Sunday, May 30, 2123

Blog Navigation (Just use the labels) THIS PAGE IS PURPOSELY ON TOP

I highly recommend ya'll use the labels to the right for navigation as the debates are just in the order that I have listened to. I have decided to label the debates from 2012 and 2013 as recent.

Labels of Interest:

# stars- I usually grade pretty high and slant more towards the performance of those people for whom I support.

BEST- Debates that I and/or others have deemed to be great debates. If "BEST" is in the entry title then I for sure think it's great.

CHECK- There some debates that I think aren't the best debates but I still feel need to be checked out by yous guys.

GTP- For Good/Great Theist Performance.

LAP- For Lame Atheist Performance.

MR- I link to Multiple Reviews for the debate I am reviewing.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bill Nye vs Ken Ham - Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins in Today's Modern, Scientific Era? 2014

2.25 stars: Lumpy and overlong, with nothing exciting intermixed to speak of.

This debate ( video | 2 hours plus ) was pretty popular over a year ago and took place between Answers in Genesis head Ken Ham and William Nye the Natural Philosophy Dude. The topic was "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era?"

Because of Nye's large fanbase this debate got a lot of attention. The interbuttz site I frequent the most, Reddit featured countless front page (really popular) posts before, during, and after the debate. How lame was I to not be ready with a blog post reviewing the debate in order to get ALL THE TRAFFIC...I coulda lived like a king!

Anyways, this was a formal debate with a rather weird format. The speakers had 5 minute intros, then 30 minute openings and then 5-10 minute (can't remember which) responses followed by a cross ex section and I think Q&A and then closings.

The format kind of made the debate feel uneven or perplexing, especially the fact that each speaker spent roughly 35 minutes on an opening and then only had at least 10 minutes for a rebuttal. The straightforward 20->15->10/Cross Ex->5->Q&A format is one that I'll always stand by.

But let us move on. Ham went first and had a very well produced ppt but it he just doesn't seem to be a very good debater or have any umf to his presentation. Content-wise he presented nothing new and if anything he simply presented the basic outline of the Creation argument...It appears that that was secondary to Ham's obvious goal, which was to play up whether or not students should be taught Creation over or at least in tandem with evolution. He also, rather creepily, played up the Biblical teachings about sin and hell...his slide show was quite jarring with his welcoming cartoon slide animations going from pictures of animals to tortured souls reaching to the sky with agony as they burn in eternal flames...

Nye on the other hand, seemed more ready for a debate, though in his debates he isn't as animated or colorful as he is on his show. He also brought some interesting arguments and ones that were definitely more germane to the topic at hand.

Nye also was good about addressing specific parts of Ham's arguments in the rebuttal and cross-ex, while Ham was pretty terrible.

One thing I can criticize Nye for is something that only WLC does really well: and that's calling his opponent out when they fail to address an argument they made. For example, a new argument (to me) that Nye made was that Noah's Ark is assumed to have landed near Mount Ararat in modern day Turkey. Now, if the ark carried kangaroos, it's reasonable to think that once they left the ark, they migrated from Turkey all the way to Australia. Such a migration would take a considerable amount of time and would have meant that some of those kangaroos died on the way Down Under and would have left fossils somewhere in between...But ALL the kangaroo fossils are found in Australia...this argument can be repeated for many other animals, too.


But Ham never addresses it nor does Nye call him out on it...I woulda liked to hear more about this argument.

In sum, Nye was there to be the approachable science educator with a bit of debaters' kick to him while Ham wanted to leech off of Nye's name in order to get more followers and fund his newest project. The format and Ham's presentation certainly backs this up.

This leaves us a pretty lackluster and tedious debate and the crappy format and Ham's poor performance didn't make things any better. Such a bummer.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Back from the dead!


I swear I haven't forgotten about you blog! Super busy with grad school. But now that I've graduated and realize that my degree will leave me unemployed (seemingly forever) I have more free time.

So I want to get this blog is back from the dead!

Here are some future updates I hope to have:

*The world premier of a fabled, controversial debate between Hector Avalos and Rubel Shelly!

*The semi-world premier of the second William Lane Craig vs. Keith Parsons debate!

*Reviews for debates featuring my favorites: Richard Carrier, Arif Ahmed, Jeremy Beahan, Hector Avalos, PZ Myers, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Price, James White, WLC, Mike Licona, Kenneth Miller, and Douglas Krueger!

*Reviews of a few new favorites: Sean Carroll, Justin Scheiber, and Trent Horn.

*Reviews of popular recent debates: Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham and some Dillahunty debates.

*Reviews of debates I know are going to make me cringe: the Kraus vs. Craig debates.

*Reviews of classic debates: Craig vs. Bradley, Miller vs. Morris.

*Updates on all the debate links!

*General website maintenance!

*More frequent posting schedule!

*Revisions of past debate reviews and scores!

WOW! Are you not all as excited as I am?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Archive of The Infidel Guy Show programs!

