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Reasonable Faith 4: The Existence of God (2)

02/11/2011

Kindle Notes:

The point is that in order for the universe to permit life so defined, whatever form organisms might take, the constants and quantities have to be incomprehensibly fine-tuned (2694).

Note: Could this be a Texas sharpshooter fallacy?

A single shot is fired, and the bullet strikes the fly. Now, even if the rest of the wall outside the blank area is covered with flies, such that a randomly fired bullet would probably hit one, nevertheless it remains highly improbable that a single, randomly fired bullet would strike the solitary fly within the large, blank area (2701).

Note: Life chauvinism. This is the only fly, but there are gnats, mosquitos, and other things around. A random bullet could certainly hit one. Why consider this one special?

What makes an explanation a tidy one is not simply the fact that the explanandum (the thing to be explained) is some improbable event, but the fact that the event also conforms to some independently given pattern, resulting in what Dembski calls “specified complexity” (2719).

Note: This event must be specified in advance, not afterwards, lest the sharpshooter fallacy occur.

in order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as understood in the philosophy of science. If archaeologists digging in the earth were to discover things looking like arrowheads and hatchet heads and pottery shards, they would be justified in inferring that these artifacts are not the chance result of sedimentation and metamorphosis, but products of some unknown group of people, even though they had no explanation of who these people were or where they came from (2897).

Note: Craig has Dawkins’ number here.

As an unembodied mind, God is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable constants and quantities, a divine mind is startlingly simple (2910).

Note: Craig does not successfully prove that a disembodied mind is simple, or that it even could be. He just assumes it must be.

To say that something is objective is to say that it is independent of what people think or perceive. By contrast, to say that something is subjective is just to say that it is not objective; that is to say, it is dependent on what human persons think or perceive (2940).

It seems that the atheistic humanist must simply insist, with the Dartmouth ethicist Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, that whatever contributes to human flourishing is morally good and whatever detracts from human flourishing is bad and take that as his explanatory stopping point (3013).

Note: Can one simply define morality as such? A further problem though, would be where does oughtness come from then?

Sinnott-Armstrong thinks that rape is wrong, even though the physical activity that counts as rape among human beings goes on all the time in the animal kingdom-just as acts that count as murder and theft when done by one human to another occur constantly between members of other animal species-without any moral significance whatsoever (3019).

Note: We are able to recognize the harm that occurs, and thus can be amenable to criticism.

Why am I obligated to align my life with one set of these abstractly existing objects rather than any other? (3057).

Note: Can other agents create this obligation? What does it even mean to have an obligation?

Premise (2) of the moral argument asserts that, in fact, objective moral values and duties do exist. The way in which moral theorists test competing ethical theories is by assessing how well they cohere with our moral experience (3064).

Note: Sounds subjective. Here “morality” is based on our subjective experiences. People, on this test, couldn’t be wrong, or could they?

As Sorley emphasized, there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. In the absence of some defeater, we rationally trust our perceptions, whether sensory or moral (3068).

Note: Is this true? Is there a defeater? We can use sensory data to predict other sensory data. Can morality do that?

the objection is self-defeating because, on naturalism, all our beliefs, not just our moral beliefs, have been selected for survival value, not truth, and are therefore unwarranted (3089).

Note: Some beliefs are adaptive if they reflect reality. Others not.

Actions like rape, torture, child abuse, and brutality aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior-they’re moral abominations (3096).

Note: One need not assume objective moral values to try to stop tings from happening. The oughtness is derived from shared aversion. Thus, even if someone is of the opinion that rape is permissible  they can be objectively wrong if there is a societally held aversion. Is this still subjective? If everyone enjoyed rape, it would plausibly be okay.

our moral duties are constituted by the commands of an essentially just and loving God (3114).

Note: This is how Craig defines morality, but this essentially defines good and bad in terms of love and justice. God need not exist to hold the same ideals.

Since our moral duties are grounded in the divine commands, they are not independent of God (3119).

Note: But God is still commanding with regards to the ideals of Love and Justice, which are or independent of God.

If the non-theist should demand, “Why pick God’s nature as definitive of the Good?” the answer is that God, by definition, is the greatest conceivable being, and a being which is the paradigm of goodness is greater than one which merely exemplifies goodness. Unless we are nihilists, we have to recognize some ultimate standard of value, and God is the least arbitrary stopping point (3129).

Note: On what grounds do we consider love and justice good?

Many times you’ll find that the objection doesn’t really challenge any premise and so is irrelevant to the argument! For example, I can almost guarantee that if you present the moral argument, the response will be either “How dare you say that nonbelievers can’t live good moral lives!” or else “You don’t have to believe in God in order to know right from wrong!” (3278).

Note: I’ll have to avoid these unreasonable objections.

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