Thursday, September 3, 2015

William Lane Craig vs Richard Carrier Resurrection plus a note on Craig's sources BEST CHECK


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This debate ( audio | video 1 & 2 | 2:31:26s ) took place in 2009 between Craig and Richard Carrier and was on the resurrection.

4.5 stars. Carrier does better than most against this content-packed resurrection debate and Craig is pretty good too. BEST CHECK

This debate is underrated, IMO. Listen to the debate and you can really hear Craig struggling to stay on the ball throughout it.

Craig's opening for this debate gets into the pretty specific detail on some of the NT scholarship. It seems a lot more academic in nature, actually. I don't know if that was a good thing for his audience if it mattered but judging by the crowd responses it probably didn't. For me it kind of became tedious and out of place. Craig will get technical/specific/dense with his presentations but usually in his rebuttal periods. Because rebuttals are shorter than the opening, he presents this stuff are a much faster pace so it was odd to hear him kind of take his time with specific and recent scholarly insights on the book of Matthew. Finally though, I don't remember him calling on all these specifics in his rebuttals. Usually that would lead me to think that Craig made a miscalculation to preempt something he thought Carrier would argue against but if he did it didn't phase him too much.

Carrier gives a very solid opening. In his post-debate write-up he mentions that he liked it and wouldn't change anything from the script and that's something I would agree with. The only issue is that he definitely was nervous sounding, which is a shame. Another issue is one that Carrier is now quite notorious for and seems pretty unapologetic* about and that's his repeated mentions of how in this book or that book he's authored he goes into detail about certain arguments. In the questions later at least two of the audience members reference this with a bad impression of Carrier's plugging.

Carrier sticks to bringing up more and more parallels as his presentations go on and a few things kind of happen that are related to this tactic. Positively, it is giving a lot of information for the audience to hear and upon a more recent listen to the debate quite a lot of the examples themselves Craig doesn't actually respond to. Craig instead sticks to general criticism of the patterns seen in the parallels and when Craig does talk about specific parallels Carrier does respond to or they're actually not mentioned by Carrier. Negatively, it started to look as if Carrier was spending time he should have allotted to pointing out things he felt Craig didn't address or needed to give a better account for giving more literary examples.

I also feel that Carrier was able to hold his own quite well against Craig's shotgun approach though he didn't address all the things Craig said and made some blunders (stating that Craig used Habermas as a source and not Jacob Kremer and still going with that mistake)** and let a lot of things go unchallenged. However I think he was able to give just as much as he took from Craig. At the very most he came out to a draw, though I am perfectly fine with saying this one went to Craig because while Carriers' case began to sound like longer and longer lists of examples, Craig gave a better impression of synthesizing his case making it more impressive for lack of a better term.

Craig also made one of the better points of criticism I've heard about Carrier's case. At times Carrier sounds like he is speculating a lot of his assertions and some of them, like the one that Craig pointed out, do sound unfalsifiable, at least at first blush. Craig's a good speaker so I'll just quote from an interview of his,
...Because if you say, “Look at these differences between, say, the Iliad and the Gospels,” what they will say is, “Ah, but that is actually evidence for dependence because it shows how Mark changed the Homeric narrative so as to conceal its dependence. So the similarities are taken as evidence of literary dependence, and then the differences are taken also as evidence of literary dependence. So it becomes utterly unfalsifiable and vacuous. Therefore, this is a terrible method of literary interpretation (SAUCE. Emphasis added and lack of closing quotes on the second quote is not my fault and really annoys me).
I don't think this is falsifiable but I can't even think of a nice concise reason to explain why now (partially because I've been up for over 24 hours as of the most recent update of this review) so I wonder if in a debate Carrier would be able to come up with one on the fly. Buuuuuut I think this accusation has been leveled at him before so I dunno.

Why such a high score? Well as I mentioned in previous reviews on Carrier's debates: Carrier makes a more interesting case against the resurrection, the most novel I have heard so far and all of Craig's responses (sans one) to the evidence Carrier presented for the literary aspects of the resurrection story were pretty weak because as mentioned earlier, they were sweeping or not pertaining to the examples given by Carrier.

