Morality Without God?

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Re: Morality Without God?

#406

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:34 pm

jlay wrote:
Spock wrote:The Lex Talionis has a kind of superficial symmetry and that's why it appealed to primitive people with an undeveloped moral sense. It obviously fails as a moral theory since the true moral theory must cohere with love.
How are you measuring developed versus undeveloped?
Sorry, but I see this also as question begging.

neo-x wrote: Because you contradict when you posit the GR is not dependent on individual interpretation...and this is what? Your interpretation. How can it be objective then?

It is circular.
If anyone contradicts you, you would simply say, he is not rational. This is simply a no true Scotsman fallacy.


See, if you disagree, I have by equal right, as you, the option to say that those who contradict are simply irrational. As they could not see the symmetry which can be applied equally under this rule, to anyone and furthermore, they can not agree that any given action has its equal consequences.

Can you see the dilemma?
I find it fascinating that many folks in this thread have brought forth a charge of circularity. Here is how Craig defends his assertion that there are objective moral truths:

William Lane Craig: "People who fail to see this are just morally handicapped, and there is no reason to allow their impaired vision to call into question what we see clearly. Thus, the existence of objective moral values serves to demonstrate the existence of God."

The ironic thing is that Craig's theory gives no method to determine if something is or is not moral. Indeed, he says that he would use the same methodology as anyone to determine if something is moral. And what is the most common method? What is the method we teach to our children? We simply ask "How would you like it if someone did that to you?". The Golden Rule is the objective test for objective morality. This is why Christ summed up the entire body of divine commands (the law and the prophets) by saying:

NIV Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

It looks to me like this theory of morality is the only game in town. It is crisp and bright and rings true like a perfect bell. Compared to it, everything else looks like vain philopholistic mumbo jumbo with no connection to reality.
Last edited by Spock on Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#407

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:50 pm

Proinsias wrote:Thanks for making an appearance here Spock, it's made for a very interesting read. Still far from convinced of objective morality with or without God but plenty food for thought here and your argument is certainly far more eloquent than any previous attempts I've come across to ground morality in the absence of God.
Thanks for the encouraging words Proinsias. It would be very helpful if you could articulate your reservations concerning the moral theory I am proposing. I am guessing it is because you are not sure if moral statements can be objective. Do you believe any statements can be objectively true?
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Re: Morality Without God?

#408

Post by RickD » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:07 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:Just out of curiosity, Spock have you asked WLC these questions, since he is the source of this issue. You can email him on his website.
Spock wrote:
Is this the essence of his argument? If not, please explain the difference. And if it is, then why doesn't he use this as his real argument instead of clouding the issue with moral questions?
Spock, I'm with Daniel on this one. If you wanna know why WLC does something, ask him. You have a well thought out argument. I'm sure he will address your question, especially if your argument is unique as you say it is.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#409

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:33 pm

RickD wrote:
Danieltwotwenty wrote:Just out of curiosity, Spock have you asked WLC these questions, since he is the source of this issue. You can email him on his website.
Spock wrote:
Is this the essence of his argument? If not, please explain the difference. And if it is, then why doesn't he use this as his real argument instead of clouding the issue with moral questions?
Spock, I'm with Daniel on this one. If you wanna know why WLC does something, ask him. You have a well thought out argument. I'm sure he will address your question, especially if your argument is unique as you say it is.
Craig's arguments are widely disseminated. He has written many articles freely available on the internet. He uses these argument in many of his debates that are available on Youtube. If folks here can't discern the nature of his arguments, then what good are they?

I think it would be interesting to present my moral theory to him after I have finished refining it. I'm just putting it through the fire here, and I want to say how much I appreciate the rational challenges folks are presenting. I have nothing to lose but the errors I may hold. I have nothing to lose because I am not committed to anything but the truth.

