Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Novella v Baughman 2007 Is the Field of Psychiatry Scientific? CHECK

This debate ( audio | 1h08m59s ) took place in 2007 on the topic: "Is the Field of Psychiatry Scientific?" It was between the SGU's Dr. Steven Novella and author of The ADHD Fraud, Dr. Fred Baughman.

4 stars. CHECK

Okay enough Craig and enough religion, how about a debate on something else? Unfortunately for you, dear reader, this is another topic close to my heart.*

This debate occurred after Baughman appeared on the Infidel Guy Show to take calls. Baughman holds that ADHD isn't a disease (or disorder, which is what it really is) and wrote a book against it and many other disorders of the mind. Dr. Novella is famous for hosting the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, a podcast on skepticism that has a place in my heart as it was one of the first skeptical resources when I became interested in the community. I stopped listening back in 2008, though.

I always liked how straight forward Dr. Novella was and I stumbled across this debate on an SGU fan site, for all I know Novella has done other debates since, like I said, I stopped listening in 2008.

The debate was on whether or not psychiatry was supported by enough evidence to justify its existence and more specifically, the prescription medications psychiatry doles out to patients. Baughman feels that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) is not a real disease...or disorder - the definition of the two and the difference becomes a huge and pretty much unresolved issue of the debate - and that big pharma are lying to kids to get them to take meth...okay I might have simplified the argument a little but, there it is.

Novella on the other hand, feels that the field has proved itself, disorders (he distinguishes between the two like any sane person and unlike Baughman) of the mind do exist and have been researched extensively, plus: the prescription medications used for ADHD are highly effective in curbing the issues that arise from it and other learning disorders.

Baughman counters by ignoring this and saying that there are no purely objective tests available to demonstrate things like dyslexia or ADHD etc are diseases. Repeatedly he complains that these disorders aren't diseases even after Novella explicitly defines the two different terms. When asked by Reggie to explain the difference (over 30 minutes into the show), Baughman just says they're the same thing and that psychiatrists use the confusion to dupe parents into drugging up their kids. Near the end of the program a caller nails him pretty badly on it and Baughman only says the same thing over and over again.

I used to love this debate but I just can't consider it great after relistening to it. It's too short, Baughman talks at such long lengths and it isn't until the end of the program that Reggie finally asks him to get to the point on one of his rants - his voice doesn't help either. He comes off as senile at some points, like I said, he drones on and on and talks over Novella and doesn't counter almost anything Novella says. A little into the debate he does address one thing and it's where Novella really devastates Baughman. After Novella asks him this one question there is a long pause and he just falls apart.

Another issue that irked me is that Baughman droned on so much and kept talking and interrupting when Novella responded, he would just cut him off and talk over him which resulted in both he and the audience not hearing what Novella had to say. Novella doesn't repeat himself a few times after this happens and some of the really good points he makes become lost in this mess. Otherwise, Novella was great and it was obvious who the victor was, despite the fact that Baughman obviously learned nothing in the dialogue.

Technical: Okay AQ.

*I have ADHD and wasn't diagnosed until after high school. It is a thing and it has been pretty annoying dealing with those who think that it is just kids being lazy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Craig v Pigliucci 2001 BEST CHECK

This debate ( audio | 2h34m ) took place in 2001 on the topic: "Does the Christian God Exist?". It was between WL Craig and Biologist/Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci.

4.5 stars. BEST CHECK

PhilVaz: 4/5
Pigliucci briefly comments on it.

What the hell, interbuttz? This is a GREAT debate and no one talks about it! It has everything: the right debate topic, interesting arguments, great debate structure, almost an hour of Q&A, cross exam (I think) and Craig even does pretty solid compared to his normal performance.

What's more is that Pigliucci does what all debaters should do against Craig - he forced Craig to debate what he really believes: the Christian god.

These two debated before on whether or not god exists and Luke M. labeled that debate as "ugly" and simply stated:

"Another typical debate in which Craig's skills totally smash his opponent. Atheists seem to think they need not prepare for a debate with Craig because he is just another wacko with an invisible friend who grants him magical wishes. I think they are all surprised by how plausible Craig can make such an absurd idea sound."

This bummed me out, cause I love Pigliucci. He's one of my favorite skeptics and he does a great job in his debates against Kent Hovind.

But this is a different debate, and again, it was on the Christian god. ANDDDD Pigliucci was very clear about calling out Craig on this.

OK, the review:
Craig does all his normal arguments he does for most of his debates: the KCA, Fine-Tuning (FTA), the Moral Argument (MA) the res and Personal XP.

