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A Moral Argument for God's Existence

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15 hours ago, Leyla said:

We dont want to be killed or hurt because that would either remove us from the gene pool or lower our chance of survival. We dont want the people in our society to be killed or hurt because that would damage the fabric of our society and reduce the chance for survival of our species. There is no objective evil, we are just social animals that evolved to live in groups, and living in groups requires certain rules or mechanism. Stopping destructive people from doing destructive things is simply in our interest and thats why we do it. We dont technically punish people because they are bad, for example if someone is born evil (pedophiles, people with mental illnes that want to kill because of it etc), we only punish people that actually do harm to our society(child rapists, murderes etc) 

Hi Leyla,

I'd like to illustrate something by highlighting all the present tense descriptive statements in your post:

"We dont want to be killed or hurt because that would either remove us from the gene pool or lower our chance of survival. We dont want the people in our society to be killed or hurt because that would damage the fabric of our society and reduce the chance for survival of our species. There is no objective evil, we are just social animals that evolved to live in groups, and living in groups requires certain rules or mechanism. Stopping destructive people from doing destructive things is simply in our interest and thats why we do it. We dont technically punish people because they are bad, for example if someone is born evil (pedophiles, people with mental illnes that want to kill because of it etc), we only punish people that actually do harm to our society(child rapists, murderes etc) "

Notice how you're making statements about what humans ARE doing, but morality isnt merely descriptions of what goes on on the planet right now, but rather prescriptive of what OUGHT to be done. This is called the IS-OUGHT fallacy, where one argues that since X is happening now, X is moral.
One could just as easily say that human beings are greedy and murderous animals, because you needn't look to far in history to find loads of it. 

Also, not only are mere descriptions of human behavior inadequate explanations of the moral experience, but one can argue they're simply not true. While many human beings are social animals, many of them simply aren't. If social behavior is moral for social humans because of evolution, then it antisocial behavior should be moral for sociopaths, because their anti-social behaviour is in their genes? Who is to say that sociopaths aren't simply a new direction in human evolution?

But what about behavior that promotes survival as you alluded to?
If behavior that promotes increased offspring is considered moral because evolution relies on propagation, does that mean people with more children are more moral than people with less children? Should abortion be considered immoral because it's an act designed to kill  human offspring? What about homosexual relationships which by design cannot produce offspring. Would their relationships be immoral if one simply substitutes morality for "what's conducive to human propagation"?

But I also see no reason to take your statements at face value, for instance: What is your evidence for saying things like rape lower our chances of survival?
There are many species of animals such as chimpanzees that forcefully copulate and they're surviving just fine. Lemmings kill themselves en masse, and this no doubt has an evolutionary explanation too. Cannibalism is rife in certain species, and this behavior has evolutionary benefits according to biologists. Nature is full of destructive behavior and virtually every behavior that could be considered a vice in humans can be found in the animal kingdom, and those animals thrive, and biologists invent evolutionary explanations for those behaviours. 

I can't help but think that a lot of the evolutionary explanations for morality are what's referred to as just-so stories. You need to explain why rape is wrong so you tell a story making rape contra to survival, with no evidence. You need to explain why cutting someone off on the highway is wrong so you invent an evolutionary explaination for how that somehow hampers human survival. 
But then in the same breath evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists are coming up with explanations for behaviour that's considered negative. 

So if morality is determined by evolutionary benefit then you can't use the same explanations based on evolutionary benefit to explain bad behavior. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2019 at 2:52 PM, LuftWaffle said:

Notice how you're making statements about what humans ARE doing, but morality isnt merely descriptions of what goes on on the planet right now, but rather prescriptive of what OUGHT to be done. This is called the IS-OUGHT fallacy, where one argues that since X is happening now, X is moral.
One could just as easily say that human beings are greedy and murderous animals, because you needn't look to far in history to find loads of it.

There is no Is-Ought Fallacy because Im not saying that it HAS to be that way and we have examples of how it can be different in extinct human societies that practised for example human sacrifice. Im just saying that morals are a significant benefit for survival and thats why we have it. Yes you could say that humans are greedy and murderous animals, but that doesnt mean that we cant have morals too. One thing doesnt exclude the other.

On 5/3/2019 at 2:52 PM, LuftWaffle said:

Also, not only are mere descriptions of human behavior inadequate explanations of the moral experience, but one can argue they're simply not true. While many human beings are social animals, many of them simply aren't. If social behavior is moral for social humans because of evolution, then it antisocial behavior should be moral for sociopaths, because their anti-social behaviour is in their genes? Who is to say that sociopaths aren't simply a new direction in human evolution"

Its hard to use the word moral because its technically just an empty word that describes a mechanism but not WHICH mechanism and doesnt go into detail. You could argue that its moral for sociopaths to do bad things, but saying that its another direction in evolution is problematic. Sociopathy proved times and times again that its really bad for the suffering individual and that its also bad for the people around him. Its not a favourable trait, no its the worst kind of trait, its a handicap that reduces chance for surival. Such a trait will not be favoured by evolutionary means so it cant be called a new direction in our evolutionary path.