As for the "uniqueness" of my argument - I don't know if that is true because I have not read all the philosophical literature. I'm currently researching this to find out what philosophers may have written. Other folks in this thread have baldly asserted that it is "nothing new" but they forgot to present any evidence, such as a link or a quote, supporting that assertion.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#410

Post by jlay » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:34 pm

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.
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. 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.
You are arguing a reductio against Craig's argument.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#411

Post by jlay » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:07 pm

When you kill someone, even if it is justified, you have the INTENT to kill him. You do get that right? You CHOOSE to KILL. I don't care if it is justified or not. You are using subjective moral values: justified and unjustified.
Bryan
So, you are saying motive and intent do matter. Good. But Bryan you are not making any argument. YOU are telling us what we SHOULD do and SHOULDN'T do. You've yet to provide any basis for this. You deny OM, but you keep saying SHOULD and SHOULDN'T. I hope you understand that this is smuggling in OM. Otherwise, why SHOULD we care what you think. You think everything is subjective, and so we must believe that your opinion is also subjective, and therefore of no objective value. If all you are saying is that people make subjective interpretations, then I've got no issue with that. We've had this discussion before I believe. People making subjective moral interpretations is NOT an argument against OM.
From my point of view: YES they should. Accidental or pre-meditated, once you kill someone, you can't take back what you have done. Once someone is dead, well, you know what happens. The fact that you are sorry or not won't change the fact: someone is dead and not coming back.
This isn't an argument. You say, yes they SHOULD. Is that objectively true?
Since you like examples that much let me offer you one as well.

Scenario 1: Boy gets killed while swimming by a fast jet ski. (accident)
Scenario 2: Boy gets shot while thief trying to rob the house. (this is not pre-meditated, but you get the point)

Do you think that the parents care which scenario takes place?? They have no child anymore. Do you think that they care about moral values at that point? Their child was killed in both cases.
The child is dead in both cases. What is your point? What is the moral question?
***I do understand what self-defense is and I fully support it, but I can't support objective morality at the same. Once you kill to protect yourself, well, that ain't objective at all. It can't be anymore clear than that.

Fine, when people act they are subjectively making a decision. No argument. That IS NOT the issue. The issue is whether the decision is CORRECT. So, you are saying it is subjective preference to protect the lives of the innocent? OK. You say that as a parent, I'm not morally obligated to defend my family, and that it is merely my selfish subjective preference. So, let's say that I take this under consideration, and I decide, "Well, it's only subjective preference, go ahead and kill my family." Based on your position you say that YOU support self-defense, but you can't support objective morality. So, in that sense are you willing to admit that these two decisions are morally equal, and there is no way to objectively discern the difference?
This is oddly related to the discussion with spock and gets back to the ruler/measure.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#412

Post by Byblos » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:37 pm

Spock wrote:As for the "uniqueness" of my argument - I don't know if that is true because I have not read all the philosophical literature. I'm currently researching this to find out what philosophers may have written. Other folks in this thread have baldly asserted that it is "nothing new" but they forgot to present any evidence, such as a link or a quote, supporting that assertion.
Then you ought to familiarize yourself with Emanuel Kant, particularly what he terms "Categorical Imperative". But I have a feeling you're already familiar with it.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#413

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:40 pm

jlay wrote: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.
jlay wrote: 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.
jlay wrote: 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.
Last edited by Spock on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#414

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:57 pm

Byblos wrote:
Spock wrote:As for the "uniqueness" of my argument - I don't know if that is true because I have not read all the philosophical literature. I'm currently researching this to find out what philosophers may have written. Other folks in this thread have baldly asserted that it is "nothing new" but they forgot to present any evidence, such as a link or a quote, supporting that assertion.
Then you ought to familiarize yourself with Emanuel Kant, particularly what he terms "Categorical Imperative". But I have a feeling you're already familiar with it.
I'm no expert in Kant, but yes, of course I am familiar with the categorical imperative. It is similar, but significantly different than the Golden Rule as Kant himself explicitly stated. He thought the categorical imperative was philosophically superior to the Golden Rule.

Kant's theory has crazy implications. For example, Kant believed that the categorical imperative implied ridiculous things like it would ALWAYS be wrong to lie under any circumstance, even when lying to a murderer about the location of the person he desires to kill. Obviously, he was not a clear thinker. I doubt he himself even knew what he meant some of the time. It looks to me that he denied the most basic moral intuition that there is a hierarchy of values descending from love merely because the truth contradicted his theory. He should be dismissed out of hand because his central theory leads directly to moral absurdities.

Kant erred from the start as also did Craig. As explained in a previous post, morality is NOT based on "imperatives" and "duties." It is based on love. Duh. Moral theory is merely the logic of love. Without love, there is no moral understanding at all.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#415

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:44 pm

Spock wrote:Moral theory is merely the logic of love. Without love, there is no moral understanding at all.
Do you mind if I borrow this quote?

