The Instigator
twighlighttrees
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
daley
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Euthyphro dilemma is still a sound argument against Devine command theory

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
daley
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/18/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,043 times Debate No: 61902
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

twighlighttrees

Pro

In this debate I choose to defend the euthyphro dilemma in that it is still a sound argument against the divine command theory. While my favorite topic of debate there are still those who wish to attack the dilemma and this debate is posted so you may have that chance. My initial argument to defend it is that there is no sound argument against it as of yet, and while there may be arguments that seem sound they fail to answer the over lining question of the dilemma which is, what is good? ""Is what is morally good"commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?"
daley

Con

Before God created anything, all that existed was God. Had no beginning. He always was, therefore, his character always existed. It is this eternal, unchanging character that serves as the standard of right and wrong. Anything that agrees with the character of God is right, and anything that goes against his character is wrong.

So nothing ever became good because God commanded it, God commanded it because it was good. But, this does not mean that its "goodness" was therefore a standard independent of God, because God's character is the standard.

Now its pointless speculating about another sources of morality apart from an intelligence because morality doesn't exist outside intelligent minds, which means there would have to be some conscious being in existence for morality to exist.
Debate Round No. 1
twighlighttrees

Pro

My opponents counter argument states, in short, "that Goodness is essentially Gods nature" This *common* avoidance of the question however clever does not answer anything. It is an attempt to split the dilemma into a trilemma, and does not succeed because the question remains. In this case I ask my opponent then, can God control his nature or does his nature have control over him? Each horn of this dilemma will result in the same conclusion as previously stated. My opponent goes further to essentially beg the question God exists by saying "Before God created anything, all that existed was God. Had no beginning. He always was, therefore, his character always existed." This presupposition does not hold up, for my opponent 1.Cannot prove that a God exists and 2. (thinking ahead) If he uses revelation (word of God/bible) to defend this point it is redundant because my opponent is not able to prove it is in fact "his God" not another god "tricking him" giving him the revelation or so called word of God by pretending to be the Christian God.

I however, agree with my opponent "...morality doesn't exist outside intelligent minds, which means there would have to be some conscious being in existence for morality to exist." Because we are the only animals able to analyze and determine the right from the wrong and thus are needed for morality.

I however do not agree with the part his statement " Now its pointless speculating about another sources of morality apart from an intelligence" because I do not argue that morality is independent of an analytical mind as I stated we are needed for morality. I do believe there is a very good point to debate an absolute moral law from a law giver because, if we assume that God is the source of morality when he really is not, then we give way to false laws, doctrine, and law and establish a theocracy based on false pretenses.
daley

Con

So can God control his nature or does his nature have control over him? Nature isn't conscious, so it doesn't consciously control him, but God is unable to defy his nature. So God can only do what is within his nature to do. This in no way indicates that goodness is separate from God, because God's nature isn't separate from God, God's nature, is God. So ultimately, God's character as the source of goodness doesn't make him capricious when making decisions as if he bases his laws on nothing at all arbitrarily, but he bases it on his eternal character. Now why should his character be the basis for goodness? Well, there were literally no other options because before God created the universe, nothing else existed, so what other standard of morality could there be except the one that already existed?

Pro seems to think that a long as God didn't decide at some point what should be right and wrong, good and bad, that this makes the source independent of God, even trying to make the argument that somehow God's nature or character could independent of him. This is ridiculous. You can't separate a thing from its nature.

Pro then says that I begged the question that God even exists, as if this were a debate about the existence of God, when it was he who begged the question by even proposing the question "Is what is morally good"commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" This very question he poses in round 1 assumes the existence of God, and also assumes that some things are morally good. Pro didn't stipulate that this was a debate on whether objective morality even exists, so that things could actually and not just subjectively be morally good; nor did he stipulate that it was about the existence of God. Nor did he stipulate this debate was about whether not just any god, but "my God" exists. And now he expects me to argue for all these points in addition to rebutting the euthyphro dilemma? Such is unreasonable, for each of these are entire debates in themselves, so please keep this in mind when you vote.

Now Pro agrees that morality cannot exist outside a conscious mind, and thus concludes our existence is needed for morality as opposed to God's existence. But this position involves the idea that morality, right and wrong, was simply the invention of humans, and therefore is merely a case of one human opinion versus another. If morality is subjective in this way, then there is no truth about anything being right or wrong, there is just human preference. So the man who rapes and tortures a 8 year old girl till she dies doesn't do anything wrong, he merely acts unfashionably. Such actions such as rape and child abuse are just actions that during the course of human development have become taboo, but that does nothing to show such acts are truly wrong.

