Sunday, July 30, 2017

Quantum Particles Do Not Prove Universe from Nothing

Image result for metacrock's blog quantum particles

In light of of Naturalist arguments, are predicated: that QM particles prove something can pop up out of nothing with no cause. Quantum theory seems to confirm the notion that it is possible for the universe to begin with no cause. In terms of the TS argument that would mean that no organizing principle is necessary to explain order.

The second contender for a theory of initial conditions is quantum cosmology, the application of quantum theory to the entire Universe. At first this sounds absurd because typically large systems (such as the Universe) obey classical, not quantum, laws. Einstein's theory of general relativity is a classical theory that accurately describes the evolution of the Universe from the first fraction of a second of its existence to now. However it is known that general relativity is inconsistent with the principles of quantum theory and is therefore not an appropriate description of physical processes that occur at very small length scales or over very short times. To describe such processes one requires a theory of quantum gravity. [1]

This statement is more admission than documentation. It admits that quantum theory might not pertain to the universe as a whole. After all the theory has only been validated under normal conditions of space/time, temperature and the like. We have no idea if it still applies at the big bang expansion where the laws of physics seem to be suspended, temperature and time approach infinity. “What we do know is that massive objects do not exhibit quantum behavior. No one can be sure that a new-born universe would obey quantum theory as we know it..”[2]Moreover the statement admits that the theory requires a theory of quantum gravity in order to apply as a theory of origins. Do we have a theory of quantum gravity that has been validated empirically?

Lawrence Krauss in his book, A Universe from Nothing, [3] argues that quantum theory means that the universe came from nothing based upon the assumption that quantum particles do the same. Krauss argues that the eternal laws of Quantum mechanics produce particles out of nothing when the instability of vacuum states causes quantum fields to shift and produce different kinds of particles. [4] This seems like scientific proof but all it really says is that nothing became unstable and turned into something, no thought as to how that could be. There's a deeper trick, however, in that the terms don't really mean what they seem to mean. David Albert (a Philosopher with Ph.D. in physics) exposed the meaning of terms and exploded the whole project.

Albert first points out that tracing the universe back to some physical property or cause is not an explanation as to why there is something rather than nothing.

What if he were in a position to announce, for instance, that the truth of the quantum-mechanical laws can be traced back to the fact that the world has some other, deeper property X? Wouldn’t we still be in a position to ask why X rather than Y? And is there a last such question? Is there some point at which the possibility of asking any further such questions somehow definitively comes to an end? How would that work? What would that be like?[5]

Secondly, he points out that going back to the enlightenment, science has always assumed that at the “bottom of everything” there is “some basic, elementary, eternally persisting, concrete, physical stuff.” [6] Newton had it that this “stuff” consisted of particles. At the end of the nineteenth century it was particles and electro-magnetic fields. Albert argues that since that time all of physics is basically about “how that elementary stuff is arranged.”[7] The laws don’t tell us where the elementary “stuff” came from, not even laws of quantum mechanics. The laws do not tell us where the fields came from, let alone where the “laws” themselves came from. Moreover, contrary to all previous theories, quantum theory particles are understood as arrangements of fields. Some arrangements correspond to certain numbers and kinds of particles, some correspond to no particles.[8] This latter arrangement, Albert tells us, is what they call “vacuum states.” According to Albert, Krauss is arguing that the laws of relativistic quantum field theories “entail that vacuum states are unstable. And that, in a nutshell, is the account he proposes of why there should be something rather than nothing.”[9]

There is no explanation here. No hint as to how nothing could become something. If nothing comes out of some prior condition we don't know. Krauss is just assuming something from nothing. That's important because prior conditions have to be accounted for. There are problems with this account. First, we have just seen, it assumes laws and fields with no explanation as to where othey came from. Secondly, when physicists say “nothing,” they don’t mean real actual nothing, absence of anything, they really mean vacuum flux; that is the pre existing framework of law and field and the arrangement of these things and the sporadic popping in-and-out of prior existing particles. As Albert says, “Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff..” [10] “Nothing” in terms of no particles does not mean “nothing” in terms of no fields, or no laws. Thus “nothing” doesn’t mean “nothing,” it means something for which we still must account.