I really like it, was it penned by you or someone else?

Dan
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Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#416

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:27 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Spock wrote:Moral theory is merely the logic of love. Without love, there is no moral understanding at all.
Do you mind if I borrow this quote?

I really like it, was it penned by you or someone else?

Dan

I guess the next topic of debate will be is Love objective.

If morals are the logic of love, then where does this love come from, is there an objective love giver or is it illusory, caused by random chance inside the brain. :lol:


Dan
1Tim1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.Amen.

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Re: Morality Without God?

#417

Post by Beanybag » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:44 pm

Spock wrote:Kant's theory has crazy implications. For example, Kant believed that the categorical imperative implied ridiculous things like it would ALWAYS be wrong to lie under any circumstance, even when lying to a murderer about the location of the person he desires to kill. Obviously, he was not a clear thinker.
??? What? Kant was a GREAT thinker. Read his work before you draw such conclusions, no respectable philosopher would say this so sweepingly. When you have a moral theory and you approach a seeming contradiction you have two options: Reject the intuition or the premise. It might be intuitive that lying to protect someone is right, but if you accept the premise of the categorical imperative, then it follows. What's more, nothing stops you from simply saying, "I won't tell you." or defending yourself. Further, it was fully consistent with his understanding of free and rational beings that could not be manipulated for the gain of others. This arrogant dismissal of Kant seems sufficiently telling of your philosophical depth of understanding. You have much to learn. Perhaps start with Socrates, you could do to learn about wisdom and humility. The golden rule is nothing new indeed and has been written about before, but has gaping holes in it that must be addressed (see my previous posts on the nature of preferences & prescriptive power). Lastly, you've no evidence that our moral intuitions arise from the golden rule in an objective fashion and not from a societal conditioning - by what do you justify your intuitions?

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Re: Morality Without God?

#418

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:58 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Spock wrote:Moral theory is merely the logic of love. Without love, there is no moral understanding at all.
Do you mind if I borrow this quote?

I really like it, was it penned by you or someone else?

Dan
I'm glad you like it. I do too! It occurred to me today. I thought it was so awesome I checked Google and no pages were returned for the exact phrase in quotes. I will be using it as a title for an article tomorrow to get it recorded in Google with a date-time that proves it's origin. It may be the title of my next book. If you share it with anyone, please also give a link to my article. I want the meme to run free, and I don't feel any "ownership" of the idea except that I want the phrase to be linked to its origin and my argument.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#419

Post by Spock » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:36 pm

Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Danieltwotwenty wrote:
Spock wrote:Moral theory is merely the logic of love. Without love, there is no moral understanding at all.
Do you mind if I borrow this quote?

I really like it, was it penned by you or someone else?

Dan

I guess the next topic of debate will be is Love objective.

If morals are the logic of love, then where does this love come from, is there an objective love giver or is it illusory, caused by random chance inside the brain. :lol:


Dan
It is a fundamental error to equate atheism with materialism. The two concepts are distinct. It may be true that materialism implies atheism, but not the reverse. Atheism is the rejection of theism, not of metaphysics! An atheist could believe in the perennial philosophy that sees "mind" or the One Self as the ground of being. Or pansychism or idealism or any number of isms. But Craig deliberately misleads his audience to believe in the false dichotomy that says the only options are theism or materialism. I think this is a gross intellectual and moral failure on Craig's part. I saw him do it again in a debate I watched tonight.

Love is objective. I begin with the axiom that "Self loves Self." Then our big brains with the ability to abstract and represent ourselves and others to ourselves gets all philosophical and develops the a priori principle of indifference and the next thing you know it sees the obvious logic that "I could just as well be that person" and TADA the Golden Rule is recognized. We have an objective test to discern the truth value of moral statements and objective morality is understood.

This ain't rocket science you know. It really seems pretty basic and obvious to me.
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Re: Morality Without God?

#420

Post by The Protector » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:23 am

Spock,

Thank you for your contributions. You have brought up some interesting points. I am still in the process of digesting it all, so again I must beg your patience. I have a couple of questions that I hope you can further clarify:
Spock wrote:
Definition: A statement is objective if its truth value can be determined by an objective test.

