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Sam Harris vs. Lane Craig: Objective Morality

GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 3:26:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Their debate is streaming live tonight at 7 PM Eastern.

Here are some snippets from one of my posts on another forum explaining Craig and Harris' positions on the matter:

"His argument isn't that there must be morality for ethics to make sense, his argument is that there must be a God for objective morality to be possible. He concedes that without God, you can have a coherent, subjective morality, but that is besides the point because as he argues, subjective morality is baseless and not dependent on a transcendent principle.

...[Harris] is arguing for an objective morality that is NOT based on God. This is very interesting because it is rather difficult to argue for an objective morality without a basis on God. So Harris will have to demonstrate that nature has grounded in itself, an objective moral standard."
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 3:41:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At Notre Dame University.

NDtv.net will stream the debate live.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Freeman
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4/7/2011 3:49:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 3:41:58 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At Notre Dame University.

NDtv.net will stream the debate live.

-----> http://www.nd.edu...
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 4:09:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
4:00 PM Pacific Time
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 4:39:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Has anyone read Harris' Moral Landscape?

I'm curious as to how he deals with the fact-value dichotomy and how he intends to derive value judgments from facts about the world. I have an idea as to how he might do this, but I'm curious to hear his approach.

And again, don't underestimate Harris! He's a PhD neuroscientist and philosopher!
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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4/7/2011 5:53:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Wow. No one cares about this topic or what? This debate is going to get national attention based on what I read. It starts in 5 minutes.

CLICK HERE
: http://www.nd.edu...
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
unitedandy
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4/7/2011 5:56:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Given that from the live picture just now, it looks as if there will be a formal structure to the debate, rather than a conversational style, I think they could be picking Harris of the ceiling by the end of the night. I really do hope he has put additional research into this debate, as Craig has obviously poured over Harris' book, and has somewhat already indicated what the focus of his attack will be.

I hate to say it, but I'm predicting and expecting another giant win for Craig.
unitedandy
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4/7/2011 6:08:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 4:39:11 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Has anyone read Harris' Moral Landscape?

I'm curious as to how he deals with the fact-value dichotomy and how he intends to derive value judgments from facts about the world. I have an idea as to how he might do this, but I'm curious to hear his approach.

And again, don't underestimate Harris! He's a PhD neuroscientist and philosopher!

Although I haven't read his latest book (which is, after all, the most relevant to the debate), I have read the end of faith and letter to a christian nation. Both of these books had parts that I agree with (be it Harris' push for less of a proteced approach to talking about religion and its dangers or the passages he singles out at the beginning of his letter and asks probing questions to the christian). However, particularly in his letter, Harris shows himself to be philosophically naive when he endorses the Dawkins Gambit and asks the who designed the designer question, and Craig will probably nail him for it.
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 6:32:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Craigs opening speech is ruthless, however, people must realize that Sam Harris is defending a position that's harder to prove than proving God's existence with absolute certainty.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 6:48:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Harris is quite persuasive so far.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
PervRat
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4/7/2011 6:58:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I've seen Christians attempt to replace science with 'Christian Science' to explain the incongruities of biblical fables such as Noah's flood (which would require more water on Earth than is present in every ocean, lake, glacier and ice cap, and the mere existence of tribes in Africa, across Asia and the Americas, some of which have evidence to support their existence in those lands for tens of thousands of years, far from the land Noah was believed to be in conflicts with the claim that every land was covered in flood). Based on that, I am really not interested in Christian "experts" attempting to use reason to support the unreasonable.

There is no truly universal morality. Religion, even one particular religion -- Christianity -- is inherently subjective; just look at the numerous sects of Christianity each with differing interpretations of the bible, its stories and characters. Religion requires proceeding on faith not only when there is no evidence to support its assertions, but even in the face of specific contradicting evidence or even self-inconsistencies within the religion's doctrines and fables.
Cliff.Stamp
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4/7/2011 6:58:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 6:48:08 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Harris is quite persuasive so far.

Seriously?

Your friend has a chronic disease, there is no cure, he is in immense pain, so much so that he can take no action and he has to be maintained by forced inflation of his lungs as he can not breath on his own (nor of course eat or drink).

In his living will he has notes that he should never be maintained in such a state. You go to the doctor and ask for the life support to be turned off - Harris then rushes in and notes you are objectively wrong and your friend was not sane when he wrote such a document.

Harris also confused ontology vs epistemology.
Freeman
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4/7/2011 7:01:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
As someone who has read The Moral Landscape (I'm not sure if Craig has), I can immediately spot several straw men in that first round. Harris does not, for example, defend the view that humans do not have free will - nice cheap shot, though.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
Freeman
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4/7/2011 7:10:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Owned.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 8:01:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Craigs argument is that God is by definition intrinsically good, and that the ontological status of morality rests on God objectively.

Harris' argument is that the worst possible misery is by definition, bad. Even in the philosophy of religion, it is accepted that the definition of evil is suffering. Suffering is scientifically and objectively quantifiable as explained by Harris' explanation of pain as a subjective fact. The ontological status of morality rests on nature which is discoverable through scientific means.

@Cliff.Stamp

How does Harris confuse the two?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 8:10:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Craig criticized Harris for saying that science and the science of morality rests on axioms, but as Harris rebutted, every objective paradigm rests on some accepted axioms.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
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4/7/2011 8:12:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 7:01:53 PM, Freeman wrote:
Harris does not, for example, defend the view that humans do not have free will - nice cheap shot, though.