The problem with his hypothesis here is that we do have some moral values that transcend cultures and religions, such as faithfulness to one's partner. Monogamy doesn't exist in the animal kingdom, and there is no evolutionary reason to affirm it. Where would such moral values arise in his world without God? After all, if God doesn't exist, are our morals not the accidental product of the random mutations that lead to the development of our brains? And in that case, why even trust them? Yet, Pro debates the issue as if truth is something to be valued, showing that he does hold to moral values. He might claim that truth isn't truly good, but can't act that way. He can't prove it by action, put his money where his mouth is. If morality is not objective, if truth is indeed good, there must be some higher source other than mere human opinion or else we're back to relativism. Where do you stand, Pro?
Debate Round No. 2
twighlighttrees

Pro

My opponent states his argument, If we exam his first paragraph he makes the statement "Nature isn't conscious, so it doesn't consciously control him..." while this immediately seems true an examination at the principle of my argument makes the conclusion that if God cannot control his nature then it is what his nature that dictates the material or essence of everything God is and about thereby it does indeed "control" him. If you are wondering how this is accomplished still think of it like this. If I cannot control my emotional pain (sorrow loneliness etc..), which is apart of my nature to feel under circumstances, then I indeed yield to these emotions. This also is the case with my opponents God, unable to control his natural aspects and thus forced to yield to them for what they are. I did not make the argument that it is a couscous control as that of something behind them.

My opponent also on close examination of the immediate sentence after admits the second horn of our newly stated dilemma to be true "So God can only do what is within his nature to do." My opponent thus accepts the fact God cannot control his nature and will prove to be a prevailing flaw in his divine command theory.

My opponent continues, "This in no way indicates that goodness is separate from God, because God's nature isn't separate from God, God's nature, is God. So ultimately, God's character as the source of goodness doesn't make him capricious when making decisions as if he bases his laws on nothing at all arbitrarily, but he bases it on his eternal character." My opponent makes the claim that goodness is not separate from Gods nature because it is attached to his nature and God is what he is "I am.-God" I do not argue the fact Gods nature is independent of him or that goodness is not attached to his nature, but the fact if God cannot control his nature he thus is not the standard, His natures basis is. ***(please note it is the standard not the nature itself. Therefore any attempt to say "well God is his nature thus Goodness is God would be false. Again this is because it is the logical definitions/ideas that compose his nature which would be the source. Since these ideas are attributes to the framework of the framework of God they are indeed entirely independent of God. Although they may be nature of nature they do not make the nature of God ultimately since the idea and definition of what something is, is something that exists completely independent of all things and are used to give a word meaning. (such can be defined as a logical truth) A perfect form of which we base language off of as you will.)***

One reading this debate would at this point be able to see my argument unfolding. If we take what my opponent has stated as fact in this debate
1. "So God can only do what is within his nature to do." (i.e. He cannot change it he is after all unchanging. I'm sure my opponent will not argue this fact unless he is willing to admit the first horn of the dilemma correct and morality is thus subjective because God can choose is nature and by defacto chose morality as he wishes (subjective choice of preference at least on the subconscious level.)
2. "God's character is the standard." (As we have concluded it is the logical idea/definition of Gods nature, which we have also concluded that is independent of God, Is thus the true standard of morality and morality is not based on the nature of God but what that nature means to be.)
One can then by these two premises accurately conclude that God is thus not required for moral good. Only an understanding of what constitutes his nature is needed (since it's defined by the ultimate authority). Later in the debate I discuss how we have accomplished an understanding of his nature.

One may be thinking as my opponent has quoted, well wait "These things cannot exist without God." (a rough quotation taken from context) To that we say is only a seemingly logical conclusion not one actually true at all. For that is to argue without God nothing is true at all. That would be a presuppositional argument. An argument that states without God to deliver information we would not have the logical foundation to draw a conclusion from. This is where my opponents underlying theme of "begging the question" really comes into play. For my opponent cannot use this as a logical defense because he cannot prove what he predetermines to be true, something his defense crucially needs to be true in order to be a defense at all. My opponent assumes God is true because God tells him of his nature and that being he is eternal(through scripture). The problem for my opponent is that he is unable to
1. Prove God exists in the first place.
2. Prove that it is actually God who gives him this information and not the trickster god we alluded to earlier.
This renders his presuppositional standpoint incomplete and a complete flop and fails to defend his standpoint (that alone should win me the victory in the argument, but I will touch base with the other points he has made.)