Note that this definition states a sufficient but not necessary condition. There may be objective statements for which we have no test. For example, "God exists" may be objectively true even though there is no objective test to determine that fact.

Examples:

Objective: It is 73 degrees and sunny outside.
Subjective: The Grateful Dead plays great music.
I take it, then, that you propose that the GR is like the thermometer in the above example? What I don't get, though, is where you think the analogous statement regarding moral actions or duties might go.

Man may develop the thermometer, establishing consistent interval markings thereon in order to develop an objective measure, but ultimately the measure of degrees is the measure of a man-made construct, is it not? I doubt you would suggest that fahrenheit measurements are objectively preferable to celsius, after all. Although we may develop an objective (i.e. consistent) measure of molecular motion, it would be inaccurate to say that degrees exist, and we can measure 73 of them. In the end, it's a bit like cutting oatmeal at its joints; we are imposing a descrete template onto a continuous phenomenon. Bearing that in mind, are you really saying that "morality" exists and the GR is our objective measure thereof, or are you saying that the GR is objectively morality itself?

Also, if the statement, "Yahweh performed bad moral acts" is objective, then why isn't the statement "The Grateful Dead play great music" objective as well? If moral goodness is objective while musical goodness is subjective, is it because true morality "exists" and true musicality does not, or is it because we simply lack an objective (i.e. consistent) measure for the latter?
Spock wrote: Why does the symmetry make the GR objective? Because the symmetry is based on the principle of indifference which says there is no OBJECTIVE reason to prefer one over the other. This is the same logic we use to determine the OBJECTIVE statistics of rolling a six sided die. We expect each face to appear 1/6th of the time because there are six faces and no reason to prefer one over the other. Same goes for human faces.
Now surely you don't mean this, do you? It seems you conflate "expect" with "prefer," or at any rate equivocate on the meaning of "prefer" here. You are right that we expect each face of a fair 6-sided die to appear 1/6th of the time, but it has nothing to do with our preferences. Indeed, our preference for which side turns up has to do with how much we have riding on the outcome, not on proper understanding of probabilities! When we speak of what we expect to see from a 6-sided die, then--that is, when we speak of a "fair" die--we are referring to what should be observed if all six outcomes are equally likely. With humans, on the other hand, an individual could have any number of reasons to prefer one human face over another, and we have no reason to expect to observe equal treatment among humans because we have no reason to expect that all outcomes are equal. Where am I misunderstanding you here?
Spock wrote: The Lex Talionis has a kind of superficial symmetry and that's why it appealed to primitive people with an undeveloped moral sense. It obviously fails as a moral theory since the true moral theory must cohere with love. Why do you think that all morally advanced people reject the Lex Telionis? It obviously fails the test of the Golden Rule which in its purest expression is merely the Law of Love. Indeed, most if not all of the confusion in this discussion would evaporate if folks understood that morality is the logic of love.
Spock wrote: Yes, the Lex Talionis is objective. But it is objectively evil whereas the GR is objectively good.

The difference with the GR should be evident. The GR is logical framework powered by self-love. A computer makes a fine analogy: if the circuits are logic, love is the electricity. The only way we could possibly love others is if we have direct personal knowledge of what love is. This knowledge comes from the intrinsic love that every being has for its own self. It is an axiom that self loves self. That's why Christ equated love with unity amongst believers. This love then expands to include others symmetrically through the Golden Rule. It is a progression from self-love to Self-love, where the capitalized Self refers to the ultimate unity of all reality which is nicely captured in the Bible in the statement that God, who is identified with love, is the "all in all."
Previously I thought you were simply saying that the GR was a moral code that is objective, and that the whole debate hinged on how we and Craig used the word "objective." But here you seem to be implying something more than that: You seem to be saying that the GR is THE objective moral code. Am I understanding you correctly?

If so, then:

What is love (baby don't hurt me)? That is, as you are using it here.

Why is love "good?" By what standard?

Why must a true moral theory "cohere with love?"

Why do you say Lex Talionis has only "superficial symmetry?" What does it lack that is needed for true symmetry?

I understand that you are stating that "self loves self" as an axiom, but what reason do we have to accept it? I see people every day who quite clearly do not love themselves.

Thank you for your time and patience as I try to understand these things.

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