Missed opportunities: earlier I mentioned that Carrier's opening was almost flawless and what makes it almost a perfect opening is that Carrier mentions the argument that if god wanted us to accept the resurrection she should have given us better evidence for it. Though I agree with this I also agree with Craig that this kind of argument isn't necessarily germane to the debate. Carrier makes the argument for why he disagrees but much later on during the Q&A. I think it would have been better if Carrier mentioned this in his rebuttal in an objection to Craig assuming that God exists during his historical facts argument. If Carrier's assertion doesn't belong in a debate about the historicity of the resurrection then neither does invoking god.

Another missed opportunity related to the audience Q&A. Someone claimed Carrier's describing the gospels as though they were written by highly literate people was absurd because the disciples were fishermen and unlearned. Carrier went on about how there is no proof that any of the disciples were fishermen or unlearned - which sure, whatever, there probably isn't - but probably the more important thing to wax on about is that the gospels were not written by guys named Mark, Luke, John and Matthew something Craig and anyone who looked into the NT more than two minutes would agree to. Poor Richard, it seems like people ask the snarkiest questions of him and he is just too nice of a guy to throwdown with such uninformed questions. Now I think he is just unaware of the underlying cheek of his questioners which actually might be a good thing.

One thing I'll conclude with is the pattern of uncharitable ruthless Craig followed in the debate:

-Craig is infamous for repeatedly calling out his opponent for not responding to his arguments. In his earlier debates he would even do this in his opening speech before his opponent even presented but nowadays he usually waits until his opponent has their first rebuttal but he doesn't let Carrier have this luxury. More annoyingly glaring than in his other debates, he also harps on points that Carrier never disputes as if they were points Carrier failed to respond to or account for, which seems obnoxiously persnickety (I like the word, too!). He keeps doing this about the women witnesses, Carrier explicitly addresses this issue multiple times.

-Craig underhandedly calls Carrier a crank, too. Craig has done this before with other opponents, most notably Ehrman and if you hear Craig resorting to this type of tactic then you know he's getting cornered. But with Carrier it's the most blatant I've heard Craig go, which means something but I'm not sure what.

Technical 
Good AQ and solid VQ.

Reviews

Bill Craig talks about it HERE

Richard Carrier talks about it HERE

DebunkingChristianity discussion HERE

Triblogue's Jason Engwer reviews it HERE

Victor Reppert's site discusses it in this post HERE Now I've heard Carrier called many things, both good and bad, but I've never heard him referred to as "verbose"...I vaguely thought that Reppert was one of the more thoughtful apologists. Either he's changed since 2009 (it's possible) or he seems depressingly uninteresting after seeing this post.

WinteryKnight gives a quick thought HERE but I'm including this because of what he says about the 2004 Carrier-Licona debate. WK said that Carrier "either won or tied" the debate...Well I've said a number of times that if you see someone like WK say a Christian vs [insert someone disagreeing with WK] was a tie then that usually means that the non-Christian won. But either won or tied!?! Jeez WK might as well stop calling yourself a believer after such a concession.



Ben from War on Error reviews the debate HERE and makes me jealous of not having my own picture with WLC.
I'd frame the photo.












A list of mini-reviews of Craig's debates can be found here! 


*I don't mean this in a "get a load of this guy" way, in this more recent debate he mentions that there's a drinking game people play when listening to his debates. Whenever Carrier plugs his books you take a drink.


A Note on Craig's Scholarly Consensus Source

From what I've looking into it would almost seem like Carrier was being generous to Craig in assuming he cited Habermas for such a claim. Because as far as I can tell the citation is pretty old. Craig responds to this criticism, though HERE.

The question points out that the source is from 1977 which is ancient. It also argues that Kremer recently changed his mind based on an interview Kremer had with some student. Craig spends most of his answer talking about how the student mistranslated some German words and confused Kremer's theological views on the resurrection with his historical views. He also says the interview isn't credible.

He then goes on to claim that it appears Kremer hasn't changed his mind and his focus on this issue almost seemed especially drawn out so as to avoid some pretty big problems that still rest in this citation:

1. It's still really freaking old, and Craig even mentions that Kremer has actually died in 2010; and
2. MAYBE you can get away with doing this in print but in a public debate it is beyond cheap to cite a 1977 book written only available in German. ESPECIALLY for one of the claim and especially if a subsequent article has been published on the topic.



