Proof that GOD Exists

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opus649
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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#61

Post by opus649 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:51 pm

Beanybag wrote:No, I used the word wrong to define stealing..
Within the context of defining "right" and "wrong." I'm not trying to be difficult, but I'm surprised you don't see my point. Here's how the conversation (roughly) went...

Me: Is there such a thing as an inherent "right" or "wrong?"

You: Well, by definition, stealing is "wrong."

Me: How?

You: Because it's the "wrongful" taking of property

Me: y:-/

You can't use words that depend on the idea you're trying to defend to defend your idea. If there is no objective morality, there is no such thing as murder. Just because the word "murder" exists doesn't necessarily prove there is objective morality. Only that we, for whatever reason, have a concept of right and wrong. It is equally plausible that concept is an illusion as it is from God.
Why are you so intent on objective morality though?
Because I believe if you can "prove" objective morality, you have a pretty solid case for God. Thus, I would be happy if someone offered a convincing argument for the former.
What are your qualms with my answer wherein I try to reduce subjectivity to objective elements?
I apologize, but I'm not sure which answer you mean. I may have missed a point you made... I'm new here and sometimes have trouble keeping up with all of the posts.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#62

Post by opus649 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:56 pm

Beanybag wrote:
An atheist is left in a sticky position, especially when morals enter a debate. Richard Dawkins claimed it is hard to defend morals on anything except religious grounds. Let's say evolution just caused us to feel some things are wrong. But this doesn't mean actions really are wrong. Because having found out they just evolved, perhaps for the better of society, I can just decide to discard them for my own benefit. What is morally right/wrong just ultimately becomes what I find acceptable or unacceptable, unless I decide to give this up.
Does that mean its entirely subjective though? If a society tries to maximize the preferences of its constituents and it's own preferences, when an individual goes in opposition to these preferences (which have non-arbitrary objective groundings), if morality is defined as 'that which is best for society', would the action not be immoral? Its not inherently immoral, but situationally. However, does that mean its subjective? I contest the claim that there is a divide between subjective and objective and find that subjective distills to objective. While I can't prove this currently (empirically at least), this would answer the objections at this level.
If this is the point you were referring to, I don't understand your position. It looks, to me, like you've just replaced the word "subjective" with "situational." I don't understand why that necessarily allows for the distillation of subjective morality into absolute or objective morality.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#63

Post by opus649 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:01 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:If morals did evolve under the same influences ( natural selection, survival of the fittest) then I think we would have very different looking morals.
Interesting. Out of curiosity, what do you think they would look like?

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#64

Post by Beanybag » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:01 pm

opus649 wrote:You can't use words that depend on the idea you're trying to defend to defend your idea. If there is no objective morality, there is no such thing as murder. Just because the word "murder" exists doesn't necessarily prove there is objective morality. Only that we, for whatever reason, have a concept of right and wrong. It is equally plausible that concept is an illusion as it is from God.
Well, it could also be that our idea of right and wrong is subjective. I'm not trying to use the definition of stealing to prove that right and wrong exists, only that if they exist, stealing is wrong by definition.
Why are you so intent on objective morality though?
Because I believe if you can "prove" objective morality, you have a pretty solid case for God. Thus, I would be happy if someone offered a convincing argument for the former.
There are a few different ways to justify objective morality (Platoism is one such attempt), God is one such way. But you don't go from objective morality -> God, you go from God -> objective morality. God explains objective morality, so if you accept objective morality you accept God (and vice versa). Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
What are your qualms with my answer wherein I try to reduce subjectivity to objective elements?
I apologize, but I'm not sure which answer you mean. I may have missed a point you made... I'm new here and sometimes have trouble keeping up with all of the posts.
When I explained why we call things hot and cold a little earlier in this thread (in response to neo-x). Hot and cold are subjective evaluations of temperature, but humans would seem to identify things as hot and cold with pretty high consistency, corroborating our idea of hot and cold. While the values are subjective, it doesn't mean they don't have an objective grounding. In this case, we're predisposed to find certain temperatures hot and cold based on how we learn to define them. There's some other ideas that will go into the science and philosophy of this language, but it should seem clear that there are objective (physical and biological, neurological too maybe) reasons why we tend to find some things hot and some things cold. The same is likely true for right and wrongness, although the concept of right and wrong is a little more complex - I think they break down into a lot of different ideas that encompass a wide range of variables and dependencies. In other words, subjective preference tends to have objective, non-arbitrary grounding. Subjectivity tends to reduce to objectivity - this might be a form of naturalism, determinism, or physcialism, however, but I think it holds true for a wide range of ideas we have. One of the challenges might be in explaining 'beauty' (and, of course, morality to a lesser extent) which has been an idea of philosophical contention for a loooong time.

