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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dr. William Lane Craig Defeated - No God is Required for Objective Morality

Yesterday, at NCU, William Lane Craig and Lawrence Krauss took it upon themselves to debate the possible evidence for God. Dr. Craig lists 5 premises which he believes points to the existence of a god, with #5 pointing to the existence of his particular god.  These premises are:

1. The existence of contingent beings.
2. The origin of the universe.
3. Objective moral values and duties in the world.
4. The fine tuning of the universe.
5. The historical "facts" of Jesus' resurrection.

For this post, I am concentrating on number 3, although I would like to mention that Dr. Krauss is wise enough to admit that science does not understand the beginning or the cause of the universe, just that it did begin, and it began with a bang, and he claims that using god as explanation for that which we do not understand is "intellectually lazy"--which I fully agree with.  I myself do not claim to understand how the universe came into existence.

This is Dr. Craig's argument for morality in the world:

P1.  If god does not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.
P2.  Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C.   Therefore, god exists.

This argument commits the fallacy of necessity as it assumes that objective moral values are contingent on a god existing, when this is not necessarily so.  No gods or goddesses for that matter are required for morality to exist, as ethics and morals in reality come from Normative Ethical Theories such as Utilitiarianism--which means doing what is right for the overall good.

One can make any wild claim as Dr. Craig does in his argument.  Let me make a substitution in Dr. Craig's argument to illustrate:

P1.  If humans do not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.
P2.  Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C.   Therefore, humans exist.

Just like William Craig's argument, there is no proof for P1.  The argument is valid, but whether it is sound or not is questionable.  In the case of Craig's argument, as I have already shown, we have another viable option for objective moral values, and that is the use of Normative Ethical Theories.

On another note, my argument is valid, but is contingent on humans existing, so it too commits the fallacy of necessity, as we have no way of knowing whether or not morality and duty is dependent on the existence of humans.  Many animals have exhibited moral behaviors, so it is not necessarily so that morality only exists in the realm of humanity.

For the sake of argument, let's assume his argument works.  Dr. Craig himself admits that this argument alone does not prove the Christian god. The reason for this is that every non-Christian culture, has/had their own standards and moral guidelines that they follow, and therefore their morals and duties are not contingent on the christian god Yahweh existing.   Hindu's have a moral code.  Sumerians had a moral code. The Native Americans had moral codes long before the White Christians came along, and many Christian missionaries made note of the fact the Indians had "no sin. " Orthodox Buddhists do not even posit a god, but they too have a moral code/standard etc. William Lane Craig uses premise #5 as being the "best" explanation for the Christian god being the one true god.--I will refute this below.

  
As I already mentioned, we use Normative Ethical Theories (NET's), which are devices used to produce specific moral judgments.  One of these NET's is the Divine Command Theory, which  in ethics states that whatever god says is right is right.  This seems to be the NET that Craig says is necessary for objectivity and morality.  As I have already shown, this is not the case as we have many competing NET's.  In fact, the Divine Command Theory is one of the weakest NET's because it has an epistemological problem as we have no way of knowing what a god has said, if he has said anything at all.  For example, in the case of Hinduism, Manu was given the Dharma which was given to him by the god Vishnu, and it gives instructions which uphold private and public life, and establishes social, moral, and religious order.  So who are we to believe; Moses or Manu?  How do we know whether a god told Moses, or a god told Manu, or a god told any other human anything at all for that matter?
The answer is that we do not; hence we have an epistemological problem.

Dr. Craig provides premise 5 to distinguish his god as the one true god as opposed to all the others. Number 5 however, also fails, as there are multiple gods who are claimed to have been resurrected from the dead.  In fact, numerous gods such as Bacchus, Hercules were said to have been resurrected from the dead.  Also,  Asclepius, was killed by Zeus only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. Achilles, after being killed, was taken from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis, and resurrected, brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains, or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, was said have experienced  a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality.  Quetzalcoatl, a South American god, is also claimed to be resurrected; and in Hinduism Krishna was resurrected, and in fact, according to Hinduism, EVERYONE is claimed to be resurrected. The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. Some Egyptian and Canaanite writings claim there are dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Baal.  Therefore, premise 5 does not provide sufficient evidence for the Christian god, as opposed to any other gods or goddesses.  The fact that the bible CLAIMS there were "eyewitness" accounts is no more proof of the fact than the claims made by other non-Christian sources for their gods and goddesses.  The other religions could also "cherry pick" their scriptures in a similar fashion.