Revisions
8-26-2015 Lots of added stuff. Lots of editorial changes too. Lots of lotsa. Didn't change the score on this one however so I guess that shows how this debate ages well.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Andy Bannister vs Ed Turner discussing whether or not atheism is a worldview on Unbelievable 2015

This discussion ( audio | 1:20s ) took place on the usually solid Unbelievable Christian radio show last weekend. It was between Andy Bannister, a humorous if rather cookie cutter Christian apologist and friend of the blog Ed Turner.



3 Stars: This was definitely more of a Justin and Andy show talking about the latter's new book with Ed Turner jumping in to remind the world that atheism doesn't make nearly as lofty claims as Christianity. 3 stars cause it's always good to hear Ed give a human voice to the more vocal atheists representing us.

Ed told me in an email that he felt he did well considering the skewed focus of the show and I'd agree with him, though I think he could have more explicitly linked his criticisms to Bannister's book in general. 

Every time I listen to a bunch of Unbelievable episodes and think that it's really improved in quality I hear an episode like this.

Most of the episode was an Andy Bannister interview about his book. The book comes off as uninteresting though not mean-spirited or sleazy like other apologist books I've heard of, but I was irked by Bannister talking about "atheist friends" of his apparently dumbfounded by the ironclad arguments found in the book.


Oh come on. I'm reminded of David Cross' stand-up where he reads from a Promise Keeper's book stories that sound absolutely fictional. It sounds really weak to say atheists were floored by your cutting edge book when there's an atheist in the studio who can speak for himself about the book.

Ed can speed read books, a trait I wish I possessed. Before debating David Robertson, Ed read Robertson's book, plus several of Robertson's references in an impressively short amount of time prior to the interview. I review the interview HERE where Ed gives a good show with all the specific citations to Robertsons' book.

Anyways, come on Bannister and Justin, why not get Ed to say something about the book? Well eventually...about 7 minutes into the program Ed is finally introduced. Now here Ed says some good things but it isn't until over 20 minutes into the show that any criticism of Bannister's book comes around. Ed makes the case that Bannister, besides being such a gosh-darn cut-up about presenting his case, essentially does nothing new and simply tries to shift the burden of proof from the Christian onto the atheist.

Ed's an atheist in the same way he is an a-unicornist, an a-astrologer, an a-Zeusist. Bannister then tries to claim these things aren't the same because Christianity worships a god outside the physical universe, unlike the Greek perception of Zeus which was a deity in the physical world. This is absurdly weak because Ed's argument isn't new and mentions Gods that are outside the physical universe, too...I mean, this is really silly on Bannister's part. This is also where Bannister apparently got an absolutely stupid counter to the argument that we can say a cat is an atheist or a rock is an atheist from an atheist professor. Again, come on. If that's how that anecdote went down then that professor is an idiot.

Ed does call Bannister out on the Zeus =/= Yahweh argument by giving a great comparison involving Conan the Barbarian but he said something I strongly disagree with. Conan's friend is more a Mongol-analog, no Icelandic. I think I'm willing to result to fist-a-cuffs about this, too.

Sadly, the conversation gets really scattered when they start talking about whether or not the self exists. Ed gives a pretty solid and pragmatic response to it and some back and forth happens but it didn't really relate to Bannister's book. Though Ed says that it actually does so I might have heard wrong but it might be the case that he just couldn't get to the argument.

Then it became a Behind-the-Ed show because Bannister and Justin started asking Ed about his recent personal journey away from atheism. I was interested to hear this because it seemed like Ed and I became disillusioned with the atheist community around the same time and then came back to it at the same time -- this made for some good radio, though not so much good debatin'.

But alas, many of Bannister's claims were sucked into the insipid interview vacuum unfortunately. Maybe Michael Ruse gets a bit more radio play than Ed was allotted.

About the Obvious Christian Bias on Unbelievable
Duh. I know, it's a Christian radio show. I get that. But if the point is to have Christians dialogue with non-Christians then at least introduce the non-Christian before 7 freaking minutes into the show, Brierley! Always like some Justin because he's a bit better at the radio recap than others due to his having a lot of experience but that issue was dwarfed by what seemed like just a plug for Bannister. If that's what it was fine, but it makes me bummed out for Ed who probably prepared quite a bit to articulate the opposite perspective.


