Discussion: The Conditional Premiss of the Moral Argument

This coming Saturday I’ll be hosting an exciting, new live discussion between two Christians and two atheists on the conditional premiss of the moral argument. This discussion should be particularly interesting because all participants are moral realists (more on this below). They disagree on whether moral facts would exist if God did not exist. Our participants are Glenn Peoples (Christian), Randal Rauser (Christian), Lance Hannestad (atheist), and Graham Seth Moore (atheist).

The discussion goes live right at 11am CST on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Here’s the link to view live (and watch later):

Click Here to View the Live Event

Dr. Glenn Peoples graduated in both theology (MTheol) and philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Otago (pronounced oh-TAH-go) in New Zealand. He writes and speaks on a variety of topics related to God and morality, theological anthropology, religion and society, and other issues. He runs the Right Reason blog (www.rightreason.org) and is involved in lay ministry with the Anglican Church in New Zealand. Randal Rauser is Professor of Historical Theology in Edmonton, Canada, author/coauthor of ten books, and intrepid blogger at randalrauser.com.

Graham Moore is a philosophy Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia and a devout believer of moral realism. Lance Hannestad is a software engineer, who has enjoyed debating and discussing and thinking about philosophy as a hobby for the past decade. His main interests are philosophy of religion and metaethics.

The Conditional Premiss of the Moral Argument

The moral argument for God can be stated as follows:

(1) If God does not exist, there are no moral facts.
(2) There are moral facts.
(3) God exists.

A moral fact is a moral statement that is true. An example of a moral statement is: “It is wrong to torture infants for the fun of it.” Somewhat remarkably, all participants, including both atheists, agree on the truth of the second premiss. That is, they believe that moral realism is true. The topic of our discussion is premiss (1). If God does not exist, there are no moral facts. Another, popular, formulation of the conditional premiss puts it like this: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. The atheists contend that moral facts can exist in the absence of God, while the theists content they cannot and/or do not.

Looking forward to this one!



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Brenda von Ahsen
Brenda von Ahsen

(1) How does God’s existence secure moral facts?
(2) There are no moral facts, therefore god does not exist.