Peter Payne debate: do ethics need a foundation in god?

Here’s my debate with Dr. Peter Payne at UC Santa Cruz.  Leave questions in the comments and I’ll try to answer them over the next week.


Huh…I just finished watching the video, which was posted by the Institute for Credible Christianity (a group for which Peter Payne is the managing director).  At around the 56:00 mark there should’ve been my question to Dr. Payne (we were each permitted one question).  I asked if he found out today that obeying the ten commandments would land him in hell and disobeying them would get him into heaven, would his behavior change.  I did this to establish that even he was acting on the basis of what would get him what he wants the most.  Dr. Payne actually refused to answer the question (citing that it was in such conflict with god’s nature that the question made no sense, even though I told him this was a hypothetical situation, not one that either of us believe is real).  But that was edited out of this video.

Strange.  (And here’s a part in the Q&A where the question, which is absent from the video, is referred to by an audience member, and afterward Dr. Payne even admits to refusing to answer it)


Ugh, I need to go through the Q&A and address all the things Payne said that I couldn’t rebut.  Second law of thermodynamics arguments.  *facepalm*


Also, my exchange with this woman was perhaps the saddest thing that happened to me on my entire trip, especially at 1:42:42 where she talks about why she’s still married.  I probably was too forward with her, but I hate when people use the Q&A time to deliver a sermon.

For people who claim that Christianity makes them so happy (as if that’s valuable), they’re so often eager to talk about how pursuing happiness isn’t a decent meaning in life.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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