On Thursday, March 22, 2018 I’ll be hosting a new live discussion between Matt Dillahunty and David Baggett on the Abductive Moral Argument. We’ve had a few discussions on the moral argument already, but this one will be different. David, a professional philosopher and expert on the moral argument, thinks abductive versions are more promising than traditional deductive versions (like those proffered by William Lane Craig). For more, see the section below on Abductive Moral Arguments.
The discussion goes live at 8pm Central (6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern) on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Here’s the link to view live (and watch later):
Matt Dillahunty is an American public speaker and Internet personality. He was the president of the Atheist Community of Austin from 2006 to 2013. Matt has hosted the Austin-based webcast and cable-access television show The Atheist Experience since 2005 and formerly hosted the live internet radio show Non-Prophets Radio. He is also the founder and contributor of the counter apologetics encyclopedia Iron Chariots and its subsidiary sites.
He is regularly engaged in formal debates and travels the world speaking to local secular organizations and university groups as part of the Secular Student Alliance’s Speakers Bureau. Alongside fellow activists Seth Andrews and Aron Ra, he traveled to Australia in March 2015 as a member of the Unholy Trinity Tour. In April 2015 he was an invited speaker at the Merseyside Skeptics Society QEDCon in the United Kingdom.
David teaches philosophy in the graduate wing of the Rawlings School of Divinity at Liberty, where this is his 12th year. He’s authored or edited about a dozen books on topics ranging from philosophy and popular culture, American religious history, C. S. Lewis, philosophy of religion, ethics, and moral apologetics. With his co-author, Jerry Walls, Dr. Baggett authored Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality. The book won Christianity Today’s 2012 apologetics book of the year of the award.
In May he has a new book coming out he wrote with his wife called The Morals of the Story: Good News About a Good God. He is also the executive editor of MoralApologetics.com.
An Abductive Moral Argument
William Lane Craig has made famous a deductive version of the moral argument. It goes like this:
(2) Objective moral values and duties exist.
(3) God exists.
This is a valid argument. That is to say, if the premises are true, the conclusion follows necessarily. The question is, are the premises true? Many philosophers and theologians have noted that (1) is actually a pretty strong claim and thus requires a significant line of defense. In essence, one must argue that there are no successful competing naturalistic theories. David Baggett contends there’s a better way of going about defending a moral argument.
Abductive versions of the argument seek to show that God is the best or most reasonable explanation of objective morality. Note, this doesn’t require annihilating every alternative, instead all that’s required is that God is the best or most reasonable alternative. Perhaps the naturalist has some moral theory that (for them) grounds moral realism. The abductivist can say, “Okay, that’s fine, but God better explains these various aspects of morality and so is still the better, more reasonable explanation.”
In the discussion, David will mention at least four aspects of morality he thinks God explains better than the alternatives. They are: moral facts (like objective moral values and duties), moral knowledge, moral transformation, and what David calls moral rationality.