If Good and Evil Exist then God Exists

A wonderful empty thought with lots of meaning for you to think about.

A better thought.

That is not the argument he makes at all…

There is not.

It does not.

They do not.

If you would understand that “causation” is undefined (and cannot be defined) for the universe, you would see the fallacy on your own. If you don’t, that is not my problem.

Then name the society where theft is legal.
Name the society where being a “deadbeat dad” or a negligent mother is considered morally permissible.
Name the society where it is not considered shameful to break a vow or go back on one’s word.
Name the society where the concept of fair play is not considered fair.
Name the society where it is considered permissible to take credit for someone else’s work.
Name the society where no one has a problem with a co-worker getting a promotion instead of more qualified fellow employees because he’s the boss’ friend.
Name the society where lying is considered a virtue.

I’m being rhetorical about all this, but if you still hold to the opinion that there is no universally accepted sense of morality then I challenge you to provide the answers.

From the writings of C.S. Lewis:

I know that some people say that the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But they haven’t. They have had only slightly different moralities. Just think of what a quite different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud for double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might as well try to imagine a country where two and two make five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to - whether it was only your family, or to your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you mustn’t simply have any woman you liked.

  • C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 5.

If you would understand that “causation” is undefined (and cannot be defined) for the universe, you would see the fallacy on your own. If you don’t, that is not my problem.

First of all, I challenged you to make a point-by-point refutation of Kreeft’s material and so far you’re dodging that. If his position is, as you stated, a weak argument then you should have no problem with demonstrating it to be so by making a skillful rebuttal. As it stands now, simply calling Kreeft “dumb” and his position “weak” without actually demonstrating why is an argumentum ad hominem fallacy.

Along these lines, let me point out that your comments about causation do not amount to a proper rebuttal. If you want to go this route then it is incumbent upon you to:

  1. Define what you mean by the term “causation.”
  2. Explain why an appeal to causation (as you defined it) amounts to fallacious reasoning.
  3. Use quotes from Kreeft demonstrating him engaging in this fallacious reasoning.

Secondly, I stated earlier, “So far all you’ve done is stated your own unsubstantiated opinion as to what constitutes morality and then rejected Kreeft’s conclusions because they contradict it.” Now you’re doing the exact same thing again. In saying, “If you would understand that “causation” is undefined (and cannot be defined) for the universe, you would see the fallacy on your own” what you are, in essence, saying is, “If you agreed with my unsubstantiated opinion about causation then you would also reject Kreeft’s position because it rejects it.” You’ll pardon me if I fail to find such a line of “reasoning” to be compelling.

How is it not relativism?

250 years ago in America slavery might have been justified as moral because it was the norm in ancient civilizations. Weak as that argument is, Kreeft’s is even weaker - slavery is immoral despite it being the norm in ancient civilizations. He simply claims our view is objectively true for no other reason than it’s our view. It’s what might be called cultural imperialism. He couldn’t be more relativist, he’s the very definition of a relativist.

Well, let’s see if we can put that to the test. Pick out a position of his from the video clip that you think is the most fallacious. Clearly state the fallacy being committed and then demonstrate where Kreeft committed this fallacy (using actual quotes of his).

The whole thing is so dreadful we may as well take his first point.

Have you ever read an atheist argument where the author first makes her own definition of God, then knocks it down, thereby “proving” God does not exist? (Where actually all she proved was her definition was wrong.)

Kreeft does the same thing: sets up a strawman (“where do good and evil come from?”) to define his own causes, then knocks them all down except for the one he wants to keep.

It pains me as a Christian. He is preaching to a choir with empty words. Thomas Aquinas would be turning in his grave. :slight_smile:

Perhaps not in his book, but it is in the video.

Indeed.

Kreeft is simply arguing this: if the concept of slavery being evil does not come from evolution (and, clearly, it does not), then where do we get the concept of slavery being evil from?

For the simple fact that relativism never enters into his line of reasoning. I will clearly demonstrate why as I address your other points.

250 years ago in America slavery might have been justified as moral because it was the norm in ancient civilizations.

Kreeft did not say that a certain society (such as America prior to the Civil War) may try to say that slavery is permissible because previous societies practiced it. Even if that is true, such a stance does not enter into Kreeft’s premise. If you still claim that it does then provide an actual quote from the video showing where it happened.

Weak as that argument is, Kreeft’s is even weaker - slavery is immoral despite it being the norm in ancient civilizations. He simply claims our view is objectively true for no other reason than it’s our view. It’s what might be called cultural imperialism.

No, that is not what he said! Seeing as you are, for some reason, refusing to provide Kreeft’s actual quotes, I will. What he really said was:

“…any supposed morality that is evolving can change. If it can change for the good or the bad, there must be a standard above these changes to judge them as good or bad. For most of human history more powerful societies enslaved weaker societies, and prospered. That’s just the way it was, and no one questioned it…”

(Here Kreeft is not making an opinion, but expressing a historical fact. For example, there were no laws against slavery in the ancient world, and it was still practiced in many areas even up to modern times.)