The particles doing the popping are “virtual particles,” meaning they are made up of combinations of other particles that come together for a short time then break apart again. “Virtual particles are indeed real particles. Quantum theory predicts that every particle spends some time as a combination of other particles in all possible ways. These predictions are very well understood and tested.”[11]

Quantum mechanics allows, and indeed requires, temporary violations of conservation of energy, so one particle can become a pair of heavier particles (the so-called virtual particles), which quickly rejoin into the original particle as if they had never been there. If that were all that occurred we would still be confident that it was a real effect because it is an intrinsic part of quantum mechanics, which is extremely well tested, and is a complete and tightly woven theory--if any part of it were wrong the whole structure would collapse.

But while the virtual particles are briefly part of our world they can interact with other particles, and that leads to a number of tests of the quantum-mechanical predictions about virtual particles.[12]
Thus it's only said that they are coming from nothing because there's a new combination of particles that only exists for a short time. Yet they are actually coming from other particles. Quantum theory is not the best explanation for the age old question, why are we here where did it all come from? God not only provides an ultimate sources but is also a more elegant solution because one simple idea furnishes both the explanation of origins and also ties up morality and everything else into one neat solution.

see new apemdix to this article below imn fn [13]


1 CTC op. Cit.

 2 Edgar Andres, “Review: the Grand Design,” Challies'.com, Tim Challies, on line reouce, URL: acessed 10/4/15

Andres is Emeritus professor University of London. Physicist and an expert on large molecules. Born 1932,

3 Lawrence M. Krauss, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is something Rather Than Nothing. New York, NY: Free press, a division of Simon and Schuster, 2012.

 4 Ibid 189.

 5 David Albert, “On the Origin of Everything ‘a Universe form Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss,” New York Times Sunday Book Review (March 23, 2012). On line version URL: ... rauss.html visited June 20, 2012. David Albert also has a Ph.D. in theoretical phsyics.

Albert is Frederick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia, and runs a MA program in philosophy and physics.

 6 ibid.

 7 ibid

 8 ibid

 9 ibid

 10 ibid

11 Gordon Kane, “Are Virtual Particles Really Constantly Popping In and Out of existence? Or Are They Merely a Mathematical Bookkeeping Device For Quantum Mechanics?” Scientific American, (Oct. 9, 2006) on line version URL: accessed 10/12/15
this article was moved this is the new URKL since first wrote my blog piece,

Kane is director of the Michigan center for theoretical physics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

12 Ibid.

this is the article

Gordon Kane, director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, provides this answer.Virtual particles are indeed real particles. Quantum theory predicts that every particle spends some time as a combination of other particles in all possible ways. These predictions are very well understood and tested.Quantum mechanics allows, and indeed requires, temporary violations of conservation of energy, so one particle can become a pair of heavier particles (the so-called virtual particles), which quickly rejoin into the original particle as if they had never been there. If that were all that occurred we would still be confident that it was a real effect because it is an intrinsic part of quantum mechanics, which is extremely well tested, and is a complete and tightly woven theory--if any part of it were wrong the whole structure would collapse.But while the virtual particles are briefly part of our world they can interact with other particles, and that leads to a number of tests of the quantum-mechanical predictions about virtual particles. The first test was understood in the late 1940s. In a hydrogen atom an electron and a proton are bound together by photons (the quanta of the electromagnetic field). Every photon will spend some time as a virtual electron plus its antiparticle, the virtual positron, since this is allowed by quantum mechanics as described above. The hydrogen atom has two energy levels that coincidentally seem to have the same energy. But when the atom is in one of those levels it interacts differently with the virtual electron and positron than when it is in the other, so their energies are shifted a tiny bit because of those interactions. That shift was measured by Willis Lamb and the Lamb shift was born, for which a Nobel Prize was eventually awarded.Quarks are particles much like electrons, but different in that they also interact via the strong force. Two of the lighter quarks, the so-called "up" and "down" quarks, bind together to make up protons and neutrons. The "top" quark is the heaviest of the six types of quarks. In the early 1990s it had been predicted to exist but had not been directly seen in any experiment. At the LEP collider at the European particle physics laboratory CERN, millions of Z bosons--the particles that mediate neutral weak interactions--were produced and their mass was very accurately measured. The Standard Model of particle physics predicts the mass of the Z boson, but the measured value differed a little. This small difference could be explained in terms of the time the Z spent as a virtual top quark if such a top quark had a certain mass. When the top quark mass was directly measured a few years later at the Tevatron collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, the value agreed with that obtained from the virtual particle analysis, providing a dramatic test of our understanding of virtual particles.Another very good test some readers may want to look up, which we do not have space to describe here, is the Casimir effect, where forces between metal plates in empty space are modified by the presence of virtual particles.Thus virtual particles are indeed real and have observable effects that physicists have devised ways of measuring. Their properties and consequences are well established and well understood consequences of quantum mechanics.
[13] Michael Moyer, "Physicists debate the many verities of nothing."  Scientific American,    ( March 22, 2013) on lime versiom URL:
here is a quote from scientificL American. Reporting om a debate (which included Krauss) on "what nothing Means." 