My opponent argues that because his God is real there is no other logical conclusion to derive morality but that from his God. However I have demonstrated that indeed God cannot be the ultimate source of Good for it is his natures standard. Yet we are left with morality however, and my opponent again has graciously answered why that is for us in his first rebuttal "morality doesn't exist outside intelligent minds, which means there would have to be some conscious being in existence for morality to exist." and since we have determined ultimately it cannot be from God. It must come from the only other being with a analytical mind, a thought process to differ right from wrong... Us! human beings! The rest of why that is, is simply evolution which there certainly is no room to put all in this debate (ill leave that part up to the reader.)

My opponent continues to expand on his ideas though stating "If morality is subjective in this way, then there is no truth about anything being right or wrong, there is just human preference. So the man who rapes and tortures a 8 year old girl till she dies doesn't do anything wrong, he merely acts unfashionably." This is not true. For anyone who picks up reading material on moral subjectivism will find that morality if defined subjectively (which it is considering no God linked moral law.) will learn that what is Good is indeed Good to he who defines Good as such. The part of raping the young girl a mere flash and awe tactic to scare us away from such thinking. To this I say shame to you my opponent. But it is proven (even if a God exists and is the divine moral law giver) That the man sadistic enough to lose all empathy (the characteristic separating us from barbarians, google it sometime.) is going to see his act of raping the girl good regardless. However because of moral subjectivity this does not make it "unfashionable" as my opponent claims. For just as this can be seen as entirely good to the individual who sees it, it is true it can be seen as entirely morally wrong to someone who doesn't and appeals to empathy. In this case we have completely shown the lack of a need for a absolute moral truth, for we who know what is indeed good when appealing to empathy will act on such good traits and not be subject to "oh well nobody says its wrong lets have fun" as my opponent believes. This entire explanation thus renders my opponents question "Where would such moral values arise in his world without God?" a redundant question, one quite ridiculous to ask really.

Last but not least! In my opponents third paragraph he claims I am infact the one who begs the argument "God exists" This is simply not true in that my intentions to ask the question are to show that even f God exists he cannot be the source of moral truth. This is also applicable with any omnipotent being, that is creator of all things. including the Christian God thus why he is subject to Euthyphro.
daley

Con

If I could show that there is no logical contradiction between the existence of an all-loving, omnipotent, omniscient God, and the existence of evil and suffering in the world, then the argument against God from evil fails. But that does not in itself present any positive arguments in favor of God"s existence. Similarly, to show that the euthyphro dilemma is not a sound argument, I would have refuted Pro without having proved that God exists. This debate is not about if there is positive evidence for God"s existence, but rather, about whether the euthyphro dilemma is a sound, so I only need show his argument is not sound to win this debate, I don"t need to present evidence for God"s existence.

If God"s nature is the source of moral values, I still don"t see how this is independent of God, for God"s nature cannot exist without God, just as human nature cannot exist without humans. So to try to split God and his nature into separate categories is simply splitting hairs needlessly to win an argument. One cannot list all of human nature without describing a human, just as one cannot speak of God"s nature independent of God.

Pro claims that "if God cannot control his nature he thus is not the standard," but says who that to be the source of moral values God needs to be in control of them? When someone I love is in pain its natural for me to be sad. I cannot control feeling sad for them, its in my nature. Emotions come automatically to me. Does that fact that I cannot control the uprising of these emotions mean that I am not the source of these feelings? Are they not emanating from inside of me? So even if God doesn"t control his moral values this in no way proves he isn"t the source. I may invent a product but others may be in control of it besides me, does that mean I"m not the ultimate source of the product? I invented it! So being in control of something has nothing to do with being its source.

Pro says "2. "God's character is the standard." (As we have concluded it is the logical idea/definition of Gods nature, which we have also concluded that is independent of God, Is thus the true standard of morality and morality is not based on the nature of God but what that nature means to be.) One can then by these two premises accurately conclude that God is thus not required for moral good. Only an understanding of what constitutes his nature is needed (since it's defined by the ultimate authority)."

