Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Article: The Self-Evident Nature of Objective Moral Truths by J. Warner Wallace

In this featured article, J. Warner Wallace demonstrates how to argue that objective moral truths are self-evident in nature.

You can check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

9 comments:

Andrew Ryan said...

Wallace doesn't actually make an argument for Objective Moral Truths.

"You’ll be hard-pressed to find a culture that used “for the fun of it” as a justification."
That's effectively an argument from popularity. There are times in the past when the majority supported all sorts of things we almost universally reject today, from slavery to forbidding women to vote.

"When people still refuse to affirm something as self-evident as, “It’s never OK to torture babies for fun"

Again, an argument from popularity. He's asserting it as 'self-evident'.

"She intuitively understood the need for proper justification"

Argument from intuition.

“So, you’re saying that there could be a scenario in which it is morally acceptable to torture babies merely for the fun of it?"

It doesn't matter what we say, you're supposed to be giving us evidence, evidence that shouldn't depend on our own feelings, emotions or opinions. There are lots of issues where people on both sides of the debate are incredibly sure they are right – we can't use this as evidence that either is 'transcendently right' or we'd have to say both sides were.

"If there are such transcendent truths, I think we owe it to ourselves to attribute them to a proper and foundationally reasonable source."

Where this is leading is Wallace arguing that without a God, we cannot say that baby torture is wrong. But we turn his own argument back on him and say atheists CAN say it's wrong, simply because we all agree it's wrong, all cultures say it's wrong, it's self-evidently wrong, and we can intuit it is wrong. That's the same argument he used.

Further, we can use his own argument back on himself and say that HE is the one saying that it's not transcendently wrong, because he asserts it requires a God's existence to justify it, rather than accepting it as simply transcendent.

Anonymous said...

The purpose of the article is to demonstrate the self-evident nature of objective moral truths. Self–evident, according to my dictionary, is defined as not needing to be demonstrated or explained, obvious.

Yes, objective moral truths are popular and intuitive (I thank God for that by the way). But does the idea that they are popular and intuitive mean that I should believe they are not self-evident as you suggest??? If they were not self-evident I don’t think they would be intuitive and therefore not popular.

Do you think objective moral truths are self-evident? Do you think anything can be self-evident? If so what evidence would you give for it? What is the basis for the things you hold, if any, to be self-evident?

God bless,
Ron

Andrew Ryan said...

"Self–evident, according to my dictionary, is defined as not needing to be demonstrated or explained"

If they don't need to be explained, why do apologists insist that a) we must explain them, and b) God is the only explanation?

"But does the idea that they are popular and intuitive mean that I should believe they are not self-evident as you suggest?"

That's not what I suggested. I questioned why them being popular and intuitive means they are self-evident. I didn't say the fact that they were popular and intuitive meant they were NOT self-evident.

"Do you think objective moral truths are self-evident?"
I'm not sure the concept of OMT is coherent, but that wasn't the point of my post. I was pointing out that the author had not provided evidence for their existence, and I believe my point still stands.

Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew, Thanks for your reply. Here are my responses.

“That's not what I suggested. I questioned why them being popular and intuitive means they are self-evident. I didn't say the fact that they were popular and intuitive meant they were NOT self-evident. “

“I'm not sure the concept of OMT is coherent, but that wasn't the point of my post. I was pointing out that the author had not provided evidence for their existence, and I believe my point still stands.”

So I think what you are saying is that OMT’s being “only” popular and intuitive doesn’t make their existence self-evident, if they exist at all, they need a little more help, more qualifiers? I agree that being popular by itself is not a good qualifier. That was my point earlier; they are found to be intuitive by most people and are therefore popular. So, is OMT’s being only intuitive enough to for someone to accept that they exist.

Most people intuitively know when they are doing something wrong, and they intuitively know when they are being wronged. Most can understand this point through examples. Which is the point of this article, people can understand that OMT’s exist through their own experiences, they are self-evident to them. I know this to be true for me and I have no good reason to doubt my intuition on this matter. But you are certainly free to disagree.

“If they don't need to be explained, why do apologists insist that a) we must explain them, and b) God is the only explanation?”

I’m not claiming to have heard all apologist, but from what I recall from the ones that I have heard and certainly in this article, the point is that most people intuitively understand that OMT’s exist. Once the existence of OMT’s is established, then their grounding can be explored. The possible alternatives can be examined to determine the most coherent explanation of OMT’s existence. Which is not addressed in this article but he does hint to what he thinks is the best explanation.

God bless,
Ron

Andrew Ryan said...

Thanks for your reply, Ron.

"So I think what you are saying is that OMT’s being “only” popular and intuitive doesn’t make their existence self-evident"

I'm saying it doesn't even count as evidence for Objective Morality's existence.

"the point is that most people intuitively understand that OMT’s exist"

You assume in your use of 'that' that OMT's DO exist. Apologists can claim that most people intuitively FEEL that OMTs exist, but even this relies on a leap, one that relies on the apologists' interpretation of how people would act if they did NOT believe in OMTs. "People would act THIS way if they didn't believe in them, and seeing as they DON'T act that way, they must believe in them".

Leaving all that aside, even if we accept the apologist claim that most people believe in them, it remains an argument from popularity.

I could say that I feel intuitively that certain acts of God's genocide are evil. Yet apologists like William Lane Craig would tell me that I must cast aside that intuition, as it makes no sense to call any act of God 'Evil'. So why does my intuition suddenly become bad evidence?

Chase said...

Andrew,

Are you saying that you need evidence beyond our intuitions to conclude that the torturing of babies is objectively wrong?

Do you think the torturing of babies is objectively wrong?

Andrew Ryan said...

Chase, if you're saying the wrongness of baby torture is subject to the existence of God, then you don't believe it's objectively wrong. And if God told you to torture a baby, you'd have to conclude it was moral to do it. But that's by the by - your question misses the point I made in my last para, which critiques WLC's argument on its own logic. You don't need to ask my own opinions on the issue of baby torture - I've shown WLC's argument doesn't work.

Chase said...

Hi Andrew,

It seems to me from your comments that you need evidence beyond your intuition that baby torture is objectively wrong.

So, again I ask you, what evidence beyond your feelings, emotions, and opinion do you require to conclude that torturing babies for the fun of it is wrong for all people, in all places, at all times? And do you think torturing babies for the fun of it is wrong for all people, in all places, at all times?

Until you answer these questions I will not address arguments and statements I have not made and see no reason to continue our discussion.

Respectfully.

Randall said...

Fantastic!