Jump to content

Anthropic Argument


Recommended Posts

I feel post 43 addresses the substance of 41.

Ah, I see.

 

If God chooses to be as moral as possible given a boundary condition, how is that not being best? How can one be better than best?

"Best" does not imply "perfect." God may do the best He can maximizing goods A and B, but it is possible to maximize A to perfection, by neglecting B. This argument stipulates that as a premise: God must be morally perfect, not morally the-best-he-can-be-given-the-circumstances.

 

You are right to say that if God is not completely morally perfect, the argument does not stand. The argument only claims to work against a totally morally perfect God.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 109
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

OK, I'll completely analyze the issue of free will being incompatible with morality: 1) Suppose free will is incompatible with perfect morality. Therefore, any morally perfect being (such as God, if

That is an idiotic objection. You can obviously analyze a belief without actually holding such a belief. In fact: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepti

You do not believe in God: why should you now believe in Satan? Do you really believe Satan exists if God doesn't? If you don't, yours is no argument.

The "best" you refer to is a qualified "best". Again, God may score an 8 in A and B, which is the "best" He can do logically, but it is logically possible for him to neglect B entirely and then score a 10 in A. The premises of the OP's argument mandate that God score a 10 in moral perfection, no matter what competing goods He gives up to achieve that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So then absolute perfection is a misnomer, though we can logically envision it, it is logically impossible because competing goods is a logical possibility and absolute perfection cannot exist with competing goods. Do I have this right?

Link to post
Share on other sites

No. Competing goods being a logical possibility do not make them a necessity, so it is possible for absolute perfection to exist in those cases in which competing goods do not.

 

Well, take that further. There may be competing goods, but their existence isn't a problem. It is a problem when I value those competing goods. If I neglect them, perfection is still possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No. Competing goods being a logical possibility do not make them a necessity, so it is possible for absolute perfection to exist in those cases in which competing goods do not.

 

Competition does seem to be a necessity. First off it is self evident that competing goods do exist in the only world we know. Second, in economic theory, the fact of something having value guarantees competition. Competition is a necessary outcome of holding more than one independent good of value even if equally so.

 

Well, take that further. There may be competing goods, but their existence isn't a problem. It is a problem when I value those competing goods. If I neglect them, perfection is still possible.

 

But in this case absolute perfection would not be possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is God bound by economic theory?

 

Again, suppose there are two competing goods, A and B. God may score an 8 in A and B, which is the "best" He can do logically, but it is logically possible for him to neglect B entirely and then score a 10 in A. Hence total perfection in A is possible.

 

Whether God would practically choose to neglect B is irrelevant, since the argument stipulates one that does.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is God bound by economic theory?

 

Again, suppose there are two competing goods, A and B. God may score an 8 in A and B, which is the "best" He can do logically, but it is logically possible for him to neglect B entirely and then score a 10 in A. Hence total perfection in A is possible.

 

But then absolute perfection would be impossible, which is illogical.

 

This is because neglecting B would mean that one is not totally perfect in B.

Link to post
Share on other sites

But then absolute perfection would be impossible, which is illogical.

 

This is because neglecting B would mean that one is not totally perfect in B.

 

Why is that important? The argument stipulates a God who is morally perfect (i.e. perfect in A), not a God who is perfect in every attribute. The God in this argument does not need "absolute perfection" or perfection in B.

 

If two attributes are exclusive, it follows directly that maximizing both simultaneously is impossible, so achieving perfection in both should be impossible. Why is that illogical, or a problem?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, you're saying that perhaps for god to be perfect he'd have to be less moral than he could be (due to a competing good), ie a perfect god is morally imperfect. That still leaves him morally imperfect. Then could become more morally perfect at the expense of being less perfect overall (by neglecting the competing good). But it's not like every entity possible must try to maximize the competing good.

 

I disagree with the idea that there can be a competing good to morality since morality is what judges what is good or not, so any moral system must acknowledge all goods possible and not be at odds with any, ie if your morality has competing goods your morality is wrong.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why is that important? The argument stipulates a God who is morally perfect (i.e. perfect in A), not a God who is perfect in every attribute. The God in this argument does not need "absolute perfection" or perfection in B.

 

The OP stipulated that God was omni-benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient. I take that to mean absolutely perfect, is this incorrect?

