F Rosa Rubicondior: C.S.Lewis, You Cannot Be Serious! 3

Friday 23 March 2012

C.S.Lewis, You Cannot Be Serious! 3

The Argument From Objective Morality.

The third in a series looking at C.S.Lewis' arguments for the Christian God.

This argument can be dismissed fairly easily. In essence it goes as follows:

  1. Objective morals can only come from God.
  2. Objective morals exist.
  3. Therefore God exists.

Objective morals can only come from God.

Of course, Lewis was writing and broadcasting before the discovery of memes as units of cultural inheritance. Like Paley with his watch analogy, which he devised before Darwin had discovered a far more vicarious and logical explanation for the appearance of design in living things, Lewis was not aware of a perfectly rational explanation of a cultural origin of morals and of their evolution and the evolution of cultures containing them.

But even allowing for that excuse, there is no real excuse for Lewis simply dismissing natural explanations for morals out of hand, and there is no excuse for his leap to the conclusion that the only god on offer is his own favourite one, even if he had established his first premise.

I have written previously about how this mistaken model of the origin of human morality leads us to expect a pattern of human cultures which is at odds with reality in Xeno's Religious Paradox. Lewis, as a scholar in Greek, Roman and Medieval history, must have been aware of differences in morals between societies and changes in those morals over time, yet he chose to ignore that.

Although he was notoriously insular, only leaving Britain once as a WWI soldier to fight briefly in France before being repatriated wounded, he cannot have been unaware that non-Christian countries also have morals which are objectively no better or worse than those of Christian England. Unless he was assuming, as was common for the English upper classes in those days, that the English had the best morals and the cultural superiority given them specially by an English-speaking god, therefore other cultures and other moralities could be dismissed and ignored as irrelevant.

But leaving that aside, C.S.Lewis' reasoning is little more than a God of the Gaps argument - because he can't think of, or doesn't know of, an explanation for the origin and development of morals in human culture, it must have been the locally popular god.

Objective Morals Exist.

The circularity in Lewis' reasoning is astoundingly obvious and breathtakingly audacious. Our morals must be objective because they come from God; they must come from God because they are objective. Come on! Really!

So, does God tell us it's wrong to hurt babies and mug old ladies because it is wrong, or is it wrong to hurt babies and mug old ladies just because God says so? If the former, from what higher authority does God derive that knowledge? If the latter, in what way is the arbitrary and capricious whim of a god objective? If morals are objective and come from a god, there must exist a standard by which this is measured, and the god must be constrained by that standard. And who or what set up that standard?

And if we look at the supposed 'objective' morals of the Christian god from the examples of its behaviour in the Old Testament, what do we find? We find a petty, vindictive, narcissistic god who closely resembles an Early Medieval tyrant and won't tolerate the slightest hint of disloyalty or disobedience; a god who endorses slavery and spells out the rules by which slaves can be beaten by their masters or bought and sold; where daughters are a commodity who can be sold as sex slaves; where genocide and land-theft are not only tolerated but positively mandated; and a raped woman should be killed or sold to her rapist, with no reference to her wishes in the matter; where women may be kept as war booty to be used as sex objects by their captors. And the slightest blemish or disability is an 'abomination before the Lord'. In other words, we find a repugnant god whose morals would, and should, land the person who emulated them in jail in a modern civilised society, to protect that society from them.

These are the 'objective' morals of Lewis's god.

In fact, in attempting to fill the gap with a god, Lewis merely moves the question back one and we are left wondering from where the god gets its objective morals. An infinite regress of higher gods, perhaps? Just as the argument from first cause begs the questions, what caused the first cause? Or why can the first cause argument be suspended when it suits? so Lewis' argument doesn't answer the question it purports to address.

In fact, what we have is exactly what we would expect of cultures, including moral codes and ethics, if they evolved from a common ancestor by an evolutionary process driven by local environmental conditions which included the presence in the meme pool of superstitions and notions of local or tribal gods and supernatural spirits. Like an evolving family of species, we would expect common basic features and regional differences produced by local environmental conditions, and this is precisely what we see.

