Register | Sign In

Understanding through Discussion

EvC Forum active members: 50 (9179 total)
3 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,215 Year: 5,472/9,624 Month: 497/323 Week: 137/204 Day: 7/4 Hour: 0/1

Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Author Topic:   The God Delusion Debate
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 15 of 99 (885858)
04-28-2021 9:05 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by robertleva
04-28-2021 7:46 AM

Lennox makes points (here and in some other amazing debates you should watch vs Hitchens) that get no rebuttal:
Um, you completely forget PaulK's Message 3 posted just a few hours before this your message in this very same topic (my emphasis added):
PaulK writes:
The debate format favoured Lennox. Dawkins was to make his arguments and then Lennox would answer - with no opportunity for Dawkins to rebut Lennox.
If Lennox' opponent is not allowed to rebut, then there cannot be any rebuttal. That is not because Lennox' points have any merit (he does certain misrepresent evolution, so that demonstrates that his "points" have no merit).
It's the same pattern we saw in the infamous creationist debates which were rigged to allow the creationist to win. It is very telling that when creationists are confronted with most honest debate formats, they absolutely refuse to participate.
Such debates are very rarely won on the strength of the arguments, but rather on the participants' performance and showmanship and one side's ability to hamper the opponent's performance.
See my page, Creation / Evolution Debates, for links to articles and for my own discussion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by robertleva, posted 04-28-2021 7:46 AM robertleva has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Phat, posted 04-28-2021 9:08 AM dwise1 has not replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 35 of 99 (885925)
04-29-2021 6:00 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Tangle
04-29-2021 5:11 AM

Frankly, all I know about Lennox is how he eagerly propped up Bill Barr's gross bastardization of law and order and the "Rule of Law" in this country. That is all I could ever need to know about Lennox and his evil intent.
I seem to recall that Faith was so very much in lust over Lennox. Not much of a recommendation.
Just who is that idiot, anyway?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Tangle, posted 04-29-2021 5:11 AM Tangle has not replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 45 of 99 (885948)
04-29-2021 2:05 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Phat
04-29-2021 7:51 AM

Re: I Will Give My Honest Opinion After Watching
... , though dwise1 has a point in that many creationists make up their own science and have to make it fit since God has never directly taught us anything that we thus never need to learn regarding science)
Huh? I have studied more than a dozen human languages (but only speak five ... six if I can bring my Russian up to speed) and about the same number of computer languages. Parsing statements is very important in both endeavors.
What you said did not parse.
What were you trying to say with that?
Now, actual creationists (ie, those who believe in the actual Christian god who is Sovereign over Nature, unlike the creationist and ID god, the God of the Gaps, who is destroyed by knowledge and must hide in fear of Nature) would believe that their god did indeed create the universe to function in the way we find it to function. Thus when science discovers how the universe works, then an actual creationist would see that as science discovering what their god had done. And when we discover naturalistic explanations for how something works or originated, then actual creationists would see that as their god working through the very natural processes that He had created.
No conflict between creation and evolution.
But these other creationists do no believe in the Christian god, but rather in the false theology of the God of the Gaps. They see science as the enemy of their religion because their religion demands that reality doesn't exist in order to allow their god to exist. Which means that they believe that science is trying to disprove God -- what foolishness! They believe that their god only works through supernatural acts, so any naturalistic explanation for anything is seen as opposing their god.
It is only when religion opposes reality that there is conflict with science.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Phat, posted 04-29-2021 7:51 AM Phat has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Phat, posted 05-01-2021 2:44 AM dwise1 has replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 56 of 99 (885997)
05-01-2021 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Phat
05-01-2021 2:44 AM