 

If two attributes are exclusive, it follows directly that maximizing both simultaneously is impossible, so achieving perfection in both should be impossible. Why is that illogical, or a problem?

 

Because if a perfect being is less than perfect at something then it would be illogical to speak of absolute perfection as a real entity since there could be no most perfect by your logic.

 

But this can't be because most perfect is considered more perfect than any other configuration and is thus most perfect is absolute perfection since nothing can be more perfect. So even with competing goods, there must still be perfection.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm having trouble understanding what "competing goods" means in the context of this discussion. Surely conflicts between "good" ends are a consequence of circumstance. But doesn't an omnipotent being create its own circumstance, by definition?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The 17th century thinker Gottfried Leibniz tried to excuse God's apparent creation of an imperfect world by arguing that even an omnipotent being would be limited in the sense of not being able to do the impossible, and the type of impossibility which limited God's capacity to create a perfect world was its limited 'compossibility.' This concept refers to the idea that if God creates a planet with oxygen-breathing creatures, he is also stuck with having to supply some method to preserve the ozone layer to keep those creatures alive, since the initial choice compels the second choice. So if God has some good reason for populating the world with beings having free will, then their freedom entails his also having to allow them to make bad as well as good choices, which in turn necessitates the possibility of evil.

 

His conclusion was that God's goodness despite having created an imperfect world was excused by the world he had created being at least the 'best possible world,' although hardly the best world conceivable if it was considered piece by piece rather than in terms of its total 'compossibility.'

Link to post
Share on other sites

ydoaPs: Your first argument assumes that having free will is a higher value than always having to make perfect choices, which is not clearly demonstrated to be the case.

Then why use the free will defense at all? It's an inherent assumption of the free will defense. Accurately depicting the defense while discussing why it doesn't work isn't a bad thing. It's rather similar to Modus Tollens:

 

p->q

~q

~p

 

If the God hypothesis were correct, he could have some overriding reason, not evident to us, for choosing to create beings who have the necessary degree of imperfection in knowledge and will so that they are not perfectly constrained in their choices by omniscience and moral perfection and are thus free.

How is that? By virtue of the free will defense, you imply that free will and moral perfection are incompatible. As such, God does not have free will. In what sense, then, could God choose to do anything?

 

God's creative options may be constrained by Leibniz's principle of compossibility, so that a world of morally and intellectually imperfect beings who for those reasons have free will is the best of all possible worlds which could be created.

Not really. If free will leads to moral imperfection, then creating beings with free will would be closer to maximizing the likelihood of moral evil and minimizing the likelihood of moral goodness rather than maximizing the likelihood of moral goodness and minimizing the likelihood of moral evil. As such, it would be morally reprehensible to create free will and such a would would NOT be the best of all possible worlds.

 

Your second argument, that "free will is necessarily subservient to a being's nature," seems inconsistent with the existentialists' argument that for beings of the level of sophistication of humans, existence precedes essence, so that our 'nature' can only be defined by reviewing what we happen to have arbitrarily chosen as our identity, rather than, as is the case with everything else, our nature being definable in advance, and our choices then predetermined by what we are. Sartre and Heidegger develop this point in detail.

My second argument is third grade level psychology. Your choices are affected by your values, beliefs, and past experiences. That means your identity is integral to your choices; your choices are utterly dependent upon your nature. It is nonsensical to say that a choice is up to you if the selection among options is completely independent of your nature.

 

Why would having moral perfection be a part of a person's nature keep them from having free will? The answer is it doesn't.

 

The 17th century thinker Gottfried Leibniz tried to excuse God's apparent creation of an imperfect world by arguing that even an omnipotent being would be limited in the sense of not being able to do the impossible, and the type of impossibility which limited God's capacity to create a perfect world was its limited 'compossibility.' This concept refers to the idea that if God creates a planet with oxygen-breathing creatures, he is also stuck with having to supply some method to preserve the ozone layer to keep those creatures alive, since the initial choice compels the second choice. So if God has some good reason for populating the world with beings having free will, then their freedom entails his also having to allow them to make bad as well as good choices, which in turn necessitates the possibility of evil.

