Monday, July 23, 2012

Part 2 of my discussion with Mentat1231, or "NJ has no life; Mentat's fulfilling personal life reminds NJ of this"

Backed by popular demand, a continuation of my Youtube private message discussion with the theist Mentat1231:
Mentat1231, "Re: PM?", 5/24/12


Forgive the delay; yesterday was very hectic for me. Let me commend the amount of study and effort you've put into this topic. It really shows. Now, I will try to briefly address each of your points here. I will have to begin a new numbering sequence, though:

1) You speak of "logically necessary moral truths", but I see no evidence that these are such. Indeed, in the presence of Darwin's point about how evolved bees would have a much different ethic (and would consider it morally PRAISEWORTHY to murder their fecund daughters), moral truths seem quite evidently *contingent*. 

2) The Ontological Argument does not presuppose God is logically or metaphysically necessary. It merely shows that a Maximally-Great Being would be, because logical necessity is a "great-making property". With that point and the Leibnitzean point from the Principle of Sufficient Reason, I can safely refer to God as a logically necessary being. 

3) I'm not really running an "OQA" style of argument (at least, no intentionally). I don't mean to say that, because it is coherent to ask "why is X Y" that X and Y are therefore not the same. I am saying that to arbitrarily choose "causing harm to others" as fundamentally true requires some argument. As I show, a different animal's social intuitions could be quite different, unless there was something creating them such that they be the same. So, in the absence of God, I don't see how we could meet up with highly-evolved bees from Gamma Draconis, and tell them "you must stop harming your drones and fecund workers because that is fundamentally wrong". So, in line with modern philosophical practice: "causing harm = bad" lacks universality (at least, plausibly), eternity (again, plausibly, since it was a good thing to do during our struggle for survival up to this point), and logical necessity (since it does seem contingent, in light of my bees). 

4) I think you've misunderstood my point about fallibility. I fully recognize the fallibility of our senses and cognitive faculties, and have no problem with that. I do not support global skepticism on this grounds, since even the reasoning that brings us to that skepticism would have to be questioned, etc. No, I think we are right to trust our moral intuitions when it comes to epistemology. But, here is the point: I do not think that we need to ground things we can observe empirically on necessary truths (like Mercury orbiting the Sun). That is just a direct experience of our eyes, with some help from instruments. Answering the detractor of this kind of question involves nothing more than showing him the empirical data. It's quite different when you consider the many things that people (especially the religious community, but others as well, like Stalin) have thought of as morally acceptable, but which we think of as deeply reprehensible. You can't just show him the data. You have to appeal to the necessary truths of the matter. And an ontologically necessary foundation for this answer will be the arbiter determining which of you is right (just as in the case of complex mathematics: you can't just show someone the equations, but must appeal to the systems of numbers, sets, etc, all of which are necessarily true). 

5) Again, God does resolve it by being a logically necessary, eternal, changeless being which created every other morally-aware being in existence. These are all relevant characteristics (none of which seem shared by the your propositions in and of themselves). And, before you debate that His creating us has anything to do with it, consider that if He has a logically necessary character (could not be different in any possible world), which is eternal and changeless, then that is the one with which He will "tune" our own moral sensibilities. So this whole question is being asked on the basis of moral intuitions *He gave us*! 

6) On your last paragraph, I really just don't see how you can imagine the Holocaust was wrong, if Naturalism and Evolution are both true. In other words, if God does not exist, and we evolved through a laborious, dog-eat-dog, all out battle for survival, in which anything pruning undesirable traits from our genes was a boon to our species, then how can the Holocaust be objectively wrong? It's conceivable that it merely pruned weak/undesirable/unfit traits from our gene pool. I obviously don't believe this, mind you, but we're speaking of FOM's here. If the Holocaust had really produced a superior human race, in which perfect harmony and constant success could exist (things that Hitler perhaps thought it might do), then what makes it objectively wrong for an evolved ape to do such a thing? Perhaps even periodically, since Natural Selection has little sway over our species at present. And **what makes it any more wrong than the Allies going to WAR with the Nazis, and killing many of them**? We need a fundamental, ontological basis which could not be different in any possible world, is eternal and changeless, and designed the Universe with intelligent/moral life in mind. At least, that's the conclusion that seems more plausible to me.

Let me know what you think.


NoctambulantJoycean, "Re: PM?", 5/24/12


Thanks for the compliment. I also appreciate the work you have put into this discussion.

1) and 3) Sorry about saying you were running an OQA when that was not your intent. Anyway, when I discussed "necessary moral truths," I did not say whether the truths were logically necessary, metaphysically necessary, or necessary in some other kind of way. This was intentional. Again, I did not want to beg the question in favor of any meta-ethical position. For example, consider the following 3 options. A) If I said "If doing X prevents unnecessary harm, then X is good" is logically necessary, that would mean that that "good" and "prevents unnecessary harm" mean the same thing (i.e. are conceptually linked). Basically, if someone denied this moral truth, they would be conceptually confused. This would be similar to denying that "Equation X is correct under complex mathematical theory Y." Call this analytic naturalism. B) The moral truths are metaphysically necessary, but not logically necessary, and the truths show that "good" and "prevents unnecessary harm" are the same thing. This is similar to the "Mercury/closest plant to the sun" example from before, where two things turn out to be the same, even though their concepts are not linked. Call this a posteriori naturalism. C) The moral truths are metaphysically necessary, but not logically necessary, but do not show that "good" and "prevents unnecessary harm" are the same thing. Instead, "prevents unnecessary harm" necessarily causes the non-natural property "good" to come into existence. This is analogous to how some dualists think physical brains cause non-physical minds to come into existence. Call this moral non-naturalism. Any of these three positions is consistent with "prevents unnecessary harm" being an FOM, and are thus consistent with the position I outlined in previous posts.

Note that each of the three positions offers a different explanation of why "preventing unnecessary harm" is "bad". For A it's a truth of meaning, for B it's b/c the properties are the same, and for C it's a matter of necessary "moral-physical laws" (analogous to the psycho-physical laws). So how does this address your bee objection? Well, if any of these theories are correct, the bee example is irrelevant. For A), bees might have evolved a different conceptual understanding than us. But just as that fails to show that our math is incorrect, it fails to show our analytic moral statements are incorrect. Same for B) and C); just b/c another group of organism might have involved different intuitions about science or the relationship between minds and physical bodies, this does not show our proposed theories are incorrect. Same applies for moral intuitions. Also, proponents of A-C do not "arbitrarily" assume that the moral propositions are necessarily true; they offer arguments for their position, just like people in math, science, and philosophy of mind.

2) I think the ontological argument is fallacious. At best, God is metaphysically, but not logically, necessary. And if God was metaphysically necessary, then the same argument could be used to show that almost anything is metaphysically necessary. I'd be happy to explain why in detail, but we should probably reserve that for a separate discussion.