Why yes, I have forgotten about this blog. Anyways, Reggie Finley, the Infidel Guy has been doing a lot of irl stuff and the original website has long since been down.

A few months ago I contacted him asking if it was ok for me to host some of his episodes so that when I make posts with links to them, I know that they're stable. Reggie, being the told mensch that he is, was ok with it and so all the posts I have made that link to debates on his show are at the site I use.

BUT NO MORE! Reggie has just launched a site where he's uploaded all his programming!


Now I am not sure if all the programs that used to cost money to listen to are now available for free, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were! Check it out!

Will I come back to updating this blog? I dunno, besides getting lost in life I also got a little jaded by the non-stop wave of sexual harassment scandals that have been associated with big names in the skeptical community.

Also, it seems like the debates have kind of fizzled out in popularity...though I am basing this on my own disinterest, Bill Craig's lack of recent events and the fact that the great debate resource, Apologetics 315 hasn't made a debate post since September.

I'll try to make a favorites of the IG show post in the next month, though.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Craig v Ally Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? 2009 CHECK

This debate ( audio | video | 2h 25m 39s ) took place somewhere north of the United States in 2009, between Craig and Muslim Apologist Shabir Ally. They have debated several times, and on several topics, but the topic of this debate was the resurrection.

DB: 3m 46s in.

3 stars. CHECK


I'm afraid talking too much about Craig's debates on this here blog. And throughout my reviews of his debates I have explained why he's so popular amongst non-theist blogging nerds, but I have recently attempted to defer my reviews of his debates to my big mini review post here.

However, I've decided to do a full debate review on one of Craig's debates with a Muslim apologist, since I haven't done one, and he debates them a lot as well as non-theists.

Craig's Performance:
Craig doesn't change too much up. The only difference is that Craig instead, critiques Islam rather than some type of materialism. This meant that Craig emphasized Jesus' crucifixion (I think the Q'aran denies he died on the cross) and he also evangelized a little more emphatically.

Ally's Performance:
Ally starts off rather weak and muddled but manages to have more forceful rebuttals. This is the first time I heard Craig remark on the number of points raised by his opponent. Usually it's the other way around*. Despite this however, Ally falls flat when trying to defend Craig's arguments against Islam. I think Ally might have done better if he opted to go the irreligious-historian route with his presentation, but I can see why he felt the need to defend Islam and he did have to respond to Craig's repeated referrals to the Q'aran's position on Jesus' crucifixion.

When Ally was defending his own dogma it never sounded all that convincing, unfortunately. I found myself thinking a few things when hearing him respond to the passages brought up by Craig: (a) I wish debating against Craig would be more open to making him defend the bible his need to defend the bible as inerrant in the same fashion that Craig is about Muslims defending the Q'aran; (b) Muslim apologetics, as of 2009, still has a long way to go but Ally is at least several steps above Rajabali; and (c) I had something to say here...I feel like Rick Perry.

Anyways, Craig also said this is one of his favorite debates, too. He wrote a song to the tune of Prince Ali from Aladdin about it, after all...

Shabir Ally, wily is he!
Crafty and cagey!
Turns things around,
Quotes Raymond Brown
In support of Islam!
My SO thought it was racist, but I took issue with the "crafty and cagey" part - it would flow better if it was "cagey and crafty" IMO.

Technical: The AQ is kind of quiet, same for the video.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rauser v Pearce On the Historical Reliability of the Nativity

This debate ( audio | 1h 42m 34s ) took place over a couple of weeks in 2012. It was between Canadian Apologist Randal Rauser (awesome name) and Skeptic Ink's Jonathan Pearce. The debate concerned the historical reliability of the nativity scene as mentioned in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Like the Andrews v Scheiber debate I reviewed a few entries ago ( here ), this debate took place as a recorded back and forth and not as a single event in front of an audience.

3.75 stars CHECK

Never heard a debate on the historical accuracy of the nativity story, before. After listening to this one I can kind of see why.

RR essentially asserts that Matthew and Luke can be taken as historically reliable if we focus on the three assertions they all agree on concerning the virgin birth. He is more polished in giving his presentation and I think he would have come off even better if this were a live debate in front of an audience, but not in a more content driven debate such as this.

Pearce was a little shaky in his presentation and made a big mistake in his opening: he started out by listing 9 different historical methods that the Matt and Luke gospels fail to meet. Nine is just way too much, even for this debate format. But to give credit to RR, he does address them in his rebuttal, though rather poorly. But because of the time constraints, Pearce doesn't respond to all of the faulty analogies RR makes and RR (quite wisely, because it's an effective debate tactic) points this out.

Pearce would have done better to flesh out 3 of those historical methods and focus more on his other points, especially his most devastating and the one that RR failed to respond to at all: the fact that where the two gospels do make claims that can be compared to extra-biblical sources, the claims are not supported, astronomically impossible and even contradict one another. RR never addressed this, even though it overlapped with the three things in the two gospels that he felt were sufficient enough to prove them to be historically reliable.