If that is the case(which I don't think it is), then free will is immoral and a morally perfect God would not create beings with free will. However, I see no conflict in having moral perfection being a part of the nature of a being with free will. It seems that you also, at least intermittently, agree with me since you've been talking about God(a morally perfect being) making choices.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If we accept the possibility that there could be motivations operating on God which are higher than the requirements of what to us are the supreme demands of morality, then he might have good reasons for choosing to create the best of all possible worlds even though it is not perfectly good. For example, if creation is a good superior to morality, or if the existence of beings with free will is a good superior to morality, then God might have an overriding reason to create the kind of world that exists.

 

Perhaps Kant's ethics offers an alternative. Only if something has free will can it deserve praise and blame for its actions. Since morality is all about the reasons for praising or blaming actions, morality can only come into existence or have relevance if there are beings with morally significant free will. For there to be morally significant free will, there has to be the possibility of choosing to do either the right thing or the wrong thing, which means choosing good or evil. Evil choices produce suffering, so for God to produce a world in which morality can exist, he has to create a world with suffering. If human free will could do nothing but make morally indifferent choices, such as between chocolate and vanilla, then humans would not be truly empowered and significant beings or genuine moral significance, so they have to be able to choose evil, and the world has to be at least in part bad.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If we accept the possibility that there could be motivations operating on God which are higher than the requirements of what to us are the supreme demands of morality, then he might have good reasons for choosing to create the best of all possible worlds even though it is not perfectly good. For example, if creation is a good superior to morality, or if the existence of beings with free will is a good superior to morality, then God might have an overriding reason to create the kind of world that exists.

Good superior to perfect morally is nonsense. It is basically saying something is better than perfect.

 

Even if that made any sense, doing such things would still mean that God is not morally perfect.

 

Again, you talk about God choosing; is moral perfection at odds with free will or not?

Edited by ydoaPs
Link to post
Share on other sites

A "good superior to perfect morality" is only nonsense if morality is the highest value in the universe. Perhaps from the perspective of divine omniscience, a good higher than morality is creating beings with the free will to choose evil, since only their capacity for this choice makes the world they live in one in which morality -- that is, praise or blame for good or bad ethical choices -- possible.

 

When God is usually defined as good or perfectly good, does this mean that he has to be capable of being perfectly good in a way inconsistent with the importance of creating entities with free will so that their potential good and bad choices make morality real? It seems that we have to have the moral scale before we can worry about whether God is good, and this scale only first comes into existence because morally significant choice, which is the choice of good or evil, is possible.

 

Does God's being perfectly good have to involve him in the kind of perfection that would be inconsistent with the created universe of beings with the free will to choose badly, given that this is the only way that morality could even come into existence as a relevant scale for that world? Perhaps God's 'perfection' only consists in his having to be sufficiently good to choose the best of all possible worlds for beings to exercise morally significant free will in. This may yield a 'better' universe by some divine cosmological standard than one in which a morally perfect deity just sat alone in darkness, so it would be an imperfection in God to choose the empty but non-evil universe rather than the one populated by humans with free will which has some evil in it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I'll completely analyze the issue of free will being incompatible with morality:

1) Suppose free will is incompatible with perfect morality.

Therefore, any morally perfect being (such as God, if he is morally perfect), cannot have free will. But most people say God has free will and is morally perfect, but per premise 1 such a god cannot exist.

 

2) Suppose free will is compatible with perfect morality

Therefore, free will cannot be used to excuse god creating beings with poor morality. God could have created us with both perfect morality and free will, but chose to make us with poor morality instead, which seems morally dubious to say the least.

 

As the above proves, either one agree that their god does not have free will, is not morally perfect, or must find some excuse other than free will for creating us with imperfect morality.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) I'm not sure it is generally assumed, or has to be assumed, that a God would have free will. If his nature constrains him always to choose only what is perfect in terms of morality and wisdom, then it would seem that his options are so drastically limited that unless there are two equally good or wise things available to choose, his goodness and wisdom would have to leave him no options.

 

One way to make this more of a problem would be to say that if God cannot have free will since he must always choose only the highest good and the most wise option available, then he cannot be a truly morally signficant entity, since there can be no sense in blaming or praising him for anything, since he has no alternative but to choose the best, and does so by a machine-like preconditioning rather than by any exercise of laudatory free will.

 

But does he need this to be good? Is goodness only the exercise of a possibly morally defective free will in a good way, or can it be the choice of the good even when this choice was predetermined by one's nature? It would seem that in both cases, whether the person chooses good against a temptation to do evil which could have succeeded, or chooses good because his nature constrains him to do so, he still deserves to be characterized as good -- either in effort or in result.

