Spock, I agree a complete moral theory must unify them all. Craig is not providing a complete moral theory, nor does he have to. He only needs to show that moral epistemology and ontology are different.
Spock wrote:And that is where his argument fails. It is irrational to make a strong disjunction between moral ontology vs. moral epistemology because it is the nature of an action and its effect on others (its ontology, what it is) that determines its morality through the Golden Rule. Thus we have a perfect coherence of ontology and epistemology.
Not saying there isn't coherence. You've given us no reason to think they are identical. The most, is something we'd agree on, that epsitemology presumes ontology. I'm sorry but it doesn't challenge Craig's argument.
I don't understand why you feel a need to press the fact that "epistemology and ontology are different" or that I have given "no reason to think they are identical." I never said they were identical; that would be absurd. I have explicitly stated that they are different. I get the impression you are not reading carefully. I have said that they are different, but also mutually dependent. I explained myself by quoting the book Scientific Method in Practice
by Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. Here it is again:
In ordinary discourse, ontology, epistemology, and logic are reasonably distinct and recognizable topics within philosophy. But at the point where discourse begins, those topics fuse together. The reason is that epistemology presumes ontology, because what we know depends on what exists. But also ontology presumes epistemology, because what we can become aware of depends on our sensory and cognitive faculties. And logic is operating in any rational discourse.
And contrary to your unsupported assertion that this "doesn't challenge Craig's argument" I have shown very clearly that it does exactly that. Craig asserts that there must be a strong distinction between moral ontology and moral epistemology for his argument to work. Here is what he wrote
(note Premise 2 refers to the assertion that there are objective moral values):
Over and over again in the debate I carefully distinguished between moral ontology (questions about the reality of moral values) and moral epistemology (questions about how we come to know moral values), and I said that my argument is solely about the objective reality of moral values, not how we come to know them. I’ll appeal to all the same mechanisms that you appeal to in order to explain how you know that (Premise 2) is true. In point of fact, Spencer, I don’t think that we need to appeal to God at all to know that objective moral values and duties exist, so you’re just barking up the wrong tree insofar as I’m concerned.
Now look closely at what Craig said: "I don’t think that we need to appeal to God at all to know that objective moral values and duties exist
!" That's quite a statement. He admits that his ontology has no practical significance to our ability to know objective morals. He has made a complete disjunction between ontology and epistemology as if they had nothing to do with each other at all! He said he would use the same "mechanisms" to explain how we know there are moral values. And what "mechanism" do we use to discern moral values? It is the same method we use to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We simply ask them "How would you feel if I did that to you?". It is the Golden Rule. He does not offer any moral epistemology at all other than that used by the common folk. And what moral theory is that epistemology consistent with? The Golden Rule.
I just found out many of my arguments that I wrote off the top of my head in this thread have already been well expressed in the philosophical literature. Just an hour ago I found an article called The Objectivity of Values
by Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University with a Ph.D. from Yale. It is available in .doc format on his site here
. Here are the first paragraph in which he exposes how many dogmatists use "objective values" as a rhetorical ploy:
When we ask whether “values” are “objective”, what are we asking about? What is at stake? The agendas of different questioners are varied, and the issues are seldom entirely clear or explicit. When issues about the ‘objectivity of values’ are raised by people with certain kinds of political motives, one typical aim is simply the short term legitimation or de-legitimation of certain kinds of rhetoric in certain limited argumentative or political contexts. Sometimes the assertion that there are ‘objective’ values (or even ‘Objective Truth’) is merely a crude rhetorical device used on behalf of dogmatic and intolerant individuals who see themselves as courageous defenders of "The Right," and view anyone who questions what they believe in as enemies of "What is Right." But this superficial ploy works, when it works at all, only by focusing attention on self-answering meta-questions (about whether there is anything Right at all, and whether one should try to be on its side), thus distracting attention from the real issues, which are whether what they believe really is true, whether they have any good reasons for believing it, and whether any truth at all could possibly warrant the dogmatic and intolerant spirit in which they act in the name of what they believe.
He then goes on to identify why this is such a serious issue. Folks have been deceived to believe that morality without God is impossible. Craig is particularly guilty of this because he asserts that atheists are necessarily materialists and used that to assert that there would be no values of any kind. This has led to a ridiculous rejection of objective truth by folks who reject theism because they thought it was the only choice. Craig plays off this confusion and does everything he can to amplify it. That is a gross moral error on his part because any philosopher knows that rejection of theism does not imply materialism. Here is Allen Wood explains it in his second paragraph:
Sadly, the ploy often succeeds at least to this extent, that their confused opponents are led to think that in order to resist dogmatism they must challenge it directly on the rhetorical terrain it has marked out. Thus they think they have to reject the thesis that values are ‘objective’, and this has attracted them to extreme skeptical or nihilistic theories according to which any assertion of the objectivity of values as nothing but a rhetorical device used by dogmatists representing entrenched power structures, whose only possible use is to enforce uniformity of opinion, or exclude marginalized interests, or suppress legitimate questions about existing relations of power. The evident iconoclasm of such theories (which may be “subversive” even to the point of showing contempt for all standards of intelligibility) perhaps makes them seem like suitable vehicles for radical questioning of everything that exists or is accepted. In fact, however, these theories merely deprive us of the capacity to raise meaningful questions or objections regarding anything. They are therefore very well suited to express the spirit of some of the pretentious, hyper-intellectualistic, self-deceptive and quietistic forms that political radicalism has fashionably assumed during the left’s period of weakness, confusion and despair at the end of the twentieth century.
This is a major problem affecting many if not most folks who have rejected theism. It has caused great moral confusion and threatens the welfare of the world. That's why it is important to seek the TRUTH regarding objective values and to show the error of folks like Craig who merely use objective morality to push their theological and political agendas.
He next addresses the difference between metaphysics (ontology) and epistemology:
When analytical philosophers in the twentieth century have raised questions about the objectivity of values, their interests have often had little in common with these [ploys]. They are often motivated by metaphysical or epistemological concerns about what there is, and how it is known – and therefore whether and how claims about values can be understood to be about what is genuinely real or what is knowable about the real. They also care about the psychology of human motivation and how a naturalistic understanding of it can be integrated into our understanding of practical reasoning. The questions they raise fall under a distinct variety of different headings. There are, to begin with, metaphysical questions about whether terms like ‘good’ refer to real properties of things, properties as real as those talked about by physics or mathematics, for example. Then there are epistemological questions, about whether there is, or could be such a thing as knowledge about what is good or has value.
He concludes his argument by saying that he has shown that the "objectivity of values is a necessary presupposition of all rational deliberation." We can't even develop logic, which is a prerequisite to any debate about the existence of God, without presupposing the objectivity of values. And the reason for this is clear. Here is is final paragraph:
The objectivity of moral and political values respecting the equality of every rational being and seeking for the community of all rational beings, especially at the crucial levels of communication, judgment, action and feeling, is a consequence of the Enlightenment vision that takes rational deliberation to define us as human beings having equal value who ought to live in community with one another.
I recommend reading the whole article. The guy is a very clear thinker in the wasteland of philopholy.
You've already admitted that if my case is correct that you are equivocating. And even if Craig is using the 1st definition, which I don't think he is, it still doesn't prove your theory.
Your case if false for the reasons I stated. You have not written a word contradicting anything in my argument. I showed that it was CRAIG who was equivocating, so if you want to convict someone of a logical flaw, you would do well to take on Craig, not me.
You are arguing a reductio against Craig's argument.
You will have to elaborate since you failed to state how my argument is a "reductio" and it would be a foolish waste of time for me to try to guess what you think you meant.