Pigliucci does exactly what he should: he comes on and says that this is a debate about the Christian god, so the KCA and FTA are moot. IIRC, he says the same thing about the MA (or at least, I would) but he still covers it in detail and presents another evolutionary concept of morality that, if not the best evo argument, certainly isn't the same one discussed by Ruse that Craig always brings up. He also presents the classic extraordinary claims arguments and critical thinking skills arguments against the resurrection and dismisses the personal experience argument (as he should, though I think he should be more explicit about it as Parsons was in his debate with Craig). He also talks about the KCA and FTA just for kicks.

Pigliucci is Italian and has the weird ability to have a thick accent, but is still perfectly understandable. I had a Chinese structural geology professor like this, he quite obviously had a thick accent but there was never a time where I couldn't understand him, it's a neat phenomena. Anyways, this means that Pigliucci can talk faster than Craig and he certainly does that.

BUT Craig does a solid job, too. I think when he does make his usual sketchy arguments though, they are much more obvious because Pigliucci was quite clear about them debating the Christian god. So, when Craig says that because Pigliucci doesn't address his KCA and FTA, he's conceding those arguments, it falls pretty flat and everyone knows it AND Pigliucci calls him out on this.

Pigliucci also snipes at the Bible - as he should, I can't stress this enough: Craig gets away with acting like he's defending the Christian god with his KCA, FTA and MAs but they can be used for any god or even gods for that matter. In his debates, Craig will respond to critiques to the Christian god by retreats to the possible and defending the philosopher's diety but then come back and talk about how he is defending the god of Christianity. This is why Craig's debate with Law was so interesting: for the sake of argument, we can say that Law's EGH* doesn't rule out some vague deity, but it certainly rules out the Christian god. The difference between Law and Pigliucci is that Pigliucci got Craig to debate the Christian god, so Craig definitely was fighting for his life in this one.

One more thing about the bible: Craig has done this several times, he's tried to get all pissy about people taking the stuff from the bible "out of context" and arguing about the inerrancy of the bible as only a debate tactic. He does this in this debate and this is another thing that falls kind of flat. My only wish would have been Pigliucci nailing Craig more on that than he did in the debate.

This debate also has almost an hour of Q&A! That's quite a bit, and though the moderator was funny, he got a little too snippy on cutting off some of the questioners, Craig even asked if the kid who asked one question could continue asking his question after he went over the allotted amount of time. The Q&A also had the format I like: they had a line for questions to Craig and another for Pigliucci and when one guy was asked a question and responded, the other had time to counter.

A great debate, coulda been a little better but I suggest you all check it out.

Technical: Decent AQ, not sure if there is a video.

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

*Law's Evil God Hypothesis is basically that any argument you give for a good god can be used for an evil god...I'm obviously simplifying it so check it out yourself, dear reader!
Another typical debate in which Craig’s skills totally smash his opponent. Atheists seem to think they need not prepare for a debate with Craig because he is just another wacko with an invisible friend who grants him magical wishes. I think they are all surprised by how plausible Craig can make such an absurd idea sound. - See more at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392#sthash.8fK6VWvq.dpuf
Another typical debate in which Craig’s skills totally smash his opponent. Atheists seem to think they need not prepare for a debate with Craig because he is just another wacko with an invisible friend who grants him magical wishes. I think they are all surprised by how plausible Craig can make such an absurd idea sound. - See more at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392#sthash.8fK6VWvq.dpuf
Another typical debate in which Craig’s skills totally smash his opponent. Atheists seem to think they need not prepare for a debate with Craig because he is just another wacko with an invisible friend who grants him magical wishes. I think they are all surprised by how plausible Craig can make such an absurd idea sound. - See more at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392#sthash.8fK6VWvq.dpuf
Another typical debate in which Craig’s skills totally smash his opponent. Atheists seem to think they need not prepare for a debate with Craig because he is just another wacko with an invisible friend who grants him magical wishes. I think they are all surprised by how plausible Craig can make such an absurd idea sound. - See more at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392#sthash.8fK6VWvq.dpuf

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Matt Slick on The Infidel Guy Show (features Robert Price) BEST

This debate ( audio | 1h09m55s ) took place, IIRC, in 2006 and it was on IGS. I guess the topic was whether or not atheism is tenable or rational which Matt agreed to right off the bat.


A lot of callers call in and beat up on Matt pretty badly. Reggie is also on the offensive in this one, a lot more than with other interviews I have heard him perform.