 

2) If God had created people with both perfect morality and free will, so that they always chose freely but just happened always to choose the good, they might arguably be morally insignificant beings, since they would not exist at a level where truly good or evil actions could be chosen. Being a creature of such stature that it can commit sin, as opposed to an instinctively driven animal which has no morally significant choice, is a great gift, and perhaps this gift to humanity is of sufficient value to outweigh the value of the alternative, which would be creating human automata which always choose the good without the moral significance of a true test.

 

3) Now we have it that in the case of God, he claims goodness as a result -- that his choice is always constrained to be good so he must now be characterized as good; while in the case of humans, we claim goodness as a process -- that of choosing the good when we could have chosen the alternative. But I don't think this distinction in the grounds of goodness has to be a problem, if we assume first that God and man are of such essentially different natures that different governing principles of goodness apply to them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I'll completely analyze the issue of free will being incompatible with morality:

1) Suppose free will is incompatible with perfect morality.

Therefore, any morally perfect being (such as God, if he is morally perfect), cannot have free will. But most people say God has free will and is morally perfect, but per premise 1 such a god cannot exist.

 

2) Suppose free will is compatible with perfect morality

Therefore, free will cannot be used to excuse god creating beings with poor morality. God could have created us with both perfect morality and free will, but chose to make us with poor morality instead, which seems morally dubious to say the least.

 

As the above proves, either one agree that their god does not have free will, is not morally perfect, or must find some excuse other than free will for creating us with imperfect morality.

 

It's not that free will is or is not compatible with perfect morality, rather that free will provides the ability for individuals to choose to ignore their moral obligations in favor of behaviors that those individuals see as better for them personally. A perfect being would have an optimized set of characteristics including perfect choices in context with free will.

Link to post
Share on other sites

See premise 7 of the argument. Hiding our powers of moral perfection does not maximize the likelihood of moral goodness, and hence means that God is not morally perfect.

The problem between your idea and the idea of person you are debating with however can be viewed in a different angle. While he is discussing Christian Perfection, you may be referring to human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfect relationship with God that shows itself to be true even seeing the unimportant aspects of human life by attaining a high degree of virtue with the help of divine grace of Jesus Christ while human perfection is how man as man defines perfection for himself. But whatever man sees perfect may not last forever. As Isaiah 40:8 said, "The grass withered, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever. "Everything that man sees may wither, it may fade but only the word of God shall stand forever. So whatever you may see as perfect "MAY" wither and fade but what will stay is the Word of God. Thus there were, in the world, things perfect and imperfect, more perfect and less perfect. God permitted imperfections in creation when they were necessary for the good of the whole. And for man it was natural to go by degrees from imperfection to perfection.

Edited by needimprovement
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to see this, the bible also seems to agree with what i said earlier.

 

 

"I myself have said, 'You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. (Psalms 82:5) "

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Needimprovement said

 

Thus there were, in the world, things perfect and imperfect, more perfect and less perfect. God permitted imperfections in creation when they were necessary for the good of the whole.

 

Yes it was inevitable for god to not to allow immorality in this world. When a person kills a human being in a war it is moral but when a person kills innocent people who don't have machine guns in their hands is said to be immoral. The latter situation is what is currently happening in this world. Now the question arises why does god allow these things in this world if he is morally perfect.

 

I don't call those decisions has immoral i would rather call it a harsh decision, a necessary inevitable decision and I call it harsh because people have to suffer from it. But as you said the decision might be for the good of whole or for the maximizing of the moral goodness hidden in us. So he is always trying to create a morally perfect world.

 

For example :- Recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas indicate that it was Jesus himself who told Judas to hand him over to the romans. Now when a man sees this he thinks this is immoral. Judas has betrayed his own spiritual master or father and therfore one see this as immoral. But if one starts looking at it in a different angle, in the longer run it was necessary for god to allow this as it was for the good of the whole.

Edited by immortal
Link to post
Share on other sites

Now the question arises why does god allow these things in this world if he is morally perfect.

God allowed these things or, for example, allowed you to be born into your state in life because it is part of His plan for your salvation...and perhaps others.

I suggest don't focus on material, Earthly riches but on what really matters. Money, for example, is not how God measures our value and money is not how he shows His love for us.

Edited by needimprovement
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.