Pharyngula

Two idiots get a forum

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are two of the very dumbest creationists you will find — and they were upset at the Blasphemy Challenge, so they demanded a chance to debate. And of course, since they are the dumbest, most inane, silliest creationists around, television executives jumped at the chance.

ABC loved the idea, and will host a debate in New York City on May 5, 2007. Moderated by Martin Bashir, the debate will be streamed LIVE on their website and will also be filmed for “Nightline.”

It’s not at all clear who they are going to debate—there’s nothing about it on Brian Flemming’s weblog, nor is it mentioned on the Rational Response Squad page. Perhaps they will debate each other?

Cameron (“Growing Pains” sitcom and Left Behind movies) will speak on what he believes is a major catalyst for atheism: Darwinian evolution. The popular actor stated, “Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that’s preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was once a naïve believer in the theory. The issue of intelligent design is extremely relevant at the moment. Atheism has become very popular in universities–where it’s taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn’t be surprised when there are school shootings. Cameron will also reveal what it was that convinced him that God did exist.

Yeah, right. The child-star of a pathetic sit-com is an expert on biology. Tying evolution to school shootings in this little précis tells me precisely how competent his argument will be. Of course, he’s a genius next to Comfort.

“Most people equate atheism with intellectualism,” Comfort added, “but it’s actually an intellectual embarrassment. I am amazed at how many people think that God’s existence is a matter of faith. It’s not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.

Uh, the guy who thinks a banana is evidence for God is calling atheism an intellectual embarrassment?

I don’t want to watch this laughable piece of junk, but I’m going to have to insist that everyone who called Dawkins’ The God Delusion a poor examination of the legitimate and credible philosophy behind belief in a deity ought to be required to sit through it all, and then write a ten-page essay explaining why the Comfort/Cameron rationale really doesn’t count as a representation of real Christian belief. You heard me, people. This is your alternative. Take it like good little apologists and suffer.

Comments

  1. #1 Saint Gasoline
    April 26, 2007

    Yep, nothing proves Dawkins’ points better than these idiots and the masses of people who think like them. Sadly, I’d rather Dawkins were wrong about this, and that most people believed in the absent, politically indifferent transcendental God that can’t be talked about espoused by so many theologians.

  2. #2 Chris Ho-Stuart
    April 26, 2007

    This is rather weird. One comment with respect to Dawkins is that he focuses on a stunted and limited view of religion.

    Now I’m not sure that this is a valid criticism. I don’t think that more “sophisticated” theologians (supposedly) have anything really interesting to offer. To the extent that they can avoid Dawkins’ criticisms, they also seem to set up a God that is hardly worthy of the name and has little to do with the religious beliefs Christians in the pews at church. Paul has pointed this out before, and I think it is a pertinent and valid response, and justification of the value and validity of Dawkin’s criticisms of religion.

    But on the other hand, it is a blisteringly stupid response to single out two of the absolutes dumbest Christians around and hold this up as some kind of valid response to the charge that Dawkins is focussing on a limited view of religion. It seems more like a simple confirmation that you are picking easy targets.

    That is my fundamental criticism of Paul’s strident anti-religion comments. It’s not that I think he should be quiet about atheism, or about criticism of religion. It’s not even that I think it’s bad thing to be stridently opposed to religion.

    It’s quite simply that Paul occasionally becomes flatly stupid when he gets stuck into this topic.

    It’s a pity. I’m a big fan of Paul’s writings, which I have been following and enjoying with interest for years — from long before Pharyngula was started. I still am. But sometimes he gets carried away and his usual sharp incisive intelligence gets replaced with dumb-as-post material like this.

    Oh well. Cheers — Chris

  3. #3 Sophist
    April 26, 2007

    But on the other hand, it is a blisteringly stupid response to single out two of the absolutes dumbest Christians around and hold this up as some kind of valid response to the charge that Dawkins is focussing on a limited view of religion. It seems more like a simple confirmation that you are picking easy targets.

