Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does God Exist? A Debate

 
It's almost too late but here's an event you should attend it you live in Toronto.1 Jim Brown is an atheist philosopher and a very, very smart man. I almost feel sorry for William Lane Craig.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto Secular Alliance and the Campus for Christ at U of T.
Does God Exist? A Debate

Time: Tues Jan 27, 6:00pm
Location: Isabel Bader Theatre (BT), Victoria College, 93 Charles Street West
Tickets: $2 (Student) at the door (Tues) $10 (Non-Student)
Theist: Dr. William Lane Craig
Atheist: Dr. James Robert Brown

This will prove to be an exciting debate between two world-renowned philosophers, including a professor from here at U of T. After a formal debate structure, both debaters will take questions from the audience. We anticipate a full auditorium for this broad topic that appeals to many students, regardless of where they stand on the debate.

This event is co-sponsored by Campus for Christ at U of T and University of Toronto Secular Alliance.

We expect this debate to be full and will prioritize seating for university students. If you are not a student at this university, please attend the Thursday debate at York University as there will be more room there. Cost is $10 for non-students.


1. I can't make it. My mid-term is tonight. Please post a message telling us how it went.

9 comments :

  1. If it the same Jim Brown, he was once a panelist on Paikin's show, along with Paul Nelson, Jerry Coyne and Dennis Lamoureux. I was impressed. He didn't let Nelson or Lamoureux get away with anything.

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  2. I'm sad. It was sold out when I got there.

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  3. I went AND managed to get in. It was pretty damn mind numbing and frustrating.

    William Craig used all the usual arguments you see from the Jesus Brigade. He basically went: cosmological argument > fine tuning > objective morality > historicity of Jesus' resurrection proves that the moral creator is the Christian god (!?!?)> I believe in a personal god and it makes me happy therefore it's true.

    Jim Brown spent almost all of his time on the defensive and let Craig get away with way too much, IMO. Although, in his defense, Craig was making very simplistic arguments that required little explination, while Brown's rebuttals seemed to require much more than the meagre time given. Also, Brown's Platonic argument for objective morality left me highly unimpressed.

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  4. Jim Brown is an atheist philosopher and a very, very smart man. I almost feel sorry for William Lane Craig.

    Being smart and doing well in public debates are not always the same thing.

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  5. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says,

    Being smart and doing well in public debates are not always the same thing.

    That's right. It's the point that many of us having been making for several decades when we caution against debating creationists. I wish PZ Myers had taken that advice.

    Debating the existence of God is a different situation. I've seen Brown in action and he did a fine job.

    Apparently, he didn't do such a good job last night.

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  6. Ample info on the web about Craig exists and attests to his accomplishments as a debater. You can also easily find transcripts of old debates. My reading of him is that he is frightened of death and his belief in christianity is his only defense against that fear. He is also part of the Biola University group who believe humans were specially created in god's image and have absolutely no connection with animals.

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  7. I completely agree with Larry and the general consensus that debating theists is difficult because their arguments are simpler, more intuitive (man is naturally supersitious, it takes a lot of training to be logical) and backed up by centuries of tradition.

    However regardless of the difficult it's still crucial for academics to tackle theists head on by debating them wherever they are; theism won't be put in it's place if the handful of people qualified to expose it avoid confrontations because they feel the terms are unfair. This is where the debate gets more political and less rigourous: it's more important to get the message of rationality out there than it is to ensure it is communicated in all it's sophistication and nuance.

    So I'm very grateful to Jim Brown for doing these debates, even if it's considered an unpleasant task by some academics (not Larry Moran, but others who can't be bothered to deal with theists).

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  8. Lane Craig contributed a chapter to The Cambridge Companion to Atheism(Cambridge University Press, 2006), in which he summarised the current state of arguments for theism. I gather that there is no argument for God that Lane Craig does not find convincing.

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  9. Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

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