Tuesday, June 01, 2010
One Jack Wellman, a self-described "Christian author and freelance writer," is rehashing the "Moral Argument" for the existence of God supposedly advanced by C.S. Lewis. To be fair, I've never read Lewis (even his children stories), so I don't know if the silliness of Wellman's version can be blamed on him. Here is Wellman's account of it:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values & duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values & duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
More importantly, the "evidence" Wellman gives for the truth of the second premise is, to say the least, suspect:
Premise 2 seems intuitively obvious to most people. Mass murdering is unequivocally, objectively wrong. Killing innocent children, torturing animals, have dog fights…all for fun is objectively wrong. That is it is wrong for most of humanity, everywhere. These morals exist worldwide as universal morals. Now if anyone denies premise 2, they don't need an argument, they need help.
Numbers 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Even if you blame Moses for misunderstanding the command of God, that goes to prove that human beings have no reliable knowledge of what those "objective" morals might be. After all, if someone like Moses, who supposedly had direct conversations with Yahweh can't get it straight, how can anyone be expected to, especially in the face of all the different moral rules advanced by all the various religions in the world?
Thus, not only is the supposed evidence for objective morality called into question but so is the idea that, even if God exists, he/she/it is any guarantee that anything like "objective morality" exists.
Lastly, Wellman admits that morality could evolve but raises the ol' argument: "How could the killer be held responsible. He is a victim of his brain chemistry." That's simple enough. We're not dealing with "objective" morality, remember? We can decide, at least when a person is capable of understanding right from wrong, that whatever genetic (or, more likely, socially induced) impulses drove the murderer are not sufficient excuse for his or her actions. We can collectively decide, based on most humans' ability to control such impulses -- for whatever reason -- and our self-interest in protecting society from those who can't, that we'll punish murders regardless of their brain chemistry or upbringing.
Indeed, doing perfect justice would be more imperative if "objective morality" existed and we knew what it was. And yet we know that no society has ever achieved perfect justice. Are we then to stop dispensing justice at all?
Obviously the fact that Baal makes infant sacrifices moral proves that Baal exist ?
As for Wellman's insistence on his premise 2: what you said. He seems to have lead a rather (historically) sheltered life.
As you point out, not only are the morals not universal, but also, we have no way of knowing which, if any, are objective. So it doesn't really matter if morals are universal or not, premise 2 is still not supported.
If A, then B;
A is false;
Therefore B is false.
If my car is red, my house is yellow;
My car is green;
Therefore my house is not yellow.
He builds into his first premise that "God" and "moral values" are equivalent, something that he has not argued convincingly.