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1 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 6:10:17pm

Hm. When he writes inanities like "It may be that atheists themselves are inadvertently affirming the existence of a loving God", he hardly advances any debate. I'll take William Lane Craig over him any moment. At least the former makes the arguments in formal-logical form and they can be seriously debated.

2 Daniel Ballard  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 6:12:18pm

re: #1 Sergey Romanov
An unkind characterization. The rest of the piece serves well, as much as you may disagree with one part or another.

3 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 6:21:52pm

No time for mushy nonsense. The guy wants to elevate the discussion. Yet he takes needless jabs at atheists ["atheists are only rehashing what’s already been said umpteen times" (and theists don't?); "Beyond a more humane tone, the debate could use fresh substance, too. The arguments of the new atheists remind me of a passage from the Bible in which it’s said that “there is nothing new under the sun.” " (what about fresh substance from theists?)] and his only contribution is the bit I quoted above, which is not even an argument, but simply a claim.

Again, to see the real elevated dialogue between a theist and an atheist see, for example, the book of articles by William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology. Both are distinguished philosophers, who argue for their respective positions from logical standpoints.

4 Daniel Ballard  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 6:26:27pm

re: #3 Sergey Romanov

I will do that reading. At least add it to my list.

BTW, that is a lady... I recommend you take a peek at her site. A Muslim woman openly blogging the way she does has earned my respect. Let me know what you think.

5 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 6:33:04pm

re: #4 Rightwingconspirator

OK, I've seen her before. She's good. I'm not taking the substance of what I said back, but would try to decrease some of the harshness if I knew it was her beforehand. What she wrote was still that feel-good new-agey stuff that doesn't add to knowledge, unlike the serious philosophical body of work. I hope it doesn't detract from her other work.

6 b_Snark  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 7:30:24pm

Had I more time I would expand on what you've said Sergey. Her cries for civility are nice, but her points are weak. She also apparently misunderstood Hitchen's point so her point about NK's use of science and rationality, and being barking mad is nothing but a non sequitur.

7 CuriousLurker  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 7:50:58pm

If she was trying to make a point, I missed it. Her personality & approach rubs me the wrong way anyway, so maybe I really wasn't paying attention.

I guess I don't really get why believers can't simply let atheists be atheists, and vice versa. Don't insult me or try to shove your unbelief down my throat, and I'll show you the same courtesy. I dislike long, drawn out debates as there usually seems to be an excess of ego involved. They remind me of a Mullah Nasruddin story:

Wasted Time

Nasruddin, ferrying a pedant across a piece of rough water, said something ungrammatical to him. "Have you never studied grammar?", asked the scholar. "No.", replied Nasruddin. "Then half your life has been wasted." A few minutes later Nasruddin turned to the passenger, "Have you ever learned to swim?" "No. Why?", asked the man. "Then ALL your life has been wasted—we are sinking."


8 Bob Levin  Mon, Dec 13, 2010 10:41:20pm

I know that there has been a long philosophical tradition of arguments between atheists and theists, but I suspect it comes from both sides having a strong belief in the use of rhetorical logic. As in: I can use precise logic to convince you of this position, whichever position.

It's been how many years since David Hume? I think we can safely say that this is one area where persuasive logic will not work.

And we can all thank Gd for this, or else the doorbell would never stop ringing.

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