Let's assume however, that Yahweh exists and that we received moral values from this particular god.  Let's say for example that a father murders his children because he claims god told him to in order to save them from Satan.  Most christians would claim that Yahweh would never tell anyone to do such a heinous thing, and the man who killed his children is just crazy.  The reasoning that concludes that it was not Yahweh who told the man to kill his children allows another conclusion to be drawn.  This would be a moral test in which the conclusion that was drawn came from our own moral knowledge, and not from what a god said. Yahweh has, after all, according to the bible, spoken through others, ordering them to slaughter the innocents, so it would be inductively valid to assume that Yahweh ordered the man to murder his children. (Hosea 13:16)
Are actions in any case right or wrong then because god says they are; or are they right or wrong because they are right or wrong?  The Divine Command theory in ethics states that whatever god says is right is right--in this case the Christian god Yahweh-- which would mean the slaughter of innocent children, pregnant women and their unborn fetuses would be considered right.  If this is the case then, there is no standard for good, as murder would be considered "good."  Therefore, true objective morality cannot come from such a god.

26 comments:

awatkins69 said...

"...we use Normative Ethical Theories (NET's), which are devices used to produce specific moral judgments. One of these NET's is the Divine Command Theory, whih in ethics states that whatever god says is right is right. This seems to be the NET that Craig says is necessary for objectivity and morality."

That's precisely what Craig does not say. In fact, in all of his debates he's tried very hard to emphasize that he's not a voluntarist.

Are you really a professor of philosophy of religion?

A is for Atheist said...

Yes I am a professor of religion and philosophy, and I yes, if Craig is saying it is right because god says it is right i.e god sets the standard, then he is using the "divine command theory." According to the divine command theory, whatever god says is right,is right.

I have stated what is wrong with the divine command theory in my above post.

I have not said anything about being a voluntarist.

awatkins69 said...

Where do you teach?

Voluntarism is a specific member of the class of theories called "divine command theories". This version says that God can make any command or moral proposition good or bad no matter the content of the command/proposition.

On Dr. Craig's version of divine command theory it is true that whatever God says is right will be right. But it's not the case on his version that God can make any command or proposition good or bad no matter the content of the command/proposition.

awatkins69 said...

I actually don't accept the moral argument as such, and I'm not sure if I accept it at all, since I'm an ethical naturalist. But not for reasons like you provide.

My point is this. You say:

"Are actions in any case right or wrong then because god says they are; or are they right or wrong because they are right or wrong?"

In his own work Craig has constantly said that this is a false dichotomy. God says they are right or wrong because they are right or wrong. This doesn't mean the rightness or wrongness of them is independent of God. On Craig's theory moral properties are ontologically grounded in God's nature. Whereas, based on your post, you seem to think Craig holds to the voluntaristic variety, a claim which he has repeatedly denied enough such that anyone who takes his work seriously should already know this.

A is for Atheist said...

@ awatkins69

The issue you are making reference to is irrelevant to the point I am making. The fact of the matter is Craig holds some type of version of the Divine Command Theory. On a later post, I will go over the problems specifically with the Divine Command Theory and the issues you are making reference to, and the significance of holding one version of the Divine Command Theory over another.

Either version still relies on what god says, and are therefore, susceptible to the epistemological problem that I stated in the post.

Furthermore, we provided reasons to show that P1 is false. No gods or goddesses for that matter are required for morality to exist, as ethics and morals in reality come from Normative Ethical Theories such as Utilitiarianism--which means doing what is right for the overall good.

Normative Ethical Theories, and all subsequent levels of NET's explain moral phenomena. In another post, I will go into more depth on the question of objective moral values, and the justification of Normative Ethical Theories, but for the sake of brevity, I will mention two proposed justifications for Normative Ethical Theories:

!. Practice - NET's are in fact used by people.
2. Best Explanation - NET's do the best job in accounting for the moral phenomena, and the competing NETs are also judged by which one does the best job in accounting for the moral phenomena.

Marcus A. said...