4) As I noted in my response to 1) and 3), many ethicists appeal to necessary moral truths without referencing God, so they are doing what you ask. Anyway, I think you underestimate moral epistemology. First, for example, if an a posteriori naturalist could successfully argue that "prevents unnecessary harm" and "bad" refer to the same thing, then they could show that something is wrong using empirical data: just present psychological data and reasoned arguments showing that a given action causes harm that is not necessary to meet some important goal (that's what Sam Harris argued for in his debate with WLC). Second, even if moral disputes could not be resolved with empirical data, moral philosophy has its own methods for resolving disputes. For instance, you can argue that since the disputing parties accept value 1, they should accept another value 2, because 1 implies 2. Or you can show how a given moral principle fails in a given thought experiment, and should therefore not be accepted. This is actually how most people morally reason anyway; they only start mentioning God when they run out of other reasons. So we can try to resolve moral disputes without looking for a necessary God. Third, even if moral disagreements are irresolvable, this wouldn't actually imply that we need God or necessary truths for morality. As many moral realists note, people can disagree about morality due to irrationality, false non-moral beliefs, indoctrination, failure to consider the implications of their moral views, etc. People make similar mistakes with respect to science. For example, geocentrists don't accept empirical data that refutes their position. Yet this does not imply that science needs to appeal to necessary truths or God. So the persistence of moral disagreement also does not imply that we need to God or necessary truths for morality.

5) My necessarily true propositions are "eternal" (in the sense that they are true at all times and all places), necessary, and changeless, so they meet those criteria. On multiple occasions I've argued against objective morality requiring the existence of a being/mind (for example, I argued that objective morality requires only that certain moral propositions are necessarily true and these propositions, like counterfactual truths and unlike moral properties, do not require the existence of minds), so I don't think "being" is a necessary characteristic for morality. And you have provided no argument showing that "a being which created every other morally-aware being in existence" is required for objective morality. Moving on to your point about our moral sensibilities/intuitions. Our moral intuitions went through the same evolutionary process our other intuitions did. So if I have a plausible rebuttal to Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism (which I do), then I can trust in my moral intuitions unless there is some special reason for distrusting moral intuitions and not other kinds of intuitions [as a side-note, I do think such a special reason could exist (see Joyce's "The Evolution of Morality"), but that's a topic for another day. It would require arguments against positions A-C, arguments that theists could not agree with]. So God is not needed to "tune" our moral sensibilities in order for those sensibilities to be reliable.

6) Much of my response to this is implicit in my response to 1) and 3), along with 5), but I have a bit more to say. First, you are wrong about the evolution of morality (again, I suggest reading chapter 1 Joyce's book). Not only can evolution select for altruistic behavior that is motivated by concern for others, we would expect it to. It's not just a matter of a "dog-eat-dog, all out battle for survival." Second, I am not sure how you get from the premise that "we naturalistically evolved" to "things could not be objectively wrong." As I noted in my response to 1) and 3), just because other organisms could have evolved scientific intuitions different from our own does not undercut our trust in our scientific intuitions nor does it cause us to doubt the existence of external physical objects. Same point applies to moral intuitions. And I did not seek to identify "good" with any evolutionary property or "good of the species", so I would not agree with Hitler's reasoning for thinking the Holocaust could have been good.

Thanks for your response. Hope this clears things up. I look forward to your reply.

NoctambulantJoycean, "Addendum to my previous PM", 5/24/12

Hello Mentat.

I just wanted you to understand why I take the time to debate you. In my opinion there are two kinds of proponents of the moral argument for God (type 1 and type 2). You can differentiate them by how the answer the following question: "why would a good God commit the atrocities noted in the Old Testament?" Type 1 theists reply that God is good and its nature is empathetic, caring, just, and loving towards its creation. So type 1 theists try to show how the actions in the Old Testament were the result of empathy, justice, etc. They try to do the same for the problem of evil, problem of suffering, etc. Type 2 theists don't care about those character traits. God could be a complete jerk (uncaring, frivolous, arbitrary, egotistical, etc.) and from the mere fact that it's our omnipotent, omniscient creator its commands would be just.

I don't bother debating type 2 theists. As I mentioned in my previous post, people can become morally confused for a number of reasons (indoctrination, irrationality, etc.). So if someone says something is good or right just because it accords with the nature or commands of a powerful authority, I treat them as morally confused. You are type 1 theist (as are WLC and most non-psychopathic theists), so it's worth my time to debate you. You believe that things like empathy, justice, etc. are good because of God's nature/commands. I think that: 1) if they are good, then they are good independently of God's nature and 2) the only reason type 1 theists think God is good is because they (without realizing it) smuggle these properties into God's nature. So I just need to argue with type 1 theists until they realize the goodness of these properties does not depend on God.

Practically speaking, our difference of opinion doesn't really matter. Both I and type 1 theists will endorse actions we think are empathetic, just, caring, etc. It's the type 2 theists that are the real practical danger. For example, even if I showed them that restricting gay rights was not just, they would still restrict gay rights as long as they thought the all-powerful authority was against homosexuality. Contrast that with type 1 theists, who would either not agree that restricting gay rights is unjust or would change their interpretation of scripture so that it did not advocate restricting gay rights, thus allowing God's nature to remain just.

Anyway, that's why I continue to debate you.

Mentat1231, "Re: PM?", 5/24/12

Night-walker ;-)

First, a quick response to your addendum: I fully appreciate the distinction you've made, and I agree that type 2 theists have a real problem. I might argue for a "type 3" which says that empathy, justice, love, etc are good because God's nature possesses these. If His nature also possesses judgment against homosexuality or idolatry or some other such practice, then these would have absolute moral standing right along with empathy, justice, etc. But I get your point. And, at the end of the day, we probably won't convince each other one way or the other on this matter, but it does sharpen our own understanding and our arguments, and that is why I choose to debate you.

1) and 3) Your "A" option is, in my estimation, utterly arbitrary. It commits a Bare Assertion Fallacy. This is quite different from our having discovered certain complex mathematical relationships among the numbers, sets, etc. To simply SAY X=Y is insufficient.

Your "B" option is plausible, but would need substantiation. We can substantiate that Mercury is the nearest planet to the Sun by carefully searching for another planet between the two. Please show me how a similar empirical/observational analysis could be done for "unnecessary harm = bad".

And the "C" option relies entirely on the analogy about mind-body dualism, and yet I do not see that that analogy holds. We directly experience ourselves as "minds", and we observe that we have brains/bodies which seem to have 2-way interaction. If we hold to interactionist-dualism, then we can test it constantly (taking a NyQuil has mental effects; making a choice has physical effects). But, how on Earth could we test the interaction between unnecessary harm and goodness? Indeed, what would such an interaction even mean?