None of this requires the inclusion of supernatural magic in the explanation merely to fill the gaps or, more likely in the case of C.S.Lewis' argument from morality, to arrive at the desired conclusion in order to rationalise a belief for which there was no objective evidence. And nor are we left with an infinite regress of origins and no real answer to the question.

But how well that pandered to the English desire to believe we had the best morals because we had the right god, just so long as we ignored the fact that Lewis' argument was no less valid for any god in any culture with any set of morals which they believe their god had given them and which were therefore 'objective' morals. No, it was much more satisfying to sit back in smug self-satisfaction secure in the knowledge that an Oxford don had confirmed that we were paragons of Christian virtue surrounded by countries who didn't quite measure up, and others beyond the Pale who had no idea of right and wrong and who were lucky to have us there to civilise them, as God had intended.

Ten Reasons To Lose Faith: And Why You Are Better Off Without It

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  1. Off topic, but just linked to Get me on your Kindle and was informed this service was not available in Europe. I am in the Isle of Man.

    1. If you go to the Amazon.co.uk site at Rosa Rubicondior's Blog you should be able to get it from there.

  2. I am not really a fan of C.S. Lewis -- his Mere Christianity is a bit flawed at its premise but let me throw him a life line as you are not quite getting the point that he is trying to make.

    I am going to talk about things in terms of ethics AND morality because, though often mistaken, the two terms are not synonyms especially when dealing with with Christian theologians of a medieval, scholastic, or thomistic bent. Morality implies a supernatural relationship while ethics do not. One is quite right to say that ethics are evolutionary deriving out of a reasoned philosophical analysis of the natural world and how we are best to act in it. Ethics progress towards a natural end point. Morality on the other hand is not uncovered via reason but stems from the relationship that one has with the supernatural (whether that be the gods, fate, the force, etc.) so that duty and obedience are involved in a moral action. The relationship instructucts the action, not reason, through reason acts to indicate why one should follow-through with what one has been instructed. Thus when it come to morality three things are true: it is impossible for someone to be moral who does not have a true supernatural relationship, someone acting in a moral way indicates that they have a supernatural relationship, as the closeness of the relationship increases so too does the degree of perfection in the morality of the action.

    You posit that C.S. Lewis is wrong because objective morals arise from natural explanations. However what you are describing is not objective morals but objective ethics. Now aspects of objective morality cannot be arrived at through rational study of our natural environment and culture but we know that they exist because, when given, they rationally can be seen to take into account and elevate natural ethical action into a supernatural means of relating to the world. (I am not using supernatural here to mean invisible or ethereal but rather to indicate nature that is elevated and above the created nature). For example, ethics tells us that men and women should be involved in a contractual agreement that unites them for mutual benefit for the raising of children. We call this marriage. Ethics however cannot tell us that this make up should be one man one woman in an unbreakable lifelong covenantal relationship which we can also call marriage. Only morality can teach us that and it is not something that is discovered but rather which is transmitted from the supernatural. Hopefully you can see how the moral understanding of marriage takes into account the ethical understanding of marriage but elevates it to a level that is not discoverable through reason alone. We can see why it is objective because this form of marriage is rationally superior in an objective way in all cases to the ethical form. We call it objective because it doesn't stem from subjective interpretation of the order of things, but rather it stems from the order of things itself. It is supernatural because it comes not from the natural order but the supernatural order.

    Another easy example is that ethics leads us to understand that a murderer should be put to death but it is only morality that instructs us to forgive the murderer. When norms are transgressed the response of ethics leads us to justice while when morality leads us to mercy.

    Mercy is not a natural ethical attitude to take as many atheists have written and this is why many atheists tend to write very harsh things about individuals who Christians consider to be exemplars of mercy. Mother Teresa is a good example of such a person. Her life was not according to the standards of natural ethics but was a higher standard.

    1. Is something wrong because it is wrong or because God tells us? These are not exclusive positions, it is both. Something is wrong because it is in itself wrong. This is called an intrinsically evil act -- the nature of the act is evil in it of itself and this can be known by reason and philosophy. Something can also be wrong because God tells us. God may tell us a something that can be known by natural reason -- sometimes we are slow or thick to come the conclusion that philosophy should have brought us to. God may also tell us something that cannot be known by natural reason.