Thanks for the post and the clarifications in the fallacies, especially regarding point 5.

nearenough said...

Craig is facile. We always hear about morals from other humans. We never hear about morals from a bizarre supernal entity not identifiable as a human being, i.e. some sort of "divine" being. Never.

Oh yes, "Moses" went up to a mountain without a witness and came down with stone tablets, so the again unwitnessed and unverified story went, upon which primitive laws were chiseled out (which had to be redone) and which were never labelled the "10 Commandments."

There is a third set of laws which ARE labelled "The Ten Commandments" which end in the stupendous commandment, "Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk."

Jesus allegedly said, Love thy neighbor as thyself and love God too (or words to that effect. Love "YAHWEH with all your heart and mind?? Ahem, I think not, and this is nothing more than a human OPINION not any law coming from "God." Besides, no one love any neighbor as themselves. Bad advice.
So Craig is washed up.
(Unless he has heard Ganesha trumpeting some brand new moral codes.)

Anonymous said...

I am revising a novel in which I have the Government on Planet H (Heaven) sign all their directives - including their directives to God (one of their scientists) -- anyway, they sign all their directives "By these words and deeds we shall surely survive"

Is that signature an indications that Planet H had adopted the NET of Utilitarianism? I think so, but I have never studied NET or the Utilitarianism type of NET.

Your criticism of my ideas are welcome - better to know now before my revision goes to print.

Uncle Wayne

A is for Atheist said...

Uncle Wayne,

"By these words and deeds we shall surely survive" can be in the context of a variety of NET's--depending on the situation. If the "we" means everyone, then it could be considered utilitarian. If the "we" means only a certain group, then it could be a form of ethical egoism.

The utilitarian NET means the doing what is best for the overall good. Survival in and of itself is not necessarily "good." eg. a person living artificially being hooked up to a respirator is not necessarily good--but it is a form of survival.

Anonymous said...

Thanks "AFA" -- I will have Natalie or Gabriel mention those exact words in the novel. (I think that will help clarify that (those) parts of the novel.


*** Now, for another difficult part of my novel. - "free-will". I have spent parts of the last few years researching that term. - and, to no avail. It seems the well known philosophers are at odds on the definition and at odds about whether it even exists.

- so I have had different characters in the novel give about 5 different opinions on the subject. But, I might need your help in clarifying each of those 5 different viewpoints - if you wouldn't mind weighing-in on the subject of free-will.

Uncle Wayne

Anonymous said...

edit - in regards to your Net comments - I should have said I would have Gabriel say in effect the information you just gave me. --

Uncle Wayne

Dan said...

The existence of normative ethical theories in no way defeats Craig's first premise. To do so you would need to show that there is an objective moral standard other than god. NET's do NOT provide an objective standard. As you said, there are many competing NET's. Thus, none are objective.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Dan

Actually, I did not say that Craig's first premise was defeated, I said it was questionable:

"...there is no proof for P1. The argument is valid, but whether it is sound or not is questionable. In the case of Craig's argument, as I have already shown, we have another viable option for objective moral values, and that is the use of Normative Ethical Theories."

Craig provides no proof that P1 is true. Now, as Craig points out himself in P2, "objective moral values and duties do exist." One reason this is true, is that we have Normative Ethical Theories, which are devices used to produce specific moral judgments. This provides us with a certain level of objectivity.

Note, that Craig himself admits that this argument does not prove the Christian god exists, as there are many competing gods and goddesses. Let us follow your logic. Based on your logic, the fact that we have competing gods and goddesses would mean that none are objective.--see how absurd that is! The fact that there are competing NET's does not mean there is no objectivity.

Likewise, every society has had morals and duties even those that were not of the Abrahamic faiths. How can this be since they did not have Yahweh to give them "objective morality?" The answer is, the Abrahamic god is NOT NECESSARY for objective morality!

Lastly, not only is it a fact that we have competing gods and goddesses, but the Divine Command Theory also faces the epistemological problem, as I pointed out above: "How do we know whether a god told Moses, or a god told Manu, or a god told any other human anything at all for that matter? The answer is that we do not; hence we have an epistemological problem."

I will soon be posting a critique of the Divine Command Theory, which will illustrate the epistemological problem it faces, and why it is one of the weakest NET's.

