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1 Corinthians 15:12-17
I appreciate your candor.
I am very familiar with Presupp. and use it as well! In fact, if you type in "presuppositional apologetics" on youtube a discussion between an atheist and yours truly will appear at the top of the search. I have listened to hundreds of hours of Bahnsen, love his work and benefited greatly from him! I don't think classical and presuppostional apologetics are inextricably opposed to one another....I like to keep both of them in my arsenal and I never start on so-called neutral ground...in fact premise 1 of the argument is set up as a sort of "impossibility of the contrary."
In the words of Dr. William Lane Craig
"Thus, although arguments and evidence may be used to support the believer’s faith, they are never properly the basis of that faith. For the believer, God is not the conclusion of a syllogism; He is the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelling within us. How then does the believer know that Christianity is true? He knows because of the self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit who lives within him.”
Sorry for the delay. The book is finished and will be released in the month of May. With regard to your question, I will have to ask my publisher about what I can and cannot make available for preview.
You ask me if the TMA is valid. And of course you already know the answer---it's quite obviously valid. So if a positive atheist wants to deny the existence of God, he had better be prepared to deny that both premises are true. But notice that denying both premises are true does not require us to deny a particular premise. So an atheist is perfectly free to remain undecided as to which of them is false (or perhaps that both are false). There's nothing inherently unreasonable in declining to make that decision.
I certainly think someone can reserve from taking a position on either of the premises...However I feel if someone wants to deny the conclusion but does not do so on the grounds of TMA it would be a sort of tacit admission. Perhaps they might have other arguments.
As for the rest of your response...I feel we are at a bit of an impasse that has potential to digress the more it goes.
I appreciate the time you have taken in this exchange and I hope this message finds you well!
By the rules of formal logic -in this case Modus Tollens- the conclusion follows logically and inescapably if the premises are true. Do you disagree?
In answer to premise (2) being unjustified I appealed to the fact that many of us apprehend the objective reality of moral values. Perhaps you don't, I wouldn't insist you do, but at the same time your lack apprehension should not cause those of us who do apprehend the objective realm of moral values to start doubting that acts like rape and torturing babies perhaps isn't objectively wrong. Do you deny that rape is objectively wrong?
"As long as we fix a clear meaning to our moral terms, we can evaluate their truth/falsity in the ordinary way, by looking out into the world and seeing if it matches the situation described by our moral statements. So for instance if I say that 'one ought not torture infants,' I mean that torturing infants directly violates any service of the values we hold for preserving and promoting human well-being. (This presupposes a Harris-like moral theory, which I think has good support.) We can evaluate its truth by looking to see if torturing infants does in fact violate that service."
Just as Craig pointed this out to Harris in their debate. Harris-morality is just a tautology in which he defines goodness in non-moral terms of human flourishing. In the absence of God, morality is an evolved convention so how does that provide for objective value? How is morality grounded? You still have explained how you get an ought from facts about how the universe just is.
you ask me how my moral prescriptions have Craig-objectivity.
Yes, it is troubling how you keep attempting to redefine objective morality as something different than what has been presented in TMA.
"at least part of what we mean when we make moral claims bears directly on human well-being."
And there is the assumption again…In the absence of God why think that human flourishing has objective value? Will you arbitrarily define human flourishing to be objective? How would that not be a tautology? How would that not be species-ism?
In answer to your confusion about the is-ought problem for on your hands. The Theist experiences no such problem on Divine Command Theory as God is the grounding source of objective moral values and by extension moral duties.
Exactly what rule of logic are you saying is not universal and by what logic did you use to arrive at that conclusion?
"As to the moral argument: I am indeed using a different meaning of 'objectivity'"
Exactly, you are not using it the way it has been presented in the argument.
"...unjustified proposition about the ontology/origin of morality."
Exactly what proposition are you referring to? And how is it unjustified? It is unclear what premise of TMA you are addressing.
"Now, regarding the is-ought problem, I'm not sure how this helps your case."
The is-ought problem is your problem in the absence of God. Without God how do you get beyond a moral description to prescription?And how would it be objective in the sense that objective is used in TMA?
"This presupposes a Harris-like moral theory, which I think has good support.)"
I have a list of problems with Harris' moral landscape if you care to go that route. I presume you are aware of Craig's knockdown argument in the Craig-Harris debate?
2. I never said it is "wrong," the point is that in the absence of God there is no such thing as "wrong." In a Godless universe it is an unjustified assumption to hold that human beings are somehow special in the universe. Bottom line is that in the absence of God, the same universe that coughed up human beings also indiscriminately coughed up mosquitoes and amoeba. Likewise the universe will swallow up all the mosquitoes, amoeba and human beings indiscriminately. In the absence of God, the universe doesn't care and human beings hold no special place.
You are pouring a different meaning into objectivity again which is not part of the argument as you know.
On the objectivity that you describe do you not have to deal with the "is" "ought" problem? Where does moral obligation come from if it is regardless of any persons to issue the obligation? Until you can answer this the rest of what you said appears flawed.
On equivocation- I simply pointed out that you affirm objective morality in an equivocated sense as opposed to what was put forth in the argument. Its true.