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 if 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 is based on 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.
Once 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 fails to 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, 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. 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 Dhama 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, and Quetzalcoatl are just a few of them, and in fact, in Hinduism EVERYONE is resurrected--so 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 Yahweh says is right is right, 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 morality cannot come from such a god.