Anonymous said...

This is probably one of the worst arguments vs. Dr. Craig that I have read. haha wow

A is for Atheist said...

@ Anonymous

If my argument was, as you say, "one of the worst" then logically, you should have easily been able to counter it. But you did not.

So all you can do is stick to your "selective observations," without offering a counter argument--how pathetically sad.

Adam Green said...

If objective morals and duties act as proof of god, but non-Christian societies have morals and duties, what god are they proving? In order for Dr. Craig to assert #3 as truth, he'd have to admit that the great sky spirit of the Native Americans did, in fact, exist.

Otherwise, objective morals does not help prove the existence of god.

Benjamin Lowery said...

I think you're missing Craig's point here. The key word is "Objective". Craig is not saying that ethics cannot exist without a God, but that there is no basis for imposing your 'NET' on anybody but yourself without a divine entity. I.e. he is demonstrating the difference between the Objective morality of a universe of meaning and the subjective morality of a universe of chaos and chance.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Ben

No, I am not missing Craig's point. Craig's point is based on a false premise since we do have objective morality, and we have had objective morality long before Judaism or Christianity. The Divine Command Theory, the NET that states something is right because a god or goddess says it is right, is a weak NET that has the epistemological problem, which I mentioned above. It is a far more subjective than perhaps all of the other NET's.

First of all, how do we know that Yahweh told Moses anything, or that any other god or goddess have told anyone anything?--We do not. Furthermore, people, including Christians, do not actually use the Divine Command Theory. This is demonstrated by the fact that when someone like David Koresh claims god told him what to do, and many people die as a result, then Christians will claim god did not tell him anything because what he said god told him to do was a bad thing. So they are not using the Divine Command Theory in that case. Instead, they are using another NET to determine their standard of what is right and what is wrong.

Secondly, while some of the DMR's (Direct Moral Rules) of the various religions are similar, some are quite different, and in fact, contradictory and absurd. For example, in the Abrahamic religions, according to the OT, one of the direct moral rules is that female slaves cannot be freed, whereas male slaves are freed after 7 years.

If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free:

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do." Exodus 21:1-7

So according to this direct moral rule, slavery is right. However, note that today slavery is considered wrong--even by Christians. Where is your objectivity??

According to Hindus, Brahman has told them to burn the widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. According to you, this must be objectively true, and therefore, right to do!!--how absurd. Again, note that the majority of Hindus no longer follow this direct moral rule. Where is your objectivity??--how absurd.

A better explanation for all of this is that no gods or goddesses gave anyone direct moral rules, and that in fact, they made them up themselves.

See the following blog posts for the details and arguments:

http://aisforatheist5760.blogspot.com/2011/08/did-yahweh-create-jews-or-did-jews.html

http://aisforatheist5760.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-question-of-virtues-vices-and.html

A is for Atheist said...

@ Ben part 2

The second post shows that if Yahweh existed as described by the OT and the NT, then he can't even make up his own mind as to what is good and what is bad. In this case, there is no objectivity, just the subjective whims of the Abrahamic god. For if jealousy and anger are vices, then Yahweh cannot be all good, or all loving, and he does not even abide by his own standards of good and bad. If something is not good just because it is good, and it is only good because Yahweh says it is good, then there would be no standard for calling Yahweh good and no objectivity. Again--see the post for details and the arguments.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Ben part 3

So how do we determine what Normative Ethical Theory to follow?--why, by argument and the dialectical process.

Note,the same goes for the Divine Command Theory. Of all the NET's, the Divine Command Theory is the weakest, and we know this by the arguments.

But now to your main point that Craig claims:

"...that there is no basis for imposing your 'NET' on anybody but yourself without a divine entity"

also holds for the Divine Command Theory. For what right would a Hindu have for enforcing Brahman's DMR's on Christians, and vice versa? The same would go for the followers of Zeus, Odin, Thor, Krishna, Diana, etc. etc.

Benjamin Lowery said...

You say "But now to your main point that Craig claims:"...that there is no basis for imposing your 'NET' on anybody but yourself without a divine entity" also holds for the Divine Command Theory. For what right would a Hindu have for enforcing Brahman's DMR's on Christians, and vice versa? The same would go for the followers of Zeus, Odin, Thor, Krishna, Diana, etc. etc."

