christianity philosophy science

Craig-Cooke debate

This just in…

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The Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship
The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists

present a debate between

Atheist Historian *Bill Cooke*


Christian Philosopher *William Lane Craig.*

Adjudicated by *John Bishop*, head of Philosophy Department, Auckland University.

*Moot: Is God a Delusion?*

7PM, Tuesday the 17th of June 2008
Lecture Theatre OGGB5, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland University

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Of course, this kind of thing is only one of hundreds of its kind. The apparent -or ‘felt’- ‘winning’ of either ‘side’ will not, of course, be (directly or indirectly) indicative of the superiority of that position. Debates are like that. But it will be entertaining, interesting and a better use of time than watching most of the nonsense which will be on television at the same time (not that I watch much television anyway). So do come.

12 replies on “Craig-Cooke debate”

Meh. I’ll probably end up going but I have to say I’m deeply dissatisfied with the usefulness of debates at the moment. To me, they only seem to serve a ‘hardening’ of one’s stance rather than a genuine enquiry into truth.

I think I’m probably going (to the palmy one) as a supporter rather than expecting to learn much or see a resolution. Its nice for “your” side to hear some clapping from the audience when you make a point :)

In fact probably the most interesting point of the whole night will be who wins the applause-o-meter battle lol.

Indeed, debates too often turn into an ‘applause-o-meter battle’, rather than offering much real perspective.

I’ve recently wondered why it is that debates start with longer, extended position statements and then whittle down to shorter, truncated rebuttals… It seems somewhat backward. As you explore a position, generally what happens is that you need to define terms, and dig deeper into detail, etc., which would take more time, not less. Instead, what we often see amounts to ‘speaking past’ each other…

I’ll head along to the Auckland one, but I’m not expecting it to be something terribly earth-shattering…

Another thought about debates…

The role of moderator (not that all debates are moderated) can be crucial. A skilled moderator can keep the debate focussed, fair and fruitful; while a poor one can allow needless time wasted on irrelevant tangents or other such things…

Also, selection of opponents and wording of ‘moot’ is key. I heard a ‘debate’ on the elimination of radical poverty with a poorly worded ‘moot’, which didn’t help things. And also the debate between the ‘rational response’ folks and Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron was perhaps one of the poorest choice of opponents I can think of… Atheists and Christians should have both be embarrassed by that one… :)

Yeah I am not a big fan of debates as a method of achieving anything (other than publicity). I do tend to think of them as relatively effective ways for two opposing views to make their points at the same venue and for some interaction between them in the process. Often the Q&A sessions are the most valuable parts.

As for the RRS vs. Kirk “crocoduck” Cameron and Ray “banana is the atheists nightmare” Comfort debate, It really was a bit of a farce. It was literally all over after 5 minutes. I think the RRS did ok for who they are (which isn’t saying much) but the other two were a joke. Certainly it was an embarrassment as a national discussion of such an important issue.

I quite like the format Dawkins is pushing of unmoderated discussions rather than debates. I also have an interesting idea for running workshops , with outcomes summarised and presented as a documentary. I think this idea could produce some interesting material, especially if the workshop lasted several days with access to proper research material (such as a university library etc).

So far the best debates/discussions I’ve found between theists and non-theists is the podcast Apologia. They are respectful of each other’s ideas and all well informed.

I’m more for the discussion format Dawkin’s seems more willing to engage in as well. This idea of two sides facing off to try and beat each other is a bit barbaric. Rather than engaging in something where the point is to ‘beat’ the other person, why not create an atmosphere where two differing views listen and learn from each other… sharing ideas.

Cheers Damian, for that link,
Finally listened to it…
Quite disappointed that Kim spent as much time as she did on speculative political musings… oh well…
See ya Tuesday? Let me know if you want to carpool…

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