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Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-17-2012, 10:25 AM)
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I wasn't responding to Taylor's use of the word naive; I looked up his arguments and generally understood what he meant. I was responding to your use of the word.

Of course, if you meant relative naivety, then that's different. But even by those standards it's not a very revealing statement. The vast majority of all arguments feature mischaracterizations of the other side. Actually, I think that the general discourse about religion is a good one. As someone who was once religious and studied theology, I think I can say that the notable atheists (Dawkins, Harris, etc.) have a firm handle of the issues, at least as they pertain to Christianity. Even the theists such as Plantinga and William Lane Craig at least argue against the kind of atheism that people actually believe in. Of course, one shouldn't mistake a difference of opinion for naivety. Just because atheists say "Your god is a horrible being" and theists disagree (or that theists say atheism leads to the annihilation of morality) doesn't mean one side has failed to understand the other; just that they're drawing different conclusions about the opposing worldview.

I would also argue against the idea that an even-handed approach is always the best kind. That might work for an historical/philosophical book, but polemical works also have a place because they clarify what people actually believe. One shouldn't be discouraged from airing a viewpoint just because he or she has taken a side.
phisheep
NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
(04-17-2012, 11:53 AM)
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I imagine it depends a bit what the arguments are for.

I don't really mind a bit of polemic as such, what I think I really object to is the downright rudeness and ignorance of some of it particularly when people get carried away with their own positions (for rudeness, see that Grayling book - for ignorance, then for example there's Dawkins' citing of Sam Harris' 'Letter to a Christian Nation' in chapter 6 of the God Delusion - which is a really rotten argument from every angle, and one which Dawkins had he had his analytic head screwed on right should have spotted a mile off given the relevance of Axelrod's and Hamilton's work to it). Of course, there is ignorance and rudeness the other side as well, not least from a few Bishops who should know better.

I prefer the even-handed approach at least to start with in order to get a grasp of what the underlying issues are. And I think I'd disagree that the notable atheists have a firm grasp (or at least express a firm grasp) of the issues. For example, there is a recurrent theme of characterising any sort of Theism as sort of just ordinary secular life with a personal irrational belief tacked onto it, which is to say the least an extreme caricature of something that is at heart (now and historically) a communal rather then individual thing. Similarly there's a tendency for Atheism to be characterised as a simple and apparently irrational lack of belief in some fundamental and obvious facts about the universe while ignoring all the things that make that lack of belief tenable.

It's that sort of thing that drove me towards Taylor's book, which does seem to be tackling the right sort of background issues.

If we were to rely only on polemic though - as we so often do in politics for example - there's a tendency to sharply polarise the debate, miss out all the thoroughly sensible people who fall in the middle and miss the real opportunities (if in this case there are any) for the sort of sensible tolerant compromise that you'd expect in a sensible tolerant society. Otherwise all we get is an entertaining bout of fisticuffs behind the pub and nobody ends up any better off.
Log4Girlz
(04-17-2012, 12:24 PM)
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If time travel were somehow possible, I wonder how upset believers in Zeus would be if I told them what they believed in was a load of crap.
phisheep
NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
(04-17-2012, 12:30 PM)
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Originally Posted by Log4Girlz

If time travel were somehow possible, I wonder how upset believers in Zeus would be if I told them what they believed in was a load of crap.

Probably depends on who you met. If it was a bunch of Epicurians they's probably say "Yes, but at least it's our crap, so what?". Others might toss you out on your ear.

Of course, if you sought to persuade them of an alternative rather than denounce them you might get somewhere - it worked for St Paul.
Log4Girlz
(04-17-2012, 12:31 PM)
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Originally Posted by phisheep

Probably depends on who you met. If it was a bunch of Epicurians they's probably say "Yes, but at least it's our crap, so what?". Others might toss you out on your ear.

Of course, if you sought to persuade them of an alternative rather than denounce them you might get somewhere - it worked for St Paul.

The only problem is...I don't speak greek. I guess I could try the local cuisine.
Buckethead
Banned
(04-18-2012, 01:11 AM)
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So I watched this last night.

Hitchens v. Craig
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8

Terribly frustrating to watch.
Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-18-2012, 02:27 AM)
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For example, there is a recurrent theme of characterising any sort of Theism as sort of just ordinary secular life with a personal irrational belief tacked onto it, which is to say the least an extreme caricature of something that is at heart (now and historically) a communal rather then individual thing.