Often I'll find good episodes by sifting through the atheist blogosphere and let those quality outliers curb my impression. I forget that probably the majority of episodes are like this one and that it's a good thing I don't download every single episode and depend on only them to comprise my reviews for this blog. Otherwise the posts will be as frequent as they were in 2014.

Update to make myself look less like a schmuck cause apparently Ed sent this post to Brierley and Bannister and thinking of the former reading my insignificant blog has got me wanting to clean up my act at make sure I don't sound like I dislike the guy. Maybe Bannister's an alright cat, too. But I think he should know he doesn't seem to be doing anything unique.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Arif Ahmed vs Gary Habermas - Did Jesus Bodily Rise from the Dead? BEST TOP TEN CHECK

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This debate ( audio | video | 1:28:46s ) took place between Philosopher Arif Ahmed and New Testament Historian Gary Habermas at Cambridge University (I think). It was on the resurrection of Jesus.


5 stars: Ahmed gives a devastating case against the Resurrection that remains untouchable. BEST TOP TEN CHECK


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Never ever have I ever heard such a sound victory of a skeptic over a proponent of the resurrection. The only thing stopping this from being an even greater victory is that Gary Habermas seems like the nicest human being of all time.

Let's get to the debate.

Arif Ahmed is a perfectly honed logic missile and easily one of my favorite atheist debaters. His background is in philosophy and it almost seems like he just decided he could take a stab at dismantling the resurrection while he's at this whole atheist business - and so he does, undeniably, and against one of the well-known defenders of a historical resurrection.

Ahmed exhibits all the debate tactics that I admired in his previous debates with Craig, he's concise and straight-forward. While in the Craig debates Ahmed sounded a bit dismissive about things (like mind-body dualism) which Craig exploited, here it's different. Every case he gives he fleshes out more by presenting a syllogism with examples and stating what he means otherwise.

Ahmed was able to go first, which I seems odd because this debate topic certainly suggests that Habermas should go first as he's making the argument under debate. But nonetheless, Ahmed goes first and proceeds to absolutely deflate Habermas's MO to appeal to the consensus of ancient historians and survey their stance on the resurrection. Ahmed does this by noting that positing arguments which appeal to the scholarly consensus and require long lists of citations are often inappropriate for this debate format which makes him stick to arguments one can immediately check and he only cites one easily available article.

Now Ahmed is rather slick when he preemptively dismantles Habermas' major tactic before Habermas has even spoken, but it's slick because it isn't even given as a preemptive move. Instead, Ahmed notes a very important issue in this debate which almost always becomes a point of focus for the apologist : the skeptic is just being too dismissive of miracles because of their atheistic worldview. However Ahmed subverts this accusation by giving a few simple philosophical arguments with a bunch of claims about the scholarly state of the field that we can't check on the fly.

So when Habermas came up for his opening he really took what Ahmed said to heart and spent a lot of time qualifying his statements every time he mentioned scholarly consensus. Unfortunately Habermas doesn't seem to be a very strong debater in my opinion. Even when he does mention a point you'd presume he's positing to support his case he does so with a lot of hedges and rather timidly.

In general what Ahmed cautioned against was his case. He said there are claims about the resurrection that biblical scholars agree upon and then continued to cite examples.

The one point Habermas makes that seemed undermining to Ahmed's case was that it's not just hey people had a mass hallucination, it's that multiple times there were mass hallucinations which works against the normal probabilistic argument for the likeliness that a mass hallucination occurred. Habermas did mention this point with a solid rhetorical delivery too.

I think this point is already addressed in Ahmed's 3rd argument (linked below) but it does come up in the Q&A to which Ahmed answers directly.

Habermas also talks about near-death and out of body experiences, too. I think that even Christians find this stuff kind of sketchy and it's a good call on Craig's part (and even to a lesser extent, Licona's part as well) to not talk about this kind of stuff if he wants to get souls saved. From this point Habermas also argued that at the very least if God does exist then the resurrection does have to look more convincing. 

After this the debate moved into a Cross-Ex mode with Ahmed asking Habermas and then Habermas asking Ahmed questions. Here Ahmed is surgical in his responses and questions. Every time he speaks he starts by saying "Well there's three things I have to say to that" and then proceeds to say some well spoken and damning counter that sounds as if it was prewritten and not made up on the fly.