speaking of empty space such as that between objects in a room or between nucleus of an atom and electrons: 

This sort of nothing—the absence of matter—we might consider to be the first level of nothing, clarified J. Richard Gott, a physicist and cosmologist at Princeton University and the author of “Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective.” It’s what scientists call a quantum vacuum state. It’s a box with everything taken out of it—all the stuff, all the air, all the light. “It even has a color—it’s black,” deadpanned Gott, who frequently demonstrated the best comedic timing of the bunch. Yet even in this nothing, something remains. Virtual quantum particles pop in and out of being, and the empty box still contains the basic scaffolding of existence: space, time and quantum fields." [end quote]

This is what my essay was about virtual particles and how they are not popping out of nonexistence or lack of being but coming out of other particles that already exist,' this tells us two things:

(1) VP's are not coming from nothing but from pre existing particle which is called vacuum flx.

(2) Vacuum flux is QVS they are the same,so when you say no they are not coming from vacuum flux they are coming from QVS you are saying:these are not chick peas they are garbanzo beans.(garbanzo beans are chick peas)

this means noting is changed with my article it is right on target; when they talk about particles coming from nothing they really mean combining from pre existing particles that are in QVS. so where do those come from?

The article torches on this:
But where did these come from? Was this something always there? We can trace the history of the universe back to the first instant after the Big Bang, when the cosmos was unimaginably hot and dense and expanding rapidly. But here the laws of physics break down, and with them our ability to reconstruct what came before—indeed, if its even proper to speak of a “before.” This space outside of the universe (though it is certainly misleading to call it a “space”) is the second kind of nothing—the complete lack of space and time and quantum fields. The absence not just of matter and energy, but of the conditions necessary for being."close Quote

at that point one must interject metaphysics, there's nothing else to do.

Did you know that Krauss says he wants to eliminate philosophy because it has out lived it's usefulness? (Priesthood of knowledge)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Could we Love Without God?

Last time, I discussed Jason's article on Secular Outpost, his argumemt, "God's nature Does not make his commands non-arbitrary." He starts by asserting:
Many modern defenders of the divine command theory frequently claim that God’s commands are not arbitrary because they flow from his essential nature. Their argument is bad. That a commander issues consistent commands based on his/her own character does not mean that those commands are not arbitrary. Whether a command is arbitrary depends on whether there are reasons for the command. [1]
He proposes a God which he calls Zutpoter (sky father)  whose nature is based on greed thissuppose to prove:
That God is essentially loving gives us information concerning the kind of motives he will act on. But that he has loving motives does not entail that he has reasons any more than the fact that Zupater has motives entails that he has reasons. If we do not acknowledge the distinction between reasons and motives, then the responses of DCT’s defenders to the arbitrariness problem will appear compelling. Once our attention is drawn to it, however, we can see the weakness of their position.[2]
I argued that love is a special motivation that works as a basis for ethics in a way that nothing else,  I argued that Love and being are more compatible than being and greed. Being requires a positive orientation that is giving and building; greed seeks to take and destroy, it's not conducive to fomenting more being, but love is so conducive. Moreover,  God cannot be separated from his nature, The standard set by love is part of God it's not something hanging over God's head nor is it a motivation in the way we understand motivations,an urge a biological drive we can't fight ,but it becomes a reason and can be explained and understood. It's a reason to move toward and end goal and that is a reason in itself.

Jason's allies tried to reduce this argument of God;s nature to another arbitrary scheme. Our of this discussion we the side is, can;t we love without God? Thus in do doing there is nothing speical about love that would make it a unique divine nature.

