argue nothing.

Oh, and btw, on omniscience and omnipotence free will in man or god is incoherent as well, but in fairness, that was not the subject of the OP, just an observation.

" your understanding of omnipotence is fallacious since it does not mean God can do illogically contradictory things, He can't create a moral universe with no free will, Thus FWD takes out your arguent"
Incoherent babble. Again, learn how to think.

Try making some orderly, coherent, step by step arguments for once, OK? Your scattershot quips are very tedious.

Stardusty Psyche said...

@Joe January 01, 2018 4:49 AM
Another common flaw for those who wish to retain the incoherent notion of free will combined with an omniscient being is that this magical being only knows, but does not direct future events, so they can still be free. That is simply irrelevant. It doesn't matter what the mechanism of determinism is, whether perpetual divine intervention or a mechanistic clockwork universe, either way, if the magical being can tell me on my timeline that with a probability of 1 I will do X in the future and with a probability of 0 I will do ~X in the future then determinism is the case by some means, and therefore free will is ruled out.

"that's just a doge you can't show a reason why knowing an outcome causes it."
OMG learn how to read.
The answer is right there. Do you ever stop to read and think before you spout your canned bullshit?

Form a logical argument for once.

I just explained to you in very detailed argumentation that the cause of the determinism is irrelevant. On omniscience on my timeline determinism on my timeline is mandated by some method.

I said
It doesn't matter what the mechanism of determinism is, whether perpetual divine intervention or a mechanistic clockwork universe

Don't you get this yet after all these years? I specifically said knowing need not cause the determinism, but knowing mandates determinism by some means is the case because knowing X will happen with a probability of 1 is the very definition of determinism.

If the future is already known with a probability of 1 then I have no real free choices, rather, all my decisions are robotic, like the if-then statements in a computer program, they are decisions but not free will decisions, rather algorithmic and deterministic.

Joe Hinman said...


"that's just a doge you can't show a reason why knowing an outcome causes it."
OMG learn how to read.

The answer is right there. Do you ever stop to read and think before you spout your canned bullshit?

cute ploy but you are the one not resounding to the issues, your straw man about the magical being totally avoided the issue,

Form a logical argument for once.

You don't understand the issue do you: you are bluffing your way by insisting upon standard atheist BS and avoiding actually dealing with the analysis. the issue is foreknowledge is not controlling events, dig it stupid,

I just explained to you in very detailed argumentation that the cause of the determinism is irrelevant. On omniscience on my timeline determinism on my timeline is mandated by some method.

that is proof that you don't understand my analysis because your argument is based upon atheist straw man issues of defining omnipotence and omniscience in ways that are are self serving rather than dialing with the real concepts,I mentioned that you doge it because you don't understand it. BTW you did explain you demanded it must be true.
you don't know why and you can't argue that.We believe n cause and effect that you can't show how foreknowledge effects the cause means you don;t know it does,


I said
It doesn't matter what the mechanism of determinism is, whether perpetual divine intervention or a mechanistic clockwork universe

you are dogmatically asserting that it is deterministic with no basis in fact or reasonable sense that it is. To deny the importance of causal mechanism does not help your case,

Don't you get this yet after all these years? I specifically said knowing need not cause the determinism, but knowing mandates determinism by some means is the case because knowing X will happen with a probability of 1 is the very definition of determinism.

It's deterministic, The world is not deterministic. Cause and effect is not determinism.It would be unchangeable from a time travel perspective but it;s not the knowing that makes it turn out as it did it would turn out that way weather I went back or not. It's not because God knows the outcome that makes it determined it's the decision of those involved, God just knows their decision.

If the future is already known with a probability of 1 then I have no real free choices, rather, all my decisions are robotic, like the if-then statements in a computer program, they are decisions but not free will decisions, rather algorithmic and deterministic.

your definition is bull shit,

Joe Hinman said...

Dusty, your argument is based upon probability and assumes determinism is naturalistic. Moreover, you admit that God's foreknowledge has no connection to determinism and yet your argent was that foreknowledge means predestination.

by your your own definition the same levels of determinism would exist even if there is no God.

that is really a contradiction. God could have no connection to the outcome and it would still be deterministic, therefore foreknowledge is not deterministic.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said...
January 01, 2018 5:10 PM

Your previous post is so garbled and scattered it literally looks like you were intoxicated while you wrote it.