Unfortunately the format just follows what I described. It was openings, then the cross-ex, followed by Q&A. It would have been nice to have the full legit structure but alas.

Again Habermas just came off so likable but he just wasn't prepared for the type of argument Ahmed used. In general Habermas like all the other folk who defend this claim do so with only a portion of their argument and defense focused on epistemic concerns. However, this is done with the assumption that the majority of their opponent's argument rests on historical topics. This was not Ahmed's tactic and so Habermas was left with a presentation containing a case mostly dependent on stuff Ahmed warned against and demonstrated was irrelevant to his own case anyways.

Dr Ahmed was also nice enough to send me a copy of the handout he gave out for this debate. You can download a pdf of it here.

Also Habermas mentions that in a debate about NDEs his opponent, Keith Augustine, conceded the debate to him when it was over. Here is an alleged claim to the contrary, though.

*It's "Eyewitness Testimony" by Robert Buckhout 1975. You can read I think all of it on Google Books here, but if you really want a copy, contact me and I'll share it with you!

Technical
Good AQ and there is a video, I dunno why I thought there wasn't...

Other Reviews
APF review 5/5

Big White Ogre reviews 1 & 2

Muslim review HERE

John Loftus's very short assessment HERE

Triblogue's Jason Engwer review HERE This review is a prime example of how apparent it is that Christians are not as critical about debates as non-Christians. If you look through the reviews of WinteryKnight (he shockingly doesn't review this debate), the judges for the Internet Infidel debates (ESPECIALLY that last one), and other Christians' reviews it seems like the BEST a Christian's opponent can do is DRAW. So when I see a Christian say a debate was a draw, I'm gonna assume they mean the Christian lost if they're going to be so blithely inept at self-criticism.

A very extensive review HERE I mean this in jest but the way he reformulates Ahmed's arguments looks like how Rube Goldberg would have written them.

HitchensCorner review HERE

Tim McGrew critiques Ahmed's opening speech HERE. I think it's weak and I'm thinking about maybe responding to it...dunno though.

Post Revision History
8-19-2013 I added a link to Ahmed's handout. 
8-25-2015 Added more detail, more reviews and a link to the article Ahmed cites. 
8-28-2015 Added EVEN MORE detail and more reviews and links. I think I added enough stuff to justify a remastered post, too. So guess what I decided to remaster...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eben Alexander & Raymond Moody vs Sean Carroll & Steven Novella - Death is Not Final 2014

This debate ( audio | video | transcript | 1:43.05s ) was an Intelligence Squared Debate that took place in New York and featured Dr Eben Alexander Neurosurgeon and living proof himself that death is not final paired with Dr Raymond Moody, the man who first coined the term Near-Death Experience (NDE) versus Cal Tech Physicist Dr Sean Carroll and Neuroscientist plus noted awesome skeptic Dr Steven Novella. The topic was "Death is Not Final".

3.75 Stars. Easily 4 stars based on the performances of Carroll, Novella, and to a lesser extent Alexander but taken down a notch due to the rather one-sided debate topic and the overly domineering moderator.

Eben Alexander went first pretty much presenting himself as the penultimate case for his side's claim that death is not final. Alexander went into a 7 day coma and was essentially a vegetable but he astonishingly awoke and eventually recovered from the event. He further claims to have profound visionary experiences during his coma.

Alexander explains all of this he actually comes off very well and I could certainly see how his presentation could seem even persuasive. However he really just sticks to his own case and actually gets cut off by Donvan due to time.

Carroll follows and is very well spoken, though he gives more of a lecture and uses what I now know is one of his favorite lines about Kant and blades of grass. More substance appears to come from Novella in terms of opening presentations.

But even though Carroll's opening isn't as vigorous as I'd like it's still where this debate pretty much dies for the other side. Even with Alexander standing as an actual opposing anecdote right there with Carroll and Novella, and even if he was fairly impactful in his own opening, he's just one guy. Just one guy with a few others versus the rest of the scientific knowledge we've gained about the topic. So Carroll certainly gets the lance ready and aimed at the opposition and Novella sinks the death blow in deep.

