Matt Dillahunty, David Baggett Discuss an Abductive Moral Argument

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On Thursday night, David Baggett and Matt Dillahunty held a live discussion on the abductive version of the moral argument. Many are familiar with the deductive form of the argument:

1. If there are objective moral values and duties, then God exists. 

2. There are objective moral values and duties. 

3. Therefore, God exists. 

The deductive version can be a powerful and effective argument for the existence of God, but Baggett and Walls suggest that there are some contexts where the abductive version has the advantage. In particular, the abductive argument requires substantive interaction with rival accounts of the moral facts. This means that the abductive argument will engage and invite engagement at a different level than the deductive argument. Abductive arguments aim to find the best explanation of certain facts from a range of hypotheses. This search for the "best explanation" encourages the atheist to offer her own explanation of the moral facts which can then be compared with the theistic explanation to determine which theory best fits the facts. This is the kind of moral argument presented in Baggett and Walls' Good God and God and Cosmos

In this discussion with Dillahunty and Baggett, a number of topics were covered. But one might divide the debate into two main sections: 1. An Exploration of Abduction and 2. Why Theism Best Explains Moral Obligations.

Thank you to Capturing Christianity for hosting this discussion. 

Debate: "Morality Does not Need God"

On Wednesday, May 21, at the University of Waikato, Dr. Ron Smith and Dr. Matthew Flannagan debated the resolution, “Morality does not need God.” Flannagan is the co-author of Did God Really Command Genocide. You can find the video of the debate here.   

 

 

 

Matthew Flannagan

Dr. Matthew Flannagan is a theologian with proficiency in contemporary analytic philosophy. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, a Master's (with First Class Honours), and a Bachelor's in Philosophy from the University of Waikato; he also holds a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. He currently works as an independent researcher and as teaching pastor at Takanini Community Church in Auckland, New Zealand.

Debate: Ron Smith and Matthew Flannagan "Morality Does Not Need God"

Matthew Flannagan, co-author of Did God Really Command Genocide? and atheist moral philosopher Ron Smith, engage in a lively and thoughtful debate concerning theistic morality. Dr. Smith argues that theism is not necessary for morality; that it is incoherent and leads to atrocities. Dr. Flannagan defends divine command theory.  The debate took place at The Lady Goodfellow Chapel, Waikato University on 11 May 2016.

Image: "Christ Gives the Law" by Lawrence OP. CC License. 

Matthew Flannagan

Dr. Matthew Flannagan is a theologian with proficiency in contemporary analytic philosophy. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, a Master's (with First Class Honours), and a Bachelor's in Philosophy from the University of Waikato; he also holds a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. He currently works as an independent researcher and as teaching pastor at Takanini Community Church in Auckland, New Zealand.

Link: Does Humanism need God? A Debate with Angus Ritchie vs Stephen Law

One of our contributors, Angus Ritchie, recently debated atheist philosopher Stephen Law on whether "atheistic humanism can account for the human dignity, morality and reason it espouses." Ritchie, along with co-author Nick Spencer, wrote an essay defending the idea " that Christians ought to be more aware – and more proud – of their humanist credentials, rather than allowing humanism to become a cipher for atheism. Were it not for Christianity, they argue, the core ideas of humanism would simply not have developed in Europe." You can listen to the debate over at Unbelievable?.

Photo: "The Good Samaritan" by Lawrence OP. CC License. 

Video Debate: "Is the Foundation of Morality Natural or Supernatural?" William Lane Craig vs. Sam Harris

This debate features atheist and neuroscientist  Sam Harris and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. Harris defends a theory of ethics that he takes to be both objective and scientific, while Craig defends theistic ethics. If you haven't had a chance to to watch this debate yet, it is well worth the time!  

Video: Theist Trent Dougherty and Atheist Erik Wielenberg Discuss C.S. Lewis

In this video, Christian philosopher Dr. Trent Dougherty and atheist moral realist Dr. Erik Wielenberg have an irenic and thoughtful discussion on the thought of C.S. Lewis.  Topics covered include the moral argument, the problem of evil, and the argument from reason. The conversation was hosted by Baylor University.