Again you miss the point. The point Craig is making is that if one assumes Theism then one has a consistent basis from which to make ethical judgements. Precisely which God is the real one, and therefore which morality is correct is another matter entirely - and one not addressed by the argument.

Let me put it this way:

When a Christian is asked why murder is wrong he can say: "Because humans are made in the image of God and destruction of that image is contrary to the purpose for which we were created"... or something along those lines.

When an Atheist is asked the same question, what can he say? "I have decided unilaterally that the greater good should be sought in all things, so murder is wrong"? Well what gave him the right to decide that? What if I just decide I disagree? Even if more people agree with him and he manages to have me incarcerated, that doesn't equate to objective morality... it just equates to the strong imposing their will on the weak.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Ben

The same thing applies to the Divine Command Theory. Well, what gives the Christian the right to impose his morality on the Hindus? In which case, the Hindu could claim that burning widows alive is not murder, and is not wrong. (This is known as 'sati') So, the Divine Command Theory is no more objective than the other NET's. Now, you further illustrate the problem with the Divine Command Theory, especially in the case of a god who cannot remember his own commands, as you tell us murder is wrong:

"Because humans are made in the image of God and destruction of that image is contrary to the purpose for which we were created"

But yet Yahweh commands the murders of multitudes of human beings who were made "in his image," and as you point out, the destruction of that image is contrary to the purpose for which they were created--how absurd!! See, there is no consistency when we apply the Divine Command Theory.

Maybe you will understand it better if I give you an example. Craig's point would be that it provides us with a telos. But now, let's think about that for a moment. Hitler too provided a "telos" for the Germans. Now, given his telos, they could determine what was good and what was bad within that telos. So, it's objective on those grounds. But note--that just won't do. Being consistent in this case, is not enough. We need to know what to do, and we need to know that it is right--not what is consistent given some hypothetical state, such as, a god exists.

Therefore, one can assume theism, and have a consistent basis from which to make ethical judgments, and yet those ethical judgments are unjust and bad--as in the case of Hindus burning widows on their husbands funeral pyre, or slavery as depicted in the bible, and so on.

So, if one wants to assume the Divine Command Theory, and state that this is the only one that is objective, then they must answer to the epistemological problem, which also involves the question of which gods or goddesses are the real ones, and if what they say is right.

Now, if someone tells me Yahweh told them that I should murder someone, I can say "No!"--and if Yahweh told them to tell me that, I can say Yahweh is wrong. And if someone tells me they are permitted to have slaves, or they can sell their daughters into slavery because Yahweh told them so, I can say "No!" and if Yahweh told them that slavery is permissible, I can tell them that Yahweh is wrong. Likewise, if the Hindu tells me that Brahman told him to burn the widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands, I would also say "No!"--and this holds even if these gods exist, or, the theist must claim that whatever these gods say or do is right, and not that it is right because it is right. Either way, the Divine Command Theory falls to the epistemological problem.

Benjamin Lowery said...

You are again introducing the red herring of the epistemological question of whicn God is the correct one. This isn't what Craig is dealing with in this argument!

The point is Theism provides a consistent framework for ethics, while Atheism doesn't. The epistemological question of which God is the real one is another debate entirely!

If you want to disprove Craig's point you must demonstrate how an ethical system can consistently be imposed beyond an individual within an Atheistic framework. If you cannot demonstrate the above you have three options 1) concede to Theism, 2) concede that there is no objective morality or 3) keep quiet!

A is for Atheist said...

@ Ben

No, I am not introducing a "red herring"--you are by making such a claim. Craig would like to avoid this problem but he can not avoid it. The point is that theism does not provide a consistent framework for ethics because of the epistemological problem!!!!

The epistemological problem is part and parcel of this argument. If a theist claims that there can be no objective morality without a god, then we are permitted to see, if in fact, a god did exist, that we would have objective morality.

If a theist claims that we would have objective morality because what god says is right is right (which is just the Divine Command Theory) then we can check to see if that is true. In fact, the claim is false because of the epistemological problem. Let me again illustrate this for you.

