H1: 12/30/09 Greg Koukl, Michael Shermer

12300901 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 1 – Hugh wraps up the last regular show of the year with a three hour God debate between Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason, and Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine.


  1. quidnunc says

    Three hours of debate between a theist and an atheist — be still my bea-t-i-n-g…


  2. john schermann says

    Yea, very boring. I wonder if Michael Shermer is more concerned about staying on Hugh Hewitt’s invite list then to put forward a strong case and risk offending his companians. Just once maybe he could have asked if this ‘objective morality’ would be substantiated if one believed in Zeus, Shiva, Thor is it just believe in Yahweh ? Clearly the ancient Greeks had morality and they did not believe in Yahweh, they believed in ‘gods’ which no one believes in today, therefore morality exists outside of Yahweh. The bigger question is could morality exist without COPS ? :)

    • Lavaux says

      Here are some questions I’d like answered.

      Mr. Shermer posited that social evolution put moral sentiments inside each man, but these sentiments are subjective to each man’s social group. Within this theory of moral evolution, how does mankind get from subjective social group moral sentiments to universal, objective moral truths?

      Second, Mr. Shermer posited that reason together with social evolution provides some men access to universal, objective moral truths that are baked into the universal cake, so to speak. Isn’t this precisely what Cicero and his student St. Augustine argued? Who doesn’t find it ironic that Mr. Shermer, an atheist, is reaching out to the very same natural law theory which his forebears such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Hegel, Nietsche, Freud and Marx worked so hard to discredit? And who doesn’t notice that Mr. Shermer can’t sustain his social evolution theory if universal, objective moral truths are observable in nature within the light of reason unless he can show that ancient men were unable to observe the same? I guarantee you, Mr. Shermer doesn’t want to go down this road because it leads to the conclusion that such moral truths can be found by philosophers applying logic just as well as scientists applying the scientific method.

      • Michael McGranaghan says

        I don’t see any problem with a modern-day scientist believing that the ancients made some true progress in any given field of inquiry.

    • Ruth Hansma says

      Your question invokes a whole new debate. To believe that God provides the objective morality is one thing. Who God is, i.e. Zeus, Shiva or Yahweh is another entirely different debate.

  3. tennkan says

    I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast. But to say that because morality exists apart from Zeus, Shiva, or Thor proves that it doesn’t exist in Yahweh doesn’t necessarily follow.

    The Christian case does not say that you have to believe in God in order to be moral. It says that morality is rooted in God, whether you believe in Him or not. This moral conscience is hardwired into humanity as part of humanity being in His image.

    The Christian case against atheism is that atheism doesn’t adequately make its case to account for this morality/conscience.

    I look forward to the debate.

  4. Lavaux says

    During the discussion, Mr. Shermer stated that he would like to see subjective social group moral sentiments prevailing among “in groups” extend and envelop “out groups”, eventually forming a universal “in group”. This would require a bridge consisting of universal moral precepts to be built between all “in groups” that few such groups acknowledge, and certainly very few atheists acknowledge.

    Immediately upon hearing this, the parable of the good Samaritan came to mind. (See Luke 10 vs. 25-37.) Didn’t the Samaritan, with whom the Jews of that time didn’t associate, nevertheless have mercy on a Jew, taking care of him when members of his own “in group” wouldn’t? Yes. Hmmm.

    This brought to mind two further passages in the New Testament that teach this very same lesson, i.e. that moral precepts are universal and not confined to certain “in groups”. One, where Christ healed the daughter of a Canaanite (Matthew 15 vs. 21-28), and the second, Peter’s vision (Acts 11 vs. 1-18).

    I would have cheered had Mr. Koukl pointed this out, and I would loved to hear Mr. Shermer address how Christ and his followers discovered the bridge consisting of universal moral precepts to be built between all “in groups”, particularly when they proclaimed the Holy Spirit as their inspiration?

    Mr. Shermer had better go back to the drawing board. It does atheists no good to latch on to Christian doctrines two thousand years after they’re published to add legitimacy to their own movement.

  5. Bruce Hietbrink says

    Hugh (hoping you read these),

    Please don’t make this show the last of your conversations on this topic. These have been fascinating discussions, and there are so many more people to talk to – even if they don’t fall into the ‘four (or so) horsemen’. On the theism side you have yet to bring in people like Bill Craig, Peter Kreeft, Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell, J.P. Moreland, Lee Strobel, Francis Beckwith … And those are just Christian sources, I’m sure there are tons of representatives of other faiths that would be great debaters as well (of course Dennis Prager would be a choice here). I can’t give a list off the top of my head of similar debaters from the atheist side, but there are tons who may not get the press of a Hitchens or a Dawkins, but are very fine representatives of their viewpoint (how about Daniel Dennett, for instance?).

    Or, if you don’t want to have more general theism/atheism discussions, how about doing specific topics, like a conversation around evolution/creations/ID, or the role of religion in public life, or issues surrounding life (stem cells, abortion, etc)?

    Anyway, I hope this conversation continues. There are tons of great religious radio shows and podcasts, and other atheist/skeptic podcasts, but you’ve got a rare forum of a national secular show that is willing to dig into these topics at length. Dennis’ show is the only other one I can think of that does so.