Re: I Will Give My Honest Opinion After Watching
I believe that there is One God. Even if we have many religions, there is One God. Even if the entire theory of multiverses were true there would be but One God ruling over all of them.
Could be, but absolutely irrelevant. OK, virtually irrelevant to give you a lot of slack.
Even if there were to exist a supernatural entity that could be deemed "God", it would have virtually nothing to do with any of the very many religions and their very many gods. At the very best, nearly each religion conjectures a "God" to exist and then tries to imagine what it could be like, basically by a process of somebody dreaming something up, then somebody else making their imaginative contribution, et cetera, et cetera until enough such imaginings have accreted to form their "God". And then those members of those religions who actually try to actually give it any thought will themselves create their own personal versions of "God" through their interpretations of their religions' official versions of "God".
A possible exception to that may be Buddhism, in that the Buddha taught that you should not rely on the gods because they would only hinder you from gaining Enlightenment. Not sure how well that squares with some sects' reliance on Bodhisattvas (eg, as presented in class I found Amida Buddhism to be little better than simplistic approaches to Christianity).
My page, Do We Understand What We Think We Believe In?, reposts a 1991 AP article about a survey done by the Barna Research Group, a conservative Christian company that has conducted many polls on religious subjects. This article reports on their poll of what Christians believe. For the most part, many "Christian beliefs" actually ran counter to actual Christian doctrine. Many Christians misidentified quotes for "Poor Richard's Almanack" (Ben Franklin) as coming from the Bible.
But a salient mistaken belief is that Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists "pray to the same God," although by different names. The irony is that Buddhists reject the gods.
As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is God incarnate.
Of course you do, which is only natural. That is not the "One God" that might actually exist, but rather your personal interpretation (since you have given it some thought as opposed to those who only put in their "pew time") of your particular religion's ideas about a "God". No different from billions of other believers.
As I've quoted from a novel in one of my sets of signatures:
[When you search for God, y]ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)
We are not trying to destroy your faith, but rather we ask for a degree of self-awareness in understanding your own position. That would include realizing that your own particular beliefs are yours, suitable for you and not necessarily for others, even though you are doing the same as so many others whose beliefs you would not agree with completely.
After thinking about my chosen beliefs, I will add that there should be little to no conflict between Science and God. (I say God instead of religion on purpose.)
Science is the study of the natural universe, discovering how it works. "God" is a proposed supernatural entity. We cannot perceive the supernatural, not even to be able to determine whether it even exists let alone determine its characteristics.
Science cannot work with the supernatural, so it doesn't. Science cannot make any use of the supernatural in the scientific method (including the question of accepting supernaturalistic hypotheses), so it doesn't. IDists and creationists mistake this methodological naturalism (only considering naturalistic explanations because that's the only kind it can work with) for philosophical naturalism (that the supernatural doesn't exist) -- we've just seen robertleva repeat that mistake in Message 295. There is an enormous difference between finding something unsuitable to work with and claiming that that unsuitable something doesn't exist.
However, I think that religion can indeed play nice with science, that they do not conflict unless people force them to conflict. Science does not and cannot try to "disprove God", but some religions believe that it does (eg, creationism). Religions do not conflict with science unless they insist on making assertions about the natural world which are contrary to fact (eg, young earth, misrepresenting how evolution works, misrepresenting how leap seconds work, misrepresenting biology, misrepresenting geology, etc).
It can be done. Many scientists are also religious. They see no conflict because they do not try to create such conflict. Religionists such as robertleva seek to create conflict. That has to do with his particular religion, not with any "God".
Though a god who does conflict with science is the creationist and IDist "God of the Gaps". Since the "God of the Gaps" can only exist within human ignorance and science works to lessen our ignorance, science does present a danger to that "God of the Gaps." But the problem there for believers is that they have chosen the wrong god to follow.
That all being said, God works in many ways that are not supernatural. He can use a Donkey to speak. He can and does use various humans of various beliefs to teach and encourage.
Exactly! Those Christians who believe in "God the Sovereign Over Nature" believe in a god who is not limited in what he uses. That would include the very natural processes that he had himself created!
For whatever mistaken reasons, creationists and IDists react against the idea of something coming about by natural processes, misinterpreting that as denying God. They are probably finding themselves hoisted on their own petard of anti-naturalism (ie, their paranoid of their boogeyman of "anti-God Naturalism" such as robertleva has advanced (again, Message 295)).
On my cre/ev links page, I've posted links to Dr. Allan H. Harvey's essays. He is a scientist (Ph.D. Chemical Engineering) and a believing, practicing Christian. For his Sunday school, he has written a number essays, including two which discuss the false theology of the "God of the Gaps". Here is the section that link goes to:
Dr. Allan H. Harvey's Essays.
Dr. Allan H. Harvey is a Christian and a scientist (Ph.D. Chemical Engineering) who had written essays about science and religion. I found them to be of interest mainly because he also recognizes the detrimental effects that "creation science" has on faith and on anyone being able to even consider converting. He also deals with "God of the Gaps" theology and with an infamously bogus creationist claim that in the mid-1960's a NASA computer calculating the positions of the moon ended up finding Joshua's Long Day. That was one of the first creationist claims I had encountered and even in 1970 when computers were mysterious and out of anybody's reach, I immediately realized that it was blatantly bogus. I quote from a couple of his essays on my quotes page.
He lists all his essays at, but I found these essays to be of particular interest:
His nickname, "SteamDoc", is because most of his research is oriented around thermophysical properties of systems containing water.

