Monday, April 11, 2005

Dialogue? What dialogue?

For those who attended the horror that was the Christians and Sceptics 'Dialogue' on last thursday, all I can say is :"Ow, I think I just ruptured my spleen". (someting I said a number of times during the actual event).

If anyone would like to continue (or actually start) the debate/dialogue regarding the question "Do we need God?" or our favorite "Does God exist?" or the more relavent"Is it reasonable to beleive in God?", please feel free to make this the forum in which to do so. I would suggest starting a new thread/post for each indivdual question, so as to make the collection of replies neater and more coherent.

With regard to the event itself, I have this to say: Both side were poorly organised. The Sceptics especially so. The NASA (Newcastle Adventist Students Association) speakers spent much of the time pedalling account that a decent first year philosophy student could have refuted, or at least made a fair reply to. The Sceptics howerver, were not equipped to deal with even these somewhat elementary arguments. It would seem that NASA came out on top on the day, but only because their speakers were better at playing to the crowd. Don't be so smug guys, it was not a great victory.

So to everyone out there: If you want to have a real argument about God (or anything else) that might actually be a challenge, bring it on.


MelbournePhilosopher said...

If you have faith in a god, you must have faith in *something* - the object of your faith. When deciding where to put your faith, how do you tell the difference between God and the more idea of God put forward by religious teachers? Can you believe in "God" itself, or can you only believe in dogma?

Cooly McCool said...

It did seem a little unfair to pit three academically trained persons against some guys who did a little light reading. I'm not questioning anyone's intellegnece here, but there was a massive discrepency in formal education and in areas of expertise - areas of science which should be dominated by the secular speakers were easily the christian's on the day (though actually quite controversally) due to having speakers who work within scientific areas.

The reality is that neither side really knew philosophic or theological arguments, the closest being given "we need God to have morality." This is itself utterly wrong, and his reference to Nietszche as 'might is right' indicative of no knowledge of moral theory, it at least was an argument outside of we need God to make seemingly unlikely events more likely. (I would like to raise Okham's razor here - unprovable metaphysical entities are not the simplest explanation if there is even an unlikely one that uses only natural phenomena.)

I was pleased with the turnout however, and it would be nice to think that similar events could be held and attract that much attention. Sam's suggestion of discussing these topics on the blog is good, but I would really like to see more evens such as this organized, just ith a little more thought given as to speakers. I personally know people on both sides of the debate who would have perfomed much better, most of whom are undergraduates.

Bill Pascoe said...

On ' God to make seemingly unlikely events more likely' I refer back to my earlier comment at