Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bacrac vs Keller on the radio (UK)

This episode of Unbelievable quickly disgressed into a debate over the origins of moral thinking, as they so often do. They go back and forth and mostly past each other for quite awhile.

Around 48 minutes in, they finally get down to brass tacks, when the Christian asks why we shouldn't simply prefer our cooperation to comptetiion in structuring our ethical systems? Alas, Bacrac's answer is essentially question begging, or else so poorly expressed that we cannot tell why he labels certain actions as immoral. What he ought to have said, "Those actions are wrong because they increase suffering and decrease well-being. In fact, that is precisely what we consequentialists mean when we call something immoral or wrong." He eventually gets around to saying something like this almost ten minutes later.

Keller puts theistic ethics in a nutshell around 1:05:30 "I'd rather submit to a tradition than set myself up as the arbiter of all truth. I don't trust my own heart."

Overall, I'd say that Keller manages to sound calmer and more reasonable than Bacrac, though he gets more than a little help from the presenter.

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