Some food for thought. Share and enjoy!
He can use a Donkey to speak.
Yes, Balaam and his ass (donkey), Numbers 22. A friend at work, a fundamentalist Christian but a good guy, told about teaching that story to his son whose concluding comment was, "So God was speaking out of Balaam's ass?"
There was a Warner Brothers western comedy, The Great Bank Robbery (1969) where various thieves gathered to rob an impenetrable bank, and a Texas Ranger (Clint Walker) to stop them. Zero Mostel was posing as a minister. His sermon was on Balaam and his ass with repeated refrains of "And Balaam smote his ass again!". Clint Walker arrived late, didn't understand what was going on, and kept looking around confused that nobody was bothered by what was being said.
While I dont agree that all apologists are liars or on par with those other creationists you mention, I will allow for the possibility that many of the goats are Biblical Christians and Creationists.
Much of my understanding of apologetics comes from an NCSE article, Creationist and Fundamentalist Apologetics: Two Branches of the Same Tree by Robert M. Price (Creation/Evolution Journal, Volume 4 No. 4, pp 19-31, Fall 1984). To get a flavor, here's the conclusion:
I have attempted to show, both by analogy with evangelistic apologetics and by explicit statements from creationists themselves, that the polemical enterprise of creationism is actually one more strategy of "pre-evangelism." It is intended to persuade unsaved evolutionists to discard faith in evolution and to embrace faith in the Bible, first in the matter of cosmology, then in the matter of faith in Christ to save one's soul. Accepting creationism and rejecting evolution is seen to be a necessary step preliminary to salvation, since fundamentalists do not imagine that one can believe in Jesus Christ as savior without also adhering to biblicism. Whatever the merits or demerits of such a belief theologically, it can hardly be denied that the creationist enterprise must be seen as primarily religious, not scientific, in nature and purpose.
The reason I mention it is because of its description of the two-fold role of apologetics as described by Francis Schaeffer:
The Apologetical Task
Francis A. Schaeffer, surely one of the most prolific and influential writers on, the contemporary fundamentalist scene, explains the nature and purpose of apologetics: "There are two purposes of Christian apologetics. The first is defense. The second is to communicate Christianity in a way that any given generation can understand. . . . It is unreasonable to expect people of the next generation in any age to continue [to believe] in the historic Christian position, unless they are helped to see where arguments . . . brought against Christianity . . . by their generation are fallacious." (The God Who Is There, p. 139) In other words, the apologist for the faith must seek to soothe the doubts plaguing the faithful and to remove the roadblocks in the path of unbelievers who might otherwise come to faith. The apologist tries to defend the faith by showing that it is reasonable; one need not kiss one's mind goodbye in order to convert.
Price later provides a key word from apologetics: harmonization. Believers need to find ways to harmonize their beliefs with the real world both to assuage their own doubts and to make them seem more reasonable more reasonable to potential converts. That understanding is the main thing I took away from that article.
The problem, as I recall (it's been a few decades) is that instead of harmonizing by showing that there is no conflict between Christianity and reality, fundamentalist and creationist apologetics chooses to deny reality. I believe it was geologist and ex-YEC Glenn R. Morton who emphasized the need for scientifically accurate apologetics while providing personal testimonies by former creationist who had lost or very nearly lost their faith because of the scientifically inaccurate creationist apologetics.
Apologists can be honest (even though creationists are by definition dishonest, most believers in Divine Creation can be and usually are honest). However, there's also the inherent problem that apologists are partisan, are intent on defending and promoting their particular theology. As such, it would be very difficult for them to think critically of their own position while they are so busy defending it. That is what honesty would demand. I'm sure that it can be done, but I'm also sure that it can be very difficult and hence likely quite rare.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Phat, posted 05-01-2021 2:44 AM Phat has not replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 61 of 99 (886024)
05-02-2021 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Percy
05-02-2021 9:07 AM