    PZ isn’t singling out Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, ABC is. It’s all well and good to wave your hand towards some more interesting targets over thataway, but these are the ones getting shoved in our collective face at the moment.

  4. #4 JasonR
    April 26, 2007

    Chris Ho-Stuart,

    But on the other hand, it is a blisteringly stupid response to single out two of the absolutes dumbest Christians around and hold this up as some kind of valid response to the charge that Dawkins is focussing on a limited view of religion.

    I think it’s your comment that’s blisteringly stupid. Do please cite the non-dumb Christians you think PZ ought to be singling out instead of Cameron and Comfort. Remember, this alternative must be a Christian who defends a version of Christianity as it is popularly understood and practised by its adherents, not merely an obscure academic defending an abstract philosopher’s God that has nothing much to do with the God of the Bible. Who do you suggest? The Pope? Pat Robertson? Ted Haggard?

  5. #5 Chris Ho-Stuart
    April 26, 2007

    I got no problem with you guys picking on Cameron and Comfort. Where PZ goes stupid is not in singling these guys out for criticism! Long may PZ keep this up, and hold the toes of morons to the fire.

    The point where PZ went stupid is where he suggests that those who criticise Dawkins for picking on easy targets should examine this case and write a ten page essay on it. Uh, hello? These guys ARE the easy targets.

    Paul’s final paragraph in this article is a classic case where he goes wildly off the rails and into the absurd. Follow carefully, and don’t mistake what I am saying.

    Step 1. Dawkins makes a strong criticism of religion. It IS a strong criticism, and it is a very effective and telling demolition of the kind of stupidity shown by ratbags like Cameron and Comfort.

    Step 2. Some people have suggested that Dawkins is “poor examination of the legitimate and credible philosophy behind belief in a deity”. Is that true, or not? Well, it hangs on whether or not there is some other legitimate and credible philosophy behind the belief in a deity or not, doesn’t it?

    Step 3. Suggesting that people making this argument should write essays on Comfort and Cameron is stupid, stupid, stupid. The claim being made by these critics of Dawkins is not in the slightest conflict with the demonstration that popular religion is full of ratbags like Cameron and Comfort. It is that there are OTHER cases where belief in a deity is more credible; and which is (allegedly) untouched by Dawkins’ book.

    Clear?

    You don’t have to look far for Paul’s complete pointless request for a ten-page essay on why Comfort and Cameron fail to represent real Christian belief. They are certainly one form of Christian belief – a particularly stupid one – but most of the major churches tend to disavow this kind of extreme creationism. Thus Cameron and Comfort are not generally representative, but rather a limited data point not in dispute. Paul’s request for a ten-page essay could be met by a cut and paste from the statements by the governing bodies of many churches, as can be found at places like Voices for Evolution.

    JasonR asks me who Paul should be singling out.

    He should be singling out Cameron and Comfort. What he should NOT be doing is suggesting that critics of Dawkins are being refuted by such folks.

    Look, we all know that there’s a big problem within popular religion. But the abstract theologians you decry as so obscure do also have their fans in popular religion as well. I’m not a Christian or a church goer myself; but I have friends and family in the church. And I see them reading and discussing folks like Crossan, Polkinghorne, Spong, Robinson, and a host of others. A good example for we evolutionists to reflect upon would be Theodosius Dobzhansky.

    Now you can argue as to whether or not these guys have a coherent defense of theism, or even a consistent perspective of theism. That’s fine; engage that debate if you want. I would prefer that you continue with the good work of holding up Comfort and Cameron for ridicule. Just don’t pretend that this is any kind of coherent or intelligent response to the critics of Dawkins who want to suggest that there are other more credible examples of belief. Paul’s article was fine – up to the last paragraph.

    Cheers — Chris

  6. #6 Scott Hatfield, OM
    April 26, 2007

    Mmm. Well, I for one have never claimed that Dawkins’ criticism of Christianity isn’t representative, but I’d be willing to discuss Comfort and Cameron’s theology here—if they actually do theology.

