Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DiCarlo & Dillahunty vs Horner & Chamberlain - Does God Exist? 2012

In this debate ( video | 2:22.53s ) we have Christopher DiCarlo and Matt Dillahunty go up against Michael Horner and Paul Chamberlain at the "Imagine No Religion" conference in 2012.


Augh, so many instances of dropping the ball were seen in this one, gang. Both sides don't do absolutely miserable, but rather they seem to miss great opportunities and squander potential greatness.

PZ Meyers made reviewed the debate and aptly referred to the apologists as forgettable. They bring nothing novel or interesting to the debate and seem rather subdued. In fact, they relied on some rather hackish Campus Crusader tactics at some moments of the debate, too. For example, one of the apologists (I forget which one) practically dropped the mic when he showed the atheists to be agnostics about the existence of god. Lamesvilleeeeeee. Atheists can be agnostics, these things are not mutually exclusive. Another trick apologists use is to define atheism as being the active denial of god's existence. This is not just cheap for the obvious reasons, but it further shows these guys don't even know how to cater to an audience, which being at a secular conference meant that the audience was largely secular. These types of tactics don't and didn't work out too well in the debate but they shoulda known better.

But it wasn't just the apologists who mucked up. The "no" side, atheists Matt Dillahunty and Christopher DiCarlo, missed sooo many opportunities, too. For one thing, the apologists were right when they called the other side out for not presenting an argument. IIRC they attempted to say that the no side didn't show how god could not exist - something they didn't necessarily have to - but instead of setting up a case or arguments, DillaCarlo just set up a bunch of qualifications and clarified general concepts about the nature of demonstrating things, knowing things, etc. etc. After this, though they use the bulk of their opening to preemptively address the fallacious tactics the apologists might use in the next segments. Some of those arguments HornChamber did use, so can't give DillaCarlo too much crap for that, I suppose. (I like keep having to correct what I really want to write, which is DillaHorner, btw).

Anyways, Dillahorn--I mean, DillaCarlo, then demonstrate that their side was not obligated to disprove anything but rather demonstrate that what the other side has presented isn't convincing enough to demonstrate the existence of god--but any closure was lost from this point because they never link this to why this leads them to atheism.

The cross-exam seemed too short and the apologists were savvy enough to play up the apparent lack of argument given by DillaCarlo in the earlier segment. The arguments about objective morality were especially cringe-worthy and mucked up by both sides.

The Q&A was kind of a let down as well, there were some incoherent and/or cliched questions asked of both sides.

The moderator was pretty good though, I can say that!

The audio has some buzzing at some points but it is still clear.

Post Revision Notes
7-7 to 9-26-2013 I cleaned up the review a little and clarified some of my observations.
8-15-2015 I'm embarrassed at how long I let such an atrociously written review stay up online without another quick edit. Augh.

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