Re: Concluding statements
I am providing this link to my page, Creation / Evolution Debates, because I link to several other pages and articles on the topic -- they all said it so well that I couldn't see how I could refer to and summarize them properly except to present those links.
When really spread "creation science" in the 1970's was their "creation/evolution debates". Basically, they would come into town sponsored by a local church who would recruit a local teacher or scientist as the professional debater's opponent. For a number of well-known wrong reasons, the creationist with his highly polished and practiced routine would run circles around his amateurish and inexperienced opponent who wasn't even aware of what "creation science" was, thus building a reputation for being unbeatable thus also building up the reputation for "creation science". Even when the opponent did well, that news remained local (the ICR, a major source of debaters, would report on these debates in their newsletter and they always reported a creationist victory even when the creationist got whopped (eg, the 1981/82 Tampa debates which resulted in the local school board shelving its plans for implementing a creationist curriculum). Instead, the creationist would just take his snake-oil show down the road to the next town that didn't know what had happened. The tide finally turned around 1980 after past victims teamed together and started to beat the creationists in debates.
Anyone interested in that story can read the articles linked to through the above link.
Dawkins only dignifies Lennox and deprecates himself by serious participation in such debates. Until believers get serious and rigorous in their evidence and argument only a mocking tone and incredulous expression are called for.
During all that, there was an internal debate about engaging in a "creation/evolution debate." Some of the points of that debate were (from the NCSE article, Creation-Evolution Debates: Who's Winning Them Now? linked to through my page):
  • Con:
    1. A debate implies a win-or-lose situation, which is not scientific.
    2. A debate misleads people into thinking that creation and evolution are somehow equal in standing, that the scientific community is equally divided on the issue, and that the whole matter is far from being resolved scientifically.
    3. Creationists wish to debate scientists, particularly well-known ones, in order to legitimize themselves and creationism in the eyes of the public. Thus the mere occurrence of such an event, regardless of the outcome, tends to make creationism seem more respectable.
    4. When creationists claim that a given debate is about science and not religion, they imply that creationism is science and not religion. For a scientist to debate them on those terms is to concede a major part of the creationist case before the debate has even begun.
    5. A debate suggests that the matter can easily be decided by the public within a couple of hours.
    6. Debating is a creationist idea, and scientists play by the creationists' standards and on their terms when they cooperate with this activity, thereby allowing themselves to be manipulated toward creationist ends. The very fact that creationists, campus fundamentalist groups, and, recently, Jerry Falwell have collectively committed millions of dollars to promoting such debates should sound a warning that they understand that they will benefit regardless of the debate's outcome.
    7. Public debates are actually political moves by creationists, not sincere efforts to argue or teach science. For, if creationists were really trying to be scientific, they would be stating their case before the scientific community instead of adopting a method common to charlatans, namely that of going to the public with claims of conspiracy and discrimination by the scientific community.
    8. Debates are often publicity stunts for the benefit of the sponsoring fundamentalist campus groups or for the purpose of spreading creationist ideas. Debates, therefore, have been major vehicles for the growth of the creationist movement.
    9. Debates are spectacles—not reasoned and fair examinations of both sides of the public controversy.
    10. Debates accomplish little for science, since the issue is largely a matter of faith for many, no matter how much science is discussed.
    11. Creationists often distort evidence in their debates and present persuasive but actually illogical and fallacious arguments. However, they do so in a manner that makes creationism appear plausible to a public poorly trained in the sciences. Yet, if the scientist points this out, the creationist charges him or her with insulting the audience and being patronizing. If creationists use distortions or falsehoods in their arguments, it is difficult to call them down for it without seeming discourteous or appearing to be engaging in ad hominem attacks on them. Yet, if one does not risk this, then such distortions or falsehoods will appear to be legitimate scientific arguments.
