In discussing William Lane Craig’s moral argument, Chris Hallquist (aka “The Uncredible Hallq”) agrees that morality needs to be objective in order to be properly called morality. This strikes me as obviously true. Subjective morality is simply a matter of opinion, which one is free to dismiss without bothering to give a reason.
Hallquist further agrees that objective morality exists. As such, it is very strange that he spends more time arguing against Craig’s defense that there is such a thing as objective morality than with the idea that God is the basis of morality. He agrees with the point, but can’t seem to resist attacking Craig personally.
I mention this because I think it is a pattern that goes far beyond Hallquist. Obviously, the desire to attack an opponent in any way one can is a common human trait. We all feel it, from time to time. But I get the feeling that, with respect to Craig, it has long run unchecked.
To offer an example, Hallquist attacks Craig for only citing those people and points which support his case when he’s debating. Hallquist calls that dishonest, but I would call it “making an argument”. Citing opposed quotations would be his opponent’s job.
Surely, I’ve never heard any of Craig’s opponents cite someone who opposes them, but Hallquist doesn’t seem bothered by that. He’s never once accused, say, Sam Harris of dishonesty for failing to quote any of the (many) people who think his moral theory is bunk. Yet he condemns Craig for this. That being the case, this does rather seem like an attempt to make the argument feel weaker than it is by making irrelevant attacks on the presenter.
That is, it’s a case of ad hominem in the proper sense of the term.
Hallquist does include a point amidst all this Craig-bashing, however. He, applauds the idea that our ability to do amazing things makes humans special. One can always ask “but what’s so special about that”, of course, but he thinks this is a good answer to Craig’s insistence that God is necessary for moral value. We are special because we can do amazing things–end of story.
But, surely, I can be forgiven for suspecting that this isn’t thought, so much as a halt to thinking. Talk about a thing being “special” gets us into appeals to emotion, and taking an “end of story” approach is the opposite of reason. The only logical way a thing could be considered important in anything like an objective sense would be some objective standard of morality. It can’t simply be based on how amazing we happen to find the human nervous system, or anything else. Otherwise, it would be subjective.
This being the case, it is important that Hallquist makes no attempt to offer such a standard. He claims there is one, but doesn’t tell us a thing about what it is. He simply assures us that it isn’t God, and that, if you follow the logic of why such a thing exists, you won’t eventually get to the conclusion that God exists.
As such, he’s done a lot to attack Craig here, but nothing at all to show that the moral argument fails.
October 19th, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Excellent. I have no problem with individuals believing there is no god, believing in the superiority of the human intellect, or believing in the exclusivity of science as the only means to truth. What gets me is lousy thinking. I keep telling myself: These are educated people; they should know better.
October 20th, 2013 at 1:43 am
It does seem that there is a clouding of judgment here by people who are otherwise clearly intelligent.
I suppose that is a trap to always be on the lookout for in my own thinking.