Alexander never really has as much umhf as his opening displayed during the remainder of the debate and Moody seems pretty demure about the entire subject. Whereas Carroll gets stronger both in terms of arguments and rhetoric and Novella gets specific with Alexander's claims in a pretty persuasive manner.

However the debate seemed like it was just too weak a topic. There's a reason why (good) atheists debaters talk about the mind-body dependency argument amongst three or four other arguments and a reason why Craig will mention it amongst eight arguments...it's just not a whole lot to chew on for a full-on debate. Good for a radio discussion, sure...but not a two on two epic event.
So it seems like that plus the moderator pull this debate out of being a 4 star listen, especially when we consider the ultimately weak arguments from Alexander and Moody, too.

Concerning the moderator

This is the first IQ^2 US debate I've heard and in short I will check them out only if there are other great speakers in the other debates because the moderator John Donvan who was just unnecessarily barging in on everything, cutting off any of the debaters, repeating what one guy just said to the other side even though everyone heard the first guy speak already. He also apparently decided to cut off questioners or skipped their questions if he deemed them irrelevant to the debate. Noted skeptic Richard Spencer (I think) actually asked a question and Donvan cut him off and told him he's gonna skip his question. This wasn't the only questioner Donvan decided brought nothing to the topic, either. It seemed completely against the spirit of the structure of these types of debates.

To be fair, John Donvan is not the only moderator I have seen done this in the past. For some reason, people who have more extensive presentation backgrounds, like Donvan, think they need to be more prominent in debates in the same way they might be more active in a panel or for a Natural History Museum Event or something.

Gang, don't do this for debates. Even when moderators do this and support the side I support, it is annoying. One example was the last Dillahunty debate I posted and another absolutely dreadful example was a 2012 911 Conspiracy debate between Jonathan Kay and absolute crackpot Webster Tarpley. David Frum moderated and he was smug, obnoxious, and caused a lot of unneeded tension during the event. He didn't interrupt the speakers, though, which is nice.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sye Ten Bruggencate vs Matt Dillahunty - Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Exists? 2014

This debate ( video | 1:55.56 ) took place in 2014 between Presupper Sye Ten Bruggencate and AXP's Matt Dillahunty. The topic was "Is it Reasonable to Believe that God Exists?" but it seems Sye thought the question was, "Can I make people think I am a huge d-bag within 30 minutes of speaking time?"

1.5 Stars: Other than Matt's 2nd rebuttal this debate is an absolute waste. Remember, I loved the Charlie Check'em, Todd Friel, and Kent Hovind debates, too.


The debate format was a bit different: 10 minute openings, 10 minute rebuttals and then each person got a lot of Cross-Ex time. This was followed by 35 minutes of Q&A then 2 minute closing statements...though Sye insisted on receiving 5 minutes so he could preach.

So this debate actually started out alright. Sye went first and played a lot of clips of Matt from his time on the Atheist Experience saying certain things about the concepts of truth, knowledge, absolutes, etc. etc. At first this came off as playful to me in all honesty. I can see why others would see this as cheap and as a quote mining tactic and as perfect for poisoning the well of his opponent - but I figured that could be easily pointed out by Matt when his time came up and Sye seemed like he wanted to be a bit humorous. I should also mention that I am familiar with Sye's reputation in the secular community, but not familiar with his actual debate performances, so hopefully you can see how lofty I was in giving the guy the benefit of the doubt.

One thing that was obvious in Sye's opening and rebuttal was that he wasn't interested in even attempting to present a case for his side. He does give one syllogism:
1. It is reasonable to believe that which is true.
2. It is true that God exists. 
3. Therefore it is reasonable to believe in God.
But that's it. That is apparently the presupper's schtick according to Sye. And after refreshing my knowledge on the position of presuppers, it appears that this IS their strategy and that just seems pretty stupid if I can be forgiven for being dismissive on the topic. Others more eloquent than I have explained their MO elsewhere so I won't try to do so here.

Matt's opening was about the usual for the other openings I've heard him give in other formal debates, though a bit more concise and it went by rather quick. There was a lot on how one knows something and all the paraphenalia of arguments relating to presup apologetics. I decided to listen on, because I know that Matt actually digs these types of arguments and puts a lot of time into addressing them.