    12. Doing well in a debate often requires that one "beat creationists at their own game," which often means compromising either science or one's integrity.
    13. Preparation for such debates is time consuming and distracts greatly from more important scientific work.
  • Pro:
    1. Many valid arguments against debating are now invalid, because so many debates have already taken place. If debating was ill advised, it never should have been done in the first place. But to stop debating now is to imply to the public that the creationists have the better case. Therefore the only solution is to debate the creationists and consistently do well in such encounters.
    2. When creationists fail to find an opponent, this does not prevent the event from taking place. It merely means that the creationist will speak unopposed. In addition, the creationist will make much of the fact that his offers to debate were declined. This can have a negative effect on the public's view of science and scientists and can serve to validate creationist claims.
    3. Debates give science a free public platform, albeit diluted with the pseudoscience of creationism. As Milne declared after his first debate, "My audience was profoundly interested in the debate and more concerned and attentive throughout the entire three hours than was any fifty-minute class in all of my twelve years of teaching experience." Such debates, then, can become a valuable public-instruction tool when properly handled.
    4. The public is entitled to feedback from the scientific community on this issue. Often it is only something such as a debate that can get scientists to deal directly with the general public. It would be better if this were not so, but, so long as this is the case, debates will have positive value.
    5. Creationism will not go away by itself. It is a serious threat. Since winning debates has actually proved effective in slowing the creationist movement in some communities (examples will be provided later), it should be regarded as an effective tool for maintaining the integrity of science in the public schools.
    6. To object to debates, while favoring lobbying and testifying at public hearings before politicians, is inconsistent. Such lobbying, testifying, witnessing in court cases, and the like is nothing other than engaging in debate. Often television and radio programs won't feature just one side of the issue. Therefore, in order to get broadcast media exposure for the scientific side, one must consent to a debate situation as well. So, clearly, debate is a regular part of this controversy.
    7. With the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution, scientists have little excuse for losing a debate. Furthermore, since the creationist "model" is so weak in so many places, a debate can be an excellent opportunity for exposing creationism for the pseudoscience it is. Much preparation is needed, of course, including a "renaissance" knowledge of science and a thorough understanding of creationism. Debates are not for the faint-hearted or ill-prepared. But those who debate well are providing a valuable service to the public and to science.
    8. Though many in attendance at debates have their minds already made up, many do not. If these individuals "on the fence" are not reached with point-by-point answers to the creationist's arguments, they could easily by swayed into accepting at least a portion of the creationist errors. Furthermore, many who now accept creationism do so because they think their religion requires it. If they can be shown that creationism is not good science and not necessarily good religion, they might find it possible to accept evolution without denying their faith. But if all they hear is that accepting evolution is denying God, they may come to think that is the actual choice before them.
    9. With so little evolution actually being taught in the public schools, and with the present diluting of textbooks, National Geographic television specials and creation-evolution debates are becoming major sources of public information on evolution. This is obviously deplorable, and something should be done about it. Meanwhile, those good at debate do their part to support evolution.
Another problem, a "con", is that creationists will use your "defeat" to bolster their side. Creationists would taut their "victories", reporting each one in their newsletters. Even when they clearly lost (much as we saw in this Lennox-Dawkins "debate"). Basically, their "debates" are little more than traveling snake-oil salesman operations that, after having been exposed as frauds in one town, will simply go down the road to defraud the next town who doesn't know what had just happened.