      During the middle ages there was a philosophical debate known as the problem of universals. C.S. Lewis is quite well aware of this problem as it was a favorite topic of conversation amongst his friends. C.S. Lewis is a universalist and he believed that universals exist and they find their source in the nature of God. Nomanalists / volunterists believe that if universals exist they exist only because that is what God declare to be true / wills to be true. Much of what you ascribe to C.S. Lewis is not what he believed. C.S. Lewis' argument about morality is not dissimilar to Platonic/ Neo - Platonic argument about Morality. It has nothing to do with magic thinking, just basic Neo-Platonic philosophy.

      There is a lot of your argument that predicated upon false assumptions about C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis was for much of his life an atheist. He himself knows full well the atheist argument against Christianity for he himself argued it. If one is reading C.S. Lewis and find one self thinking that he is being blind to a point of atheism of that time period, that is an indication that one is not understanding what C.S. Lewis is saying.

      When we look at your summarizing of C.S. Lewis' argument, you don't have it quite right. His argument is not a circular one because he is not saying "Our morals must be objective because they come from God; they must come from God because they are objective". He is saying "If objective morals exist, then they by definition, come from God. We can observe the existence of moral acts. Thus God exists." This is no more circular than saying "If electrical fields exist, then by definition, they must come from a time varying magnetic field. We can observe the presence of an electrical field. Thus a magnetic field exists."

      Hopefully this makes C.S. Lewis a bit more understandable, even if not agreeable.

    2. >Something is wrong because it is in itself wrong.<

      So God gets his morals from a higher authority, eh? From whence did that higher authority get them, please, and why did an omniscient god need an external reference?

      Why are we unable to use that same reference and dispense with the notion of a god as the arbiter of morality, if you are aware of it?

    3. > However what you are describing is not objective morals but objective ethics. Now aspects of objective morality cannot be arrived at through rational study of our natural environment and culture but we know that they exist because, when given, they rationally can be seen to take into account and elevate natural ethical action into a supernatural means of relating to the world.

      So you simply define morality as supernatural, and that does for 'proof' that morality is supernatural, eh?

      And the problem of not being able to refute the perfectly rational natural explanation through memetic evolution is just a matter of reserving one synonym for that and the other for an invented supernatural explanation.

      Evidence for your claim might have been useful.

  3. As I said, C.S. Lewis understands morality not to come from God declaring something to be true or willing something to be true but from God's own nature. In C.S. Lewis' understanding of things, morality is not from an argument of authority but from an argument of nature. Something is moral not because God says so but because God is so.

    >>Why are we unable to use that same reference and dispense with the notion of a god as the arbiter of morality, if you are aware of it?

    It is an epistemological and metaphysical problem, not a theological one. When atheists and theists confuse philosophical problems with theological problems, it becomes very hard to have any sort of discussion.

    That God is the source of morality -- by definition -- is a statement of philosophy not theology.

    Let me put things this way that C.S. Lewis would agree with. Where do human rights come from? They come from our nature. Ethics then comes from our upholding and acting in accordance with these rights that come from our nature. An ethical person is someone who is more fully human. An unethical person we would say is someone who acts inhumanly -- loss of ethics implies betrayal of nature.

    I am sure you will either agree with that or find it to be a reasonable position.

    That God is the source of morality simply says morality is based not our our human nature but on God's own nature. It is only an extension of the argument of ethics philosophically.

    Now if we notice people acting in such a way that is not in accord with nature but is supernatural (again here not supernatural as in invisible or ethereal, but rather as in above created nature) we know that God exists.

    Can we observe individuals acting in a way that doesn't correspond to nature? Yes. Mercy. There are many atheists out there that have correctly written that mercy is not something that corresponds to human nature and is a position for human activity that cannot be reached via human reason and thus ethics should reject mercy as being false. You cannot arrive at the life of Mother Teresa via ethics. So where did the impetus come from for the way for her to lead her life if not by philosophical inquiry into human nature and behavior? It has to be external to nature, thus supernatural, thus God exists. At least that is the argument -- and it is not a theological argument but a philosophical one.

    Please keep in mind that I agree, and am sure that C.S. Lewis would agree, that ethics develop in an "evolutionary" sense. (I use quotes because that applying the term evolution to the development of human knowledge to be an abuse of the term not because I disagree with the concept of biological evolution.)