Finally, in your response to my "bee" analogy, I find a real flaw in the idea that they could ever have developed a "different mathematics". I don't think such a thing could ever exist, and it seems plausible that the impossibility of such a system is due to the logically necessary nature of numbers and their relations. As to the "different scientific intuitions", you seem to think that believing in an external world is a "scientific intuition". It isn't. It's a properly basic belief that is completely unrelated to science. Their intuitions as to whether the scientific method is worthy could indeed be different, and we would have no superiority in such a discussion.

2) I withdraw the Ontological point, and would be glad to discuss it with you some other time. However, that is not the only indication that God is logically necessary. By a variant on Leibnitz's principle of sufficient reason (namely: everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in contingency on some external cause, or as a result of its logical necessity), I can independently substantiate that God would be logically necessary if He existed.

4) Your first solution is no good, because the "if an a posteriori naturalist could show unnecessary harm=bad" part is unsatisfied. I have never seen an argument that actually shows this. People just presume it, but that leaves us no better than the ones who presume "enhances the species=good". Your second solution presumes we'd agree on ANY moral point, and could then reason from there, and that is doubly-fallacious because nothing GUARANTEES any such common ground will exist, and even if it did exist that agreement itself could be arbitrary and incorrect (like arbitrarily agreeing axiomatically that two parallel lines will eventually meet up, and then working out a geometry based on this fallacy). And your third point is an absolute retreat from what you have been defending (namely: moral truths can be objectively real and binding without God). You turn instead to treating moral statements like scientific theories, which everyone already knows are not indicative of deeper reality, but are merely the most useful tool for predicting certain phenomena under certain conditions.

5) If they are the counterfactual type you mentioned before, then I'll grant that they could be "eternal" in a sense. But you certainly haven't established logical or even metaphysical necessity. And I never said "being" was the necessary characteristic. I said "having created all morally-aware beings" was another qualification for God as an FOM. This qualification provides the bridge between moral ontology and moral epistemology, whereas such as lacking in your model (How do judge the highly-evolved bees, if our intuition is directly at odds with theirs? How would we know we weren't the completely mistaken ones? The bridge could exist in the God who created us and the bees.).

As for our moral intuitions having been evolved just like our mathematical ones, I have to go back to the fact that no species could ever have evolved a different mathematical intuition. It isn't coherent to do so. Quite different for morality. (Side note: I'd love to take you on with regard to Plantinga's EAAN; unfortunately, I have a plausible rebuttal to it as well, so I would only superficially be able to argue for it).

6) First, I never said it couldn't select for altruistic behavior. The "dog-eat-dog" bit was not about how any evolved being, or even group of beings, should behave. It was about the final outcomes of this process. Those who survive the pruning of natural selection are the ones that remain in that species. So, who is to say that, in the pursuit of a greater human species, an artificial "pruning" would be wrong for an ape to do?

Second, I addressed this misconception about science in 1&3, but I'll state it again: The intuition that there is an external world is quite different from anything like science. Science is a methodology of constructing useful/predictive theories. They could have a very different methodology and we might still be "equally correct". If they stated, on the other hand, that there is no external world, then they would be *incorrect*. If they stated that the Holocaust was good, then they would be equally *incorrect*, because the goodness is not of a scientific kind, but of a fundamental kind.

And, finally, you may not have equated "good" with "good of the species", but that is how we got here. Who are you to say "good does not equal good of the species"? What if that is the fundamental truth, rather than "do not cause harm = bad"?


NoctambulantJoycean, "Re: PM?", 5/24/12

(I was actually referencing my favorite album, but it amounts to the same thing)

Erasmus' protégé,

I'm surprised at how far this debate has come. We're now at the point where I have to present my real meta-ethical views, instead of just defending plausible versions of atheistic moral realism. Let's get to it!

A summary of my meta-ethics: There are only 3 plausible meta-ethical positions (from most plausible to least plausible). 1) Moral nihilism (or moral error theory): moral properties do not exist in the real world. 2) A posteriori moral naturalism: moral properties are identical to some natural property and this is not a conceptual truth. 3) Moral noncognitivism: moral properties aren't really objective properties; moral statements are complex ways of endorsing certain actions or norms of behavior.
Anyway, I can argue for my position in detail if you want (moral nihilism is not as ridiculous as many people seem to think). However, I bring this up only so you understand my real beliefs. In the rest of my reply I will be defending meta-ethical theories I don't actually agree with, only because I think you unfairly criticize them.

1) and 3) Option A only commits the base assertion fallacy only if analytic naturalists offered no arguments for their analysis. However, they do offer arguments; I just don't buy any of them. Also, I think the math analogy is relevant. Many mathematical systems involve deriving statements via assumed premises and inference rules. Euclidean geometry is a good example. My point was that the derived truths were already implicit in the premises and inference rules (the derived truths are thus conceptually necessary ), even though some of the derived truths are not blatantly obvious. So logically necessary or conceptually necessary moral truths may not be obvious and may require elaborate arguments to support them. So you need to examine the analytic naturalist's arguments before brushing off their analysis of "good" an unobvious or a bare assertion.

If you're interested in arguments for option B, look up Cornell moral realism. There are various ways of testing different versions of option B. Remember that if moral facts are natural facts, then our moral intuitions involve grasping natural facts. So our moral sense could be just as naturalistic as any other faculty we have. In fact, it might "sense" moral properties, though we should not overemphasize the analogy to other physical sense. Naturalists can therefore use our moral intuitions and moral experience (which result from our moral sense) as evidence to support their views; moral philosophy is not required to use the same methods as science, anymore than philosophy has to use precisely the same methods as biology. Moral philosophy can appeal to our moral experience just as science appeals to our physical experience [which includes our experimental observations], unless we have some reason for doubting the validity of our moral experience (see my comments from 5/22/12 on Wittgensteinism's video "William Lane Craig's Moral Argument Refuted"). For example, the naturalist could present us with different real and fictional scenarios and ask us to give our moral intuitions about them (this is in fact what moral psychologists do). They could then systematize those intuitions or see if there is some property shared by all and only those things we think are good. This is moral philosophy 101. If the shared property turns out to be "unnecessary harm", that counts as (defeasible) support for their theory. Or the naturalist could employ the methods I mentioned 3 PMs ago. To show that two things are not the same thing, "philosophers show that one of the things has a property the other thing lacks. A subset of this general strategy is the C/R method I outlined in previous posts. Another strategy involves showing that there are some situations where one of the properties appears without the other one being there. "An analogous strategy can be used to show that two things are the same thing. For instance, if two things share all their properties, this is (defeasible) support for them being the same thing.

For option C, it's up to the proponent to specify the details. For example, a proponent of C could argue that our evidence for natural properties (N) causing non-natural moral properties (M) is the same as our evidence for brains causing non-physical minds to exist (or any occurrence of causation, for that matter): J. S. Mills' methods. We also test this interaction via the methods I mentioned before: adjust the Ns (either in real life or via thought experiments) of a situation and watch your moral intuitions/judgments about that situation change, from which you can infer the Ms changed. The non-naturalist could also claim that this is our evidence that Ms interact with the natural world: real-world non-moral properties cause us to form moral judgments and therefore must interact with our physical brains. Also, the non-naturalist does not have to claim that if a particular N causes M, then this is a 2-way interaction; M may have no causal effect on its particular N. Of course, I don't think option C is plausible, but that's because I'm not a moral non-naturalist. I don't think option C is inherently contradictory.

It's perfectly possible for an organism to develop a mathematics different from our own. First, as I stated before, it's possible for a belief-forming processes to be unreliable such that it consistently produced false beliefs. Similarly, it's possible that another organism could have unreliable belief-forming processes that forced them to believe 1+1=3 and develop a whole mathematical system around this falsehood. Second, the "logically necessary nature of numbers and their relations" does not imply that it's impossible for an incorrect mathematical system to have evolved. For instance, mathematicians disagree only many mathematical theorems that, if true, would by necessarily true. Also (as per my first point) organisms could have evolved belief-forming processes that were not sensitive to numbers and their relations (analogous to an organism evolving moral judgment-forming processes that were not sensitive to moral properties or moral truth). The processes could result in the organisms developing a mathematical system that did not match the correct, logically necessary relationships between numbers. Third, even in our case our innate mathematical intuitions may be incorrect or break down in certain situations. This is one plausible interpretation of non-Euclidean geometry and quantum mechanics; it's only recently that a few of us began to understand how wrong our innate intuitions really were. So we might have a real-world example of an organism that evolved the wrong mathematical intuitions. So the difference you tried to point out between our math intuitions/math systems and moral intuitions/moral systems does not hold.

I'll concede your properly basic point. However, remember that an intuition can be a properly basic belief. Also remember that there are other scientific beliefs that seem to be evolved intuitions analogous to moral intuitions (see page 238 of "On The Genealogy Of Norms: A Case For The Role Of Emotion In Cultural Evolution"). So I can easily modify my analogy into a workable form. By the way, how do you distinguish between a properly basic belief and a belief resulting from "arbitrary agreement," (see part 4, point 2 in your response), especially when people disagree with your properly basic belief. Plantinga's epistemic account of properly basic belief is externalistic: this means that you could lack any evidence that your belief X is properly basic, and X could still be properly basic. All that matters is whether the belief was reliably produced. So unless you can show that your beliefs were reliably generated while atheistic moral intuitions were not reliably generated, you have no way of determining whether it's your beliefs or mine that are properly basic vs. arbitrary.

2) I can address fully Leibniz's argument as well, though that's for another PM. I'll just sketch a response here. God can't be logically necessary because no one contradicts themselves, the rules of logic, or conceptual truths when they say "God does not exist."Despite what you might think, saying, "the necessarily existent being does not exist" is not a contradiction due to an equivocation in the two uses of the word existent (see section 4, subsection 2 of "The Ontological Argument" entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). So you probably mean God is metaphysically necessary, not logically necessary. And at best, Leibniz's argument shows that it is metaphysically necessary that in every world there is some thing (N) which exists whose explanation is not explained by some external cause. This does not imply that N has the same traits (omnipotence, omnibenevolence, etc.) in every world, has the same traits as God, or even has mental properties.

4) I addressed your first point in my above elaboration on option B; proponents do provide arguments for their position. You might find their arguments implausible but, as I argue in 5) paragraph 2 (see below), your position has less support. In reply to your second point, remember my geocentrist example. People can disagree with objectively true statements for a number of reasons (indoctrination, irrationality, etc) and this does not show that believing those statements is unjustified or arbitrary, not does it show that the statements are not objectively true. Moral realists, like realists in any domain, claim that just because we cannot get everyone to agree with our beliefs/intuitions does not show those beliefs/intuitions are false, unjustified, or arbitrary. Since people can simply refuse to agree on ANY point, to deny the realist's defense is to again welcome global skepticism. Note that this is exactly how WLC addresses people who genuinely believe that there are no objective moral values. So in moral philosophy, as in any other domain of discourse, we look for agreement among people who are rational, have true non-moral beliefs, lack major biases, etc. If we lack complete agreement, we go with the judgments we trust the most and proceed from there. You laso suggest that such agreements are arbitrary and incorrect. I've already argued against the "incorrect" point; we agree all the time on true things we can't convince other people of (theism, for example). I argued against the "arbitrary" point in my discussion of properly basic beliefs in 1) and 3).

3rd point. My third point is not a retreat. First, as I noted above, the mere fact that people disagree about whether X exists does not imply that X is not objectively real. We just provide plausible explanations for why people disagree about true statements. The disagreements might be irresolvable for any number of reasons; one side, for instance, might be stubborn and refuse to change their minds or may need to correct their beliefs on other subjects first. Second, scientific realists would disagree with your claim that "scientific theories...are not indicative of a deeper reality". They would claim that scientific theories may make accurate predictions because they (approximately) match a deeper reality. So my analogy between morality and science (at least in this sense) was not problematic. Of course, an incorrect theory could make accurate predictions, but the realist thinks that at some point, an incorrect theory is likely to make an incorrect prediction. Otherwise: 1) how would we falsify it and 2) how could an incorrect theory give correct predictions for every metaphysically possible test and scenario? And the number of scientific realists far outweighs the number of moral realists, so your statement about what "everybody knows" is false since most people don't even believe it.

5) Again, if the proponents of options A-C provide sufficient evidence (via the methods I elaborated) for their conclusions, then they would have established logical or metaphysical necessity. Let me explain why. For A, if the analytic naturalist can adequately prove that, "(natural property X) is the same thing as morally good" is a truth of meaning, then they would have established that this is a conceptually necessary truth. And just as with conceptual truths like "bachelors are unmarried" or "equation X is true under mathematical theory Y", this truth could be plausibly construed as logically necessary. So moral truths like, "if action Y has property X, then Y is good" are logically necessary. For B, if the proponent's arguments work, they would have established that moral truths like "If action Y has property X, then Y is good" are metaphysically, but not logically, necessary. For C), if the proponent could establish their law-like relationship, they would thus show that the laws linking non-moral property N and non-natural moral property M are metaphysically necessary. Again they would have thus established that moral truths like "If action Y has property X, then Y is good" are metaphysically, but not logically, necessary.

As I mentioned before, you cannot evaluate the plausibility of these options without examining the arguments of their proponents. And in my summary of my meta-ethics + my PM of first-order moral theories, I explained why I haven't tried to establish the logical or even metaphysical necessity of certain moral truths nor tried to defend any particular FOM (say "harm" vs. "natural rights"). However, I can say that atheistic versions of options A-C are more plausible than your version of theistic realism. For example, let's call the proposition "if X is in accordance with God's nature, then X is good" T. You've presented no argument for thinking that T is a conceptual truth, so I have no reason for thinking that T is a logically necessary truth. I can use the L/C method (as Joyce does) and the a posteriori surveys I mentioned in my first PM to show that the "God's nature" and "good" are not conceptually linked, providing further evidence that T is not logically necessary. Furthermore, I can deny T without contradicting myself the rules of logic, or conceptual truths. So the option A version of your thesis fails. Next, I've presented an argument for thinking that even if the truth of T is metaphysically necessary, that's only because you have smuggled the relevant FOMs into your description of God. So the truth of T is parasitic on the metaphysical necessity of "If X has (insert what the first-order moral theorist argues the FOM is), X is good)". I can also use the L/C/R method (along with the methods I noted in option B; ex: my "Holocaust without God" thought experiment) to argue that T is not metaphysically necessary. So a position analogous to option B is closed to you. And since you likely don't want moral properties to be entities that are distinct from God (or don't have the same metaphysical nature as God), you can't take the option C route. So in fact it's proponents of the moral argument for God that lack a plausible explanation for the necessity of moral truths, especially once the ontological argument and Leibniz's argument are dispensed with.

In 1) and 3) I argued that organisms could have developed different mathematical intuitions. Also, the mere fact that people disagree (or that other organisms could disagree) does not show that we are wrong or unjustified in our beliefs. You don't need to convince everyone. All you need are plausible methods for resolving disagreements (I've clearly outlined moral philosophy's methods for resolving conflicts), methods which could fail to get absolutely everyone to agree. To say otherwise is to, again, invite global skepticism since people can refuse to agree to ANY proposition they choose, even if that proposition is from God or derives its truth from God's nature. This implies that your proposed bridge [God] is not better than mine.

6) Most of my response to this section is implicit in the above sections. Anyway, after the complete failure of social Darwinism, almost no moral theorist claims that "artificial pruning" of the species or "good of the species" are the same thing as morally good or cause the property "moral goodness" to come into existence. This is because they have more plausible moral theories that have been supported by the various methods I elaborated on for options A-C. For example, most moral realists (including you) can imagine scenarios in which X is morally good, but X is not good for the species. This is probably why you think morally good is not the same thing as good for the species; if you thought otherwise, you would not have asked the question. So you are already implicitly employing the methods I've described, and thus answered your own questions from the 1st and 3rd paragraph of 6).

Hope that cleared things up. Feel free to respond if you have any questions.

Mentat1231, "Re: PM?", 5/25/12

Wow.... That's a huge response. I'll have to be uncharacteristically terse, or I'll not get anything else done today. Lol.

I'm intrigued by your meta-ethical views; and even more intrigued by the fact that you so vigorously argue for positions you do not really hold. Perhaps we'll discuss your own views someday, but for now I'll address what you've written below (briefly, if I can).

1) and 3) You are defending these positions, so until you actually present an argument for the "A" option, I am quite justified (within the parameters of this debate) to call it a bare assertion. You yourself don't buy their arguments, so I am not required (again, within the parameters of this debate) to consider them at this time, unless you put one forward. In any case, your analogy to math proves actually quite FATAL to option "A", since, as you say, the theorems are implicit in the axioms + rules of inference, but the axioms themselves are not logically necessary, and "unnecessary harm = bad" is an axiomatic style truth; not a theorem (or, if it is a theorem, then we still haven't established the axiom from which it follows). No, I think I'm quite safe discarding option "A" out of hand.

Your option "B" fails in its utter contingency. If I just say "Mercury will not always be the first planet from the Sun; nor did it ever have to be", surely you see that it is an utterly contingent fact. So, if you based moral realism on some consensus of what we all happen to perceive, you do not establish any "necessity" at all! Indeed, you quite firmly establish the CONTINGENCY of the matter, since detecting that Mercury is the first planet from the Sun is not a detection of anything NECESSARILY true.

You seem to have misunderstood my objection to "C". My point is, if I drink a fifth of whiskey, I can experience the subjective effect. If we adjust the N, we do not experience "goodness". We might experience that which we always experience when goodness is present, but that is quite a different matter. I'm sorry, but the analogy to mind-body dualism really does not seem to hold, and no other argument for "C" has been put forward.

On the bee-math: I honestly disagree with your first point. If you said 1 + 1 = 3, you would not produce a consistent mathematics. At least, not if you are speaking in terms of the *concept* of "3". You can use the *symbol* "3", of course, but not the concept. On your second point, surely you see that you are again (as above) comparing the moral properties to the *theorems* rather than the abstract objects and axioms about their relations. As such, an axiomatic truth like "unnecessary harm = morally bad" is immune from this analysis. And, even if they could evolve with an insensitivity to mathematical truths, that does nothing at all to show they could form a coherent mathematics (even a coherent ARITHMETIC) without that properly-attuned sensitivity. Your third point is self-refuting, since even if I grant that there was something wrong with Euclidean geometry (which I don't for a minute grant, since it still holds on plane surfaces) WE would be the ones who pointed out OUR OWN fallacy! As such we did not have to leave our mathematical intuitions, merely apply them more rigorously to trickier circumstances.

I still disagree that science (which is entirely predicated on utility and predictive capacity) is at all analogous to moral intuition (which may have neither utility nor predictive capacity at all in certain circumstances, and which is a basic part of our experience, while science is a formulaic method). Apples to oranges. As to your question about properly basic beliefs vs. arbitrary agreements: The properly basic belief I referred to was the existence of the external world. Do we really disagree on this?

2) There are *several* things wrong here. First off, how do you know that you do not contradict a conceptual truth by saying "God does not exist"? You very well might be, if He is logically necessary. It's like saying "I contradict no conceptual truth by saying a round square could exist"; the proper response is "yes you do". Secondly, I looked up your reference, and nowhere at all did it show that "the necessarily existent thing does not exist" is a logically coherent statement. Indeed, it is self-contradictory, unless you can show otherwise. You mentioned equivocation on the word "existent", but I see no such equivocation. Thirdly, metaphysical necessity will do just fine (since that's really what Leibniz argued for anyway), and it would show that in every Possible World, the being upon which the existence of the entire Universe was contingent exists. That's all I need to establish.

4) To the first point, I re-iterate that, within the parameters of our discussion, I am not obliged to address any argument you don't actually put forth. On the second point, you missed my point completely. My point is that to say "we'll take our agreement on X, and extrapolate to Y" presumes that (1) we agree on any X, and (2) that our agreement on X is not itself utterly baseless and arbitrary. You see, it has nothing to do with getting everyone to agree on everything, or even on most things. Your option here depends on us agreeing on SOMETHING, when we may agree on absolutely NOTHING; and furthermore our chance agreement on anything might be utterly arbitrary and foundationless.

On the third point, as I've indicated (above), to treat morals like scientific hypotheses is to remove them from being objective truths. There's a reason why no scientific hypothesis can ever "graduate" to being a "fact" (and why the word "fact" is so rarely used in science; or at least in the philosophy of science). Hypotheses are working models to explain certain objective realities. The hypotheses themselves are not objectively real, nor should anyone consider them to be. They are just useful models for predicting behaviors. As you point out, an incorrect theory could make accurate predictions. And to say "it couldn't do so forever" is utterly irrelevant, since I really doubt humans will be doing science forever. It doesn't matter if we ever actually falsify the theory, it could still be incorrect, and that changes nothing about its usefulness to science. With morals, on the other hand, we intuitively believe (I want to say "we intuitively KNOW") that it is important to get these RIGHT.

5) Once again, in this discussion, YOU are the "proponent" of any view you bring up as a challenge to my own views. If I challenge anything you bring up, it is YOUR responsibility to either defend it or discard it. I do accept that I have much to learn about these alternative theories (though I've read a bit), but it simply will not work to say "there are arguments for X, and if they were valid then X would hold".

As to your argument on the "option A version of my thesis": I have indeed presented an argument for thinking that T is conceptually true (namely: God is a metaphysically necessary, eternal, and changeless personality, who created every other morally-aware being. This means that in every possible world, His moral opinions exist, and every other moral being has a contingent existence and get its moral intuitions from Him.). Your argument by L/C distinction that "good" and "God's nature" are not conceptually linked falls into your own "morning star vs. evening star" style of critique. You are arguing against yourself. The morning star is not OBVIOUSLY the same as the evening star. Nor are either of those concepts OBVIOUSLY the same concept as Venus. And, as to whether you are contradicting a conceptual truth, I have addressed this in the first four sentences of point 2 (above).

As to the "option B version", I have already rebutted this repeatedly, by showing that you have the matter *backwards*. On the theistic view, we have been created as moral agents by a metaphysically necessary, eternal, and changeless moral agent. As such, our intuitions tell us "X cannot be the locus of moral value unless it lives up to A, B, and C", but that intuition itself comes from the creator and so A, B, and C would logically be qualities He possessed. In other words, there is no "smuggling" of morally good properties into the concept of God; rather our intuitions of what is morally good come FROM God, and would have been different if He'd been different (except that He can't be different).

6) With respect, this is a wholly unsatisfactory response. I've already addressed A-C, but I wouldn't even have to in order to condemn this idea that "we are SO past Social Darwinism" is a cogent argument! Lol. It doesn't follow that, because our past attempts at "pruning" have left a bad taste in our mouth (so to speak) it therefore is not the central FOM. It could be, just as much as "causing unnecessary harm = bad" could be.


NoctambulantJoycean, "Re: PM?", 5/25/12


OK. I caused this discussion to veer off on irrelevant tangents, so now I'm going to a) clear some things up and b) present my core argument.

Part a

1), 3), 4) I'm done defending options A-C, unless you say something false about them. I only defended them to show they were more plausible than your theory (see part b). So I won't disagree with statements like "until you actually present an argument for the "A" option, I am quite justified (within the parameters of this debate) to call it a bare assertion." Anyway, you missed the point of my math analogy. I was trying to get you to see that conceptual truths are logically necessary, by using the inference rules of math as examples of conceptual truths. Yes, the axioms of math are not conceptual truths or necessary, but that was not my point. I was trying to get you to see that IF you accept the axioms and the rules of inference, THEN the truths you derive follow as a matter of logical/conceptual necessity. If you don't like that example, try: "All bachelors are unmarried." This statement is a conceptual truth and therefore logically necessary. Similarly, the analytic naturalist offers their account as a conceptual truth and thus they think it's logically necessary. That's all my math analogy was trying to point out.

You're wrong about option B; it can express a necessary, a posteriori truth. It's not easy to explain why without wading into issues in the philosophy of language (especially regarding rigid designators). I could go through the full explanation, if you want. If you don't want to take my word for it, please consult another philosophically-minded person you trust.

On the bee analogy, you've again missed the point. I think you're assuming that mathematical systems must be consistent to be correct. I'll grant that assumption. My bee analogy was not meant to show that bees could have evolved a math system that was different from own but still correct/consistent; the analogy was meant to show that they could have developed an incorrect/inconsistent math system that they DID NOT KNOW was inconsistent/incorrect. An incorrect math system is still a math system, just like an incorrect moral system is still a moral system. Math, like morality, is something you can make mistakes about without realizing you've made a mistake. My second, "real-world mathematicians" example built off that point. Assume two mathematicians both accept the same mathematical axioms and the same inference rules, but disagree about whether a given mathematical truth follows from those statements. This happens ALL THE TIME in the real world. Yet the truth they disagree about would follow (or fail to follow) necessarily from the premises they accept. So yes, this is a real world example of people disagreeing about a necessary truth and since they accept different derived truths, their math systems are subtly different. So people can disagree about logically necessary truths. My 3rd point is not self-refuting. If we assume something was wrong with Euclidean geometry, then yes, we did point out our own mistake. But it was STILL a mistake; all the mathematicians who lived before the error was discovered had an incorrect/inconsistent math system that they DID NOT KNOW was inconsistent/incorrect. Correcting an intuition does not show you did not have that intuition to begin with. We correct innate intuitions all the time.

I never argued that moral intuition had any predictive capacity. I was arguing that both science and morality could be realist and that you have an incorrect picture of science; it seeks to represent a real reality, just as moral realists claim morality does¬¬. First, despite what you claim, scientists do speak of "facts". A hypothesis becomes a theory (not a fact), but both aim to explain a set of FACTS. Unless you're going to suggest that viruses, bacteria, energy, etc. don't really exist (we have theories and hypothesis to explain FACTS about these OBJECTIVELY REAL things). For scientific realists like me, science has BOTH predictive utility and metaphysical implications. It's your scientific anti-realism (which, as I noted, is in the minority) that claims that science is only meant to be useful (just like some moral anti-realists claim morality is meant only to express emotions). Our scientific theories, as explanations, can be true or false, just like the explanation "Bob murdered Steve" (offered to explain a set of facts) can be incorrect. And yes, the court explanation can be used to make testable predictions as well. And I do care whether scientific theories are RIGHT, because our health and survival depend on it.

2) My full evisceration of Leibniz's argument and the ontological argument will have to wait.¬ For the source I provided, read section 4, the subsections on the definitional and conceptual ontological arguments. "Exist" can be used in a definitional sense ("By definition, God is an existent being') and an ontologically committing sense ("God exists"). The first sense does not commit you to claiming that God exists in the real world (ex: "By definition, Santa Clause exists") while the latter sense does. For the claim, "the necessarily existent God does not exist," the first usage of exist must be definitional, otherwise no atheist would assert it and the argument begs the question. The statement is then only contradictory if the second exist is definitional but it's not; it's ontologically-committing. So yes, there is an equivocation in the usage of "exist," as shown by my source, so denying "the necessarily existent God does not exist," is not contradictory.

5) See part b

Part b

My central goal was to argue against this premise in the moral argument: "If objective moral values exists, then God exists." I pursued 3 strategies in doing this. 1) I rebutted arguments that showed objective morality required God. 2) I explained how God's connection to morality is actually parasitic on FOMS that could support objective morality even if God did not exist. 3) I gave examples of atheistic moral realism and showed how they were MORE plausible than your version of theistic moral realism. I will be focusing on strategy 3 for the rest of my PM.

Note your burden. You have to show that not only is God sufficient for objective moral values to exist, but that God is MORE plausible than the alternatives. If God was just one plausible alternative among many, then the 1st premise of the moral argument should instead read, "if God exists, then objective moral values exist." But then the argument is invalid. This is the central problem for proponents of this argument they don't realize their burden. They point out flaws in other moral theories, without realizing that those flaws apply to their own moral theory.

Initially, you kept on asking why empathy is good or why unnecessary harm is bad; then you kept on saying my answers were inadequate. I could do the same, denying that God's necessary, changeless nature was good regardless of what explanation you came up (see my discussion of OQAs, for example). See how frustrating that would be? Yet many theistic moral realists are more than happy to do this to atheists, firm in the conviction that atheists won't respond in kind. That ends now.

"God is a metaphysically necessary, eternal, and changeless personality, who created every other morally-aware being. This means that in every possible world, His moral opinions exist, and every other moral being has a contingent existence and get its moral intuitions from Him," does not explain why T ("if X is in accordance with God's nature, then X is good") is a conceptual truth. I saw no explanation of how in denying T, one contradicts the rules of logic or the meaning of the concept "good." Nor did you use any of my philosophically-supported methods for determining conceptual truths. Nor did you elaborate on and defend your own method for determining conceptual truths. You confused metaphysical necessity with logical/conceptual necessity; you provided the former when I asked for the latter. You explained where our moral intuitions came from, which was not relevant to my question. You provided no evidence for thinking that God is the source of our moral intuitions. None. And couldn't God have given us the wrong moral intuitions (it's possible, after all; couldn't organisms in other worlds have had different moral intuitions)? Nor do you have an explanation (outside of the fallacious ontological argument) of why God's character traits are necessary (as you would say: "they could have been different"). And I still don't understand why God's nature is good, as opposed to just God's nature. What makes it good? T just seems like a bare assertion. Note, that I've simply taken all your criticisms and turned them on you. Furthermore, there are empirically supported accounts of the naturalistic origins of moral intuitions (See Joshua Greene, Richard Joyce, etc.). Given that you have no empirical support for your religious explanation of moral intuition, why should I take it seriously? So until you give answers more plausible than the atheist alternatives, you lack support for the first premise on the moral argument. In fact, your moral theory is more implausible than atheistic options A-C, for reasons I will now restate.

In my Holocaust example, I showed that people can form moral judgments after being exposed to only the physical and mental properties of a situation. I showed how atheistic versions of options A-C easily explain this. Yet if God is the FOM and not the features people were exposed to in the Holocaust account, it's strange that people don't need information about God's nature to make these judgments. Furthermore, even if God directly gave people their moral intuitions, it seems strange than God would give different people different intuitions. This is quite easily to explain for atheistic options A-C (false non-moral beliefs, irrationality, etc.), while theists have to believe that an omnipotent God decided not to overcome such minor hurdles, even though moral beliefs affect how we treat one another. Also, God's goodness (if it is good) is parasitic on the FOMs. Take P: "if God was not empathetic, caring, etc. God would not be good". Now you could reply that God's nature will never change. First, where's your argument for this? It sounds like a bare assertion. Second, even if God's nature is necessary, that's not what makes P true. P's truth depends on those specific traits, not what God's nature happens to be (even if God's nature is necessary). Basically, goodness depends on the traits, not on God. And I showed how the traits can be translated into the FOMs most atheists offer. Also, given my previous paragraph, the arguments in 5) (from my previous PM) against your position still hold. Therefore, God is not required for objective morality and an atheistic foundation is more plausible.

Thanks for your cogent reply.

Mentat1231, "Update", 5/27/12

Just letting you know that I have read your very well thought-out post, and I will be responding just as soon as I can. But my weekends are kind of packed (...[personal info deleted] among other responsibilities). Anyway, I work on my responses to you as separate Microsoft Word documents, and I'm picking away at my latest response there on my rare free moments.

Anyway, I just didn't want to leave you hanging.

Mentat1231, "Re: PM?", 5/29/12


On your "part a"...

My point on your math analogy is that, as you admit, the axioms themselves are not conceptual truths nor necessary. They are NOT like saying "all bachelors are unmarried". And therefore the "option A" approach is not feasible, since I could agree with the inference from the axioms (even, perhaps, admitting that these inferences were logically necessary) and yet always go back and ask for justification for the AXIOMS THEMSELVES. The logically necessary truths in math have to do with the numbers themselves (7 is 7, and is equal to 7 units added together, just as a bachelor just IS an unmarried man), and the rules of inference (if you accept X you must accept Y). But the specific "X" (the axioms) are not logically necessary, and need to be justified. Thus, "unnecessary harm = bad" is an axiom from which moral "theorems" (so to speak) could be inferred by necessary rules, but the axiom itself is not logically necessary. Your math analogy, as I said before, does not help option A, it hurts it.

I don't have any "philosophically-minded" friends. At least, I'm the only one who's actually read the major philosophers from Plato through modern philosophers (like Rorty, Plantinga, Kelly, etc), and made a diligent effort to understand their philosophies. I remain unremarkable, but I don't have anyone else to discuss these things with (which might explain why I engage in YouTube discussions)... Anyway, I'll accept that option B has some good arguments for it; they just haven't been presented here. "Mercury is the first planet from the Sun" is a contingent truth (it was not always true, it did not have to be true, and it will not always be true). This is quite different from a *necessary* truth, in my estimation.

On the bee issue, you are really missing what I'm saying. I never claimed that we couldn't disagree about things that follow logically from logically necessary premises. We could indeed be mistaken. Nor did I claim we couldn't be wrong about an axiom. I've made it very clear that, while the theorems may derive necessarily from the axioms, the axioms themselves need not be logically necessary truths. So, saying that we could have incorrect "theorems" about morality is not a point of contention between us. Indeed, we could have incorrect "axioms" too. But the "correctness" or "incorrectness" must be justified based on the logically necessary moral truths, if such exist; just as the axioms must be justified based on the nature of the numbers/sets/etc they describe. Anyway, I'll return to a similar point in "part b", I think, so I'll leave this alone for the moment. As to your point about Euclidean geometry, I will repeat again that we only discovered the limits of where those axioms are applicable, not anything wrong with the axioms themselves. So our intuitions on these matters never actually needed correction; just a delineation of where those intuitions were valid and where other ones were needed (namely, non-Euclidean spaces).

On the comparison to science:
S1) If you make moral intuitions analogous to the formulaic tool of science, then you do indeed imply that the value of morals is in either their predictive capacity or their practical utility. That is the purpose of science, as you yourself indicate in your last sentence in this paragraph. You say that you care whether scientific theories get things right "BECAUSE our health and survival depend on it".
S2) I worded my point poorly, when I said "scientists/philosophers of science don't speak of facts". But, I thought I made my true meaning clear by the context: Scientists do not imagine that their hypotheses or theories will ever BECOME "facts". They know that these theories are just predictive tools, which could be right for billions of experiments, and then on the billion-and-first experiment a need for revision (or complete replacement) could come along. Such is the nature of an Inductive system. So, scientists do indeed use theories for predictive capacity and practical utility; NOT because they think of them as facts in the way they might think of MORAL facts. If a moral fact were analogous to a scientific theory, then it would be only as real as its utility. And it could be fundamentally flawed, but it wouldn't matter for as long as it gave us accurate predictions.

Pardon my saying so, but that equivocation on the word "existent" is rather silly, unless you mean to apply it to the old Anselm version of the Ontological Argument. The "definitional" use of "existent" was destroyed by Immanuel Kant, who showed that existence is not a predicate (i.e. speaking of "a stack of coins" is not in any way different from speaking of an "existent stack of coins"). So, obviously Anselm's statement that "a being greater than which none can be conceived, which actually existed would be greater than one that was only a conception" has been refuted; but no one (to my knowledge) still defends that form. This equivocation point certainly does nothing AT ALL to Plantinga's version, which is the one I was defending. In Plantinga's statement of the Modal Ontological Argument, there is no possibility of equivocating on the word "existent".

On "part b"...

I have shown real flaws in your alternatives, which you have not satisfactorily shot down, and which do not apply to T (I'll defend that contention in a moment). As such T does seem more plausible than the demonstrably fallacious alternatives.

If you simply run an OQA, asking "why is God's necessary, eternal, changeless nature really 'good'", the simple answer is because it is the only moral nature which exists unchanging in every possible world. So it is as fundamental to reality as the numbers, the logical truths, and even more so than the fundamental particles (which are contingent, and could have been different). Now, you say that this does not show that it is a conceptual truth, but are you sure? For example, what is it that makes it conceptually true that a circle is a shape with a ratio of circumference to diameter equal to 3.14159265..."? That is not an OBVIOUS or INTUITIVE truth. We do not instantly think of that description when we speak of circles. And yet, it is impossible to speak of a circle without entailing that fact. And, indeed, the "circleness" of a circle is predicated on that fact. In every possible world where a point exists with a boundary, each part of which is precisely equidistant from that central point, the ratio will be pi. That supplies the necessary truth. And to work backward and say that "circleness" is one property, and the circle is parasitic on that property, is nonsensical. You simply cannot have one without the other. Does it not follow then that, if in every possible world there are God's moral opinions, changelessly and eternally present, and all morally-aware species of being receive that intuition from Him, that these are the necessarily true ones?

By the way, I did not confuse metaphysical and logical necessity. You'll recall that, in my rebuttal, I gave two responses to defend LOGICAL necessity. It was only in my third point that I said metaphysical necessity will also suffice for this argument. 

As to your other sub-points:
C1) Evidence is not needed for the idea that God is the source of our moral intuitions. We are debating the ontological foundation of objective values, and my position is the theistic one. As such, I can presume that God is the source of our moral intuitions as simply part of the theistic approach to this question. Indeed, I can do the same for God's logical necessity as a being, I just choose not to; instead arguing for this property with the Leibnitzean and Ontological arguments.
C2) God "could have" given us different moral intuitions, I suppose, but I don't see how that's relevant. He "could have" given us different mathematical or epistemic intuitions too. He "could have" made us all natural Solipsists, or radical skeptics.
C3) The Ontological argument, as Plantinga presents it, is utterly untouched by anything you've said against it thus far. And the Leibnitzean take on the Principle of Sufficient Reason does indeed make God logically necessary (existing in all logically possible worlds). Your only response to this was "well, that would just show that a being, X, exists in all possible worlds; not that that being is necessarily GOOD in all those worlds". To which I responded that logical necessity is all I need Leibniz or Plantinga for. You'll have to actually debunk these arguments to get around God's logical necessity.
C4) This is the big one: The backward question of "what makes God's nature really good?". This is backward. Goodness is entirely predicated on God's nature. This may not be intuitively obvious, but neither is the fact that "circleness" is entirely predicated on C/d = pi. God's nature is not judged by standards of goodness; rather any standard of goodness would be judged entirely on compliance with God's logically necessary, eternal, changeless nature.
C5) The naturalistic origins of our intuitions really aren't relevant, if the Teleological argument is sound. You yourself said that certain arguments from Design are compelling. These arguments indicate that a designing mind was involved in the development of all natural processes. As such, He would be behind the naturalistic development of our moral intuitions; if that is indeed how they came about.

Your final paragraph starts off conflating the issue with moral epistemology and ends with the "parasitic" point I addressed above. Let me respond very briefly: The fact that we can tell something is wrong without any appeal to God is utterly irrelevant. It could be that He gave us the intuitions (as you say), but even if we just happened to evolve them, it would change nothing about moral ONTOLOGY. A-C are fallacious for the reasons I've already presented, which have not been rebutted. Also, I never claimed that God gives every individual their moral intuitions directly. He gave our original ancestors their moral intuitions, and these could be imperfectly passed down (ergo the need for Bibles and Laws and such). In any case, this continues completely irrelevant, since it is all about epistemology; not about ontology. As to God's goodness being "parasitic" on the moral properties themselves, I've responded numerous times that that is completely BACKWARD. Those things are only good because they are part of His nature. Otherwise, there is no reason to think of them as objectively good rather than just (at best) very useful.

Thank you for your patience.