11 thoughts on “Close of First Debate At Discussion Grounds

  1. I have to admit, Laughing Boy nailed it. And I didn’t read his prediction until just now.

    Apparently someone’s been paying close attention to how these debates tend to unfold.

  2. Your point was well made Laughing Boy. My experience has been that in general atheists are not interested in discussions, i.e. thoughtful and respectful exchanges of views, unless they sense an opportunity to correct a specific mistake by a theist. Then they will gladly point out pertinent facts. There are exceptions of course. Bradley Monton is one and Thomas Nagle another. At this forum Olegt’s comments are usually thoughtful as well. Most intelligent atheists know that you cannot dismiss theistic concepts. Consequently caricatures and mockery are common place. Take a look at the comment sections of blogs like that of PZ Myers or the Culture Wars blog whose author I do not recall. Compare them to this blog. One liners, caricatures and mockery abounds. Substantive comments? You’re more likely to see them here.

  3. As nice as it is to be right, I’d prefer to have been wrong. Regardless, I applaud Tom’s efforts. As Lyle Lovett says…

    But what would you be if you didn’t even try. You have to try.

  4. Frankly, after following a similar effort between the \Common Sense\ atheist and Vox Day, I’m not at all surprised to see it come to this point. Disappointed, but not surprised.

  5. Longstreet, thanks for the alert.
    Here is that exchange.

    Here’s something I found relevant given my frustration after reading letter upon letter about what an explanation is on DG.

    Now Luke, there is a pattern of evasion that is becoming increasingly apparent in your letters, and I fail to see how it is either compatible with your personal search for the truth or can be of any utility to you in this discussion. I am perfectly willing to continue refining our terms in as pedantic a manner as you require until you eventually run out of room to dance around the most relevant dictionary definition and have no choice but to directly confront the matter at hand.

  6. When the current leaders of atheistic thought are more likely to use mockery, illogic and schoolyard taunts than enter into serious discussions we can hardly expect second rate acolytes like Luke to offer any better. The Dawkins, Meyers, Dennet, Hitchens crowd has made serious, thoughtful discussion an anathema in the religion/anti-religion world. In fact, it is their casting of their position as anti-religion that has brought the entire dialogue to a screeching halt.

    Serious atheists like Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky knew they were arguing about their own religious faith. The were honest about it’s ramifications. They didn’t shy away from admitting things like that the absence of God meant the absence of morality. They had the intellectual courage to face the not only the obvious implications of their faith but the fact that it was a faith.

    Today, however, we no longer see that courage or integrity. The “anti-religion” crowd wants to deny that their beliefs are religious beliefs. That their understanding are as much faith based as any the religious world has to offer. That there are obvious and undeniable implications of their beliefs. They want to deny the basis for a whole slew of human characteristics but still incorporate them into their philosophy. There are few left with whom to fight the good fight.

  7. I posted this over at Luke’s blog but wanted to post here as well:


    I’ve been following your debate with Tom since it started (although mostly abstaining from the comments).

    Just so you know who I am: I’m a Christian. I’ve studied history, theology, philosophy, and psychology, and I’m proud to have earned an MDiv. along the way. I’m not currently working in the churhc, although it remains an important part of my life.

    But more relevant to the conversation, I also know skepticism, because I experienced (and still do experience) it myself. I’m not as well-read as you or Tom, but I’ve read broadly enough to have my beliefs thoroughly called into question.

    All that to say this:

    I’m a Christian who accepts and embraces Science. I’m fascinated by cosmology and astronomy in particular. I have no problem accepting their theories (and of course, evolution).

    I debate these points with Christian friends often, on the web and in RL. Often, I hear this question, “So you really think that we just came from monkeys?” I’m sure you’ve heard it, too.

    It’s kind of the trump card in the mind of the asker, isn’t it? As if it should be obvious to any thinking person that something as complex as human existence could not have evolved from a “lowly” life form like a monkey …

    But here’s the point — In my experience, when a person asks that question, it’s a conversation killer. There’s nothing that’s provably false about the question, so I am forced to consent to it. Yet at the same time, the question itself is such a ridiculous trivialization of evolutionary theory that progress from that point becomes very difficult (again, based on my experience). The person who asks the “monkey question” probably fully understands that evolutionary theory is much more developed than the question implies, but that fact no longer matters.

    To be perfectly honest with you, you’re acting like a stubborn creationist right now. (Or perhaps “were” is better … you’ve posted some type of recant on your blog as well). Your question, regardless of your intent, is a conversation killer, because regardless of how literally true the content of the question might be, it is so utterly reductionistic that there’s nowhere to go after answering it.

    Knowing all of this, I can’t help but wonder why you were so reluctant to just let the issue rest? You know full well that it’s not just “jolting” as you put it but is in fact inflammatory!

    My conclusion:

    In the same way that the question, “So you really think that we came from monkeys?” Contributes nothing to an intelligent debate about evolutionary theory, the question P, which you persisted in asking, contributes nothing to an intelligent debate about the merit of Christianity.

  8. Hi Bill,
    Your points are well made but Dostoevsky was a Christian, not an atheist. He was telling the consequences of atheism through a fictional work but he was not telling us there is no God.
    Just an aside for your info.

  9. Charlie,

    Yes, you’re right. His works stand as such monuments to our understanding of existentialist thought that I was careless in conflating his writings with his personal beliefs. My bad.

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