  4. Rosa is the nightmare of creationists

    1. That may be true for some, but it is only because the creationist wouldn't be aware of the falacies and rebuttles to Rosa's argument. The truth of creation doesn't rest on one person's argument, it rests pn ultimate, objective truth.

  5. I believe Lurker #59 has done a good job of explaining that the Christian God as a concept includes the idea that morality is essential to God's nature.

    I would add to his explanation by emphasizing that the Christian definition of immorality in the world is anything that distorts or destroys what simply is, as it was created to be. In Genesis, God called creation good; Adam's free will infused him with a moral ability that allowed him to contradict the teleological and metaphysical nature of the world, thus unleashing immorality. I'm not trying to preach but rather to clarify what seems to be a point of misunderstanding in the post.

    In other words, according to Christianity (and Lewis--I've read all his books), God didn't create love, justice, kindness, and other attributes we would consider morally excellent. He IS those attributes. They are part of his eternal nature.

    As for the definition of objective morality, according to Lewis in Mere Christianity:

    He posits that every culture in every time displayed a belief in objective morality. How is that possible, you may ask, since clearly cultures have always differed on moral issues? The answer is that, while cultures have embraced different manifestations of morals, they have all supported an objective moral framework.

    Take justice as an example of an objective moral. Some Islamic societies believe it is just for female rape victims to be punished for the crime committed against them. Does that differ from the UK idea of justice? Most definitely. But the point is that no society has ever praised injustice. They simply have defined justice differently, and thus the idea of justice is manifested in various ways. Are some of those manifestations objectively wrong? I would say so. But frameworks for conduct exist in every society. The question is, how do you define that framework? What does that look like? What is justice?

    And therein lies the need for an immutable standard. I think that was more of Lewis's train of thought.

    1. >I believe Lurker #59 has done a good job of explaining that the Christian God as a concept includes the idea that morality is essential to God's nature. <

      Unfortunately, he/she forgot to offer us any evidence for that assertion, as have you.

  6. Atheists: I love your collective shtick, but why not nihilism? If anyone seems the naive, pie-in-the-sky, delusional type, it's ultimately the atheist who looks at the meaninglessness of it all and still feels the need to make a point in a blog post. It's totally arbitrary where you draw the line as to what is real and imaginary, and really you guys are for the most part terrible skeptics. If there is no God there is no morality that means anything, there's no universals, etc. But that's a logical impossibility, since there would universally be no universals. So, unless you're willing to eschew logic on top of it all...

    1. >If anyone seems the naive, pie-in-the-sky, delusional type, it's ultimately the atheist who looks at the meaninglessness of it all <

      Interesting. Could you explain a little more about how the universe is obliged to comply with your requirements for it? How does that work exactly? Do each of us have a universe of our own, or is is given to just a few such as yourself to determine the form of the universe for the rest of us ordinary mortals?

    2. sinuous sausage11 July 2012 at 18:12

      That is a good question!

      If you're alleging there are certain transcendent truths--which you definitely appear to be doing in your rebuttal--I fail to see what bone you could have to pick with ol' Clive Staples. A belief in transcendence in a belief in transcendent, which is essentially God. I believe morality is transcendent (though it takes many faces), but there are more fundamental truths that are universal and no less divine. Concepts such as "reason" and "being."

      Where atheists bog me down is their seemingly arbitrary decision to be skeptical until a certain level and then drop anchor, all the while denying they are taking anything on faith. That there is a physical world, that I can make sense of the physical world, that I "am," that reason "is"...none of these things are assured if one continues to be skeptical. It turns out many atheists just aren't well-schooled philosophers, or that they don't like the uncertainty that such skepticism breeds. In that way, I find it humorous when the supposedly "rational" atheist jeers the pious because of the comfort the pious takes in his or her beliefs. The atheist is no different, and just like he disdains the irrationality of the religious, there's many who disdain the irrationality of the irreligious. Turns out their thinking is often one-dimensional and a downright bore! I for one hope to proceed past my first counter-intuitive thought, but many of these new-fangled atheists seems content to stay there. C'est la vie.