Ryan M.: 
Saying love matters because love is God's nature is basically falling for the trap of admitting that greed would matter if greed was God's nature.
No that is what you expect me to say because you hear other Christians saying it, that's not what I'm saying,
What you're doing there is trying to make God's nature important, but what is being questioned overall is why God's nature at all is a non arbitrary stopping point for morality. 
I don't have to make God';s nature important, everything about God is important a priori, that's not the same as saying it;s only good because God says it is, but God cam';t be separated from his nature, God, being ,love, the good all same thing. Good is is based upon love to bey an arbitrary decision that has no meaning but because love is expresses what goodness is about, 
The answer given by you, apparently, is that God's nature is not arbitrary because it is God's nature. You can't appeal to it being non arbitrary due to God's nature being love since you've made the concession that love is only important precisely because it is God's nature rather than the other way around. 
It's not arbitrary, being God's nature doesn't make it arbitrary it does make it binding. It's not arbitrary because it's compatible with being itself and with creation in a way that test case negatives like greed aren't.[3]
Out of this arises the issue that we love anyway apart from God so love is not such a special thing. My response is that we might feel an emotional sensation we call "love" were there no God, that does not mean love would function as it does as the back ground of the moral universe. That aspect of love that allows it to be the axis of morality is only possible because it is is synonymous with God's nature and thus is mandated and binding by God's authority. There are two sub issues here before I g into proof on that statement.

First, I define love (agape) as the will to the value and betterment of the other. That means not only love is willing yourself to value the other in the sense according to the other basic human dignity, but also being willing to seek the betterment psychically emotionally and otherwise, of the other. Secondly, The fact of love's positivity and it's conducive aspect with being itself means that love is important in and of itself this cannot reversed,we can't merely say Greed is conducive to being because it's not. We can't turn around and say hate is the background of the moral universe, because the positive nature matters, the fact God feels positive  does not make it arbitrary its still a rational reason. It is conducive to the goal of being itself which is to be and to foment being.

Yet there is reason to think we would necessarily love or even feel the emotion we label love without God, love is a form of consciousness. Love cannot impersonal or inanimate so consciousness is a necessary pre condition to love,it is not necessarily the case we must have turned out conscious. David Chalmer's argues for what is called the Explanatory gap, which means we have no idea why we are conscious. Not only do we not know enough about what  consciousness is but we don't even know that it had to be,[4] We could be ants sharing one communal consciousness, The term was actually coined by philosopher Joseph Levine (N. Carolina State) it addressed the inability to account for psychological phenomena a even by physiological theories. The focus was our subjective sensation,qualia, but it can include mental functions such as perceptions and reasoning, [5]

In perhaps its weakest form, ...[the explanatory gap] asserts a practical limit on our present explanatory abilities; given our current theories and models we can not now articulate an intelligible link. A stronger version makes an in principle claim about our human capacities and thus asserts that given our human cognitive limits we will never be able to bridge the gap. To us, or creatures cognitively like us, it must remain a residual mystery (McGinn 1991). Colin McGinn (1995) has argued that given the inherently spatial nature of both our human perceptual concepts and the scientific concepts we derive from them, we humans are not conceptually suited for understanding the nature of the psychophysical link. Facts about that link are as cognitively closed to us as are facts about multiplication or square roots to armadillos. They do not fall within our conceptual and cognitive repertoire. An even stronger version of the gap claim removes the restriction to our cognitive nature and denies in principle that the gap can be closed by any cognitive agents.[6]
There is no guarantee that we should been able to love, the assertion by atheists that they are loving without God is merely an exercise in begging the question, If God created us to love he did not create us to love only if we believe in him,It wouldn't make any sense for him to do that because we could not fall in love with him, as unbelievers. They are approaching love as a rational proposition rather than an ability an inclination.

