Sunday, 6 November 2011

Further follow up on Craig / Law debate

Just one more brief post on an issue that arose following my comments on the debate between William Lane Craig and Stephen Law.

I had written that Stephen Law's response to Craig's moral argument wasn't adequate because all he said was that Craig had not proved either of the two premises of the argument.  He acknowledged that while they may be plausible, Craig hadn't shown they were absolutely true.  Law said that perhaps there are no objective moral values, perhaps we should be moral nihilists!

There are a couple of things I want to say on this.  Firstly - Law knows better, and so do we all!  We know that there are things that are really evil, and things that are really good.  I would challenge you to live one day without incorporating moral judgments into the things you say and do, and into the way you think.  We simply cannot live consistently with a worldview that says there are no objective moral values.  If you can't live consistently with your worldview then it doesn't match reality, and it's wrong.  Law certainly doesn't live as if objective moral values may not exist - the only people that do are psychopaths!

Secondly - I had made the point that Craig often makes, i.e. you don't have to prove the premises of your argument with 100% certainty for your argument to be a good one.  It just has to be the case that the premises are more plausible than their negations.  So even if Law is right in saying that it's not absolutely certain that the premises are true, he is mistaken in thinking that demolishes the argument, because it is minimally true that the premises are more plausible than their negations, i.e. it is more plausible that objective moral values can only be grounded in God than that they just exist independently outside of the universe and are somehow binding upon us, and it is certainly more plausible that objective moral values exist than that there is nothing right or wrong, good or evil. 

In response to this point I had made, someone said that it's not necessarily true that a good argument doesn't have to have premises that are certain.  Now just think about that!  I say a good argument doesn't have to have premises that are absolutely certain, and he says, in effect, "it's possible you could be wrong there!"  Well if I am wrong then he has to show me with absolute certainty!  He is saying, "It could be the case that what you're saying is not true", but unless it is absolutely certain that what I'm saying is not true then he can't possibly object to what I'm saying!  You can't say, "It's possibly the case that an argument has to be certain to be a good argument"!  By your own standards that's not a good argument.

The point is, how could, and why should, we deny there are objective moral values and duties.  We live with the reality of them stamped upon us everyday, and this points us to God to whom we are accountable.