    But, if their press release as quoted above is the substance of their argument, then I’m afraid there won’t be much theology to discuss, just the usual creationist arguments. Creationism of the sort pushed by CC is, in and of itself, not so much a system of theology as it is a tortured exercise in retaining views consonant with a literal reading of parts of Genesis, and an exercise which is largely unorthodox with respect to its view of scripture.

    That doesn’t mean, of course, that it might not be very representative of a significant chunk of Christianity. Who knows? Maybe I can rip them both at some sort of local follow-up to the proposed broadcast. We’ll see!

  7. #7 gg
    April 26, 2007

    @18:

    “Just don’t pretend that this is any kind of coherent or intelligent response to the critics of Dawkins who want to suggest that there are other more credible examples of belief.”

    I didn’t really take that interpretation out of PZ’s last paragraph. If he was really trying to defend Dawkins at all, instead of just making a sarcastic comment that the religious apologists should have to suffer through Kirk’s ramblings, I take away the following:

    We all know that ANY political or social movement, no matter how good it is, has its share of nutjobs. As I mentioned above (@17), science has its share of idiots; the strength of science is that they tend to be marginalized and ignored.

    On the flip side, ANY political or social movement, no matter how depraved, will have a few members who will transcend the limitations of the movement and shine. The Soviet Union produced many fine artists and musicians, in spite of its strong suppression of individual expression.

    Back to religion, if 99.9% of the ‘true believers’ are dangerous radicals, focusing your attention on that 0.1% who manage to have strong faith and not go crazy doesn’t really make a convincing argument that religion is good – in fact, it really demonstrates the opposite. PZ correctly points out that evidently most of the ‘true believers’ are paying attention to Comfort and Cameron – doesn’t that make them the representatives of religious faith?

  8. #8 PZ Myers
    April 26, 2007

    The critics of Dawkins are being refuted because Dawkins explicitly spells out that he is targeting the popular, supernatural god, so all the critics who complained that he didn’t address Polkinghorne or Spong are as silly as some who’d whine that he didn’t address the popularity of cricket.

    Now I know you’re in Australia, so perhaps you aren’t as familiar with what’s going on in my little country as some of us are, but this comment — “most of the major churches tend to disavow this kind of extreme creationism” — has no relationship to reality. It doesn’t matter what they tepidly disavow, they turn a blind eye to what’s actually going on. There are a great many Catholics here, for instance, who argue against evolution. There are a dozen weird little sects in every town that actively campaign against evolution. The Southern Baptists, no minor religion here, are adamantly anti-evolution. In my town I know of one solidly liberal church, many of the university faculty attend it and so I know many of its members have sensible ideas about science, but I have never seen that church take a stand against the anti-science sentiment so plainly stated by the others.

    The point of my last paragraph is very simple. There are a lot of people who treat Dawkins as the enemy, and this strange complaint that he didn’t address some particular, more difficult form of religious thought is the most common excuse. That’s nonsense. The enemy is idiocy like that of Comfort…and who is going to chastise Ray and Kirk with their flouting of Crossan and Dobzhansky? Anyone? Would they care? Will certain sciencebloggers who took the knout to Dawkins over their offended sensibilities at his book (even when many of them hadn’t even read it) expend even a tenth of the effort rebuking Comfort that they put into howling at the damned atheists?

    Of course not.

  9. #9 Ichthyic
    April 26, 2007

    It’s a pity. I’m a big fan of Paul’s writings, which I have been following and enjoying with interest for years — from long before Pharyngula was started. I still am. But sometimes he gets carried away and his usual sharp incisive intelligence gets replaced with dumb-as-post material like this.

    chris ho-stuart, epitome of the concern troll.

    *yawwwwwwwnnnnn*

    why does anybody pay attention to this guy again? he posts essentially the same message every time he poots:

    “gee wiz, i sure duz luv ol PZ, but he just shouldn’t post things that disagree with the way i thinks.”

    gag.

    really; go check out the bulk of his posts over the last few months and you’ll see the exact same pattern. especially on any thread that mentions dawkins.

