Around the 1 hour, 1 minute mark, the first cross-examination period contained the following exchanges:
Barker: Could you succinctly, in one sentence or less, define the word "good"?
Slick: Well, I would theologically and as a Christian, I would say it's worth exploring more. Good is that which is in compliance and conformity with the nature of God.
B: So it's obedience to His nature and commands, basically. What He says.
S: Well, obedience to a nature isn't the issue. Obedience to the command would be. But I would say goodness is based on the very nature of what God is.
B: So people who obey and follow whatever God says, they are good people and people who do not are bad people, regardless of the consequences in the real world, your standard is judging...good by what God says is good. Am I clear on that ?
S: Well we're not saying that God just arbitrarily declares sthg good.
B: I don't care if He does it arbitrary or not. Whatever His reasons are, that's your standard.
S: His reasons lie in His own nature and essence.
B: OK, well, whatever they are.
A few notes:
-While I think Slick came out the clear victor in this debate, he lost his way in a puzzling manner more than twice. This is one of those times. What is "it's worth exploring more" supposed to mean? It's been explored, a lot; I'd've wished Slick might have prepared a bit more beforehand on that count.
-Slick could have been clearer on the relationship of God's nature as that from which the command flows. He commands X because X is in accord with His nature. If He hadn't commanded X, X would still be objectively good, but nobody else would know that b/c He hadn't communicated it to anyone. And we sort of are, actually, saying that God arbitrarily declares something good, in a sense anyway. He's The Arbiter; there's no higher standard to which He appeals. He decided/decides what is good and that's it - it's good. I wish Slick would have said that and then continued to expose the emptiness of the alternative that Barker was offering.
-Barker makes a lot of money and a name for himself for being an apostatised preacher, yet he demonstrates very little understanding of a solid biblical view of things. This is one of those times, and it's amazing how this topic is so fundamental to the Christian message! The man claims to have preached countless times at revivals, been a full-time evangelist, done crusades, etc. James White, commenting at times on Barker and even face to face with Barker in debate, has expressed doubt that Barker ever preached, or even knew, what the Reformedigelicals would call "the Gospel", and this is more evidence that he never did and still doesn't. Specifically, note that he said, "people who obey and follow whatever God says, they are good people and people who do not are bad people".
What?!??! Could Barker really be so clueless as not to know that biblical doctrine is that NO PEOPLE are good? The question is terrible and unhelpful. The correct answer is: "You claim to be a former preacher; how could you have forgotten Romans 3, the first part of preaching the central message of Jesus? Nobody is good, none seeks after God, no, not one. People do good and bad things, so to answer the question you were weakly trying to ask, yes, obeying and following what God says is good in and of itself. And obviously, part of the analysis is gauging, as you put it, 'consequences in the real world', but again w/o a standard to know whether those consequences are themselves good or bad, which you don't have outside of an arbitrary Barkeristic one, you're still stuck unless someone bridges the Is/Ought gap with a normative command."
All that to say, the evidence that Barker ever had very little more than a superficial understanding of the Bible is strong. He is a liar and a bit of a fraud.
Barker: Define the word "ought".
Slick: Sthg you should do.
B Isn't 'should' a synonym for 'ought'?S: Yeah, that's why you really ought to belive that definition is true. ::Laughter:
B: Well if ought and should are synonyms, then what are those synonyms referring to? What does "ought" actually mean?
S: That's interesting, b/c I've got this quote from you..."if you ever get into a situation where you're stumped, over your head, or out of ideas and can't think of a way to loop the argument around, then there's always the appropriate tactic of backing up and making the person define his terms" (Losing Faith In Faith, p 113).
I'm gonna assume you're backed up b/c you can't define good rationally.
B: ...I've been asked to ask you these things. It doesn't mean I'm stumped.
Slick goes on to partially whiff on the definition of "ought/should", as he goes on to naïvely throw in, "If I love my wife, then...", which was walking right into Barker's cannon fire. I suppose this is a time when I will (appropriately, since we're so near to Thanksgiving) express gratitude to and for the various skeptics who have engaged me over the course of many comboxes - their questions and challenges have forced me to think this issue through. It does not appear that Slick has, as he got caught at precisely the point where he should have been prepared to stick a fork in Barker by asking just one or two more questions.
What Slick should've said is found here, basically. We ought to do what God has commanded, b/c what God commands is objectively good by definition, in and of itself. The OUTWORKINGS of such is where the "if, then" statements come in - that's step 2. Barker's "if, then" also is step 2; Slick should have zeroed in better on Barker's assumed step 1 (the definition: "that which minimises harm is good") and camped there the entire debate. Slick did do that at times, and Barker had no answer except to make emotional appeals to the crowd and argumenta ad populum. "If, then" statements are useless for DEFINING such things as "ought/should", though, b/c obviously it doesn't tell us whether the if-action is good, much less whether the then-consequence is good. It's merely another exercise of the naturalistic fallacy. Slick, to his credit, pointed that out numerous times in the debate, though it would've been nice if he had named it and cited Hume, he who also a priori rejected the miraculous b/c of his naturalistic presuppositions, as its originator, just to stick it to the naturalistic atheist Barker.
Anyway, I also bring this exchange up b/c it illustrates how airheaded Barker often is. He didn't just toss out the statement about "(if you're) stumped...mak(e) the person define his terms" in a debate cross-examination question. No, he wrote it in his book, which has now gone through at least one revision since its original publishing. What a ridiculous thing to say! Defining terms is perhaps the most important tactic in debate, for the edification of all. This seems to stem from the common skeptical viewpoint where the skeptic/Christian or atheist/theist debate centers around facts and not presuppositions. Creationism, for example - Creationists argue there's a set of facts, and we are trying to explain the facts via the narrative we support. Darwinians like to argue instead that "you have no facts", which is idiocy. Nobody "has" facts. Facts exist; how we explain them, for which worldview they are evidence in support - those are the questions. Sometimes, though, the skeptics will accidentally grant the obvious, thus exposing their more-common objections and complaints as mere chicanery, smokescreening, and gamesmanship.
Barker should know this, but I'd struggle to find any evidence that he's ever thought this deeply about the situation, despite being confronted with it numerous times in public debates. It's illuminating as to why he remains an atheist, though - if you don't think deeply about such things, then I'd certainly expect you to be an atheist.