 

On 5/3/2019 at 2:52 PM, LuftWaffle said:

But what about behavior that promotes survival as you alluded to?

If behavior that promotes increased offspring is considered moral because evolution relies on propagation, does that mean people with more children are more moral than people with less children? Should abortion be considered immoral because it's an act designed to kill  human offspring? What about homosexual relationships which by design cannot produce offspring. Would their relationships be immoral if one simply substitutes morality for "what's conducive to human propagation"?

 

The word moral is just a very complicated word. We developed them to help us survive in the world. Morals that were kind of beneficial stuck around and later we developed our modern secular understanding of  morals, because we started to think more about these things. Its easy with the basics, for example I dont want to be killed so I wont kill others. But when we talk about more complex subjects like abortion or homosexuality it gets tricky. We cant just label it moral or immoral since the world is not exactly black and white, we also have to consider the grey spots.   Is it moral  to have lots of children, to abort or to be homosexual? If you ask me about my subjective moral, then I would say that its not moral. Is it immoral then? I dont think so aswell, in my opinion its something neutral. But my subjective morals are worthless because they are subjective. However everyones morals are subjective so the best way to solve this problem, is to find solutions that satisfies most of us. Noone gets harmed if someone has many children so why stop them? Noone gets harmed if consenting adults have a homosexual relationship so why stop them? Abortions are tricky and we can talk about it in more detail.

 

On 5/3/2019 at 2:52 PM, LuftWaffle said:

But I also see no reason to take your statements at face value, for instance: What is your evidence for saying things like rape lower our chances of survival?

Rape is not a pleasent thing for atleast one person and thats reason enough to not tolerate it. Could we have for example progress, technology or science if rape was legal? I doubt that. It would just create an enviroment, in which the strong thrives on the weak and that is not productive.   If we are talking about rapes in females its very problematic due to  pregnancies. Females are generally very hungry for ressources but they are not good at gathering them. Being physically weaker is  tough, and having basically a natural physical handicap with menstruation, meant that you will lose valuable substances like iron in a time of scarcity ( time before technology). Its even worse in pregnancy because your need for ressources increases and you are less able to do anything. So we basically need a society or males to cover for females. Being unwantedly pregnant will decrease your chance of finding a mate that is willing to invest time and ressources into you, because from a survival point of view, males arent interested in females, they are interested in young and healthy eggcells, and eggcells cant be used for the 9 months shes pregnant. He would also need to invest ressources to raise the child of someone else and that can be a factor to not choose this female too. Rapists will probably not help raise and cover for the child they forcefully procreated so it could result in early child death. Aside from that, physical and mental injuries can result from rape and that doesnt help anyone.

 

On 5/3/2019 at 2:52 PM, LuftWaffle said:

There are many species of animals such as chimpanzees that forcefully copulate and they're surviving just fine. Lemmings kill themselves en masse, and this no doubt has an evolutionary explanation too. Cannibalism is rife in certain species, and this behavior has evolutionary benefits according to biologists. Nature is full of destructive behavior and virtually every behavior that could be considered a vice in humans can be found in the animal kingdom, and those animals thrive, and biologists invent evolutionary explanations for those behaviours. 

 

In Chimp communities everyone has sex with everyone and children are raised together so rape is less of a problem. Suicide and canibalism usually dont happen with most species unless there are some problems with that animal or the enviroment.

 

Edited by Leyla
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There is no Is-Ought Fallacy because Im not saying that it HAS to be that way...


I get that. You're what's called a moral subjectivist. The problem is that moral thinking is part and parcel of human experience. Morality thus, is a phenomenom that requires explaining and if your worldview has no way to account for it, so that you're ultimately forced to dismiss it as merely an illusion, then it's a problem for such a worldview.

So, while you may assert that morals aren't real but that it's just an evolutionary illusion (which for atheists seems to be the only consistent option), my original question was how do you live it out, practically speaking? Do you embrace the truth and live as if there's no right or wrong? Or do you perpetuate a noble lie and live a moral life?

To say that societies practised human sacrifice, yes they did, and those practises are condemned now. Society has made moral progress, but the concept of moral progress requires some kind of moral measure, doesn't it?


Its hard to use the word moral because its technically just an empty word


It's only an empty word if you're committed to a worldview that doesn't have room for it and cannot account for it.

Sociopathy proved times and times again that its really bad for the suffering individual and that its also bad for the people around him.



Why should the sociopath care about the suffering individual? The sociopath ad his gene pool would survive just fine.


