A Solution to the So-Called Euthyphro Dilemma
by John Shaheen—
*John wrote this as a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology) who graduates this weekend. He has also been the student president of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
Despite having been written over two millennia ago, the Euthyphro Dilemma remains one of the most famous and persistent problems in philosophy of religion. It is still being discussed in published literature today and taught in nearly every intro philosophy course. In its original form, Plato writes of a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro (Plato et al., 2017). Socrates asks Euthyphro whether moral goodness (piety) was defined by the gods choosing it, or were the gods just cognizant of a standard that existed outside themselves? This question has been reposed over the centuries to apply to a more orthodox, monotheistic conception of God. While many thinkers have merely accepted and defended one of the horns of the dilemma, others have contested that it is a false dilemma and proposed other options. William Alston, Paul Copan, and William Lane Craig are a few names that have defended the coherence of a third option (Alston, 2001, Copan & Meister 2008, Craig & Moreland, 2012.) Furthermore, they defend that an argument for God’s existence can be crafted from the existence of objective moral values and duties. This argument require that their theistic explanation is the best account of morality that is currently available. The Euthyphro Dilemma, if successful, undermines this project. Here I will argue that the Euthyphro dilemma is unsuccessful in this regard, hence the moral argument cannot be criticized from this direction.
Why Darwinism Does Not Compromise Swinburne's Design Argument
*John is a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology). He has also been the student President of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
In discussing design arguments, Richard Swinburne differentiates between two different variants in this family of arguments. The first variant he describes as arguments from spatial copresence (Swinburne, 1968). These arguments intend to infer the existence of a deity from some observed physical arrangement in the world (that can be recognized at one moment in time) that would be improbable to have occurred naturally. Darwinian evolution has become a formidable barrier to this form of argumentation, so Swinburne presents an alternate form that avoids this objection altogether. I will argue that his route of argumentation is the best way to avoid the implications of Darwinian evolution.
Is God Consistent in His Moral Standards? Does He Have to Be?
The God of the Torah is consistent, it is one of his divine attributes. God is not arbitrary or random. He is consistent in both his attributes and His moral standards. That's why passages about his love for foreigners matter, and why they are not irrelevant. Nothing about God is irrelevant. The LORD is consistent in his love. We Christians don't just ascribe love to God because we want him to be loving. It's because HE said he is loving. God gave Moses his divine truth in the Tawrat, or Torah. In it God revealed much about His nature. He revealed his essential attributes to Moses who penned them for the Jews, the Muslims, and the world: Power, Holiness, Compassion, Righteousness, Mercy, and Love, for example. Who are we to question what God says about Himself in His own words?
A Reaction to Kelly Smith's Attribution of Reason to the Universe
Dilbert: And we know mass creates gravity because more dense planets have more gravity.
Dogbert: How do we know which planets are more dense?
Dilbert: They have more gravity.
Dogbert: That's circular reasoning.
Dilbert: I prefer to think of it as having no loose ends.
–Scott Adams, Dilbert (March 1, 1999)
Apparently there are universal rules of good thinking. They seem to apply to everyday living and to academic disciplines like science and others. We don’t get to choose them; they are imposed on us, but science doesn’t know for sure by whom or what. The rules seem to be very rigid such that if you break them other people might scold you and bad things can happen. One of these rules is called circular reasoning, also called begging the question. It says that your conclusion cannot be part of your premise. It’s just not allowed. Another rule is that if you make a claim about something you have to be able to back it up. You need evidence.
Why would an all-good and all-powerful God allow a pandemic?
by John Shaheen—
John is a junior at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He especially loves philosophy and biology.
Fear is aroused, panic abounds, medical supplies dwindle, and the economy suffers… where is God? Why would he let the people that he loves suffer? Within months, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world. What seemed like alarmism now seems like inadequate preparation. Surely, the question on the minds of many is why would God allow this? Where is the God of infinite and perfect love and mercy?
In response to the logical problem of evil, many solutions have been offered, the most famous being the Free will Defense. Perhaps evil and suffering are a consequence of allowing free beings to exist. The objection soon arose, what about natural evil? How are floods, diseases, earthquakes, etc. the result of free beings? Alvin Plantinga suggested that perhaps these disasters are the result of the free actions of supernatural beings such as angels or demons. Though this is definitely a solution that makes natural evil logically compatible with a perfect and powerful God, it still feels unsatisfactory. Why did God give these beings this kind of power? He could have easily restricted their power without limiting their free will. They can only cause this kind of havoc if God allows them. God is still the ultimate authority and power in this paradigm. Furthermore, in an age of scientific knowledge of the causes of natural disasters, this solution may seem unsatisfactory to the naturalist.