Debunking The “Natural Lawgiver” Argument

The Argument

If there are laws of nature, there must therefore be a lawgiver, and that lawgiver is god.

How to debunk it

  1. The word law has two dictionary definitions:
    a) The system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
    b) A statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.
    Definition A talks about the human idea of legality: the agreed-upon or “given” laws that dictate how people are expected to behave.
    Definition B has nothing to do with agreements, legal issues or anything that can be “given.” It’s simply a way of talking about the facts of reality as they are observed and measured by us. It doesn’t deal with how one ought to act but with how things are. The only cleverness in this argument comes from tricking people into thinking that these two different and distinct definitions can be lumped together, producing some conflated notion of a “natural lawgiver.” The argument is nothing more than a word game.
  2. You can play the same game of conflating word definitions with chemistry, which also has two different definitions. The first is the branch of science dedicated to the identification of substances, and the second is the complex emotional interaction between two people. You can say that the chemical attraction between atoms proves that love exists, that every molecule is in fact a loving relationship and that the entire cosmos is one big love-fest.
    If you can conflate the two definitions of law, I can conflate the two definitions of chemistry. It’s no less silly in the end. This whole argument rests on nothing more than a pun.

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