The Pub Debate – Can atheists justify morality?

On Monday 30th March we have our first Pub Debate of the year, between Dr Peter Slezak and Dr Jim Franklin on the topic: Can atheists justify morality?

As ever, drinks start at 5pm in the Club Bar (upstairs at The Roundhouse) and the debate will start at 6pm.  Here are the blurbs:

Peter Slezak: “Whatever the source and justification of ethical judgements, these must be consistent with our best science. The picture of the world available from our best science is essentially that of Lucretius – there is only “atoms and the void”. We must find the meaning of life and make sense of morality in such a framework.”

Jim Franklin: “There is no room for genuine ethics in the world picture of standard (scientific materialist) atheism. On that view, a human brain is much the same kind of thing as a lifeless galaxy: just complex stuff. So the death of a person is much the same thing as the explosion of supernova: a firework, something that might be disliked as a psychological matter, but not a genuine tragedy in the objective scheme of things. In that case, there can’t be genuine ethics, only tribal custom.”

Come along to hear these two positions explained and argued – and bring your own questions to fire at either of the speakers.

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3 responses to “The Pub Debate – Can atheists justify morality?

  1. In view of this: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13326176
    and this:
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

    Shouldn’t it be the catholic Church that has to justify morality?

  2. The concept that an organisation can justify morality or not is incoherent. Morality is justified or not independently of the actions of any organisation.

    It is only fair to mention that the views of the Brazilian archbishop on the abortion were not backed up by the higher levels of the church. On the contrary. See http://www.cbcpnews.com/?q=node/7906

    I gave my views on the condoms and AIDS issue at http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/aquinasacad.doc (last 3 pages)

  3. I fail to see how Peter SlezakI can say morality must conform to “Our Best Science”. That is no different from saying morality must conform to God. All he did was change our point of reference. He replaced God with science and thus replace the religion of god with the religion of science. It’s just one God for another. That sounds hypocritical for a group that is suppose to NOT believe in an all powerful supreme being that decides what is right or wrong or that we are accountable to.

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