I spoke of love--and by this I mean agape, (special Godly love akin to charity but more)--as "the axis of morality and refereed to it as having a special nature. We can see this concept in the work of Joseph Fletcher, philosopher and ethcist who proposed the ethical theory known as  "situation ethics in the 1960s. He argues that love is the background of the moral universe(St, Augustine) and love is the only true ethical norm.[7] One night well ask if love is the only norm what of justice? Justice is a norm is it not? It is but Fletcher argues that justice is a form of love,

We cannot separate love and Justice; neither one should be given priority over the other. For instance, we cannot decide to give away all our money to those in need, without also paying back those we owe money to (our creditors). To give away all our money to the poor may appear to be doing a loving thing, but if we don’t also repay what we owe, then it is actually an unjust (and, therefore, unloving) deed....People also suffer and end up being treated badly when love and justice are separated. We cannot hold the law above persons, and neither can love be selective. All voices must be heard, and all demands considered equally. Love cannot be sentimental nor can it be concerned with just individual relationships. We should love all our neighbours (plural), not merely our neighbour....Justice is love calculating and working out its duties and obligations. In terms of social policy, situation ethics appears to have much in common with UTILITARIANISM (but in this case it replaces ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ principle with love (agape)). Situation ethics also agrees with DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICS, in that we should always seek to do the good (our duty), this being to, “seek the goal of the most love in every situation.”[8]

In relation to all of ethics we find that love forms the basis of a complete ethical system which transcends conventional approach of choosing either or teleological or deontological, he argues that justice is love's distributive aspect,

none of this would work with out God because it would lose the force of moral authority since it would only be rooted in a subjective sensation and the accent of a chemical reaction. The skeptics own attempts at reversing it show that they don't regard ethics as anymore than this. It's not arbitrary because it;s based a rational reason it's part of God, part of his character so it must be part of his motivation for creating. It would not achieve the same effect to enshrine some evil motive and say hate is the background of the moral universe and injustice is its distributive property because it would not create positive sense or foment being.

If it is just the way it turned out that God is love and not hate and that's the way it is still not arbitrary because there is a purpose and a unity between God,his character and the nature of being that can;t be entangled, that forms a purpose that entails reasons.


[1] Jason's article on Secular Outpost, his argumemt, "God's nature Does not make his commands non-arbitrary."

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] David Chalmers, "Phenomenal concepts and explanatory gap," Philosophy Program, RSSS
Australian National UniversityCanberra, ACT 0200, Australia.2006 (accessed 7/26/17) URL

[5] Joseph Levine, "Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap" Pacific Philosophical Quarterly in 1983.   in "Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap" published in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly in 1983.  

[6] Robert Van Gulick,  "Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

[7] Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics, The New Morality, Louisville, Lodon: Westminster John Knox Press, 1966,  69,

[8] "Situation Ethics (Part 6): The Third Proposition - Love and Justice are the same
That Religious Studies Website (June 17, 2015) (accessed 7/26/17)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Death to Euthyphro!

Wes Morriston, philosopher from University of Colorado, Boulder, writes an excellent [1] paper against divine command theory and specifically attacking William Lane Craig. The guys over at secular outpost (or as I like to call it, "Kill Bill's ideas) link to that article. Divine command theory in it's simple direct form says that what is good is that which God commands and it is good because God commands it. The paper is very long and covers a lot of ground, I have isolated what I think is one of the  key points and i will deal with just that small but important section: the ground of moral duty as grounded in the divine.

Craig is answwering the Euthyphro dilemma, This is a problem raised by Plato in the from of Socrates question to Euthyphro, " is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"  [2] The answer Craig takes to it is one I have also argued for years, that the good flows out of God's character so it's neither arbitrary now does it constitute a standard above God.

Morriston takes issue with Craig at the point where he says the good "flows out of God's character.

One might wonder about the phrase ‘flow necessarily from his moral nature’. Does it mean that each divine command is necessitated by God’s moral nature – that God’s moral nature makes it impossible for him not to command what he does in fact command? Or does it mean merely that it is necessary that all divine commands flow from God’s moral nature, where the ‘flow from’ relation is understood in a weaker sense ?Craig doesn’t say.[3]

He's really conflating two different issues here: (1) do all commands flow equally from God's nature (2) could god chose to violate his nature? The question here is still veg because we are talking about Biblical commands? Or, are we talking about the human capacity to be moral itself? The latter is the kjey to the answer. Paul tells us the moral law is written on the heart (Romans 2:6-14). C.S. Lewis shows a great harmony in many Axial age civilizations as far flung as Briton and China. Although there are problems will will bracket them for fn.[4] These similarities of course don't prove divine inspiration but they may indicate that if human moral nature is God given then God's commands must be generally flowing through that basic moral nature and even though filtered through cultural constructs the basic sense of moral goodness grounded in agapic sense of human dignity is possible universally. So the latter "weaker sense" would come closer to the answer, although I would not think of it as "weaker."