It seems you can't see where it is, so I'll quote it.
Anyway, implicit, it would seem, in any statement by a person is a silent little phrase.. "...according to me" at the end (or an "I say" at the beginning). In a way. If you say, "this water is cold (according to me)", then that statement could be true (unless you were lying). According to your concept of cold and your perceptions of the water, yes, the water could be cold to you. Now, someone says, "this water is warm (according to me)". According to their concept of hot/cold and their perception of water, then the water could be warm to them. Now, this doesn't mean temperature will always have to be relative. We can verify our perceptions as being somewhat accurate through more objective measurement (compare our perception of the temperature of the water with the actual measured temperature). If we find our perceptions to be intact, we can then attempt to define which temperatures have which value assigned to them (hot, cold, luke-warm, etc.). I suspect we'll come into a lot of trouble here, since we don't really assign value of temperature to a scale like this. But say we do. Then we have established some objectivity since the truth is now outside of ourselves (even if for subjective reasons). But that still makes it relative. Not to mention temperatures feel different based on a number of things like pressure, humidity, previous exposure to other temperatures, sensitivity, etc. Afterall, when someone is very sick, they can feel very warm even when we know they should be feeling cold - how can we know anything about their subjective experience of temperature?

So, let's try to make it more objective and leave out our perception of temperature altogether. Let's consider human biology now. We know that temperature as a measurement is a combination of a few different variables, but generally those variables remain constant in most situations so let's put those aside. Human internal temperature is about 98F or 37C. We might do a well-conducted reduced-bias study on a number of humans and ask them to report if they feel hot or cold when their temperature is at certain degrees. We might study how the human body perceives temperature through the sense of thermoception and see what would usually cause a feeling of coldness or hotness (note: the way humans detect temperature is still being studied - more on this in the future!). We might study language and see what people traditionally conceptualize as cold and hot (and all the other values of temperature we use). At some point, hot and cold might then start to lose their subjectivity, so long as we understand the perspective of the value is being measured against the perceptions of a human being. We can make an approach towards objective facts even with subjective experience in this way (which is why I doubt the legitimacy of subjective versus objective as distinct binary categories and not a gradient). We just have to acknowledge the complexity, the variables, and all the room for error as well as the appropriate perspectives.

If we see an orange star moving away from us, it will appear to be red. Is the star red? Even with an objective definition for color (red is between x and y nm wavelength) we can still have ambiguity due to special relativity, general relativity, other variables, and in this case, the doppler effect. A lot of things depend on a lot of other things, even things we would consider wholly objective.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#65

Post by opus649 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:12 pm

Beanybag wrote:It seems you can't see where it is, so I'll quote it.
Thank you. I believe the point you are making is this: "hot" and "cold" are subjective, but the only reason such ideas exist is because of objective concepts like temperature. If I say I am "happy" or "sad", it's all relative... but the fact that such descriptions exist suggest that "mood" itself can be considered objectively real (even if it is a purely biochemical reaction in the synapses). Is that what you are saying?