      Since we're bandying about Lewis's name:

      Five senses; an incurably abstract intellect; a haphazardly selective memory; a set of preconceptions and assumptions so numerous that I can never examine more than a minority of them - never become even conscious of them all. How much of total reality can such an apparatus let through?


    3. I love the way so many theists have to resort to casting doubt on the existence of reality to justify their absurdly illogical belief in a magic creator of it.

    4. sinuous sausage18 July 2012 at 20:13

      that's seriously your reply?

    5. Yep.

      Are you not able to answer it in a coherent way?

  7. That fish thing you have to the side is really cool.

    1. sinuous sausage11 July 2012 at 18:21

      heck yeah it is! Don't tell anyone that I spent like ten minutes amusing myself with the fish widget

  8. Rosa, while I believe the above persons have left many a good argument on your doorstep, allow me to put in my two-cents worth?

    You argue that C.S. Lewis makes the leap from "idea of universal morality" to "Christian God" in one step, yet you never show where he makes that leap. If you are to keep asking other people to show their proof, I would like you to show me where he makes that fateful leap.

    Now, his argument clearly does not prove there is a "Christian God." But I don't think he meant to. I think here he is only arguing that there exists "a God." And part of his definition for this God is that He is the basis for universal morality. As a hint, this is the step you want to be debating. You should argue that there does not need to be "a God" for there to be universal morality. It's a difficult argument, and with the logic you've shown on your other posts, I'm not sure that it would be within your grasp. But it wouldn't be of much use, because once you divorce "ethics" from "morality" the argument becomes invalid. (As seen in "Lurker #59"s first post)

    Obviously then, you must attack the second premise, that there is no such thing as universal morality. For if you can prove this premise to be invalid, you would show that the conclusion of the existence of a God to be invalid. Unfortunately, you do not make this point very well. You claim that for something to exist, there must be a cause and effect relationship. However, let me ask you this: "What caused the Big Bang?" (Before you go off attacking me on this, I believe the Big Bang happened, I'm not a young-earth creationist arguing against evolution here, just bad logic.) Either 1) Some "thing" caused it (and if some "thing" had to create that thing); or 2) nothing caused it. Now if nothing caused it, fine, but then you cannot also make the argument that for something to be morally right or wrong something must have caused it to be that way, it is possible that it just is/was. But if you say that something did cause it, you would have to ask what caused that, etc. and you would find yourself "left with an infinite regress of origins."

    So could you give me a better attack against the second premise?

    1. So any god will do providing you can rely on your audience to just assume there is only the one and that somehow your 'argument' proves it's real.

      Unfortunately, as I pointed out, Lewis has merely filled an assumed gap with a god. Of course, we know now that the gap he claimed he had found, and into which he inserted the god he had neatly fashioned to fit, is no gap at all. We have a perfectly adequate explanation for morality which far better fits the facts than the does Lewis's fanciful notion. Indeed, as I explained in Xeno's Religious Paradox the predicted outcome from Lewis's argument is at odds with what we actually see, whilst what we see fits the memetic evolutionary model perfectly.

      Using this model we can predict, for example, that should we discover a new tribe living in the Amazon rain-forest, they a) will have certain basic ethics in common with us; b) their culture will differ in detail; c) they will not be Christians. Lewis's model would predict that they have the same ethics and morality as us, having been given them by the same magic man in the sky.

      Would you like to place a bet?

      Has it never occurred to you that a model which predicts an outcome which is not supported by observation is wrong, by definition? Simply providing you with a conclusion you like, as Lewis does, is no reason to conclude that therefore it's reality which is wrong and the model is perfect.

      Lewis of course knew nothing about memes and memetic evolution, though that doesn't excuse his god of the gaps fallacy. The same cannot be said for people today who still present his argument as a valid one.

    2. Her premise is "there is no god." She will suffer no examination of that premise, nor even try to attempt to evaluate what she means by the words "is" or "god." She epitomizes fanaticism! It's fruitless to waste time crafting thoughtful and nuanced arguments for someone who already has made up their mind.

    3. Er... no. My premise is that there is no evidence for any god.

      Of course, you could prove me wrong in an instant, if you have any evidence for one.

      Why don't you do so? Here's how to do it - Proving Your God Should Be Simple. In your own time...

    4. Incidentally, does it never embarrass you having to be abusive and so 'un-Christian' in order to defend Christianity, just because you have no evidence, logic or reason you can use?

    5. Well, I don't think it's a waste of time. If anything it's a useful exercise that will hopefully keep my mind sharp and not let it go to waste. I just like talking about philosophy and logic.

      And Rosa, it embarrasses us all the time. And often we find that when we look back on what we have said we have a little shame and regret. So I'm sorry if anything I have said has been too sarcastic or seemed like a personal attack. Those really shouldn't have a place here, so I'll try to keep my comments more to the point.

      I'm not sure I understand your Amazonian tribe model, so I don't really want to touch that. Maybe you could elaborate on it for me? (I think A would be correct, B would certainly be correct, and C would most likely be correct, but I'm not sure where I'm supposed to go after that.)

      As for the "Christian model" not lining up, I think your argument is just slightly off. I read your post on Xeno's Paradox, and it was interesting. However, in relating the moral argument to Christianity, you say that Christian nations/groups/peoples should exhibit the exact morality that they profess. I can't think of any single person who can do that at all times. So when you put that into the larger picture, how could a nation be moral? I don't think it's logical to expect "Christian" nations to behave the way their morals say they should, because obviously they don't. In fact, when you say Christian nations often behaved worse than other nations (which is unfortunately at times true) these were times when the "Christian nations" were going directly against the morality that they professed to uphold or they were twisting it for personal/national gain.

      Personally, I find morality and ethics to be subjects both difficult to define and difficult to theorize about. (I have not studied the memetic evolution argument, could you direct me to a post on that subject? Thanks.) But my personal belief, though I'm sure it could be flawed, is that there is an objective morality. I believe there are some parts of morality that every people group on Earth can agree on, even if we have diverged to the point where we disagree on many other points. I think it is important to point out the separation between "objective morality" and "morals and ethics" since Lewis is only speaking of the former.

    6. >I'm not sure I understand your Amazonian tribe model, so I don't really want to touch that. Maybe you could elaborate on it for me?<

      You don't want to touch that but you want me to elaborate on it, eh?

      Moving on...

      If your desired morals come from a god model is correct, you would expect a newly discovered tribe of Amazonians to have the same morals as you do.

      They do not, though they have some basic principles in common.

      The evidence of observation is that human morals and ethics, like living species, which have certain basic things in common yet differ in details, are the product of an evolutionary process. This is reinforced by an even cursory reading of history, where we find the human morals and ethics, like living things, also change over time, and are not the fixed and immutable things they would be if they were handed down from a supernatural being.

      Your 'God did it!' notion not only fails to explain the observable facts - normally regarded as fatal for any scientific idea and why it doesn't even rate the term 'hypothesis' - but, when it makes a prediction, is falsified by it.

      The memetic evolution hypothesis, on the other hand, not only explains the observable facts (which is why it's a hypothesis) but the predictions we can make with it are confirmed by observation.

      Honest people, when faced with a choice between a falsified notion and a confirmed hypothesis, will go with the confirmed hypothesis and so will not need to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to continue to believe (or pretend to believe) the falsified notion.

      Perhaps this explains the 'Amazon tribe model', and also your difficulty with it.

    7. Yes, that does explain it better. The reason I didn't want to address it before was that I wasn't completely sure what you were trying to propose. Now I think I have a better grasp of it.

      When you further explained your model, however, I just got the notion that you're excluding the possibility of God because you've already excluded Him from the equation. Your hypothesis works in its own way, but it still doesn't explain an origin to the objective morals that nearly all cultures share. Whereas my theory does explain that, and then can be coupled with memetic evolution to explain the diversions away from certain objective morals.

      I'm just saying memetic evolution hypothesis doesn't necessarily exclude the idea of a God, just as the general theory of evolution doesn't necessarily exclude the idea of a God. Actually the memetic evolution of morality follows the Christian model of original sin and man's Fall pretty well.

  9. Rosa, could you explain your definition of "Christian God" to me? I also would like to point out that Christianity does not claim to be based on science. Creationism is not science just as evolutionism is not. The beginning of the universe is a past, unnobservable event, therefore speculation on it is outside of the realm of science. Not all claims can have scientific proof.