Again, RR relies on weak analogies, one-liners and appeals to authority. And, again, this works well in a public debate (these are all the things people often claim WLC relies on). But since this was a more content-driven debate, when RR responded to Pearce's argument that Matt and Luke are not considered good historians (or shouldn't even be considered historians) because they don't uphold the same practices used by other historians (even ancient historians) by simply quoting Sir William Ramsay, it is much more obviously seen as the appeal to authority that it is.

Here's something that I noticed and haven't seen others who have talked about this debate mention*: RR also seems to suffer from mixing the normal apologetic schtick for the resurrection with his arguments for the nativity scene. Several times he describes the Matt and Luke gospels as being written merely decades after the events...but if we are to take the earliest dates given to these gospels, say 50 AD, wouldn't that mean that 50 years equates to mere decades? This wasn't a big issue in the debate, though...

But again, Pearce blundered by bringing up those 9 historical methods first. It allowed RR to focus on answering them with rather lame analogies, analogies that were not all completely shown to be off-base or misleading due to the fact that there wasn't enough time considering each rebuttal becomes shorter and shorter.

At the end of the day, it just seems like the topic was too weak for RR to defend, convincingly. He tried to make it an atheism vs theism debate by dismissing Pearce's 50 billion historical methods as being ad hoc, pointing out that it was somehow a problem that Pearce didn't refute the resurrection and by bringing up teleological arguments and the FTA in one of his rebuttals that kind of seemed out of place. But he dropped the ad hoc argument after his first rebuttal and Pearce didn't bite on the other points. Sans the historical methods,** Pearce's other points were pretty brutal and RR never gave them any substantial response.

Technical: Good AQ, it varies because each guy recorded themselves...RR seems to be better at editing than Pearce, who apparently had a pizza delivered near the end of his opening speech.

*I have seen a lot of people claim that RR started the debate by essentially claiming that he is taking the gospels of Matthew and Luke as already being historically reliable...I'll listen to it again but that would have been something that Pearce would have surely emphasized in all of his rebuttals, amirite?

**Seriously, I was impressed that RR responded to all of them. While listening to Pearce's opening I was like, "okay, move on, that's enough, move onthat'senoughhhh" and when RR started responding to them I knew it was almost a lost cause because Pearce just couldn't respond back. Mind you, they are all decent methods to perform historical research through, but they were presented in too simplistic of a way as to allow for even more simplistic (and downright silly) counter analogies to them.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Barker vs Rajabali Does God Not Exist? 2003

This debate ( audio | video 1, 2 & 3 | 2h24m10s ) took place between FFRF's Dan Barker and Brother Hassanain Rajabali in 2003. Earlier, I reviewed a team debate Barker did against Rajabali in 2004 featuring Richard Carrier and Michael Corey (the review is here). Compared with that debate, this one was much better in terms of cordiality, that's for sure.

3.25 stars CHECK

Richard Carrier's review: Rajabali won

First I should note that I am gonna say CHECK to all the Muslim vs a non-theist debates I'll review because they are rare compared to Christians vs non-theist debates. I have recently come across a few others and will hopefully review them in the near future.

Now, the debate. This debate featured a tweak on the normal debate topic and actually put the burden of proof on Dan Barker. Barker had to demonstrate that god did not exist and some of his arguments were more effective than others. Barker is a much better speaker, though he can still hold his own in a debate.

Despite Carrier's assessment, it seemed like Barker came out on top in this one. He was more clear and did a better job of pointing out the flaws in Rajabali's arguments.

Rajabali was certainly more polite and less caustic this time than he was later in the team debate but he still talked really fast and was incoherent in his responses. He would mention an argument brought up by Barker but then would either dismiss it or respond with something that would sound like a non-sequitur. For example, Rajabali would equate not being able to prove the existence of god to not being able to prove your own existence and thereby declare it is absurd.

Later on, during the Q&A, Rajabali admitted to it being impossible for him to think there is no god even if legit evidence were used to support such a claim. This explains why it sounded like Rajabali wasn't so on point and his arguments were rather superficial...or they would start out as sounding persuasive (he used the basic god of the gaps and teleological arguments) but fall apart after Barker countered and Rajabali would respond by being flabbergasted or hand-waving. He seemed to just get cheers when talking about how worthless life is on an atheistic worldview.

Barker also suffered from muddling his own position. He kept explaining the difference between Atheists and atheists...when morality came up, he had to explain that you don't look to atheism for morality and then near the end of the debate he stated it wasn't his intention to deconvert people - I agree with Carrier, all of this probably would have been unneeded if he just simply said he was talking from the naturalists' POV. Oh well...

The Q&A was pretty extensive, it wasn't great but there were some decent questions thrown around.

Technical: Good AQ but the moderator was really quiet for some reason. The audio skips a lot of announcements and the breaks...I dunno if the video does this, too.