Monday, October 28, 2013

The Great Debate

Streisand Estate (wikipedia)
I have declared in the past that I am bored with debates and will probably not be watching them anymore, but recently there has been a whole kerfuffle about a debate where the Christian didn't do very well and the church refused to post the video online. Well, they finally relented and released the video, and given the streisand effect, it's caught my attention and I'm going to check it out. You can watch the video here.

I watched this debate about a week ago now, and it has been sitting in the back of my mind a little bit. My first thought was that I don't see what the big deal is. I have seen plenty of debates where it seemed to me the Christian got destroyed way worse than this guy did here, and the other Christians all declared victory and went home. So what happened here?

Honestly, I was a bit annoyed at the atheist in the debate, I thought he agreed with the Christian's points way to quickly, all too often he said "I agree with that" while I was watching going "". But maybe that is the difference, instead of picking up and running with every point of contention that came up, he was willing to let a lot go by so he could make the points he really cared about, which just happened to be stuff that would resonate with that particular audience. Maybe by agreeing on some things that didn't really matter to him, he was able to get past the mental defenses of many in the audience and get them to really listen to what he had to say. (I wish I could go into more details, but I watched in a week ago, in the background while I was taking care of a screaming small person)

It also reminded me of the idea that we see floating around a lot that there isn't a "right way" to do these debates. There isn't a "best tactic", different things will be effective for different people, and the more diversity we have out there the better. I could never see myself arguing in the same way that he was in this debate, and yet it was clearly effective for some. If I was in a similar debate, I imagine the topics and tactics I chose to focus on would be effective (hopefully) for a completely different group of people in the audience.


  1. I tried to watch some of it and it's the same as every other debate out there. I still think that every single debate ought to be 30 seconds long. Does the theist have any objective evidence for God? No? Goodnight everyone! That's the only question that really matters and it's the one that doesn't ever get actually debated. I see no point whatsoever in debating on the theist's terms. If we're really interested in getting to the factual truth of the situation, it all rests on the actual existence of their gods. If they cannot demonstrate that their gods are real or provide any objective evidence to support it, then why should we engage them in any other way?

    It's just a waste of time from my perspective.

    1. Actually, I forgot to point out that I was extremely disappointed with the first 30 minutes. That part was pretty close to every other debate I've seen. After that though, there was a question and answer period that was a bit more interesting (but only a bit). I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten through the whole thing if I hadn't had it on in the background.

      As to the 30 second long debate, you do make a good point there, they logically don't have a leg to stand on. But I guess I would ask what the purpose of doing these types of thing is. I think the point is to try to change minds, and that kind of thing won't make anyone reconsider their position at all, it will just make them go "well screw you too atheist"

    2. And now I am not going to listen to it :)

    3. hehe :)

      Partly it's just that I'm bored of debates, as Cephus said, they are all pretty much the same. There was a time when I think I got something out of watching these types of debates, anyone in that group could reasonably enjoy this one. But if you've seen a ton of debates there's no particular reason to watch this one.

    4. Of course, now you made me write something about it, although it won't hit my blog until December. Damn, I hate being so far ahead. :)

    5. haha, must be nice though when you get busy, or don't feel like writing for a few days

  2. I have heard about this as well, I guess it was the sensationalism that made it become such a big deal. I want to give it a listen at some point, and am sort of more interested now that I know the tactics were different.


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