Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dream Debates: Favorites, Lists and Teams Up-Dated 8-15-2013

This is a list of a) who I would like to see debate the pillars of theism or other topics b) debate against each other and c) like to see more debates from/of/whatever.

I think most theists agree that Craig is the best apologists they have to offer (with solid reason, too) so I will use him mostly as a reference.


Hitch- Was always a fun listen, the only of the "four horsemen" that I actually like* in terms of debate.

Example: Hitch v Sharpton

Carrier- Carrier is just full of knowledge, he is also very good about staying on point and I don't think I have ever heard him be condescending at all and he has been treated pretty poorly in some of his debates in the past.

Example: Carrier v Licona and Carrier v Jacoby

Ken Miller- My favorite Evolution Proponent. Miller has been doing this since at least 1981 against the famous Creationist Henry Morris.

Example: Firing Line Debate and Miller v Nelson

Craig- Oh William Lane Craig. I do not think this guy is as great as almost everyone says he is but he is pretty close. I enjoy hearing his debates for his rebuttal and closing skill. His arguments and openings are all pretty much the same.

Example: Craig v Avalos and Craig v Stenger 2010

Dinesh- Dinesh is just fun. He knows how to read his audience and even though he says the same damn jokes he still is fairly charming. The one argument of his that I have heard him use at least against Hitch that I have given more thought and decided that I agree with is when Hitch talks about Stalin taking advantage of the religious context that painted pre-Soviet Russia. Dinesh is right that religion shouldn't be blamed for Stalin's douchebagery. Of course Dinesh is wrong about blaming atheism but that's another point :P

Example: Dinesh v Shermer and Dinesh v Hitch 2007

Need to Debate More:

Sean McDowell- I've only heard this guy against Corbett and maybe Corbett was just so awful that he was the perfect foil for McDowell, but I doubt it. McDowell is charming and organized, I wanna hear more from him.

Mark Roberts- Roberts is famous in the debunking community, he knows a lot of stuff on 911 and is very good at relying this sometimes tedious information in a coherent and understandable manner. He has "retired" so to speak and I can appreciate that. But if David Ray Griffin would debate him I bet he would come back.

Jeffrey Jay Lowder- Lowder knows his stuff and is cogent and quick on his feet. It's a shame that I have only heard one of his debates and it wasn't against the greatest opponent.

Example: Lowder v Fernandes

Jeremy Beahan- Here is a guy who sounds very organized was able to hold his own against a decent rhetorician if not a great apologist. I would like to see him challenged more.

PZ Myers- I wanna hear him talk more about evolution in his debates.

Example: PZ v Simmons on KKMS 2008

Austin Dacey- Dacey, AFAIK, has only debated Craig, and has only done so twice. What makes this dearth of debate history more of a crime is that Dacey threw down with Craig both times and this is agreed on by nerds like me on both sides of the debate. Even Craig has applauded Dacey's skill. Dacey is also associated with CFI and so I am just absolutely perplexed that he hasn't done more stuff!

Example: Dacey v Craig 2005

Keith Parsons- Another philosopher who has apparently only decided to come out of the academic shadows to devastate Craig once and then wash his hands of the practice. Parsons is full of passion and good humor. The only debate I have heard of his is from 1998 with Craig, linked below! What a shame.

Example: Parsons v Craig 1998

Shelly Kagan- Another academic to come out of no where and throw down with Craig and to come out the victor. The guy has free lectures online but I wanna see this guy debate ethics more because it really is frustrating that so many people think that the divine command argument for morality is so convincing. In his debate with Craig, Kagan outlined contractualism, a moral philosophy that I hold to and one that Craig was unable to dismiss.

Example: Kagan v Craig 2009

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong- In 1999 S-A debated Craig and won and he wrote a great book (well, great so far) with Craig styled after an epic debate. I am in the process of searching for more of this guy but if he was such a tough opponent of Craig's as suggested on the interbuttz, I would think I wouldn't have as much trouble finding more from this guy as I apparently am, atm.

Example: Craig v S-A 1999

Arif Ahmed- Debate more! Compared to the others above, Ahmed has been debating a little bit more, including twice against Craig and two appearances on Unbelievable. Still not enough for a debate junky as yours truly.

Example: Ahmed v Habermas 2008 and Ahmed v Craig 2009

Atheist Dream Team:

Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeremy Beahan

Arif Ahmed

Matt Dillahunty

Austin Dacey

Richard Carrier

Bart Ehrman

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Dream Debate Matches:

Ehrman v Carrier - Both have recently been going at it in print form concerning the existence of Jesus. Not only are both skilled debaters but this topic would be interesting to see hashed out by two skeptics of Jesus' miracles.

Richard Dawkins v WLC - I know that Craig has been wanting this for years and I thought I wouldn't buy too much into this issue too much as I don't want this blog to be about flame wars and blog drama BUT I think that they should debate on evolution vs ID. Craig did one debate on this topic with a theistic evolutionist Ayala. In a response to a question I sent him on RF Craig mentioned this about the Ayala debate:
My goal in this debate was, not to argue for Intelligent Design in biology, but merely to defend its viability against Ayala’s caricatures of it.
Surely Craig thinks that Dawkins incorrectly represents ID when he talks about it and has more experience in popularizing evolution and defending it then Ayala probably has. I think debating evolution would be a great concession to lead to a legit debate between both Craig and Dawkins considering the former would have to debate on a topic that isn't his specialty and the latter would debate a topic that he's known for refusing in order to not lend it any validity.

Ahmed v Dinesh D'Souza - I bet that Ahmed would be able to throwdown with Dinesh, Ahmed is full of humor and interesting.

Dillahunty v Dinesh D'Souza - Matt would be able to counter the more bizarre arguments used by Dinesh and I think most would agree that this would be a fun debate to see.

Dillahunty v WLC - Probably won't happen because of Craig's PhD only debate rule but I would like to hear it and again, I think most would agree on that point.

Lowder v WLC - This dream debate has been an on going wish of others as well. Craig has made exceptions to his rule in the past, I think he should at the very least against Lowder.

Lowder v Dinesh - Again, Lowder could definitely hold his own against Dinesh. Picture the atheist version of Craig against Dinesh, that's what I see.

Roberts v David Ray Griffin - Griffin is supposed to be the most respectable Truth Movement leader out there. When he has debated I think he usually gets beaten up pretty badly and this is just from people who are experts on 911 CTs. Roberts is an expert so it would be nice to see this thing happen.

Roberts v Michael Berger - Berger is probably the best-sounding 911 Truther. He was more into it (I think) a few years ago so I don't think that two people no longer interested in the movement will be willing to come back and debate this topic. Le sigh.

Dillahunty v Friel - I feel as though I don't need to explain this I won't.


Ahmed v Craig - I bet this one would be a good one, they last debated in 2005 and barely touched each others' direct arguments in their Oxford debate. Next time Craig tours the UK I bet this could be set up.

Avalos v Craig - A few things were not addressed in the previous debate and Avalos is one of the few guys to

Carrier v Craig

Ehrman v Craig

Dacey v Craig

Roberts v Gage

Kagan v Craig 

Parsons v Craig

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