Like I mentioned, Sye's rebuttal was uninteresting and this is where I started to think he was no longer being playful with his constant use of Virtual-Matt in his presentations. I kept thinking, you're wasting your time playing all these clips because now it looks dishonest since Matt clearly called the tactic out in his opening.

But now I feel that I was naive in thinking Sye concerns himself with whether or not he's being dishonest.

Matt's rebuttal was a rhetorical knock-out and it's too bad that it was followed up by the Cross-Ex because I think that presuppers are better called out when in a more formal setting. The Cross-Ex gave Sye the chance to pretty much dodge any of the force Matt's rebuttal had. And then there was just a lot of Cross Ex with at least a quarter of the time spent on Sye or Matt reminding the each other who's turn to ask questions it was. Nothing got through and it ended up coming to who could get in a rhetorical one-two over the other.


Comments on Sye
What is up with this guy?

I am quite serious in saying that it seemed as though his goal was to come off as a total prat in this debate. In his formal schtick he used cheap and lame tactics and cynically gave his position...but coupled with such a smug and mean-spirited disposition, that position was lost on everyone, it seemed. What's more, he didn't even seem to care. He kept on nodding or shaking his head during questions, audience shout outs and Matt's responses as if he was just surrounded by complete idiots or something...just waiting until that other organic meatbag stopped making noises so he could speak, if you will.

When Matt's questioning period happened, Sye was evasive and absolutely proud of being so. When even more sincere-sounding audience questioners asked him about the bible Sye was callous and rude, telling them "I don't talk about scripture with confessed atheists".

Sye even kept complaining about the format of the debate during the debate, saying that he wanted to go on as a guest on Matt's show or to at least have more of an informal back and forth. Sye even pointed to the woman who set up the event and got all pissy about it not being in the format he was hoping for.

Allegedly after the debate Sye refused to even take a picture with Matt and the woman who set the debate up...this isn't just being a douche, this is downright weird...

So again, what is up with this guy? 

Why do people actually engage him? He doesn't sound very pleasant and he also doesn't sound all that clever or interesting...I mean, people like Bahnsen, Hovind, and some of the more aggressive apologists are at least fun and interesting to hear...but that's not the case with Sye. He came off as petulant and repetitive.

So yeah, I gotta say that there aren't gonna be too many presuppers featured on this blog after listening to this guy. Bad taste in my mouth.

Quick Updates

Blog Apologetic Tract

I know it's lame but since I have been trying to make this a more actively running blog and trying to make my older posts not read like a 14 year old idiot actually writes these reviews AND since my awareness of the topics and the debates and debaters has grown significantly, I have decided to re-release older reviews as remastered ones on this blog.

I hate that WinteryKnight does this with his stupid "edgy summaries of debates" posts and because of that I've been holding off on doing this, but dang it, my mind has changed a lot on some of these debates too!

So the remastered posts are only going to be done if I significantly added a lot to the original review. And I know that the bulk of this blog is only from 2013, but that's the only set of reviews I'll consider remastering.

Ultimately I justified this decision by realizing it will mean that this blog well definitely have at least ONE debate review per week. So I've scheduled most of the posts I've remastered for weeks in advanced when I think I might not be able to push out a legit new review.

Speaking of new reviews...

Oh boy the new debates that will show up!

I have debates for Loftus, more for Ahmed, Carroll, Novella, Beahan, Price, and Barker! And...

Concerning my debate challenge
I've been having a lot of troubz getting someone to debate me. So I'm thinking of just releasing three videos which each have a 20 minute presentation on a various debate topic and see if people want to respond to that. The problem with that is that I want to do an audio/video debate and if I'm LUCKY my videos will only illicit written mentions on some blog.

So there are some updates. More reviews! For now, laugh at how funny it is that Hamza Tzortzis turns out to have been one of the leaked Ashley Madison accounts. I need to do a review of one of his debates. I wish the Arif Ahmed debate he did was actually available.
 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Look what I've been doing instead of making this blog more presentable...

I drew this picture to go along with my lame point I made in my review of the Matt Dillahunty vs John Figdor...I also thought of a funny drawing I could crap out that might be less dumb about a recent Richard Carrier debate and thought maybe that's what I can do to spice up my reviews, other than posting lame pictures and poor-ass writing.

So yes, this picture is proof that such a creature actually did exist, btw.