  10. #10 jbark
    April 26, 2007

    Seriously, is it perhaps time that scientists start holding press conferences to say “Hey!!! I grew up naively believing in Noah’s ark, but now I see why that is stupid!!!! Where are the religionists willing to debate me!!!! I insist on a debate now!!”

    Man, listening to people hem and haw about how Dawkins isn’t “qualified” to speak about the vast history of religion, while bozos like these two claim to have useful opinions regarding biology is enough to make my ass explode.

  11. #11 ichthyic
    April 26, 2007

    like this, jbark?

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Flamethrower+Ass

    or did you actually lose some cheek?

  12. #12 CalGeorge
    April 26, 2007

    But on the other hand, it is a blisteringly stupid response to single out two of the absolutes dumbest Christians around and hold this up as some kind of valid response to the charge that Dawkins is focussing on a limited view of religion. It seems more like a simple confirmation that you are picking easy targets.

    Please, single out some genius. The Pope, for instance? Will he do? Mr. “No Limbo”?

    Dawkins refutes them all with ease because they are all con artists.

    Please, give us an example of an intelligent theologian. I’ll show you someone who, no matter how fancy the arguments, ultimately fails to think straight.

    The truth is, they are all easy targets because they all make the same frigging mistake: the can’t stop picking at the idiotic god delusion inside their heads.

    The snootier one (pointy hats, golden shepards crooks, massive fleecing operations) are just bigger con artists.

  13. #13 Chris Ho-Stuart
    April 26, 2007

    The point of my last paragraph is very simple. There are a lot of people who treat Dawkins as the enemy, and this strange complaint that he didn’t address some particular, more difficult form of religious thought is the most common excuse. That’s nonsense…

    No; that’s not nonsense.

    I’m a fan of Dawkins, and I’ve got a whole bunch of his books, including The God Delusion.

    I think his argument is an excellent refutation of those who deny evolutionary biology and who see the complexity of life as evidence for God. But I do think it becomes a bit weaker when extended to be a refutation of God in general. He basically argues that complex things arise from simpler beginnings (Ch 4) – which is true, that’s what we see. But it is weak as a refutation of an allegedly complex being that has no beginning at all. If you take as a premise that “as on Earth, so in heaven”, then ok; but that premise is in dispute as well. Dawkins explodes the idea that complexity of the living world is evidence for God. He’s got some gaps to fill in the argument that the processes by which complexity arises in the natural world stand as evidence that God is improbable. IMO.

    I don’t believe in God either, and I have my own arguments that I find convincing. You can read them at Why I am a Strong Atheist. That link may not work for long; I am no longer at QUT. I’m surprised it’s still there.

    One of the criticisms of Dawkins is that his general argument against God is limited in scope to the easy targets. Now that criticism is debatable, I know. But the defense that Dawkins is aiming only at popular views won’t stand. Dawkins does intend a sweeping refutation of theistic religion. See page 60 of Delusion; he’s quite clear about it.

    Is there a “more sophisticated” version of theism that is untouched by Dawkins’ argument? Well, yes; Dawkins argument really doesn’t do a thing to address the idea of a God that has always existed; unless you take as foundational some naturalistic premises about how things come to exist. Don’t get me wrong, I also employ those naturalistic premises in my own metaphysics. But I recognize that they aren’t used by everyone, and that if I want to actually refute God, or defend my strictly materialistic naturalism, then I need a case using some more basic premises shared by those I wish to persuade. I try to do that in my essay linked above. Whether I succeed or not I am content for readers to judge.

    One point some people have made is that the advocates within the churches for beliefs that are consistent with evolution don’t speak up enough. I agree. More should speak up, more often and more loudly. But some within the church are speaking up and trying to refute the idiocy of Comfort and Cameron and their ilk. One of our favorite examples is Ken Miller.

    Cheers — Chris

  14. #14 llewelly
    April 27, 2007

    One comment with respect to Dawkins is that he focuses on a stunted and limited view of religion.
    Now I’m not sure that this is a valid criticism.