Let us assume that a god exists. In fact, let us assume that that god is Yahweh. Now, if that is the case, we ought to have an objective morality, and there should be an ethical system that can consistently be imposed beyond an individual.--this was your test by the way. Now, we have three Abrahamic religions that worship the same god, Yahweh, and yet, they cannot agree, and are inconsistent with one another with regards to objective morality! There are also many different denominations within the three different Abrahamic religions and amongst all of them they have no consistent framework for ethics. They all disagree. Why? They disagree because of the epistemological problem. They all claim that Yahweh gave them commands, commands that are inconsistent with each other. How bizarre! Ah, they have the same God and still have no consistent framework for ethics--no objective morality. Unless you think that the Islamic ethics and direct morale rules should be imposed on Christians, after all, this God gave them to Mohamed so you and all Christians should actually be Muslims. Why don't you accept the commands that Yahweh gave to Mohamed? Why don't Christians and Jews accept the commands that Yahweh gave to Mohamed? AH, the epistemological problem!!!!--So, we have a God, and still no consistent framework for ethics. Theism does not provide a consistent framework for ethics!!! Therefore, Graig's argument fails.

Atheist, or anybody else, can use Normative Ethical Theories (NETS) to make specific moral judgements. These NETS provide a consistent framework for ethics. But now you, Benjamin, will want me to demonstrate how an ethical system can consistently be imposed beyond an individual within this framework. But, I have just demonstrated to you that the Theist can do no better with regard to that issue. So, if this works against Atheists, or anybody else who would use NETS and no God, then it also works against Theist.

We have objective morality via NETS. They provide us with the framework to make specific moral judgements.

It is at this point that we can ask about the justification of NETS. This justification takes place not within the NETS, but beyond them, the justification takes place at the meta-ethical level. The most common defense of NETS is that the theory is, in fact, used by people. This defense has been used by various philosophers such as Kant and Mill.

The above explanation is consistent with the second defense, which is that it is the best explanation. I have talked about this move at length in my blog.

The Truthful Heretic said...

This issue about morality is actually one of my favorite, and I have made some posts about it in my blog. I'm glad to find this argument here.

I don't think we have "objective" moral values. And I think just the fact that these values change in the course of time is evidence for that. (and definitely evidence against moral absolutism of religions)

In his debates Craig usually claims "We have objective moral values", and then gives anecdotes that seem to be correct. But, the fact is, if we ask "Why?", suddenly it seems to take a path other than God, the path of reason.

Also, there is a lot of dishonesty even in those anecdotes: In his debate vs. Harris he mentioned incest, but the "meaning" of that is different in different geographical and historical places and times. In Islam it is not incest to marry your cousin, in western cultures it is. Also, in ancient Egypt it was not incest for one to marry his sister. Could it still be meaningful to say such a thing as "Incest is wrong" to an ancient Egyptian? And then when asked "Why?" the answer would be "Because Yahweh says so?!"

P.S: I posted some things about morality here:
http://wp.me/p1JWqF-4 (“Without God everything is permitted”… Not!)
Also: http://wp.me/p1JWqF-15 (On The Fakeness of the Concept of Sin)

A is for Atheist said...

@The Truthful Heretic

You said:

"I don't think we have "objective" moral values. And I think just the fact that these values change in the course of time is evidence for that. (and definitely evidence against moral absolutism of religions)"

Yes the fact that values change in the course of time and are not fixed proves that moral absolutism is not acceptable.

On the other hand the fact that values change in the course of time does not show that we do not have "objective" moral values. One should keep in mind the central role of normative ethics on the question of objectivity. When philosophers such as Mill, Kant present a NET, they suppose it s the one true view. Each of these philosophers not only presents a NET, they usually also indicate how the correct theory is established as being correct,The most common way to argue for an ethical theory is to attempt to show that it does a better job than its rivals in explaining the moral phenomena.

The fact that absolutism fails does not undermine NETs, such as utilitarianism, in which Mill's explanation that in different locations and different times, different means are best used to reach happiness. Our specific moral judgements would be "objectively true, but only derivatively and contingently true--if things had been otherwise, quite different sorts of actions would have been right." (J.S. Mill, Utilitarianism)

The fact that we may have moral disagreements is neither here nor there as we have disagreements in science, medicine, astronomy, etc.--yet these areas are still deemed to be objective. I may do a blog post on this at some later date.

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