Such a trait will not be favoured by evolutionary means so it cant be called a new direction in our evolutionary path.


How do you *know* what will or will not be favoured by evolution? How is what you're saying different from 'just-so story telling', whereby you have a theory that morality is pro-survival and you invent a tale to fit the theory by just asserting that it's unfavourable to survival because you need it to be. 


However everyones morals are subjective so the best way to solve this problem, is to find solutions that satisfies most of us.


Right, so now morality becomes whatever is statistically preferable. So if a large number of people decide that the jews are a problem and that humanity as whole will be better off without them, then it becomes an act of moral fortitute to 'gas zee jews', not so? Except that nobody actually thinks this is how morality works. Especially not anybody who actually visits Auswitch. I've never been there but the sense of heaviness in that place is apparently overwhelming. I've never heard of anybody going there saying that, "well it's all about majority preference really. Some societies like jews and others like to kill them, just like some societies prefer sushi and other societies prefer tortillas"


Rape is not a pleasent thing for atleast one person and thats reason enough to not tolerate it.


Yeah, but it's very pleasant for the rapist. Now suppose the rapist can rape a woman without it being unpleasant for her? Like that dentist in Florida that I heard of who used to rape women while they were unconscious during dental surgery, or whatever. According to your logic that equates immortality to harm, no harm was done, because the women didn't even know they were raped, right? If no harm is done then nothing is wrong. The same can be said for creeps in Chinese hotels who install cameras in women's bathrooms. As long as the women don't know about the peeping Tom, he's doing nothing wrong, right? 

You could say, "...but if the women find out", but since he's not harming them in the moment there's nothing 'to find out'. Plus you have to explaining how an act can be morally neutral and somehow become morally repugnant when it's discovered. It seems then the morality is tied to the discovery not the act itself.


Rape is not a pleasent thing for atleast one person and thats reason enough to not tolerate it. Could we have for example progress, technology or science if rape was legal? I doubt that. It would just create an enviroment, in which the strong thrives on the weak and that is not productive.   If we are talking about rapes in females its very problematic due to  pregnancies. Females are generally very hungry for ressources but they are not good at gathering them. Being physically weaker is  tough, and having basically a natural physical handicap with menstruation, meant that you will lose valuable substances like iron in a time of scarcity ( time before technology). Its even worse in pregnancy because your need for ressources increases and you are less able to do anything. So we basically need a society or males to cover for females. Being unwantedly pregnant will decrease your chance of finding a mate that is willing to invest time and ressources into you, because from a survival point of view, males arent interested in females, they are interested in young and healthy eggcells, and eggcells cant be used for the 9 months shes pregnant. He would also need to invest ressources to raise the child of someone else and that can be a factor to not choose this female too. Rapists will probably not help raise and cover for the child they forcefully procreated so it could result in early child death. Aside from that, physical and mental injuries can result from rape and that doesnt help anyone.


Can I give you one word of advice? Never become a rape counsellor :)

The notion that the act itself isn't the problem but a loss of nutrients and attractiveness to suitable males, doesn't come close to addressing the sense of what's happened.

And this is my point really. It's only suitable to talk like this if you're a middle-class, college educated atheist having a lofty philosophical chat about morality. In the real world, this kind of view is simply unlivable. You would never consistently talk like this if one of your friends were raped, would you? Because the problem isn't survival of the species. That couldn't be further from the mind of the rapist or the victim.
If I were so inclined I could go out and rape a dozen women, and I know a fact that humanity will survive just fine. Plus I could get to hear how academics claim that what I did wasn't really wrong. That I don't owe justice a debt because 'morality', is just a complicated word...


Suicide and canibalism usually dont happen with most species unless there are some problems with that animal or the enviroment.


Saying there's a problem with an animal assumes an OUGHT about an animals behavior. Something that you do not believe in.

But you haven't actually responded to an important question. If evolution is used to explain all behavior (included what's considered moral and immoral) then you cannot claim that evolution only supports 'moral' behavior.
Evolutionary biologist claim that things like racism have an evolutionary source because it stems from wanting to favour the gene pool of those closest to your own gene pool. You cannot then claim that racism is considered immoral because it's evolutionarily unfavourable.

This is the problem with telling evolutionary just-so stories. Evolution cannot at the same time be an explanation for so-called moral behavioral traits and also be an explanation for all behavioral traits.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

So, while you may assert that morals aren't real but that it's just an evolutionary illusion (which for atheists seems to be the only consistent option), my original question was how do you live it out, practically speaking? Do you embrace the truth and live as if there's no right or wrong? Or do you perpetuate a noble lie and live a moral life?

