Side comments on Euthyphro

Let’s see if I am understanding your position thru an analogy.

The standard for the measure of a meter used to be a metal bar that was kept in a vault. If we take this as analogous to how God serves as the standard of morality, then there would be no other standard by which we would determine whether this bar was in fact a meter in length. It is the standard. Without it, the very concept of a “meter” has no meaning. It could be any length anyone wanted it to be.

As I understand it, this is how you view God functioning as the standard of morality.

To take it further, the measure of a meter is determined by the nature of this metal bar. It is pointless to as “But what if the bar was twice as long? Or half as long?” The bar is as long as it is by its very nature, and that length is never changing because it has been constructed of material that will be very stable so it will never change in length (in theory) and also is carefully stored so it will never be damaged.

Similarly, it is pointless to ask if morality would be different if God’s nature was different. God’s nature is unchanging, so the standard of morality will never change.

Is that more or less accurate?

No, it is not pointless to ask because God encourages logic and questions. And it helps to determine his nature by explaining what it is or what it is not.

But otherwise yes, your analogy strikes me as an accurate depiction of an objective standard.


So, now: Suppose, when the decision was being made to define the standard length of the meter, in addition to the bar that was eventually chosen there were two other bars being considered. All three are made of exactly the same material, and share the same properties in terms of structural stability.

However, one of the bars is a bit longer than the one what was chosen, and the other is a bit shorter.

On what basis would you have argued that the bar that was chosen was the only possible standard, i.e. that, unlike the other two bars, its “nature” was that of being exactly one meter? Or would you have not argued that?

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You’re bringing back in Euthyphro’s Dilemma, which I proved was not a dilemma. The bar exists eternally of itself.

Thinking…I suppose you could have another eternal bar, but then only the two eternal bars could judge between themselves.

How so?

No, it doesn’t. The bar was created at a specific time and place.

Are you not able to answer the question as it pertains to the specific example of the bar that served as the standard of a meter? Why not?

A post was split to a new topic: Pragmatic vs Rational Beliefs

How so?

This is the dilemma: If you say God/good has to be created, then God is not God/good. The dilemma is fixed by saying God can be eternal. [quote=“Faizal_Ali, post:71, topic:11905, full:true”]

Anytime you bring in the idea that the bar is created, you’re bringing the dilemma back in.

You don’t seem to understand my argument at all. That the bar was created has no bearing on the point I am trying to make.

If it helps you. we can say that the three bars were not created by anyone but were just found, and no one knows how long they have existed, maybe forever.

On what basis could it be asserted that only one of these bars could serve as the standard for the length of a metre? Just address that question, and don’t worry about how it pertains to the issue of god and morality for the moment.


Here’s a fun story:

Your father puts a plate in front of you, on which are two cookies. He says, “Feel free to eat the cookie on the left, but don’t eat the cookie on the right: it’s poisoned.” What is your reaction? Then, later, your Uncle Stan tells you he was just kidding, and the cookie on the right isn’t poisoned at all. What is your reaction now?

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The question doesn’t make sense because we wouldn’t know to make the bars a standard for a meter.

If none of the 3 wanted to be known, then we wouldn’t know that they serve as a standard because we wouldn’t find them.

If one or more did want to be known, he or they would make it known to us that he or they were that standard.

My reaction is - does my father love me? Does he love me more than Uncle Stan? And also there’s an element of doubt, so my best course of action is to not eat the cookie on the right.

This sounds like Genesis 3, so you must be making some point about that.

Don’t you find it interesting John that you and I agree on the rest of the Bible but not the fall into sin? You see God as the evil one in the scenario, and I see Him as a loving father. If that serpent has a special hold on you, he needs to go away right now, because my spirit does not like it.

But that’s not how it works.

The important concept is length. The meter is just a pragmatic standard to be used for the practical measurement of length. And no, it is no circular. It is arbitrary, which is different from circular.


Using a car to grow plants is wasteful and harmful to the environment. You might own the car, but the metal and other resources used to make it belonged to everyone, in the sense that it’s the resources of this planet.

In short, it might not be illegal to use a working car as a garden… but it would be a criminal waste.

Any allegory will fail if you stretch it. But the point remains, that for human beings morality is closely connected to purpose and purpose comes from the creator.

If your father loves you, why is he putting a poisoned cookie on the plate?

You have penetrated my subterfuge. Congratulations.

What makes you think we agree on the rest of the bible?

He may be a loving father, but his actions are strange, as would be the actions of your father in giving you a supposedly poisoned cookie and telling you not to eat it. And of course, it turns out that Uncle Stan was right: the cookie isn’t poisoned at all.

Are you trying to exorcise me?


Not as harmful as driving it, though.


I’m not sure if you’re not just trying to be funny here.

On the assumption that you intend this as a serious response: There is nothing in my analogy that requires that the bars “wanted to be known.” They are inanimate objects.

I’ll try make it even simpler: There is a committee of people who have decided to establish a measure of length called a “metre”. It has selected three meteal bars at random of various lengths, one of which will be chosen as the standard.

On what basis could it be argued that only one of the bars can serve as the standard?

Please just answer the question rather than trying to find ways to weasel out of it, thanks.

Exactly wrong.

Using a car to grow plants is good for the environment.

Driving it will destroy the environment.

The more crucial point: You have now contradicted your position, and tied morality to the consequences of one’s actions, rather than to the ends for which something was intended.

I don’t see how that is the case at all. People tend to think of morality in terms of consequences. You’ve just done that yourself.

Once again, you’re one step ahead of me. :slight_smile:


My response was serious.

And again, anytime you bring in someone who is establishing the standard, you’re bringing back in the false dilemma. So the question doesn’t apply.

You were the one comparing a standard bar to the idea of God. What I’m saying is this. If we compare God to a bar and He wants to be known, he creates us, shows us His nature and tells us He is the standard. We then “use” Him as the standard unless we decide to rebel and make our own.

Why won’t you simply answer the question?


I did answer that it’s a false dilemma.

I would be logically inconsistent to answer the question as asked since the false dilemma leads to answer that God does not exist. It’s simply the case that He can possibly exist.

Wrong. You can only choose one bar as the standard, since to have two or three different standards makes no sense. And if one of the bars is chosen, then neither of the other two can be chosen. So this is not a false dilemma.

But since you seem to want to just play games rather than actually answer a simple and direct question, I will spell out the argument that I was hoping you would reason your way to on your own.

The answer to the question is that there is no way to argue only one of the bars can serve as the standard. Any one of the three can serve equally well, though each would result in a different standard length. The choice is entirely arbitrary.

And the same applies to your choice of God as the standard for morality. God might say it is moral to do one thing, someone else will say it is not moral, and another person might a different opinion from either.

You have provided no basis on which to declare that God provides the possible correct standard. All you have done is describe some of the properties you ascribe to God, and then tack on “therefore he is the only possible standard for morality.” But that is just a non-sequitur.

Creating the universe does not entail being the standard of morality. Neither does being all-powerful, or being uncreated, or existing eternally, or any of the other qualities you might ascribe to him.

Your argument is the equivalent of saying “Bar #1 is the only possible standard for the length of a metre, because it’s silver-grey in colour, and weighs 10 kg.” The two propositions have nothing to do with one another.

I hope that helps.