“Now we condemn slavery…”

(This is not a relative opinion about morality but instead an objective assessment of civil law throughout the world. Whereas slavery was once legal, now it is outlawed. The question for each person to ask is, “Why is it now condemned?” If we respond, “Because it is immoral” then we have to examine whether or not a morality system based on evolution supports such a judgment call).

“But based on a merely evolutionary model, that is, an ever changing view of morality, who is to say that it won’t be considered acceptable again one day? Slavery was once accepted, but it was not, therefore, acceptable…”

*(The context of this last part is the prevalent modern day notion that slavery is considered to be an immoral practice regardless of the era where it took place. Notice in the video that this is illustrated with word phrase “Slavery was acceptable: Never” appearing on the screen. In other words, the view of most people today is that even in the past when slavery was considered permissible, those ancient people practiced slavery out of greed, ignorance, and of the view that “might makes right.” Even though many slave owners in the past were law-abiding *, we don’t consider their actions righteous.

“If you can’t make that distinction between accepted and acceptable, you can’t criticize slavery. And if you can* make that distinction, you are admitting to objective morality.”

(In light of all this, this is not a philosophical explanation of why slavery is immoral regardless of when it was practiced. Kreeft presumes that the listener already believes it to be so. Rather, this is Kreeft’s explanation as to why a system of morality based on a merely evolutionary standard does not provide a foundation for making such a judgment call.)

He couldn’t be more relativist, he’s the very definition of a relativist.

I hope I have now cleared this up. You stated that Kreeft, “…simply claims our view is objectively true for no other reason than it’s our view. It’s what might be called cultural imperialism.” I have now shown that Kreeft never said or did such a thing. If you still say otherwise then point out the exact statement that Kreeft made where he resorted to relativism and make your case. Once again, this is not an explanation as to why slavery is immoral. Kreeft simply uses such things as slavery and the nazi attrocities of WWII as examples of things that most people today readily agree are evil.

(Continued in my next post)*

(Continued…)

The whole thing is so dreadful we may as well take his first point.

Have you ever read an atheist argument where the author first makes her own definition of God, then knocks it down, thereby “proving” God does not exist? (Where actually all she proved was her definition was wrong.)

Kreeft does the same thing: sets up a strawman (“where do good and evil come from?”)

In a debate, the straw man fallacy involves a person giving a rebuttal to a position that his opponent did not actually make. Usually when this happens, the person committing the fallacy cannot properly refute a strong position of his opponent and therefore fabricates a weaker position to attack instead.

Kreeft does not employ a straw man. After all, atheists do believe in good and evil, in morality and immorality. I have yet to meet one who doesn’t. As a matter-of-fact, one of things I have heard repeatedly said by atheists is, “I don’t have to be religious in order to be a good person.” If you still disagree then clearly explain why the initial question, “Where do good and evil come from?” amounts to a straw man.

…to define his own causes,

Kreeft does not “define his on causes”. He stated, “Where do good and evil come from? Atheists typically propose a few possibilities. Among these are evolution, reason, conscience, human nature, utilitarianism.” Going back to the concept of a straw man, Kreeft would be guilty of a straw man fallacy if atheists did not actually resort to evolution, reason, conscience, human nature, and utilitarianism as the basis for making moral judgments. And yet a few simple Google searches show that they do. Moreover, Kreeft admits that there are other professed causes out there, but seeing as this entire video is less than six minutes, he chose five of the most prominent to address.

…then knocks them all down except for the one he wants to keep.

This is only a problem if, in the process of knocking them down, Kreeft utilized fallacious reasoning. If that is the case then name the fallacy (or fallacies) involved and provide the actual quotes from Kreeft demonstrating him doing so.

It pains me as a Christian. He is preaching to a choir with empty words.

Ok, so far in this thread here are the statements you’ve used to describe Kreeft and his material:
”His reasoning throughout is inane, it’s as if he took a bet to commit every fallacy in the book. Is he always that infantile?”
“He couldn’t be more relativist, he’s the very definition of a relativist.”
”The whole thing is so dreadful”
”Kreeft does the same thing: sets up a strawman
And, of course…
It pains me as a Christian. He is preaching to a choir with empty words.

You make such statements without addressing what Kreeft actually said. So far the only quote you provided from Kreeft is, “Where do good and evil come from?” Everything else you posted is an inaccurate assessment of what he stated. In other words, in trying to prove that Kreeft used a straw man, you used one yourself (although perhaps not intentionally), as I have now fully documented. Don’t you think that if someone makes such harsh statements such as “infantile”, “inane” “dreadful” and “empty words” then they should be properly backed up? Not only would that be common courtesy, but should especially be considered standard procedure on a philosophy forum. And be assured, if I saw someone doing that same sort of thing to you on a forum then I would be coming to your defense with the same dedication that I am now doing for Kreeft.