"You seem to be an agent acting of your own free will. As we shall see, however, this point of view cannot be reconciled with what we know about the human brain."

"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

"I, as the subject of my experience, cannot know what I will next think or do until a thought or intention arises; and thoughts and intentions are caused by physical events and mental stirrings of which I am not aware."

-- Sam Harris

You're right - big cheap shot there. Oh wait...
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 8:16:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:12:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 4/7/2011 7:01:53 PM, Freeman wrote:
Harris does not, for example, defend the view that humans do not have free will - nice cheap shot, though.

"You seem to be an agent acting of your own free will. As we shall see, however, this point of view cannot be reconciled with what we know about the human brain."

"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

"I, as the subject of my experience, cannot know what I will next think or do until a thought or intention arises; and thoughts and intentions are caused by physical events and mental stirrings of which I am not aware."

-- Sam Harris


You're right - big cheap shot there. Oh wait...

Source?

And even still, Sam's personal belief about free will doesn't affect the truth of the topic he is arguing for. It's possible for Harris to prove a proposition which contradicts one of his own personal views.

However, Sam's argument didn't rely on whether we were free to choose our actions, he simply argued that there is an objective standard for quantifying something as good or bad, not that we actually have a choice to do good or bad.

So really, Harris' determinism doesn't necessarily contradict his views on morality.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
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4/7/2011 8:22:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:16:53 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/7/2011 8:12:17 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 4/7/2011 7:01:53 PM, Freeman wrote:
Harris does not, for example, defend the view that humans do not have free will - nice cheap shot, though.

"You seem to be an agent acting of your own free will. As we shall see, however, this point of view cannot be reconciled with what we know about the human brain."

"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

"I, as the subject of my experience, cannot know what I will next think or do until a thought or intention arises; and thoughts and intentions are caused by physical events and mental stirrings of which I am not aware."

-- Sam Harris


You're right - big cheap shot there. Oh wait...

Source?

And even still, Sam's personal belief about free will doesn't affect the truth of the topic he is arguing for. It's possible for Harris to prove a proposition which contradicts one of his own personal views.

However, Sam's argument didn't rely on whether we were free to choose our actions, he simply argued that there is an objective standard for quantifying something as good or bad, not that we actually have a choice to do good or bad.

So really, Harris' determinism doesn't necessarily contradict his views on morality.

I didn't say it did, I was just commenting on Freeman's comment.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
GeoLaureate8
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4/7/2011 8:25:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:17:41 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
This was not even a debate, and the audience should be ashamed, especially if any of them were students of philosophy.

At least a couple of them had good questions. That one kid got Craig on his question whether the statement "God exists" is an "ought" or an "is," Craig said "is," and the student retorted "if you can't get an ought from an is, how can you get objective morals from the statement 'God exists.'" Craig then only had a weak response saying that morals come from a "competent authority" which Sam Harris intervened and refuted beautifully.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Reasoning
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4/7/2011 8:41:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:25:08 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/7/2011 8:17:41 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
This was not even a debate, and the audience should be ashamed, especially if any of them were students of philosophy.

At least a couple of them had good questions. That one kid got Craig on his question whether the statement "God exists" is an "ought" or an "is," Craig said "is," and the student retorted "if you can't get an ought from an is, how can you get objective morals from the statement 'God exists.'" Craig then only had a weak response saying that morals come from a "competent authority" which Sam Harris intervened and refuted beautifully.

This.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
unitedandy
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4/7/2011 8:42:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:17:41 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
This was not even a debate, and the audience should be ashamed, especially if any of them were students of philosophy.

I think I have to agree. Craig was best pointing out some of the flaws of Harris' thesis, and was typically well-organised and kept on point. His defence of point 1 however was as weak an argument I have seen from Craig, and its here that Harris somewhat expectedly made the most ground.

Harris was in large part unable and seemingly unwilling to defend his argument from some of Craig's attacks, and spent some time going off topic about mystical experiences and the like. There were however points which he made pretty forcefully, such as continually raising objections to the kind of morality one gets from divine command theory, singling out hell and biblical atrocities in particular.

All in all, a pretty disappointing exchange, with a few noteworthy moments.
Cliff.Stamp
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4/7/2011 9:23:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:25:08 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:

Craig then only had a weak response saying that morals come from a "competent authority" which Sam Harris intervened and refuted beautifully.

Hardly, he noted the ought came from the divine command, Harris showed lack of understand of divine command theory in his reply, it is not an argument from authority.
Cliff.Stamp
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4/7/2011 9:34:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/7/2011 8:42:58 PM, unitedandy wrote:

There were however points which he made pretty forcefully, such as continually raising objections to the kind of morality one gets from divine command theory, singling out hell and biblical atrocities in particular.

That actually was not the issue at hand though which Craig kept pointing out, and neither the audience nor Harris understood. Imagine for example I said Einstein did not have a theory of Gravity because various people did not understand or misapplied it. This is obviously nonsensical, yet that is what Harris was arguing.

Each time this was brought up Craig pointed out that these were the as noted herrings and all Harris could do to defend his position was to note well ok, there is no objective morality in atheism, but all of science has to rest on foundational principles as well so it is not an objective truth as well. Not only did he concede the debate right there, he also argued for there being no objective truth in science as a whole.

The saddest part was Harris knew exactly what Craig was going to say, he always makes the same arguments, and that was actually the best he could do.