But whatever the details, it’s clear that the main point of the claim that God’s commands ‘flow necessarily from his moral nature’ is to head off a familiar objection to the divine command theory. It will be convenient to refer to it as ‘ the arbitrariness objection’. It goes something like this. Either God has good reasons for his commands or he does not. If he does, then those reasons (and not God’s commands) are the ultimate ground of moral obligation. If he does not have good reasons, then his commands are completely arbitrary and may be disregarded. Either way, the divine command theory is false.[5]
That's a fair assessment of the dilemma, and the answer is all moral motions ultimately point to love. God's character is love, thus there is warrant for the assertion that Divine love stands behind morality that God's  commands are neither arbitrary nor are they stemming from a source higher than God. "Those reasons" are bound up in God's character, They are of concern to God because he is love. Obviously they are not "completely arbitrary since they arise out of the same basic aspect of who and what God is. The question about the goodness of reasons is transgression upon the concept of the transcendental signified. Truth is what is and the basis of what is is the ground being ie God). Thus God's reasons are a priori good not because they arbitrarily manufacture good via command but because they stem from the nature of God which is the ground of being. This idea that God's commands are arbitrary ( the "arbitrariness objection") is regarded as an ace in the hole by many skeptical philosopjhers.

Some philosophers think the arbitrariness objection is decisive (Shafer-Landau (2004), 80–81). But Craig thinks his version of the divine command theory is completely untouched by it. To see why, consider the duty to be generous to those in need. On Craig’s account, we can endorse all three of the following claims.

(A) God has a good reason for commanding generosity: generosity is good.

(B) Generosity is good because, and only because, God is (essentially) generous.

(C) Nevertheless, it takes a divine command to turn generosity into a duty for us.
Given (A), it might be thought that there is nothing objectionably arbitrary about God’s commanding generosity. Given (B), the goodness of God’s reason for issuing this command is rooted in his moral nature; it is not therefore independent of God. (C), finally, assures us that it is God’s command, and not merely the goodness of generosity, that raises it to the level of a moral imperative.[6] 
I take issue with the last sentence and with B to which it refers. "Generosity is good because, and only because, God is (essentially) generous." Basically true but it requires some tweaking that zi think matters. It's not just that God is generous so requires that we be generous but that generosity is a of love, it's an expression of love in the agapic sense., The reason It is played that generosity is good only because God is generous is to avoid the prospect of atheists claiming they can be generous without God. Of course that's  begging the question unless it's answering a certain kind of moral argument for God. If God exists it's legitimate to think that goodness flows from God's nature, If there is no God we are just Whistling in the dark anyway. From a purely metaethical standpoint generosity could be grounded in any number of things such as social contract theory, but they would all have a hard time establishing an ought denontologically without going teleological. It would be more certain to assume grounding in God. But switching from answering Euthephro a God argument would change the trajectory of the answers.

"Many questions remain. Could God have failed to command generosity? Could generosity have failed to be a duty ? Just what degree of generosity is required ? And why did God choose to require just that degree of generosity rather than some other ? " If love is the background of the moral universe, as is my assumption, (ala Joseph Fletcher) [7] then the direct proximity of God's will to a specific command might be less important in terms of metaethical theory than understanding the nature of love. In other words, rather than seeking to pin down a list of rules we need to be seeking ways to learn to love people. Of course that doesn't mean it's unimportant that God issues a particular command. Yet the important thing is not keeping rules but internalizing values of the good.

At this point he moves on to a second objection. If God turned around tomorrow and ordered something that is now evil such as eating children would it then become good to do so? Craig says can't happen it's opposed to God's nature.[8] That should be enough for rational people. But if you are an atheist looking to throw a wrench in the works of belief, or a philosopher, no it's not. If you are both well better start looking for that eye of the needle. "Even if such commands are incompatible with God’s nature, isn’t it still true that according to the divine command theory eating our children would be morally obligatory if – per impossible – God commanded it?" It's another version of  can God make a rock so big he can't lift it? The answer I've always given to that is "why should we expect God to do non sense.?"  It's a cleaver question for skeptics to ask because it's a perfect double bind. If we do say "well theoretically if God did command even God would be wrong," we have relativized God's authority. If we say no we relativize his goodness. Either way we make belief in higher power seem silly.