That same article that the cons&pros list came from describes the debate situation as of Spring 1982. For example, in the two Tampa debates (Dr. Ken Miller v. D. Henry Morris, 19 Sep 1981, and again v. Dr. Duane Gish, 21 Mar 1982), Dr. Miller soundly defeated both creationists. After the first debate, the ICR claimed victory in its newsletter and that the outcome"seemed to materially strengthen the creationist position in the Tampa area." In fact, the school board had decided to shelve its planned creationist curriculum because of Morris' defeat. Plus when the second debate came around, the public had lost interest and there was almost no news coverage.
In another debate in Redlands, Calif, a few years later before a large audience, the "evolutionist" side surveyed the parking lot to get a feel for the composition of that audience. With all the school buses from churches and Christian schools and ΙΧΘΥΣ and other religious stickers on cars, they estimated that 90% of the audience walked into that debate on the creationist side. The creationist organizers had obviously advertised heavily at churches and Christian schools in order to pack the audience. At the end of the debate, they had the audience vote on which side had won the debate. Only two-thirds of the audience, 67%, voted for creationism. Despite having lost nearly a quarter of their original audience (90%-67%=23%), they still declared a creationist victory.
In his description of these debates, Fred Edwords advised that in order to debate creationism you not only need to know your science very well, but you must also know your creationism much better. When you first encounter a creationist claim, you can tell immediately that it's wrong, but within a debate format how do you explain to the audience why it's wrong. The first "evolutionists" caught in the creationist debate trap lost, not because of any fault in science, but rather because they had no idea where those creationists claims were coming from.
Now they know. Since creationists polish their debates so well, they rarely wander off-script. That means that by studying their past debates, you can know what they will hit you with. Part of Edwords' prep work was to write each creationist claim on loose-leaf notebook paper, one sheet per claim, along with his response to that claim. Then as the creationist did his thing, Edwords would take out that claim's sheet and add it to his rebuttal pile. That proved to be so effective that the creationist demanded to be given extra time in order to respond to Edwords' rebuttal.
Finally, it should be pointed out that the NCSE has put more effort into talking people out of engaging in debates. Effective debating requires special skills and experience and lots of preparation. And the potential danger to local education that is posed by a poor performance is rarely worth it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Percy, posted 05-02-2021 9:07 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Percy, posted 05-03-2021 9:43 AM dwise1 has replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.9

Message 67 of 99 (886056)
05-03-2021 5:44 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Percy
05-03-2021 9:43 AM

Re: Concluding statements
I wonder whether that's the trend now or that they're too busy supporting the overthrow of the government (since the Beast and AntiChrist are supposed to take power and keep it, the fact that the Beast (AKA Trump) was voted out poses enormous problems for biblical inerrancy that they must not allow).
Even though the current creationists may realize defeat, undoubtedly the next generation of creationists, not knowing about that defeat since nobody will tell them about it, will try to pick up the fight again.
We'll just have to wait and see.
So Dembski has retired. Like Dr. Michael Denton he thought he knew a lot more than he actually did. When he was still talking, Glenn R. Morton reported on a 2000 ID conference in Waco, TX. In Dembski's presentation he made his typical pronouncement that genetic algorithms don't work, whereupon many hands went up and members of the audience informed him that they routinely used genetic algorithms and that they work, and then they started schooling him on genetic algorithms. Morton described Dembski as looking like a deer caught in headlights.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Percy, posted 05-03-2021 9:43 AM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 89 by Percy, posted 05-06-2021 5:30 PM dwise1 has not replied

Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:

Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024