Daniel Morgan said:
“3) Circularity doesn't bring home the bacon. Is good/morality/logic/existence contingent upon God's creation of them and direction of them, or are these things which are necessary for God? IE child rape isn't intrinsically evil, only because God commands it so. If God has no frame of reference to be illogical, or define evil, then God is no more logical or moral than a rock. This is the epitome of arbitrary -- if God had commanded murder, then murder would be good, (as you say it is in such passages as Num 31:17 and 1 Sam 15:3)... if God had commanded X, then X is good, regardless of X. Arbitrary to the core, as the simple value of authority makes something right. Hitler's authority to order things, and ability to see them carried out, made nothing "good", no more than your God's does throughout the OT.”
I have to hand it to Danny. It takes a certain amount of undeniable talent to pack so much confusion into such a compact space.
i) All homicide is not murder. There’s such a thing a justifiable homicide, as when a policeman kills a sniper. Or perhaps Danny believes that we should disarm our policemen and give them lollipops instead.
ii) Many things are intrinsically evil in the sense that they are unnatural. That is to say, they are contrary to the way in which God made us as social creatures, with obligations to our Creator as well as our fellow man.
So they are not arbitrary, but grounded in nature.
Some things which are evil would not be evil if God were to change human nature.
Some things would always be evil, such as ingratitude towards one’s Maker.
iii) By contrast, the laws of logic obtain in every possible world.
iv) Is the only difference between a rock and a moral or rational agent the presence of a frame of reference? What about little things like consciousness?
v) Danny is also confusing circular reasoning, which is fallacious, with tracing something back to its source or origin or exemplary standard.
What’s the standard for our time zones? Greenwich Mean Time.
But do we then need a standard for GMT, and another standard for the standard for GMT? And back we go ad infinitum.
There’s a difference between an objective standard and an external standard. GMT is an objective standard.
An objective standard doesn’t need another standard external to the objective standard to be objective. Otherwise we’re lost in a vicious regress.
Do time zones lose all meaning unless we have an independent frame of reference for GMT, as well as an independent frame of reference for our independent frame of reference, ad nauseum, for GMT?
iv) Danny commits the same faulty reasoning with respect to the ultimate source of something.
v) Suppose a houseguest asks me where I got my milk. I say the grocery store.
But, of course, that’s not the ultimate explanation.
If I were Danny, I’d have to tell him that the milk came from the grocery store, which came from the milk truck, which came from the dairy farm, which (skipping over several steps) came from the Big Bang, which came from the oscillating universe, which came from the cosmic turtle, which came from the cosmic subturtle, which came from the…
Or perhaps he’d say the milk came from the cow, which came from the mother cow, which came from the bull that impregnated the mother cow, which came from organic molecules, which came from the Big Bang, which came from the oscillating universe, which came from the cosmic turtle, which came from the cosmic subturtle, which came from the…
Or perhaps he'd say the milk came from the hay, which came from photosynthesis, which came from the sun, which came from the Big Bang, which came from the oscillating universe, which came from the cosmic turtle, which came from the cosmic subturtle, which came from the…
For if the source ever came to an end, why—then the question itself loses all meaning, and things just are as they are, without possible reference to "objective" cows or turtles.