At least the following one has a vague resemblance to a rational argument.

" Dusty, your argument is based upon probability"
A probability of 1 means certainty X will happen. A probability of 0 means certainty X will not happen.

If an omniscient being says to me today that tomorrow I will do X then it is certain tomorrow I will do X. I can do nothing other than X. I have no freedom to choose any sort of ~X because the probability of me doing ~X is 0.

Do you at least understand that much?

bmiller said...

OMG learn how to read.
The answer is right there. Do you ever stop to read and think before you spout your canned bullshit?


It's amusing to see someone who claims to be convinced that determinism is the state of reality get mad at someone who argues against it or complain about someone misunderstanding the point he is trying to make.

If one were truly convinced, there would be no point of reacting emotionally or trying to change someone's mind. It makes one doubt the sincerity of the person defending determinism.

Joe Hinman said...

good point bmiller, good start for new year.

Joe Hinman said...

Stardusty Psyche said...
Joe Hinman said...
January 01, 2018 5:10 PM

Your previous post is so garbled and scattered it literally looks like you were intoxicated while you wrote it.

sorry Trump saying "fake news" doesn't make it go away.

At least the following one has a vague resemblance to a rational argument.

" Dusty, your argument is based upon probability"
A probability of 1 means certainty X will happen. A probability of 0 means certainty X will not happen.

which is it genius? Does God's foreknowledge causes evil or does it not? if not your original argumet is a contradiction, do you not see why, genius? you argued God created evil knowing it would become evil and that in and of it'self means God is evil. If God's creation and foreknowledge has no role in X coming to be then God can't be the cause of evil, you said causal mechanisms are irrelevant. Thus you can't blame God or his foreknowledge.

If an omniscient being says to me today that tomorrow I will do X then it is certain tomorrow I will do X. I can do nothing other than X. I have no freedom to choose any sort of ~X because the probability of me doing ~X is 0.

to the extent that your arguments employ omniscience they are wrong because your understanding of omniscience wrong.so your idiotic little "this is the way it has to work" is just irrelevant and contradictory

Do you at least understand that much?

well you obviously don't understand what I said, do you Einstein? because I just invalidated your argument you try to blow that off as "fake news." that doesn't work for Trump it's not working for you.

bottom line: on the argument God must risk the possibility of the moral agent making wrong choices in order to have moral agents.
We must assume that if God creates he has weighed the consequences and knows creation is still worth the risk.

you have not dealt with ny analysis Einstein

David Brightly said...

I can accept the consequent of conclusion (3) but I don't see why it need be conditional on the truth of naturalism. I don't see forming a belief to be an act of the will that might be subject to moral considerations. The 'ought' in (1) is not, I suggest, a moral ought. Rather, it's the kind of practical ought we find in the advice, 'If you want to pass your exams you ought to do your homework.' Not an absolute ought but one relative to an objective. A bit like saying, If you want your autonomous vehicle to sell well you ought to design it to be sensitive to where the road is.

Joe Hinman said...

Duty doesn't get the argument so I'll spell it out. Look at his argument again


Since X is omniscient X knew it was creating evil.

Omniscient only means knowing what is knowable. From that point it depends upon what we think God's relation to time is;God may not know the future,except as probability. If he does know it empirically that still doesn't mean he caused our choices,

Since X is omnipotent X could have created otherwise.

Omnipotent does not mean the ability to do all things.It is only used once in scripture, it's the Greek "Pantocrator" meaning all authority not all ability.

Therefore X intentionally created avoidable evil and cannot be perfectly good.

evil is not avoidable. Moral agency has to be free,no free will, no moral agency,
To have moral agency one must risk choosing evil, because one must have free will.
thus a world without evil or at least the potential for evil is unavoidable.


If X was compelled to create evil in order to implement a greater good then X is not omnipotent.

this is based upon your fallacious understanding of omnipotence, Patocrator does not mean being able to do everything one conceives of but it means instead all authority that can be given.So God cannot do logically contradictory things like make free moral agency with no free will. Thus to have moral universe God must risk evil choices being made.