This again fails to show that God"s character can possibly exist apart from God, and thus, without God, there is no character, an no source for moral values. Remember that morality cannot exist outside conscious beings such as God, but the thing that makes God"s character and not our the standard for all others to meet is the fact that his character existed first, and existed eternally. Unlike human character, which in Pro"s view is an accidental product of socio-biological evolution, God"s character wouldn"t be subjective because it was not accidental. Balanced against eternal knowledge, or at the very least, more wisdom than any other being will ever have, it again stands to reason that God"s character would be a fitting standard of moral values.

Pro also makes an assumption about my own personal beliefs that isn"t true. He says "My opponent assumes God is true because God tells him of his nature and that being he is eternal (through scripture)." This isn"t my position at all, nor did I appeal to Scripture in this debate and anyone reading this debate can see that. I know God is true, not because the Bible says so, for I knew God before I knew the Bible to be true. God revealed himself to me, I personally experienced him, and I see no reason to deny the experience of God that I perceived through my five senses anymore than I should deny the existence of the physical world. And while I know many skeptics will say to this, "but what about the many other people who experience a different version of God from you?" to that I simply say this shows there is more than one entity out there people are coming into contact with. This makes more sense of the religious experience than to say that the millions of extremely well-educated people, who have not been diagnosed with any mental illness, who have made significant contributions to science, government, their communities, and worked hard to make the world a better place, are somehow deluded, not being able to tell dream from reality, or that they are just liars who make up all this stuff for attention.

My opponent seems to embrace nihilism in the end. He says "For anyone who picks up reading material on moral subjectivism will find that morality if defined subjectively (which it is considering no God linked moral law.) will learn that what is Good is indeed Good to he who defines Good as such." So Pro is simply repeating the idea that morality is subjective. It is only good to the person who defines good that way, so if a person defines rape as good, as Pro says, it "is indeed godd TO HE WHO defines" it that way. So goodness in Pro"s view is all in the eye of the beholder. And if it"s a human construct we invented and put into the world, we can change it at any time so that rape and murder becoming good as long as a society accepts it as such.

Pro keeps using the terms "this CAN BE SEEN as" when dealing with morality, avoiding ever coming out and saying that rape for sure IS wrong, even if all of us humans one day accept it as good, we would still be wrong, and anyone of you who agrees with me should vote Con. Shame on me? No, Pro, I am calling a spade a spade. Either absolute, objective morality exists, or it doesn"t! If it doesn"t, you have no right to say "shame on you" as you did in your last round, because the only wrong I committed was in your flawed, subjective imagination, but TO ME what I said was right. Who are you to try to impose your standards of morality on me? Only if there is some higher law that transcends human opinions can such matters be truly right or wrong, otherwise, we are left with nothing but the blind, pitiless indifference of nature.

Pro also mischaracterized my position when he said "In this case we have completely shown the lack of a need for a absolute moral truth, for we who know what is indeed good when appealing to empathy will act on such good traits and not be subject to "oh well nobody says its wrong lets have fun" as my opponent believes." Where in this debate have I ever said that I believe people who view morality as he does will necessarily act immorally? Nihilist can act very moral, what they cannot do is provide any good grounds for their morality, and my opponent admits that he doesn"t have, even saying he doesn"t need any. But I sure think that when we sentence someone to life in prison, WE NEED a sound basis for telling them they did something wrong, don"t you? Thus, absolute morality is indeed necessary, for there had to be standard to which we appeal when dealing with those who differ from us.

As for proof of God's existence, the universe is well fine-tuned, only an intelligent mind could be behind it. http://www.google.com...
You can find a complete list here and decide for yourself if the impossible odds of us being here were beated by chance, physical necessity, or design. http://www.google.com... For me, and many others, only God is a logical answer. What kind of being could have created the whole universe and set its laws? You'd have to envision something very close to God.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daley 2 years ago
daley
I just want to know from Pro, do you REALLY think rape isn't wrong? Do you really think rape is only wrong in our minds, subjectively, but isn't TRULY wrong? For example, if everyone in the world were to accept rape as good and right, would that prove that it was right in the same exact way that you think of rape as being wrong today? I just wonder! Cause if you don't believe in objective morality, then our sense of morality is merely and illusion.
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
No im trying to dissuade the fall assumptions about my argument not extend the debate into the comments.
Posted by Jellon 2 years ago
Jellon
At this point, I feel like you're trying to have the debate with me. Obviously, you believe your argument is valid. I believe Con's argument is just as valid, or better. End of story.
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
yes but Good being linked to gods will does not subvert euthyphro as explained in my arguments and in the video I posted, If Good is Gods will then its a matter if "Can God can control his will or can he not?". If he can then he chooses what is moral good which makes it subjective in nature and anything by that case can be considered good. If God cant control his nature then something is dictating what that nature is (logical definition I mentioned earlier.) and that is the true source of morality leaving God redundant.