    1. "Evolutionism"? Old comment, I know, but I couldn't resist.

      Evolutionism is not a thing any more than "gravityism" or "entropyism". Of course Ryan is trying to equate the belief in evolution with a belief in creation, but this is a false equivalence. Evolution is science. Evolutionism, if such a thing existed, would be the belief in a scientific theory. This has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe. But even then the claim that a "past, unobservable event" requires speculation and is outside the realm of science its ludicrous.

      The one thing this commenter gets right is that not all claims can have scientific proof. The vast majority of these claims can not have scientific proof because they are not true and therefore can not be proven. The fact that a claim can not be proven is not actually an argument in favor of believing it. It is a concession to why it likely should not be believed.

      Some true things are unprovable. That does not mean that all unprovable things are true.

      When faced with two competing possibilities, one which has an overwhelming amount of evidence and which further study has only tended towards confirmation (for example evolution or theories about the life cycle of stars), and the other which has no observable basis in fact and is nothing but sheer speculation, logic dictates that the possibility with the supporting evidence should be chosen over the arbitrarily speculative one.

  10. God obviously speaks with a forked tongue-all the sects having different ethics! That tongue also applies to the sects themselves and their scriptures as Theodore Drange notes with his argument from unbelief, in its corollary about having a single scripture and a single revelation for a single religion instead of all the forked tongue nonsense!
    Google the Coyne-Mayr-Lamberth the teleonomic argument that notes that science finds no divine intent, which applies to all arguments with intent, finding that He has no referents as the Divine Miracle Monger, the Divine Designer, Creator and so forth and having incoherent, contradictory attributes, He cannot exist.Therefore, not by dogma or a priori, but by analysis, we rationalists can proudly proclaim that God cannot exist! Therefore, we don't have to traverse the Metaverse nor have to have omniscience ourselves!
    God is therefore that circle that theologians never will square! He is needlessly redundant, despite Alister Earl McGrath, and has no relevance anymore than demons and gremlins as any kind of explanation. He ranks with the perpetual motion machine!
    He is just a theistic obscurantism, that Supreme Mystery, surrounded by still other mysteries, ostensibly as the Ultimate Explanation, the Efficient,Primary Cause and the Sufficient Reason, but in reality just that bombastic reification of the arguments from personal incredulity and from ignorance!Theism reflects the superstitious mind that ever wants assurance for her credulity!
    Ryan, that's poppycock! Circumstantial evidence in the way of serum, fossils , biogeography and so forth eviscerates your love of ignorance!Take the blinders off to ponder the evidence for evolution and against cretinism = creationism @ Talk Origins and Talk Reason.Your God is an empty term for incorrigible credulity! Without evidence for His very existence, you would die needlessly were you a martyr as did all those martyrs, some by the hands of their co-coreligionists!
    Yes, I rock! I am however a fallibilist resting as Fr. Griggs in his Socratic ignorance and naturalist humility!

    1. It is a bold claim that there is no evidence for God, and even bolder to claim that His existence is disproven. What is your proof of this? Also can I ask a somewhat personal question? Why do you find it so important to "enlighten" me(or anyone) to the "fact" that there is no God? Why do you care if I believe there is a God? Certainly you are not worried about my well-being or that I should die needlessly for Him. If you are, don't be; you are wasting time and empathy. What does it matter if I die a few years before you when we are just going to die and cease from existence? I assume that's what you believe will happen when we die, if not, I would be interested to know what you do believe. Like Lewis himself said, if I am wrong about Christianity, it is of no importance, but if I am right, it is of infinite importance.

    2. >It is a bold claim that there is no evidence for God,<

      You could always prove it false by producing some. It would of course make you instantly world-famous, almost certainly earn you a saint-hood, would ensure you became one of history's great figures up there with Paul, Mohammed and Genghis Khan. And it would, naturally, bring about world peace by uniting us all in one religion with you high amongst it's leadership.

      why has no one thought to do so, and more particularly, why have you not done so, please?

      >and even bolder to claim that His existence is disproven. <

      Indeed. which is why I have never done so.

