Objective Standards

A direct copy & paste from Uncommon Descent, and a few additional words.

The atheist declares there is no transcendent objective standard by which to measure ethical choices.  Thus, ethics ultimately boils down to subjective preference.

[…]

Fair enough.  It seems to me, however, that if this is true the so-called “problem of evil” as an argument against the existence of God would evaporate instantly.

Consider the following argument:

1.  Evolutionary adaptations have caused me to prefer chocolate ice cream.

2.  An omni-benevolent, all powerful God would share my preference for chocolate ice cream.

3.  From the evidence available to me, I have concluded no deity exists who prefers chocolate ice cream.

4.  Therefore, God does not exist.

The argument is perfectly valid (i.e, the conclusion follows if the premises are true).  But only an idiot would think the argument is sound (i.e., the premises are true).

Now consider a similar argument:

1.  Evolutionary adaptions have caused me to prefer that theft never occur.

2.  An omni-benevolent, all powerful God would share and indeed enforce my preference that theft not occur.

3.  From the evidence available to me, I have concluded no deity exists who shares my preference that theft not occur.

4.  Therefore, God does not exist.

Again, the argument is perfectly valid but obviously unsound.

[…]

The argument against the existence of God based on the “problem of evil” works only if “evil” means more than “that which evolutionary adaptations have caused me not to prefer.”  Indeed, the argument works only if there is an objective ethical standard by which to judge God.  But such a standard can exist only if God exists. Therefore, the argument swallows its own tail.

Men hate to be judged by a Law they cannot rewrite, reinterpret, or render null and void.

Their hatred of the Law in no ways nullifies the Law… or stop the express train of ugly consequences from showing up, should the Law be violated.

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