 

Im not saying that morals aren´t real and just an illusion. Its a tool we developed and we can use it like any other tool to make life easier. Just because morals only exist in our heads, doesnt mean that its not real. Morality is subjective, so I cant tell you how everyone lives it out or should live it out. I personally, just accept that there is no good or evil in our universe, but try my best to have a good life because a good life is more enjoyable, and as a social animal its almost impossible to have a good life if youre alone. Thats why I need to figure out ways, to interact with other people. Thinking logically makes me realise, that if I hurt others or kill them or do bad things to them, then they will probably do the same things to me or isolate me from their community. That doesnt sound like fun. I dont really have to perpetuate a noble lie, its just how you live as a social animal. Consider others and try to live well and thats it. It also helps to listen to the giants of our civilization that developed the secular modern morals and to adapt things that suit you

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

Why should the sociopath care about the suffering individual? The sociopath ad his gene pool would survive just fine.

I probably worded it wrong, I mean the sociopath himself with "suffering individual", because sociopathy is a serious antisocial personality disorder and doesnt make life easy.

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

How do you *know* what will or will not be favoured by evolution? How is what you're saying different from 'just-so story telling', whereby you have a theory that morality is pro-survival and you invent a tale to fit the theory by just asserting that it's unfavourable to survival because you need it to be.

How do I know it? If you give a social animal, a handicap to his social interactions then its obvious that this animal will have it harder than animals without that handicap.

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

 Right, so now morality becomes whatever is statistically preferable. So if a large number of people decide that the jews are a problem and that humanity as whole will be better off without them, then it becomes an act of moral fortitute to 'gas zee jews', not so? Except that nobody actually thinks this is how morality works. Especially not anybody who actually visits Auswitch. I've never been there but the sense of heaviness in that place is apparently overwhelming. I've never heard of anybody going there saying that, "well it's all about majority preference really. Some societies like jews and others like to kill them, just like some societies prefer sushi and other societies prefer tortillas"

No its not about majority, because then morality would stop being an individual matter and it would turn into a collective matter. I never said that a certain morality is true just because it has a bunch of followers. Technically no morality is true or false, the best we can do is find one that makes life easier for everyone.

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

Yeah, but it's very pleasant for the rapist. Now suppose the rapist can rape a woman without it being unpleasant for her? Like that dentist in Florida that I heard of who used to rape women while they were unconscious during dental surgery, or whatever. According to your logic that equates immortality to harm, no harm was done, because the women didn't even know they were raped, right? If no harm is done then nothing is wrong. The same can be said for creeps in Chinese hotels who install cameras in women's bathrooms. As long as the women don't know about the peeping Tom, he's doing nothing wrong, right? 

You could say, "...but if the women find out", but since he's not harming them in the moment there's nothing 'to find out'. Plus you have to explaining how an act can be morally neutral and somehow become morally repugnant when it's discovered. It seems then the morality is tied to the discovery not the act itself.

The not pleasent part was just one of the reasons and not THE reason why we should not do rape. In this case it would be violation against the consent to sex.

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

Can I give you one word of advice? Never become a rape counsellor :)

The notion that the act itself isn't the problem but a loss of nutrients and attractiveness to suitable males, doesn't come close to addressing the sense of what's happened.

And this is my point really. It's only suitable to talk like this if you're a middle-class, college educated atheist having a lofty philosophical chat about morality. In the real world, this kind of view is simply unlivable. You would never consistently talk like this if one of your friends were raped, would you? Because the problem isn't survival of the species. That couldn't be further from the mind of the rapist or the victim.

How dare you say that. Im close to that subject and I think about it alot. You dont know me or my friends so dont assume anything about me. Just because I can turn of my emotions and talk logically about something like rape doesnt mean that I cant relate to the people that went through it. Sometimes you have to think logically, because being emotional will never solve a problem and it will often make things worse.

 

On 5/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, LuftWaffle said:

Saying there's a problem with an animal assumes an OUGHT about an animals behavior. Something that you do not believe in.

But you haven't actually responded to an important question. If evolution is used to explain all behavior (included what's considered moral and immoral) then you cannot claim that evolution only supports 'moral' behavior.
Evolutionary biologist claim that things like racism have an evolutionary source because it stems from wanting to favour the gene pool of those closest to your own gene pool. You cannot then claim that racism is considered immoral because it's evolutionarily unfavourable.

This is the problem with telling evolutionary just-so stories. Evolution cannot at the same time be an explanation for so-called moral behavioral traits and also be an explanation for all behavioral traits.

Yes racism or prejudice can have an evolutionary reason. It can be called moral or immoral based on the individual that judges it as moral or imoral. Just because something can be explained evolutionary doesnt mean that its moral or immoral. Im not saying that we have to judge everything based from a survival-evolutionary point of view, thinking like that simply leads to good results and accurate answers. I was generally  only talking about why we have morals and where they come from and why its best for others to have it too. Just knowing where morals  come from and why there are here, doesnt tell you anything about wether or not these morals are something worth pursuing.

Edited by Leyla

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