Theological pretzel twisting

I guess we should not be surprised that theological arguments often fall back on authority –  after all they have invented the biggest authority ever. The answer to everything (and you don’t have to be able to count to 42 – 3 will do).

Their god!

But it does provide them a useful cop-out whenever they run into problems during discussion with others – especially non-theists. Appeal to authority!

Usually they are savvy enough to use a more worldly authority – often themselves but usually other theologians, or philosophers of religion, who have “destroyed” the argument presented many times over. And because it is an appeal to authority you must take their word for it. Your argument has been destroyed, and so thoroughly they are not going to bother with the details.

So it was nice to see another philosopher dealing them some of their own medicine (see God fails triple morality test). And on a specific argument I referred to previously in my post The argument from authority (or lack thereof). In that I mentioned how a local blogger advocating a religious divine command morality had “destroyed” the Euthyphro Dilemma:

“Applied to this situation the dilemma for “divine command” ethicists is – are “moral truths” ” good and just because God wills it.” Or does “God wills it because it is good and just.” Inevitably in any real situation such an ethicist is making her moral decision for her god by appealing to some other outside source of morality. Or they talk themselves into the silly position the apologist W. L. Craig did recently when he ended up justifying biblical infanticide, genocide and ethnic cleansing – because it was commanded by his god (see Concern over William Lane Craig’s justification of biblical genocide).

The blogger resorted to an argument from authority by declaring “Euthyphro Dilemma has been well and truly dealt with by divine command meta-ethics. This has been done so many times I find it incredible that anyone still brings it up!” As far as he was concerned that was the end of it. No details were going to be discussed under his watch.”

Well, here is what Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York, thinks of such “destruction.” Referring to the “popular idea that morality comes from God” he says:

That was soundly refuted by Plato in the Euthyphro, and despite thousands of years of desperate theological pretzel twisting the refutation stands.

Nicely put!

I must remember that term – “pretzel twisting.”

via Rationally Speaking: God fails triple morality test.

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4 responses to “Theological pretzel twisting

  1. Love the post, and I love Pigliucci. I’m addicted to Rationally Speaking.


  2. Yes, I also find Massimo a very clear writer and enjoyed his book. Don’t always agree with him – but that’s life.


  3. Taking the ontological aspect from a deterministic view point, whilst not forsaking the relativist position on the subjective idealist, but removing the materialism, and then re-focusing through post-structuralism and reflecting from the extentialist view point, we are then left to consider the impact of the extentialist, then remove the lack of scientific dis-prove of the post-modernist, but apply the Wittgenstein principle of rationality………….well there you are……………..there is a god……..did we all follow that?
    No not really, because it’s a load of codswallop dressing up in pseudo bullshit elitism.
    This is part of the problem, because the religious flock are so mesmerised by their own divinity theologian preachers, dressing up arguments in academic sounding lingo, which they love to spout as further prove of their beliefs, without actually breaking it down into basics, so the average person can understand and importantly engage & question for themselves.

    I am always impressed when educators take complex ideas and deliver them in such an unbiased way (sometimes using analogies), to get across the precepts or crux of the issue, without hoodwinking the general public.
    I think that is why so many buy in to the religious construct….’there is a god and the created the world in seven days and if you are good he will look after you in the after world, but part of the conditions of this offer is, NO questions please…………..then all is good!’

    An open mind guarantees nothing, just more questions!

    Good post! 🙂


  4. Pingback: From evolution to belief | Open Parachute

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