Your atheism example is not something that I would characterize atheists as actually believing in; you would have to provide greater detail about why you think that is true. Likewise, your theist example isn't actually an example of that group misunderstanding the other side. That they think belief in god is obvious and fundamental is a conclusion that they've reached. They may be wrong in that conclusion, but that doesn't mean they're naive or ignorant about what atheists argue. They just reject the atheist's reasoning.

for ignorance, then for example there's Dawkins' citing of Sam Harris' 'Letter to a Christian Nation' in chapter 6 of the God Delusion

I would need to see evidence, or at least a counter-argument, that the Dawkins argument you cited is wrong and that it makes his general ideas ignorant.

If we were to rely only on polemic though - as we so often do in politics for example - there's a tendency to sharply polarise the debate, miss out all the thoroughly sensible people who fall in the middle and miss the real opportunities (if in this case there are any) for the sort of sensible tolerant compromise that you'd expect in a sensible tolerant society.

I'm not convinced that the "middle ground" is any more sensible. In fact, it may be true that one side is right that it shouldn't compromise on its position, and that it is staking out the sensible ground and the middle is really the insensible ground. Any Christian who believes in a judgmental god would certainly claim that one cannot compromise with godlessness. The way to argue against this position is not to claim that they really, really need to compromise for the good of civil conversation; their beliefs would necessitate the rejection of that view based upon the fundamental premise of a god who doesn't want them to compromise.
Last edited by Mgoblue201; 04-18-2012 at 03:23 AM.
phisheep
NeoGAF's Chief Barrister
(04-18-2012, 06:11 PM)
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Sorry Mgoblue201, got distracted by stuff happening in EA v Edge Games, and I've a funeral to go to tomorrow. This is interesting, but I'll try and post a fuller response when things get a bit less busy so we don't end up just lobbing points at each other.
Matthew Gallant
Member
(04-19-2012, 12:44 AM)
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Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-22-2012, 10:47 AM)
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Well, in the meantime, I have recently become interested in the works of Richard Carrier, an historian who has written extensively on the origins of Christianity. In particular I found his article about the prophecy of a dying messiah very informative. Here is his basic thesis:

It is frequently claimed, even by experts in the field, that no Jews expected their messiah to be killed, that all of them expected a militarily triumphant übermensch. And therefore Christianity went totally off-book when it came up with the idea that their "failed" messiah was the "real" messiah. But this is actually demonstrably false. Some Jews did expect a dying messiah.

His main argument (which weaves together a lot of Jewish history and prophecy) is that Christianity developed out of ideas that were already in vogue at the time. Christians often make two contradictory arguments: they argue that the concept of a dying messiah is too outlandish to be believed (unless Jesus really did die for our sins), but oh yeah the dying messiah is codified in prophecy and foretold by Isaiah, so no one is without excuse for believing it. Carrier's argument, I think, accomplishes two different things. First, it dilutes the true impact of a martyr god, since there was no shortage of so-called messiahs getting themselves killed at the time, and second, it shows that Christianity evolved in a very logical way as we would expect of all invented religions. Here is Carrier's conclusion:

Christianity thus does not look so unique in this context. It looks like just another failed attempt to get a messianic claimant killed--someone posing as the last Jesus (i.e. Joshua) and the Christ, in other words yet another Jesus Christ. Even his resurrection fits right into this scheme: as a powerful sign proving the end was nigh indeed. Paul remarks that Christians believed Jesus was "the firstfruits" of the general resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-23, a fact perhaps also alluded to in Rom. 11:16-18), in other words his resurrection proved the general resurrection of Israel had begun, but would proceed in stages, as some Jews likewise believed (see references in Empty Tomb, p. 107, with note 11 on p. 198). The end was therefore proved to be in the offing. It would just take a little time more to gather in the flock and make a last chance available for sinners to repent.
Last edited by Mgoblue201; 04-22-2012 at 10:56 AM.
Timedog
good credit (by proxy)
(04-22-2012, 11:14 AM)
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Originally Posted by Buckethead

So I watched this last night.

Hitchens v. Craig
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8

Terribly frustrating to watch.

Why frustrating?
CiSTM
Banned
(04-22-2012, 11:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by Mgoblue201

This is the first time I've heard of it, but one can definitely sympathize with that view. Even making a simple claim that god is perfectly good requires a definition of good that varies between individuals or groups. I don't think that it is impossible to agree upon a definition of god, but people won't ever agree because they smuggle in their own personal biases in constructing a conception of god (even if that conception is based on already agreed upon doctrine, such as Catholicism or Islam). However, doesn't this argument merely lead to agnosticism or atheism? Why do we need a new word for it?

While in sense it does lead to atheism but we igtheist don't call ourselves atheist since any religious discourse is meaningless. Religious language is unverifiable. Claim "There is no God" is for us as meaningless and metaphysical an utterance as claim "God exists". Agnostics and atheists take stance that the statement God exists as a meaningful hypothesis while igtheist don't.

And for AAequal AJ Ayer is good place to start with igtheism (he doesn't call it igtheism tho) and since I know you are from Finland you should read Kari Enqvist. He goes great lenghts into igtheism. There are couple of Swedish authors too but not sure if you can read swedish.


edit. Ayer was the man!

the last of the many legendary contests won by the British philosopher A. J. Ayer was his encounter with Mike Tyson in 1987. As related by Ben Rogers in ''A. J. Ayer: A Life,'' Ayer -- small, frail, slight as a sparrow and then 77 years old -- was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell. ''Do you know who . . . I am?'' Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: ''I'm the heavyweight champion of the world.'' ''And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic,'' Ayer answered politely. ''We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.''

Last edited by CiSTM; 04-22-2012 at 12:00 PM.
UrbanRats
Member
(04-22-2012, 11:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by Buckethead

So I watched this last night.

Hitchens v. Craig
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8

Terribly frustrating to watch.

You watched 2 hours of that? Wow.
Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-22-2012, 12:44 PM)
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Originally Posted by CiSTM

While in sense it does lead to atheism but we igtheist don't call ourselves atheist since any religious discourse is meaningless. Religious language is unverifiable. Claim "There is no God" is for us as meaningless and metaphysical an utterance as claim "God exists". Agnostics and atheists take stance that the statement God exists as a meaningful hypothesis while igtheist don't.

And for AAequal AJ Ayer is good place to start with igtheism (he doesn't call it igtheism tho) and since I know you are from Finland you should read Kari Enqvist. He goes great lenghts into igtheism. There are couple of Swedish authors too but not sure if you can read swedish.


edit. Ayer was the man!

It probably depends upon how you would define such things as atheism and belief. If atheism for you is the explicit belief that there is no god, then they are probably incompatible positions. But if atheism for you is merely the rejection of theism, then it possible, in my opinion, to reconcile them, especially if one arrives at that conclusion through occam's razor. For example, if the entire question of god is meaningless, then one can reject it as an unnecessary belief, which would qualify one as an atheist under the definition that atheism is merely the rejection of theism. One doesn't necessarily have to find the question meaningful to disbelief in it.

As for myself, my position could probably fall into multiple terms depending upon how you define them. I think there is a possibility that some sort of deistic god could exist, but I live as if there is none, and I also think that it is problematic even to discuss the nature of god, as igtheists claim.
Last edited by Mgoblue201; 04-22-2012 at 12:52 PM.
F#A#Oo
Banned
(04-22-2012, 01:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by Timedog

Why frustrating?

Because Craig took a shit on Hitchens...

He even forfeited his final argument...

Only Sam Harris has thus far managed to come out of a debate with Craig relatively unscathed...

That being said...these debated are pretty boring as they rarely ever try to actually answer the debates main question...they just come prepped with random stuff and then feed off one or another or just purely never even engage each other until the final arguement...
Last edited by F#A#Oo; 04-22-2012 at 01:39 PM.
jdogmoney
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(04-22-2012, 01:33 PM)
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Haven't seen it yet, but let me guess:

Hitchens was eloquent, witty, and filled with vitriol at the eviller parts of religion, while Craig was evasive, attempted to dictate the terms of the debate, and claimed victory when Hitchens largely ignored his terms.
Erigu
Member
(04-22-2012, 01:47 PM)

Originally Posted by F#A#Oo

Because Craig took a shit on Hitchens...

Hahaha!


Originally Posted by jdogmoney

Haven't seen it yet, but let me guess:
Hitchens was eloquent, witty, and filled with vitriol at the eviller parts of religion, while Craig was evasive, attempted to dictate the terms of the debate, and claimed victory when Hitchens largely ignored his terms.

Yup.
UrbanRats
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(04-22-2012, 02:01 PM)
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Originally Posted by F#A#Oo

Because Craig took a shit on Hitchens...

He was a better smooth talker maybe, but his arguments were incredibly dull and thin.
Never mind the fact that this debate is in itself the most trite you can have at this point, but he completely disregarded (or rather, ignored) the valid point Hitchen made of atheism NOT being a belief system, of atheism not being "a thing", at all.
Refuting a (gigantic in proportion) proposition for lack of convincing arguments, it is not in and out of itself a belief system, like an organized religion (such as Christianity) is.
Like Hitchen pointed out, we don't have a word for a-Santa Claus-ism, a-unicorn-ism or a-fairy-ism and those are not all different and distict belief systems and life styles.
So keep equiparating the two thing (atheism and Christianity) makes no sense.
And they didn't touch on the most foundamental argument (in my opinion) when it comes to religion vs science: Why arbitrarily fill in the blanks? That's religion when it comes to explaining the natural world; filling in the blanks that science hasn't covered yet, with completely baseless opinions or (at best) premature assumptions as grounded facts.