I was talking about the video, not his book. I think you should watch it again and pay more attention to that segment.

Excellent comments. :thumbsup:

Very good. Universally held views on Good and Bad behavior are impossible without a Lawgiver with Universal Authority. " … I will write my law on their hearts…" Dispersed societies with no contact with each other and no relationships of intertwining authority have throughout history acknowledged certain irreducible thresholds of moral behavior. This proves it is not a matter of " evolution " or " social compact " or " political force. " It can only come from a universal lawgiver acting on the consciences of all people.

People hate Kreeft because he is a Force to be reconed with. :thumbsup:

Your sunny disposition is simply arresting.:whistle:

Theft is a legal constuct, based upon the concept of private property. In those societies, where there was no concept of property, there was no “theft”.

There are many socities where children are raised as a communal method. There are no such “things” as “deadbeat dads” there. Etc… etc…

Not “universally”… in certain socities. Of course you did not bring up other, more interesting cases. In the modern (hypocritical) societies public nudity and publicly performed sexual activities are “immoral”. In older, simpler societies (especially in the hot climates) they were perfectly acceptable.

Ever heard that “discretion is the batter part of valor”??

Total selfishness is as wrong as total selflessness. Both are idiotic behaviors.

I decline, yes. I am simply not interested in refuting some third party material. But if you are willing to give a synopsys of one of those argument - with your own words - then I will reflect on it.

You might just look up what the “argumentum ad hominem fallacy” is. Because you are wrong, and I am not interested in correcting you. It is too boring…

Causation is a physical phenomenon, roughly like of billiard ball hitting another one. Since “before” the Big Bang there was no physical matter, there can be no causation. If you wish to argue a “non-physical” causative method, first demonstrate that such phenomenon exists. The James Randi foundation has a reward for any kind of “supernatural” or “paranormal” demonstration. You can have a million bucks for your effort. Ready to take the challenge?

Fair enough. But in NO SOCIETY has it ever been permitted for a man to take *]what belongs to *another.

Well, there you go. We are agreed that there is a universal wrong: total selfishness is always wrong, in all cases, at all times. :thumbsup:

Trurl, I am interested, given your assertion that honesty is not respected here on the CAFs, if you could address this post you made on another thread.

This is indeed a curious assertion, given that the CAFs came into existence in 2004. Can you proffer some explanation as to how you could claim to be lurking on a forum for 2 years before it even existed? :hmmm:

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It seems that Trurl has gotten himself banned. Although this prevents him from participating in this thread further, it does not prevent him from reading it. Therefore, for his benefit and for the benefit of others who’ve been following our exchange, I will now respond to the points he recently directed to me.

First of all, I challenged you to “name the society where theft is legal.” You didn’t do that.

Secondly, theft is not simply a legal construct based on private property! Humans have always believed that a person has personal belongings which must be protected. If a cave man killed and cooked a deer to feed his family and someone tried to steal it, are you seriously suggesting that the man wouldn’t see this as an offense and bash the thief’s head in with his club?

There are many socities where children are raised as a communal method. There are no such “things” as “deadbeat dads” there.

I challenged you to “name the society where where being a “deadbeat dad” or a negligent mother is considered morally permissible.” You didn’t do that. Instead you mentioned “many societies” where the terms “mom” and “dad” are not applicable due to communal raising. Actually, although I know there are communal societies, I know of none where the child’s biological parents are not still recognized as the mother and father, so my challenge to you was still relevant even in a communal setting. But even if there are societies where a child’s biological parents are not recognized, the basic concept is still the same. No society believes that it is morally permissible for those responsible for caring for children to be negligent in this undertaking.

Etc… etc…

“Etc…etc…” = dodge, dodge

Of the seven challenges I listed, you ignored five and failed to properly address the two you accepted (as I have now demonstrated).

Not “universally”… in certain socities. Of course you did not bring up other, more interesting cases. In the modern (hypocritical) societies public nudity and publicly performed sexual activities are “immoral”. In older, simpler societies (especially in the hot climates) they were perfectly acceptable.

My argument is that there are certain aspects of moral law which are universal; I never said all aspects. This was clearly stated by me in Post #20 when I said, “humans in general share the same reflections on certain activities and events” (emphasis added). In support of my position I also quoted C.S. Lewis who agreed that societies have slightly different moralities.

Your point regarding public nudity and publicly displayed sexual behavior is simply an example of the slight difference between certain aspects of what human society deems as morality. Seeing as this does not actually refute my position, but instead addresses something that I never claimed, you have resorted to a straw man fallacy rather than try to give an intellectually honest rebuttal.