    It’s both entirely true, and precisely why Dawkins is so highly relevant (in the US, anyway). Most Americans – and especially those in control of the Republican party – do have a stunted and limited view of religion. Dawkins aims to break down those stunted and limited views of religion, and he does so at about a high-school or maybe freshman college level. That’s appropriate; even among the book-buying population, it is not common to find a much more sophisticated understanding of religion. Nor are more sophisticated kinds of religion a significant danger, or influential in American politics.

  15. #15 H. Humbert
    April 27, 2007

    Chris Ho-Stuart said:
    Dawkins argument really doesn’t do a thing to address the idea of a God that has always existed…

    Nor would he need to. Things asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Dawkins does a good job of destroying the reasons theists often put forth as justifying belief in god. I don’t know why you think he would need to address beliefs offered without any justification at all. Those are dealt easily enough with a simple “nuh-uh.”

  16. #16 JasonR
    April 27, 2007

    Chris Ho-Stuart,

    He basically argues that complex things arise from simpler beginnings (Ch 4) – which is true, that’s what we see. But it is weak as a refutation of an allegedly complex being that has no beginning at all. If you take as a premise that “as on Earth, so in heaven”, then ok; but that premise is in dispute as well.

    It’s not weak at all. It’s a rational conclusion from our knowledge and experience of the world. It is no answer to this to simply declare that things are different in Heaven.

    Dawkins does intend a sweeping refutation of theistic religion.

    That’s right. He intends that and he does that. And yet you’re faulting him for failing to address philosophical deism or metaphorical theism. Your criticism doesn’t make any sense.

    Dawkins argument really doesn’t do a thing to address the idea of a God that has always existed;

    Of course it does. Postulating that God has always existed doesn’t rescue him from Dawkins’ “ultimate 747″ argument or his other arguments.

  17. #17 CalGeorge
    April 27, 2007

    It is that there are OTHER cases where belief in a deity is more credible; and which is (allegedly) untouched by Dawkins’ book.

    No, there are not.

    Every case of belief in a deity is incredible.

    Say there’s a continuum that runs from Cameron (thoughtless) to Dobzhansky (thoughtful).

    There is no point on that continuum where arguments for God somehow becomes miraculously more sensible so that God begins to exist for real. It just doesn’t happen.

    It’s baloney all the way down the line.

    You can try to make distinctions between a Cameron and a Dobzhansky but after all is said and done, they are locked in an embrace that cements them together forever: they both say things about a “creator” or “god” that are clearly made up.

    Dobzhansky: “the Creator has created the living world not by caprice (supernatural fiat) but by evolution propelled by natural selection.”

    Well, how the hell does he know that? The same way the banana guy knows God made non-slip bananas.

    He doesn’t. He has given free reign to a fantasy and, like every other god-intoxicated person who does this, the result is bullshit.

  18. #18 Chris Ho-Stuart
    April 27, 2007

    Hi, Caledonian. I’m a strong atheist. I have said nothing about any good or reasonable argument FOR God. I don’t know any arguments for God that I’d put in that category.

    Cameron is not on my team in any sense at all.

    What I have actually said here is that I think Dawkins’ argument AGAINST God does not live up to its promise. In particular, I don’t think it really deals with the notion of a God with no beginning. I’m not going to attempt that criticism here at any length. Suffice to say that to this extent I am a “critic of Dawkins”. Although I like Dawkins a lot and own many of his books; I don’t share his crusading antipathy to all forms of theism.

    Some theists — Miller, Dobzhansky, Polkinghorne, Borg, etc; plus many others less famous who share such views — do believe in a personal God, do accept conventional mainstream science, and do have a consistent perspective, even though I don’t share it. I don’t think any of them have any good argument FOR their perspective.

    What I object to here is the notion that critics of Dawkins are in some way obliged to write lengthy essays because of Cameron and Comfort. It’s a stupid comment, that spoils an otherwise fitting and well deserved roasting of a couple of creationist morons.