Then there is the whole human and personal aspect of it, which i won't debate, because it's a personal (and legitimate) choice.

But really, to keep pointing at the holes in the scientific knowledge as an argument in favor of religion, is to not understand the very foundamental nature of the scientific method and its power, i think.

To me it wasn't really frustrating, as it was dull (same old same old), though i ended up watching the whole two hours, because i felt my previous message was a bit idiotic and meaningless.
Now i can say it wasn't worthed, though. :P

Originally Posted by jdogmoney

Haven't seen it yet, but let me guess:

Hitchens was eloquent, witty, and filled with vitriol at the eviller parts of religion, while Craig was evasive, attempted to dictate the terms of the debate, and claimed victory when Hitchens largely ignored his terms.

Hitchens appeared a bit nervous and clumsy at times, but i haven't seen much (if at all) vitriol.
Craig was a "smooth talker", confident but yeah, pretty much evasive and kept going down his scheduled path ignoring various, valid points.
Last edited by UrbanRats; 04-22-2012 at 02:04 PM.
UrbanRats
Member
(04-22-2012, 02:03 PM)
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sorry DP.
F#A#Oo
Banned
(04-22-2012, 02:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by jdogmoney

Haven't seen it yet, but let me guess:

Hitchens was eloquent, witty, and filled with vitriol at the eviller parts of religion, while Craig was evasive, attempted to dictate the terms of the debate, and claimed victory when Hitchens largely ignored his terms.

No...

The problem is that it is clear that Craig has a Ph.D in philosophy and he uses that philosophical logic in his arguments however unsound they may be...and Hitchens can't follow and seems to just turn up to give some rhetorical jabs here and there...and that's to be expected philosophy is not his field. This is also the reason why Dawkins will not debate Craig...because the realm is philosophy and neither Hitchens nor Dawkins can compete.

Sam Harris is where it's at for a real debate... :) He picks the holes in Craigs unsound arguments...
Last edited by F#A#Oo; 04-22-2012 at 02:16 PM.
Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-22-2012, 03:29 PM)
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WLC's first rebuttal is proof of how he abuses the debate format. Just over an hour into the debate he cites a fact from a book supposedly refuting the likelihood of human evolution, knowing that Hitchens could never respond to it because he has likely never read it. Yet anyone who is not hopelessly biased in this case should see the obvious problem with Craig's argument: he is citing, without specification, a book by two physicists(!!!) on human evolution, and most biologists will tell you that there are no such problems. That this argument actually drew applause is an obvious refutation of his claim that the audience is capable of approaching the debate with an objective frame of mind.

Craig's abuse of modern science, especially in service of the cosmological argument, has been well-documented (and I've explained why in this very thread). He is adamant that modern physics agrees with him, yet it is no surprise that physicists have claimed that there are flaws in Craig's interpretation of their work. I only wish that Hitchens had been able to pull a physicist out from behind the curtain to tell Craig, "You know nothing of my work."

I detected other flaws in his argument too. Craig claims that Jesus arrived on Earth at the perfect time due to the growth in human population. Of course, by his own metrics over 2 billion people lived before Jesus was born, and just because 98% of all humanity was born after Jesus does not mean that most of them have ever even heard of Christianity (in fact, Asia has almost always held most of the world's population, and most Asians have never been familiar with anything but their own religions). Even if we take Craig's argument at face value, Jesus actually should have arrived around 500 BC with the first true explosion of human population and the advent of Greek culture:



Hitchens was eloquent as usual and did a good job, though he didn't seem to be very interested in addressing Craig's points directly. This must have been a conscious decision, because at this point there is absolutely no surprise in Craig's arguments; he cites them tirelessly in every single debate.
ThoseDeafMutes
Four naan Jeremy? Four? That's insane.
(04-22-2012, 03:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mgoblue201

in fact, Asia has almost always held most of the world's population,

Craig's rebuttal: "Judea is located in Asia!"
msv
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(04-22-2012, 03:44 PM)
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Originally Posted by F#A#Oo

The problem is that it is clear that Craig has a Ph.D in philosophy and he uses that philosophical logic in his arguments however unsound they may be...and Hitchens can't follow and seems to just turn up to give some rhetorical jabs here and there...and that's to be expected philosophy is not his field. This is also the reason why Dawkins will not debate Craig...because the realm is philosophy and neither Hitchens nor Dawkins can compete.

NO! Philosophy relies on rational arguments, Craig does no such thing! He is not using 'philosophical logic', as you put it, he's (intentionally) using a lot of logical fallacies in order to be percieved as winning the debate by people who aren't able to follow the discussion or are biased. He does the exact thing he claims not to: discuss like a politician.
F#A#Oo
Banned
(04-22-2012, 04:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by msv

NO! Philosophy relies on rational arguments, Craig does no such thing! He is not using 'philosophical logic', as you put it, he's (intentionally) using a lot of logical fallacies in order to be percieved as winning the debate by people who aren't able to follow the discussion or are biased. He does the exact thing he claims not to: discuss like a politician.

One person was conducting an academic debate, the other thought he was hosting a polemical talk show...

Case in point Hitchen brought up the Palestinian baby and religious atrocities...what do these things have to do with answering the topic of the debate "the existence of god"?

Absolutely nothing and he just wanted to throw some jabs in typical Hitchen style which is fine but it won't win you any debates...but is quite excellent for quotes and youtube videos of Hitchen best jabs at theism.
KtSlime
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(04-22-2012, 06:46 PM)
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My biggest problem with WLC, other than the fact that he is unscrupulous in his use or rhetoric, is that he is so willing to move from the first to second position in claiming not only could there be a god, but he is God. He treats it as if there is absolutely no doubt that Jesus existed, and frankly the only person that has even gave a somewhat plausible argument for his existence is Hitchens.

I find the Jesus Myth Hypothesis to be a far more satisfactory explanation for the formulation of Christianity, and it explains some puzzling aspects of the Epistles and Gospels. Certainly WLC is familiar with these details and the obfuscation that had occurred, however never once mentions them because it is more important to him to drive home the conventional narrative of the resurrection than it is to be honest.

Hitchens may be ignorant of much of the scholarship of the Bible, and avoid 'logic' traps set by his opponents in debate, but at least he is honest about that which he does know.
msv
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(04-22-2012, 07:23 PM)
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Originally Posted by F#A#Oo

One person was conducting an academic debate, the other thought he was hosting a polemical talk show...

Okay, so you agree?


Case in point Hitchen brought up the Palestinian baby and religious atrocities...what do these things have to do with answering the topic of the debate "the existence of god"?

Absolutely nothing and he just wanted to throw some jabs in typical Hitchen style which is fine but it won't win you any debates...but is quite excellent for quotes and youtube videos of Hitchen best jabs at theism.

You were referring to Craig as conducting an academic debate? I JUST now attacked that argument of yours, in the post you quoted, and instead of positing a counter-argument, you merely say the same and keep on talking as if I said nothing. Then why are you replying to my post? What Hitchens said has nothing to do with my argument on Craig's style of (non)debating.

As for your stab at Hitchens, he was attacking the internal logic of those Gods (evil done by something that is good etc.), which was exactly the subject. His arguments are valid, and Hitchens reasonably responds to counter-arguments. It seems you've gotten confused by Craig's rhetoric, in changing the definition of 'God' used in the debate at will to serve his arguments. He jumps everywhere, from being a Deist, to an actual Christian.
Buckethead
Banned
(04-22-2012, 09:00 PM)
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A lot has been covered but...

It's frustrating due to Craig's level of intellectual dishonesty, false modesty, and inability to be truthful about his real intentions.

Hitchens sees through him, that is, he sees through the guise of pro-Christian rhetoric dressed up as plain philosophy and gets understandably annoyed when Craig continues to hammer the same old bullshit.

I also laughed when Craig basically says "don't poke holes in the Bible -- that's not what we're debating" today and then makes constant Biblical references throughout. If Hitchens can't bring up the Bible's flaws in an argument which in truth centers around the Bible, he effectively can't debate.
Dice
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(04-22-2012, 09:47 PM)
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Craig was relenting so much, Hitchens went way too easy on him. He could have taken his basic thesis and really gone for the jugular. He's way too focused on drawing out the immoral character of a God and not the utter incompetence. You can use Craig's own logic to defeat him simply by finishing it. Hitchens took this up a bit with things like clashing galaxies and heat death of the universe, but that doesn't really demonstrate the utter incompetence of God in fulfilling any possible purpose of creating the universe and mankind. Sam Harris did this better, but there is only so much you can do to expose Craig's BS tactics if it's not a written debate.

That linked site has some fun criticisms of arguments from Craig's books, which are what he consistently uses in debates. As always, the "lack of explanation he says, ignoring the existence of explanations means it must be from God" assertion is always what they rely on yet what he speaks to the least. He never explains where the "must" comes from or how it comes into play. Paul Almond seems really good at exposing and tearing this sort of thing to shit, so I wonder how quick he is on his feet, say, in a debate.
Mgoblue201
Won't stop picking the right nation
(04-23-2012, 01:03 PM)
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I was actually surprised that Hitchens didn't challenge Craig more forcefully on the point he made about the immense waste and suffering that god for some reason required to bring humanity into existence. Craig's anemic response was to basically say that god can do whatever he pleases. Yet one could cripple both the teleological and moral arguments for god by simply demonstrating that no all-powerful being would choose cosmological and biological evolution as his means of bringing into existence a species that is based upon his divinity. Craig loves to use the analogy of design to try to show that there is a designer, but the process by which humanity came into being does not appeal to our sense of design one bit. He cannot have it both ways by suddenly declaring that what we think is reasonable and proper becomes meaningless to a timeless, all-powerful deity. Hitchens, unfortunately, brought nothing terribly interesting to that discussion.
Raist
Banned
(04-24-2012, 11:47 PM)
I think it's the first time I watch a full debate with Craig. That was indeed painful.

Where it goes wrong:

Exposing his argument, and then posing some arbitrary rules: "my opponent has to expose his argument AND refute mine", and then the next time he gets to talk, complains that his opponent didn't refute anything, which is a complete abuse of the format.

Repeating "lol, I win" ad nauseum.

Stating that his argumentation is going to be based purely on philosophy, logic, reason. Proceeding with half his points being based on, not only religion, but a particular one "Jesus this, Christian god that".

Completely ignoring that the request "prove me that atheism is true" does not make any sense, unless you think that atheism = "god does not exist". Keep making that request even when explained that is makes no sense.

Half of the arguments based on name dropping/quotes. Which is particularly weak to begin with, but also shows that he's not actually debating, but just keeps on reading his (tired) argumentation. One can find many videos out there covering many years where the wording is always exactly the same. Word by word.

The same old cosmological and ontological argument, which have been debunked time and time and time again.

Sprinkle all this with a solid amount of quote mining (eg the probability of the human genome being what it is), smug attitude, opponent-belittling (and misrepresenting his argumentation) and audience-flattering, and I really have a hard time understanding that reasonable/intelligent people can possibly think that this guy has a case.

Originally Posted by F#A#Oo


Case in point Hitchen brought up the Palestinian baby and religious atrocities...what do these things have to do with answering the topic of the debate "the existence of god"?

That's a perfectly valid argument. Craig is the one bringing up morality has a proof that god exists. If that's the case, he's got some 'splaining to do on all these immoral things his god can do.
Last edited by Raist; 04-24-2012 at 11:53 PM.
Buckethead
Banned
(04-24-2012, 11:53 PM)
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After watching several debates, I say it unabashedly that William Lane Craig and Dinesh D'Souza are complete morons.

Their entire game is to:
1. Start small, irrelevant fires
2. Employ non-sequiter
3. Claim victory.
4. Repeat

It has nothing to do with "truth" or even their God. Just recycled nonsense and slimy debating tactics.
ZealousD
Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
(04-25-2012, 05:07 AM)
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Are there any former believers in this thread, that actually steered away from their religion because of the sort of arguments by prominent atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins?

The more I watch these sorts of debates and bickering, the more I'm inclined to believe that deconversion is more of a personal process. I feel like very few people are ever swayed by any of these sorts of arguments, no matter how logically sound they are.
Kinitari
Black Canada Mafia
(04-25-2012, 05:21 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Are there any former believers in this thread, that actually steered away from their religion because of the sort of arguments by prominent atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins?

The more I watch these sorts of debates and bickering, the more I'm inclined to believe that deconversion is more of a personal process. I feel like very few people are ever swayed by any of these sorts of arguments, no matter how logically sound they are.

We've had quite few deconversions on Gaf, and anecdotally you're mostly right - they've had doubts, watched videos of debates and those videos began resonating with them. But, some of those people also come forward and say things like "I was spending so much energy trying to pretend that the arguments from Atheists were not valid, that when I finally gave one the time of day, it really shook my conviction. But the more I read, the more I was unconvinced that holding a gnostic view of theism/god is logical".

It seems to me that usually, it's people who hold logic in high regard that have this problem eventually, the solipsists for example are never shaken from their conviction.
Dice
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(04-25-2012, 05:28 AM)
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Because faith is a matrix of things, many being personal, losing it will always be a personal process. However, some aspects of that matrix are impersonal. When I lost my faith I found a fully-formed humanist worldview in the waiting. Even in losing all confidence in my prior worldview, would I have jumped ship if I wasn't jumping onto another ship? Probably not. I would have just been a miserable, doubting Christian.

But the alternative worldview was there, and it was there because I hadn't been ignoring atheists. Furthermore, Christianity lost credibility and grip on me as it was unable to answer for things while answers were found outside of it. If I was left with "well, that's a mystery of life" then it would have been frustrating, but not deconstructive of my faith. It was the presence of credible answers to many issues in life from worldviews in opposition (in facts, not agenda) to Christianity that made me see it not just as lacking, but incorrect.

What started the deconstruction was definitely personal outlook and unrelated to these arguments. However, it was like punching a hole in a dam, and these arguments (and my own, originating from my interaction with life, which had I had tucked away as puzzles to be solved) were the unstoppable force behind it that caused the whole thing to crumble once the breach occurred.
Last edited by Dice; 04-25-2012 at 05:30 AM.
ZealousD
Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
(04-25-2012, 05:50 AM)
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Originally Posted by Dice

What started the deconstruction was definitely personal outlook and unrelated to these arguments.

Yeah, this is sort of the direction where my informal hypothesis is heading. You can make all the arguments you want in favor of secularism or atheism or whatever. But if the audience is unwilling to give your arguments any merit in the first place, it will mean nothing.

No matter how strong the argument is, you still need some sort of "catalyst" that gets the ball rolling. Some sort of event or change in values that makes the doubt or skepticism possible. And I feel that this catalyst rarely comes from someone that you might consider to be an enemy or opponent. I feel like very few people have actually started doubting their religion because of anything that people like Dawkins or Hitchens have said.
Last edited by ZealousD; 04-25-2012 at 05:52 AM.
Count Dookkake
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(04-25-2012, 05:52 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Yeah, this is sort of the direction where my informal hypothesis is heading. You can make all the arguments you want in favor of secularism or atheism or whatever. But if the audience is unwilling to give your arguments any merit in the first place, it will mean nothing.

No matter how strong the argument is, you still need some sort of "catalyst" that gets the ball rolling. Some sort of event or change in values that makes the doubt or skepticism possible in the first place. And I feel that this catalyst rarely comes from someone that youmight consider to be an enemy or opponent.

It's a bit chicken/egg, imo.

The presence of such debates and lectures probably feeds into the "catalyst" and vice versa.
ZealousD
Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
(04-25-2012, 05:55 AM)
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Originally Posted by Count Dookkake

It's a bit chicken/egg, imo.

The presence of such debates and lectures probably feeds into the "catalyst" and vice versa.

Perhaps. But when somebody like Dawkins starts spitting fire about how terrible God is and how religion is corrupting humanity, I always feel like he's doing more harm than good.
Air
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(04-25-2012, 05:55 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Yeah, this is sort of the direction where my informal hypothesis is heading. You can make all the arguments you want in favor of secularism or atheism or whatever. But if the audience is unwilling to give your arguments any merit in the first place, it will mean nothing.

No matter how strong the argument is, you still need some sort of "catalyst" that gets the ball rolling. Some sort of event or change in values that makes the doubt or skepticism possible. And I feel that this catalyst rarely comes from someone that you might consider to be an enemy or opponent. I feel like very few people have actually started doubting their religion because of anything that people like Dawkins or Hitchens have said.

I think it's a complex issue, but I agree with your overall premise. The arguments don't matter until the person realizes that the other side might have a point.
Count Dookkake
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(04-25-2012, 05:56 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Perhaps. But when somebody like Dawkins starts spitting fire about how terrible God is and how religion is corrupting humanity, I always feel like he's doing more harm than good.

The fact that he is willing to take such a seemingly "aggressive" stance and risk being struck down by god has probably impressed a few theists.
ZealousD
Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
(04-25-2012, 05:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by Count Dookkake

The fact that he is willing to take such a seemingly "aggressive" stance and risk being struck down by god has probably impressed a few theists.

....really?

"This guy is going to burn in hell for all eternity for his blasphemy, but I like the cut of his jib!"
Count Dookkake
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(04-25-2012, 06:00 AM)
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Yes, really.

His continued existence and success in the face of the great and powerful Oz kinda says something.
Pollux
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(04-25-2012, 06:01 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

....really?

"This guy is going to burn in hell for all eternity for his blasphemy, but I like the cut of his jib!"

Meh. Not all of us think atheists or members of other religions are going to hell. A friend of mine is an atheist now and he credits "The God Delusion" for starting him on the path.
ZealousD
Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
(04-25-2012, 06:05 AM)
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Originally Posted by zmoney

A friend of mine is an atheist now and he credits "The God Delusion" for starting him on the path.

He may credit the book, but I feel like something had to have happened that would have made him curious enough to read it. Why did your friend pick up the book in the first place?
Pollux
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(04-25-2012, 06:07 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

He may credit the book, but I feel like something had to have happened that would have made him curious enough to read it. Why did your friend pick up the book in the first place?