Ever heard that “discretion is the batter part of valor”??

Sure, but whereas people may use this concept to excuse running away in battle, there is no society on the planet that actually gives out medals for cowardice. C.S. Lewis stated that there aren’t any societies which admire people for running away in battle, and that observation still stands.

(Continued in my next post)

(Continued…)

Total selfishness is as wrong as total selflessness. Both are idiotic behaviors.

This is yet another example of you resorting to an unsubstantiated opinion rather than a proper rebuttal. Moreover, this does nothing to refute C.S. Lewis’ statement that “selfishness has never been admired.” It doesn’t matter if “total selfishness is idiotic behavior.” The fact remains that there are lots of totally selfish people out there (we even have a term for it: narcissism), but despite its prevalence, no society admires it. It is universally condemned.

I decline, yes. I am simply not interested in refuting some third party material.

Consider what I was actually challenging you to do:

1) The topic of this thread was to listen to Kreeft’s video and comment on it.

2) You listened (presumably) to the video and stated, “This is one of his weaker efforts to ‘prove’ God. My reflection is: ‘Bah, humbug!’” (Post #3).

3) I then challenged you to back up your assertion that Kreeft used a weak argument but refuting his actual points. In other words, I wanted to see if you could actually back up what you said.

4) You declined, stating that you are “not interested in refuting some third party material” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). You obviously are interested in joining a discussion about Kreeft’s video, and you obviously are interested in denouncing Kreeft’s material as being “weak”, but then all of a sudden you’re not interested in explaining why his material is weak. It’s painfully obvious that this is just a lame excuse for you to avoid admitting that you can’t actually refute Kreeft’s line of reasoning.

But if you are willing to give a synopsys of one of those argument - with your own words - then I will reflect on it.

Based on your performance so far in this thread, I have precious little confidence that you would, indeed, “reflect on it”, at least not in a way that represents a meaningful philosophical debate. After all, so far you have relied upon unsubstantiated opinions, dodging my actual points, and a straw man fallacy. Not a very good track record!

You might just look up what the “argumentum ad hominem fallacy” is. Because you are wrong, and I am not interested in correcting you. It is too boring…

Oh sure, another thing that you are simply “not interested in.”

Well, I, for one, am quite interested in correcting you! In a debate, when a person does not give an actual rebuttal to his opponent’s position, but instead resorts to name calling, that is the argumentum ad hominem fallacy. For example, this includes things such as ignoring the line of reasoning someone uses to support his position and instead saying, “Well, you’re just a moron, so nothing you say can be reasonable!”

Ok, now let’s look at what you’ve done in this thread. Did you call Kreeft a “dumb apologist” with a “weak” position? Yes (although it appears that the “dumb” comment has since been edited). In addition to making these insulting comments, did you address Kreeft’s actual points, demonstrating them to be “dumb” and “weak”? No. I later specifically challenged you to do this, and you said you were “not interested”, remember? Therefore, your response to Kreeft’s video was to insult him while refusing to address what he specifically said. Hence, this is a classic example of an argumentum ad hominem fallacy.

Causation is a physical phenomenon, roughly like of billiard ball hitting another one. Since “before” the Big Bang there was no physical matter, there can be no causation. If you wish to argue a “non-physical” causative method, first demonstrate that such phenomenon exists.

And here we have yet another straw man! Kreeft’s argument neither mentions nor relies upon causality. No one, including atheists, believe that there are no causes behind the deeds that people do. Conscious decisions are, by definition, made in conjunction with ones consciousness. Atheists as well as theists believe that many decisions humans make have a moral component. In order to say that some actions have a moral component, while other actions do not, there has to be a standard of judgment. Kreeft’s video examines the prevalent theories concerning the origins of such a standard of judgment.

If Christians, including Kreeft, believed that the universe was eternal, and therefore no “first cause” is needed, his video would still be relevant. Therefore, in dodging the points that Kreeft actually made, and instead addressing a non-applicable theory of causation, you have committed a straw man fallacy.

The James Randi foundation has a reward for any kind of “supernatural” or “paranormal” demonstration. You can have a million bucks for your effort. Ready to take the challenge?

I am very familiar with Randi’s challenge. Causality is a philosophical construct, and does not come under the area of what he’s interested in debunking, or even capable of debunking. Philosophy addresses aspects of truth and reality which the scientific method cannot due to its limitations. Randi is a publicly professed atheist, but his focus is the debunking of people claiming to wield psychic power or magical abilities. But even if I somehow wanted to put my religious convictions to the test and try to win a million bucks, I wouldn’t be permitted to even try. As of April 1, 2007, the only people allowed to attempt Randi’s million dollar challenge are those with an already existing media profile and the backing of a credible academic establishment. I have neither.

Your sunny disposition is simply arresting.:whistle:
[/quote]

Yes, I suspect that this is his theme song.

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