    I’ve said more about my background at the Afarensis blog, that has picked up some of my remarks; but I am seriously thinking of starting up my own blog for these kinds of discussion. If I ever do that, you will be welcome to come along.

    Cheers — Chris

  19. #19 Caledonian
    April 27, 2007

    Hi, Caledonian. I’m a strong atheist.

    Of course you are! Of course you are! I never suggested otherwise.

    Cameron is not on my team in any sense at all.

    What kind of loyalty is that? Team Moron has to stand together, or they’ll just sort of fall apart.

    What I have actually said here is that I think Dawkins’ argument AGAINST God does not live up to its promise. In particular, I don’t think it really deals with the notion of a God with no beginning.

    Since he’s arguing against the idea that the universe must have a creator because it couldn’t have existed forever with no beginning, your criticism is asinine.

    Some theists — Miller, Dobzhansky, Polkinghorne, Borg, etc; plus many others less famous who share such views — do believe in a personal God, do accept conventional mainstream science, and do have a consistent perspective,

    They do not, as scientific thought is utterly incompatible with belief in any deity. They do not accept conventional mainstream science – they pay lip service to it while absolving their personal delusions from its analysis.

  20. #20 Ichthyic
    April 27, 2007

    Chris Ho-
    - but most of the major churches tend to disavow this kind of extreme creationism.

    uh, yeah… tell it to the 30 million evangelicals who follow the church Ted Haggard leads.

    or is 30 million NOT a “major” church?

    face it; the argument that radical evangelicals are NOT a major group in the US is belied by the mere fact that the rethuglicans have been courting their favor as a voting block for 30 years now.

    so, what, you think the catholic church one of the “major” churches that denounces this drivel?

    well, one week they do, and one week they don’t – and go off on their own brand of creationism.

  21. #21 Alan Wagner
    April 27, 2007

    Chris, and earlier John Wilkins and RobScot, take PZ and Dawkins to task for targeting the easy version of theology but it seems to me that Dawkins and PZ actually attack not only the most popular, but also the strongest concept of god. Philosophy of Religion (which RobScot waived around as a talisman to ward off the evil of logic) can define god to be a title, not a name, for an entity which deserves or merits worship. If any entity deserves worship (an open question), then clearly the omni-omni interventionalist, personal, creator god would be the strongest candidate. This is the very concept that Dawkins is criticized for focusing on. However, anyone who wants to propose a more sophisticated concept, such as Bashful,the aloof and shy god of the philosophers, has a lot of heavy intellectual lifting to do to demonstrate that Bashful deserves worship.

  22. #22 Glen Davidson
    April 27, 2007

    Neither PZ’s nor Ho-Stuart’s tie-ins to Dawkins have any significant degree of relevance to Cameron’s and Comfort’s little chest-thumping bravado. True, Chris brings up Dawkins because PZ did, but it was a non-sequitur where PZ mentioned it.

    The reason, however, that people criticize Dawkins for taking on the sorry folk religion of Cameron, and not Plantinga’s or Ken Miller’s God is simply that the philosophers and theologians provide cover for folk religion. One could compare it to the mythic views of evolution held by many on “our side”, alongside the fact that these people know that scientists really do have answers that they don’t have, meaning that even if their views are not completely correct, they’re still (supposedly, anyway) in the ballpark.

    Coulter herself illustrates this tolerably well: “Even if evolution were true, it wouldn’t disprove God.” She goes to considerable cutting and pasting of dolts like Dembski and Behe to try to show that evolution is false, but of course she still has her fallback position, the philosopher’s God who might have set up the conditions for evolution. Theists very often do have these levels of defenses, since even they recognize the shakiness of their apologetics, and if Cameron and Comfort aren’t good enough they’ll fall back to Plantinga’s mindless metaphysics (okay, his understanding of metaphysics isn’t mindless, his adoption of metaphysics is) and still deny evolution, or if even Plantinga fails they’ll turn to Hans Kung or some other more contemporary theologian.