Whatever you use to split the dilemma into a trilemma by saying Good is linked to x then your just going to fall back into the dilemma again. (as explained in the video.) while debaters such as William lane Craig etc.. may debate this they never have successfully surmounted it.
Posted by Jellon 2 years ago
Jellon
I read up on the Euthyphro Dilemma before. I understand the argument. Perhaps I didn't express my thoughts clearly. My apologies. Let me try this again.
Con argued that without G-d, there would be no such thing as absolute morality, but if G-d exists, then absolute morality is given by G-d's nature. This is Divine Command Theory as discussed by popular philosophical debaters such as William Lane Craig, John Lennox, and Ravi Zacharias; just to name a few. Con co-defined good & evil with the nature of G-d. This effectively subverts the Euthyphro Dilemma.
When I listen to atheists argue that morality exists without G-d, they *often* take the point of view that morality is subjective, not absolute. It is note worthy that Divine Command Theory is a form of Moral Absolutism.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
for anyone else thinking Good is Gods nature is an explanation that defeats euthyphro here is an educational video to show why that is not the case and explains my point better than I can.
https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
Part 3 of my comment to defend myself.
I did not argue also that gods nature was independent of God, I argued to show that what it means to be God's nature is independent. As the meaning of what God's nature is a logical truth defined by its definition, that would exist weather or not God was real. And if good is his nature that wpuld mean only an understanding of the logical definition of his nature is neeeed to for moral goodness. Con by demonstrating gods nature is not independant of God mearly shows con was confused by the explanation which is why it's very important to read carefully what I had placed in stars.
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
My case for the burden of proof was that we cannot base what God is by what he tells us. There must indeed exist an independent tester or way we can exam God to know that his nature is as true as God claims it to be. Otherwise I can show everyone a napkin that says the napkin is all powerful and the proof is written on the napkin. This plays into part against the presuppositionalism argument commonly used to defeat euthyphro by stating we cannot know anything without God. (Way to refute is to show It begs the question God exists) The purpose of it being in my argument was to dissuade such an argument before it could be presented for once a presuppositionalism argument has been presented it's and entire feat of itself to get the presuppositionalist to see why his point is wrongt.
Posted by twighlighttrees 2 years ago
twighlighttrees
The euthyphro dilemma does not assume God exists. (Nor did i argue a god was necesary for divine command theory to be true) It merely demonstrates that if a god with the same nature of the christian God *did* exist it would be a logical impossibility that he could form morality. (If god does not exist euthyphro would indeed be an invalid dilemma but its principle that it means to show [no God linked morals] would still be entirely correct, i.e no God=no divine command theory) Also I have demonstrated that it is still a case against God made morals because of the results of either horn of the dilemma being chosen would present a case where God did not make moral good and I defending those points have proven it is still valid because it cannot be proven invalid and the results of the horn are logically sound.
Con had defended against euthyphro by stating goodness is good because it is linked to Gods nature. You must read my explanation very clearly to see as to why this does not defeat euthyphro and only furthers as to why God isn't the actual source of that good even though his nature is linked to it.
Posted by Jellon 2 years ago
Jellon
Part 2 of 2 - Suggestions for improvement

Con, your argument for cross culture morality doesn't hold in reality. There is no standard that spans cultures. For example, Monogamy isn't practiced by Mormons. Pro didn't capitalize on this mistake, but Pro didn't need to. Your argument had nothing to do with Divine Command Theory. You were stating that we observe certain morals across cultures because they are given by G-d. However, the premise doesn't logically produce your conclusion. A culture may agree to certain standards, because they objectively produce better results, on average, than otherwise. We know that chaos is, on average, worse than order. Rampant theft leads to chaos. Thus it is a logical conclusion that we should prevent people from stealing. As you see, this is the result of objectively measured thriving, and not the result of a divine command.

Pro, you were supposed to argue for the Euthyphro Dilemma. There are plenty of atheists who agree with Divine Command Theory. Aldous Huxley said it well.
http://www.update.uu.se...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
twighlighttreesdaleyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to show that the Euthyphro dilemma is a sound argument against Divine command theory.
Vote Placed by Jellon 2 years ago
Jellon
twighlighttreesdaleyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments