Sunday, February 15, 2009

God-given rights

The rights-based argument for God goes something like this:

  1. Either rights are given by God, or they are given by the state.
  2. If rights are given by the state, the state can take them away.
  3. Having the state take away your rights would kind of suck.
  4. If God does not exist, he could not have given you your rights.
  5. Therefore, God must exist.

The first part is a false dichotomy; rights could be inherent. For example, gravity was not granted by God, but that doesn't mean the State could legislate it away.

The second part is an argumentum ad consequentiam, otherwise known as wishful thinking. Something can be true regardless of wheter or not its truth is inconvenient.


Anonymous said...

I would say that rights are guarded and protected by the state, not given.

Nulono said...

That's exactly what I was getting at.

ockraz said...

The first part of your response does entail moral realism. This is a problem if you (as I do) think that Ockham's Razor (in its original ontological form) should be observed.

Nulono said...

Ockham's Razor presents an oversimplified version of reality. Reality is much more complex than we think it is. Take quantum mechanics and string theory.

ockraz said...

Quantum physics replaces universal causation with probability, but while that is a metaphysical difference it isn't a problem for the razor. Likewise string theory proposes a host of new dimensions, but only as many as are necessary to account for the various aspects of string theory. It would violate the razor only if new dimensions got added which were not necessitated by observable phenomena.

Moral realism entails some sort of 'existence' for moral rules as entities independent of people. That violates the razor because a system without such entities (where people author the rules and they are merely behavioral conventions) accounts for observable phenomena.

Nulono said...

Physical laws exist independent of people.

As I said, Ockham's Razor presents an oversimplified version of reality. There is no reason something can't be complicated and true.