    I don’t know if anyone really wants the philosopher’s God, except as a defense against the inner sanctum of their theistic prejudices. Nevertheless, they do want those defenses, hence if Dawkins attacks folk religion they’ll point out that there’s still the philosopher’s God, so they’ll stick with what they know.

    Moving target? Obviously. That’s why I don’t generally fault Dawkins for going after the religion that most actually do believe in, and which largely animates attacks on science. What’s he supposed to do, recapitulate every legitimate criticism of religion as it exists on every level?

    No, he critiques religion based upon the epistemology that virtually everyone accepts in name (even though many don’t understand it) and shows how religion doesn’t measure up to it, that it wouldn’t pass the science, or the court, test for evidence. That’s completely legitimate, but it doesn’t deal deeply with the many fallback positions that religionists adopt to smother their doubts. Others have answered the rest of the apologetics, of course, so Dawkins shouldn’t be faulted for not discussing every defense of religion out there.

    Thus many of the criticisms of Dawkins are indeed inappropriate (I’d continue to note that he doesn’t fully appreciate the religious psyche, memes being hardly adequate to address it), yet it’s still the case that the philosopher’s God and apologetics affects religious belief more than PZ admits. The folk religionists don’t understand it, they just know that it’s there and that supposedly it answers criticisms of theology.

    The foolishness of Cameron and Comfort lets everyone ignore the supposedly great arguments of Plantinga and non-creationist theologians. Of course we have to target the latest nonsense from the has-beens like Cameron and Behe, it’s just that this means that once again the same game is being played, the silly folk religions get attacked, while the circularly irrelevant (thus also silly) apologetics of the theologians remains supposedly intact (actually, any set of beliefs/arguments that irrelevant is nicely invulnerable, mainly because it means nothing).

    Dawkins didn’t argue badly, there’s just no getting around the layers of defense around religion in one shot. That is how religious “arguments” have evolved to become, impossible to take in one shot, and therefore even complete criticism of religion is mostly beyond the comprehension of the public. It doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done, of course, nonetheless it still means that Dawkins didn’t really tackle the more nuanced (if conveniently unfalsifiable) religions of the more intellectual believers.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

  23. #23 K. Signal Eingang
    April 27, 2007

    Apologies if somebody’s already suggested it (I just skimmed the comments — too many!) but what I would really like to see is an outcry from the liberal/rational theist groups, like the UCC or the Christian Alliance for Progress demanding that this be taken off the air, or possibly joining in as a third voice. *This* is where they could put their money where their mouth is and actually exert some leverage against the psychotic fringe of Christianity.

    I’d still hope for a genuine atheist voice to take these two clowns apart but I’m thinking considering the venue and the opposition, I’d rather see Penn & Teller there than Dawkins & Harris.

  24. #24 David Marjanovi?
    April 27, 2007

    God = (sqrt) -1.
    Debate terminus.
    Questions?

    You can do a lot of very useful math, e. g. in physics, with i.

    PNG is Papua New Guinea, right?

  25. #25 David Marjanovi?
    April 27, 2007

    God = (sqrt) -1.
    Debate terminus.
    Questions?

    You can do a lot of very useful math, e. g. in physics, with i.

    PNG is Papua New Guinea, right?

  26. #26 Marc
    April 28, 2007

    People dissatisfied with Dawkins’ arguments against God might benefit from the work of Victor Stenger. Stenger does address the impossibility of deity even in the most abstract, cosmological sense. I do find his writing way over my head, though.

  27. #27 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2007

    “Mommy, how come all my friends can watch TV, and I can’t?”

    Yes, how come? Inquiring minds want to know! :o)

  28. #28 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2007

    “Mommy, how come all my friends can watch TV, and I can’t?”

    Yes, how come? Inquiring minds want to know! :o)

  29. #29 Matthew Angle
    April 28, 2007

    Oh come on, get off it. These guys are not prime examples of rational Christians. Just as Dawkins is not a good example of rational Atheists. Everyone knows that Cameron and Comfort are jokes, but why pretend like Dawkins is not? He is not A.J. Ayer or J.L. Mackie (both who I have the greatest respect for).

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