Death in the family --> Anger at God --> Questioning Faith --> God Delusion --> Atheist. But I doubt he would have really continued on the path if literature like The God Delusion wasn't readily available. He would have stopped at Questioning and then just went along with it until he convinced himself.

edit: After reading Farooq's post below, I would like to add that the above process took place over a number of years. Hell there were were 3 years between God Delusion step and the Atheism end.
Last edited by Pollux; 04-25-2012 at 06:33 AM.
Farooq
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(04-25-2012, 06:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by ZealousD

Are there any former believers in this thread, that actually steered away from their religion because of the sort of arguments by prominent atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins?

The more I watch these sorts of debates and bickering, the more I'm inclined to believe that deconversion is more of a personal process. I feel like very few people are ever swayed by any of these sorts of arguments, no matter how logically sound they are.

For me personally, being raised a Muslim. My de conversion started when I watched a video of someone being beheaded, while the murderers were reciting the name of their God. I kept asking myself what kind of ideology could motivate someone to perform such a barbaric act.

The video had a profound effect on me. It lead me to question everything about the religion. The questioning lead me to some videos of Dawkins and Hitchens, but honestly I think I was too far gone at that point that it didn't matter what arguments I heard. I was never going to be a practising Muslim again.

Carl Sagan had a big influence on me. He really inspired me to be curious about our world, and to be enthusiastic about science. I was a History major, but after reading and watching Cosmos, I switched majors into Physics and that really changed how I look at the world.

So for me it was a gradual process. I don't think anyone watches or reads an argument and bam becomes a non-believer. I would agree that it is personal. I would also add, that the process is shaped by that individuals history with their faith and experiences with other faiths.
Buckethead
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(04-25-2012, 06:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by zmoney

Meh. Not all of us think atheists or members of other religions are going to hell. A friend of mine is an atheist now and he credits "The God Delusion" for starting him on the path.

This goes back to the argument that I was having with you the other day.

If the Bible is not literally true (whilst considering genre, syntax, narrative, etc.) - what is the point in believing anything that it says?
You could relegate it to "literature" which would make sense to me but anything beyond that seems very strange.

If original sin is preposterous/if God commands immoral things/if Jesus never died for anyones sin - why believe in heaven or hell?
Because you want to? Because it's a nice thought? What evidence do you have for your opinion?

Also Paul pretty much says who's going to hell in the Bible so the Bible itself would disagree with you regardless of your opinion.

It raises more questions than it answers, so who really cares?
If God were smart, that is real and true to his character, he would have promised no reward and it would've been a big surprise.
Last edited by Buckethead; 04-25-2012 at 06:50 AM.
Buckethead
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(04-28-2012, 06:23 AM)
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Someone I knew from church texted me asking me "why I left" and said they were considering it, too.

Awkward.

I also feel kind of weird blogging about my atheism and all that when 70% of the people on my Facebook are from church.

Should I delete them?

Obviously I don't want to hide my beliefs but I feel a little bad potentially making 16 year old girls (friends' daughters) lose their faith.
Then again, being a Christian at 16 fucked up one of my best romantic relationships so I probably should try hah.

Thoughts, ethical Atheist-GAF?
surly
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(04-28-2012, 06:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by Buckethead

Someone I knew from church texted me asking me "why I left" and said they were considering it, too.

Awkward.

I also feel kind of weird blogging about my atheism and all that when 70% of the people on my Facebook are from church.

Should I delete them?

I don't think you should delete people from your Facebook friends list if they are still people you associate with/like/are cool with.

As for the conversion issue, I wouldn't worry about that either. Be honest with people if they ask questions. There is absolutely no reason to feel bad if someone loses their faith over something that you said.
UrbanRats
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(04-28-2012, 06:42 AM)
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It's not like a 16 years old is brainless.
If they don't want to hear your atheist opinions, they'll block you; besides, if you lose your faith by reading a few comments on facebook, it wasn't that strong to start with.
Buckethead
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(04-28-2012, 06:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by surly

I don't think you should delete people from your Facebook friends list if they are still people you associate with/like/are cool with.

Yeah.

I just see it ending badly for me.
Either people are going to judge me or think I'm attacking their beliefs.

But if they're going to be condescending or make stupid judgments I should realize they're just fake friends.
And reason and understanding aren't principals championed by the bible so I should expect the worst.

Originally Posted by UrbanRats

It's not like a 16 years old is brainless.

When you grow up in/around the church and become indoctrinated with Christianity at a young age, despite maybe some secretly held beliefs, you're pretty much brainless.

Originally Posted by UrbanRats

If they don't want to hear your atheist opinions, they'll block you; besides, if you lose your faith by reading a few comments on facebook, it wasn't that strong to start with.

That's true.
Last edited by Buckethead; 04-28-2012 at 06:48 AM.

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