Monday, December 07, 2015

Defending Premise 2 of the Moral Argument for God's Existence

Here's the video of the debate between British philosopher Peter Williams and American philosopher William Lane Craig on one side, against British philosopher Arif Ahmed and British humanist Andrew Copson on the other side of the question "Is Belief in God a Delusion?"

I listened to Williams's defense of the Moral Argument for God, and was especially interested in his defense of premise 2, which is: Objective moral values exist. Those familiar with Bill Craig will recognize his ideas in Williams's general presentation. But I like some of the additional insights Williams gives. 

Williams forms the argument this way.

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2. At least one objective moral value exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.

Regarding objective moral values (OMVs), are there any OMVs?

  • Anyone arguing that there is evil in the world, and such evil makes it impossible to believe in an all-loving God, certainly thinks there are OMVs. The atheist who states that Pedophilic Roman Catholic priests are wrong to abuse boys is not simply expressing some subjective belief. For if that were all the atheist was claiming (viz., that they, personally, were against this), then all they are expressing is their personal preference and taste.
  • Atheist philosopher Peter Cave thinks, e.g., that torturing innocent children for fun is morally wrong, and objectively so. Cave thinks this is more obvious than any argument made against the existence of objective moral values.
  • If moral subjectivism were true (viz., there are no OMVs), then no one could be mistaken. As Lewis Vaughn writes in the logic text I use, if moral subjectivism were true, then we would all be infallible. We could never be wrong. Which would mean no one could disagree re. moral claims. Which is absurd.
  • Williams states: "If moral objectivism were false, it couldn't be true that we objectively 'ought' to consider arguments against objectivism. Or that we 'ought' to consider them fairly. Knowing this, we see the impossibility of justifying subjectivism. For to embrace an argument for objectivism would be to be to take the self-contrary position that a) there are no OMVs; but that b) we objectively ought to accept subjectivism [i.e., that subjectivism is objectively true, which is absurd]." 
  • Therefore the second premise of the moral argument seems to be secure.