Morriston kind of concedes that the question doesn't make sense and thus it doesn't matter what is said but he still concludes in such a way as to raise doubt with the oblivious:

Remember that for Craig God is, necessarily, a perfect being. If that is understood, then it really doesn’t matter to Craig’s position whether it’s impossible for a perfect being to command such a thing. Why ? Because if a perfect being commanded it, the being would have a morally sufficient reason for doing so; and if – per impossibile, perhaps – a perfect being had a morally sufficient reason for commanding us to eat our children, we should do it. If I am right about this, then Craig’s divine command theory escapes refutation – not for the reason he gives, but rather because the alarming-sounding counterpossibles implied by it turn out to true! 10 What’s so special about being God-like? Given fairly standard assumptions about God’s moral nature, [9]

The real problem is that the skeptics have underrated the scope of God's relation to reality. We are not just talking about the most powerful being. They approach it like the question is "this powerful guy is not like this but what if he was.?" It's not about the will of a powerful guy. It's about the nature of reality and trust and the relationship of that to love itself. Like the rock issue I refuse to believe that truth can be stumped by nonsense. Truth is what is (a simplified version of correspondence theory) and God is Being itself. Love is the background of the moral universe because God is love and God is the basis of reality. Thus if God is love, truth, and being. Thus morality is an extension of the good, and the good is wrapped up with the nature of truth and being. We must understand particular moral codes as best we can having filtered moral motions through culture. There is a reality back there behind it all that can't be cheated by questions like the one about the rock.

[1] Wes Morriston, "God and the ontological foundation of morality," Religious Studies,   Cambridge University Press 2011 (2012) 48, 15–34 f doi:10.1017/S0034412510000740 URL:  accessed 2/27/2016.

 WES MORRISTON Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0232 email: Wes.Morriston@Colorado.EDU

[2]Plat, "Euthephro," Five Dialogues, 10a, or see on line copy, see "Euthephro" by Plato,  Translated by Benjamin Jowet, Internet archieve UROL:

[3] Morriston, op. cit. 18.

[4] C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of man: With Reflection on Education With Special Reference to The Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools. New York, NY: Harper One, 1971, 83.
The problem with this is that it's limited to a segment of history from a period known as the Axial age, roughly from the 900 to 200 BC. The term is from Karl Jaspers. It excludes new world, Africa, Russian steppes and times before and after. Bit it is probably the best attempt to show universal moral sense. It does at least show large segments of humanity share similar moral motions.

[5] Morriston, op.cit., 18-19

[6] Ibid. 19-20

[7] Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics The new Moraloty.Louisville, Lomdon:  Westminster John Knox Press. 1966,    58.
Fletcher discusses the same dilemma but not by the name "Euthephro." He discusses the nominalist position and argues that modern ethical thinking is nominalist and that is what's wrong with it. That's why philosophers ask questions about this dilemma because they can't ground moraloity in love since they are reductionists and can't understand values.

[8] Morriston, op cit.,20-21

[9] Ibid

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Burning Bush: God is not a list of attributes but the basis of reality

Image result for metacrock's blogImage result for metacrock's blog

In the discussion on my argument I in the "debate" with Bowen Eric Sotnak raised an argument in order to preempt a possible answer from me, the possibility that I could argue that the Vacuum flux or whatever physical situation science finds caused the big bang expansion,is God. Of course I don't argue That but in preempting it he asserted that the real Christian concept of God is standardized consisting of "traditional theistic attributes. " One can't help but think of the big man in the sky,

Eric Sotnak said...

It seems to me that for something to be deserving of the name "God" some substantive set of traditional theistic attributes must be predicated of it. Thus far in the presentation of your argument, I think little has been done to fill in the missing details. Presumably those details will center on the sense of the numinous you invoked in the original argument. Am I correct in assuming that such details are planned for future stages of the argument?
my reply:
No I think this is a case where Christian apologetic has done a disservice because it;s lent itself to setting this easy little list of omni's as a quick shorthand to God's description and identity,it's really missing the point about the nature of God and what it means to attack that word to some set of characteristics.That gives me a great theme for Wedneday's blog. I will save the brunt of my comet for then, but I'll says this:first SON is about love, love is personal so the personal dimension is implied in my argument. I think TS would imply the omni's but we really have to re think the omni's.