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#66

Post by Beanybag » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:22 pm

opus649 wrote:
Beanybag wrote:It seems you can't see where it is, so I'll quote it.
Thank you. I believe the point you are making is this: "hot" and "cold" are subjective, but the only reason such ideas exist is because of objective concepts like temperature. If I say I am "happy" or "sad", it's all relative... but the fact that such descriptions exist suggest that "mood" itself can be considered objectively real (even if it is a purely biochemical reaction in the synapses). Is that what you are saying?
Very much. Beyond that, the reasons for the existence of these things (besides their objective grounding in a physical existence like brain states.. that's a risky line that kind of promotes physaclism or naturalism), they have objective reasons for being there. We don't just feel hot and cold because temperature is a real facet of reality - for instance, we don't have a sense that detects magnetic fields. We also have a sense of temperature because it serves a biological purpose - what this means is that when we feel hotness or coldness, we're not just arbitrarily assigning a value to a temperature, there is a reason we evolved to feel these things in such a way.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#67

Post by Echoside » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:57 am

beanybag wrote: Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
Exactly my thoughts. Trying to prove God by proving objective morality just doesn't work very well in my opinion. One might have suspicions that OM exists, but that isn't much of a proof. Accept OM after you accept God, not the other way around.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#68

Post by opus649 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:12 am

Echoside wrote:
beanybag wrote: Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
Exactly my thoughts. Trying to prove God by proving objective morality just doesn't work very well in my opinion. One might have suspicions that OM exists, but that isn't much of a proof. Accept OM after you accept God, not the other way around.
And yet, one of the most famous Christian apologetics of all time tries to do exactly this. I did not come to this question on my own. C.S. Lewis opens Mere Christianity with the question of absolute morality. He later makes a very convincing argument that absolute morality implies God. However, he first argues for the existence of absolute morality which he then uses as a justification for a belief in God. The only problem is that I find his defense of objective morality wanting and was hoping someone here could do better.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#69

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:12 am

Echoside wrote:
beanybag wrote: Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
Exactly my thoughts. Trying to prove God by proving objective morality just doesn't work very well in my opinion. One might have suspicions that OM exists, but that isn't much of a proof. Accept OM after you accept God, not the other way around.
Accepting that an objective morality exists, so that morality is NOT subjective, does NOT prove the existence of God, just as accepting the existence of a different dimension or universe doesn't prove the existence of Heaven.
But if a morality exists that is absolute and beyond our subjective reality, then something "greater than Us' must exist, yes?
Whether that be God is irrelevant at this point.

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#70

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:01 pm

opus649 wrote:
Echoside wrote:
beanybag wrote: Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
Exactly my thoughts. Trying to prove God by proving objective morality just doesn't work very well in my opinion. One might have suspicions that OM exists, but that isn't much of a proof. Accept OM after you accept God, not the other way around.
And yet, one of the most famous Christian apologetics of all time tries to do exactly this. I did not come to this question on my own. C.S. Lewis opens Mere Christianity with the question of absolute morality. He later makes a very convincing argument that absolute morality implies God. However, he first argues for the existence of absolute morality which he then uses as a justification for a belief in God. The only problem is that I find his defense of objective morality wanting and was hoping someone here could do better.
In modus ponens form perhaps...

If God exists, then Morality exists
God exists, therefore Morality

Obviously in this form, one must first prove God's existence. However, think more modus tollens...

If God does not exist (not P), then Morality does not exist (not Q)
(Q) Morality does exist, therefore God exists (P)

One simply needs to affirm Morality based on whatever reasoning one believes is adequate. I dare say none us can consistently live life thinking fairness doesn't exist. So if you believe some things really are good/bad or fair/unfair, if you believe justice really can be served, then to be coherent you should affirm the antecedent (God).

Of course, one can choose to simply believe moral realism is intuitively evident and think nothing further of whether such is justified or coherent with their other beliefs...

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Re: Proof that GOD Exists

#71

Post by jlay » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:02 am

Have you studied Aquinas' natural theology?

Afterall, not a new topic.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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