      >What is your proof of this?<

      The question now is why you are making a false implicit claim that I have ever said I have such proof, and of course why you have tried to divest yourself of the burden of proof by the morally bankrupt tactic of trying to shift the burden onto me. See 'Shifting The Burden'.

      Can we take it that you believe the commandment not to bear false witness is either nonsense, or doesn't apply to you?

      The evidence (note evidence, not proof) that there is no god is of course the complete absence of any evidence for one, just as the evidence that there is not a hippo in your loft is the complete absence of evidence for one. It's how normal people in normal life know that something isn't there. See 'Why Did The Believer Cross The Road?'.

    3. Ryan

      > Like Lewis himself said, if I am wrong about Christianity, it is of no importance, but if I am right, it is of infinite importance.<

      I'm afraid if you play Pascal's Wager, you lose, no matter what. See 'Favourite Fallacies - Pascal's Blunder'.

      It's because you've committed the logical fallacy of assuming a priori that which you set out to prove. One might have expected a supposedly great intellect like Lewis to have worked that one out for himself.

      So, what's your opinion? Was Lewis not the intellectual giant Christians like to imagine, or was he a charlatan?

    4. First of all, I know you did not say God's existence was disproven, that post was in response to Ignostic Morgan who said "God cannot exist!" Second of all, evidence for God is all around us, our very existence points to a higher power. I know you will disagree with me on this. Lastly, you are wrong that I "lose no matter what." For one, it isn't about me and my winning or losing, it's about God and His ultimate plan WILL be carried out. But answer me this, assume for a momment Christianity is right. What would that mean for you?

    5. Oops! You 'forgot' to answer my question.

      Wouldn't want people to think you're a hypocrite too...

    6. Your question had nothing to do with what i said to you and it was changing the subject. I was merely pointing out that you didnt answer hia original question. I see no point in trying to talk to you when you are just making personal attacks and writing me off.

    7. But....if you really want me to adress your question I will. First, that is a false dichotomy. Just thought I'd point that out. I wouldn't really say he was either. He was a smart man who had a lot of good theories. I do think it's pretty low to "destroy" a dead man's arguments since he cannot defend them and no one else can truly, 100% know his meaning. I think you'd have a lot more trouble debating the man himself than writing a one sided blog post about something he said. I think he was right on in a lot of his thinking, but I won't say he was perfect. He was still human and humans make mistakes, he would even admit that. I hope you would too. Even so, I don't believe for a minute that he was a charlatan, out to decieve the people. That clearly goes against everything he embodied. Is that a sufficient answer? Would you be kind enough now to grace my question with an answer?

    8. So when people are dead their opinions became sacred, eh?

      Does this apply to all dead people or just the ones whose opinions you would like not to be challenged?

    9. That is not what I said actually. I would appreciate it if you wouldn't put words in my mouth.

    10. Ryan

      Here's what you actually said, as people can see for themselves: "I do think it's pretty low to "destroy" a dead man's arguments...".

      Don't you think it's a bit soon to try denying it yet a while?

    11. I didn't say they became sacred. But you are attacking the person, trying to get people to hate him as much as you do. You misrepresent his arguments making him look like a fool and make yourself look good. Now, are you afraid of my question?

  11. The far easier solution is to deny objective morality — pace Ayers, Sartre, Camus, Hume, Dawkins, Hitchens, Russell, Nietzsche, Blackmore, Churchland, Ruse etc. etc. Oh, and John Gray — have a read of "Straw Dogs".

    "Theism posits unprovable things about god. Humanism posits unprovable things about human beings."

    1. It's relatively simple to show that there is no objective morality; that morality is contextual and has changed through history.

  12. There probably aren't any objective morals. How does the bible teach morality anyway? Anything we see as moral in the bible existed in societies long before the bible was written, eg. 'the golden rule.' Also there's many things in the bible we find quite immoral, eg. slavery, stoning people to death for trivial matters etc. If this is supposed to be derived from God's nature then that's a God I want nothing to do with. Human nature is also subjective. One person could be emphatic or charitable whereas someone else could care less, without being immoral.

    1. addendum: Sorry the auto correct wrote 'emphatic' where it should say: 'empathic or charitable'


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