Furthermore, the beauty of a call-in debate is that callers can come in with only one topic they know a lot about and grill the interviewee on that. One caller calls in getting Matt pretty flustered over defining god, a bunch of callers call in pointing out that the bible does say that god did create evil and then Robert Price, THE BIBLE GEEK, calls in to call out Matt on his poor arguments for why it's okay for god to send people to Hell.

Matt's usually a pretty big bully and frankly it's nice to hear him on the receiving end of this kind of crap where his condescension, hand-waving and yelling don't hold as much force as they usually do. Matt links to the show on his site and talks about how he didn't know they were taking calls and if that were the case then that's a bummer and Matt certainly went with it like a champ.

A solid hour of good internet radio, check it out!

Technical: It's okay AQ.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Barker v Manata Who has the more rational worldview? 2006 CHECK

The debate ( audio | video | 1h31m11s ) occurred in 2006 on The Infidel Guy Show between Dan Barker and Presupper Paul Manata.

3.75 stars. CHECK

Hallq's review
Taner Edis at TSO
ML review: Manata won
Loftus talks about it in the comments
GtA brief mention with Evolution 101's Dr. Zack Moore discussing the debate in the comments 

We finally get the final word on the importance of broccoli with this one, dear reader!

This debate is a weird one, at least for me. It was my introduction to presuppositionalist arguments for theism and it certainly threw my off when I first heard it several years ago.

When I first heard the debate, Manata sounded better because his arguments were novel and he spat out a lot of points - a style that was pointed compared to the more laid back style Dan Barker utilizes. Even then though, Manata came off as mean-spirited and overly-aggressive and really dropped the ball about broccoli and the talking snake.

It is kind of weird that Manata floundered on such a question because the idea of a talking snake is pretty ridic that I am surprised that it isn't just brought up more in at least informal debates. I remember when I did "ask an atheist" and a srs fundie came up to argue with us and I asked him if he believed in a talking snake all he could do is say "it was a talking serpent" OH! Well then that changes everything.

After relistening to it, Barker does a little better and Manata does a little worse. Again, he was overtly aggressive and mean-spirited, on his rebuttal period he brought up a bunch of new points, too many for any of them to sink in, and barely addressed what Barker mentioned if at all. One thing he did do was assume that Barker was a functionalist and just argued against functionalism, physicalism and a bunch of isms. Now, sure maybe you can infer this about Barker from your debate you just had and his books, but if you're going to do that, you need to demonstrate it instead of just asserting it and knocking it down as if it was his position. Furthermore, specific to Manata, he got really upset and repeatedly asked Barker to point out when in the debate he said something and dismissed Barker's argument that he could infer such a thing so it is kind of weak for Manata to do the exact same thing, in his rebuttal, no less.

Still, this is a possible quick introduction to presupper arguments in a format that is less long-winded albeit, short.

ETA 7-23-2013: I should note that I think Manata certainly sounded like he had potential. I recall listening to a debate of his with someone named Derek Sansone(?) and he sounded a lot more composed and good-natured...but Sansone was an absolutely awful debater. I don't mind saying Manata won that one.

Technical: Fuzzy but hearable AQ and the video I link to is just the audio.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Debates I'll Never Know...

If you're as weird about this topic as I am, you'll know that there are so many debates out there that were never recorded, the recording was lost/is no longer available/costs money lost in the deep unknown. Sure, some of them have transcripts but sometimes that's no fun.

Here are some of those debates:

William Lane Craig v Keith Parsons 2003

Parsons has only participated in 3 debates that I know of. One such debate is his with William Lane Craig in 1998 and it is considered one of the few times Craig was thoroughly beaten. It is one of my favorite debates and Parsons is a lot of fun to listen to. But he's only, AFAIK, done 3 debates!

This one is causing me a lot of trouble. I read in comments on the Secular Outpost that one of Parsons' former students got a copy of the debate from the CCC at University of  Indiana so I contacted Parsons about the debate and CCC. Parsons told me he would get me in contact with his former student and CCC never responded to me. A few weeks later I contacted the CCC of UI on Facebook and Parsons again. The former responded telling me they only have audio of their stuff going back to 2005. Parsons on the other hand got back to me and apparently his former student emailed the wrong person and so I am waiting to get an email back about the debate from Parsons' former student. OOOOOO THE TENSION

If I do get it, I will host it and make ALL THE DEBATE ADDICTZ listen to it.

UPDATE: I have the debate! I have uploaded it here BUT it's incomplete. Only the open statements and the Q&A are intact.

William Lane Craig v Douglas Jesseph

( transcript | Craig talks about how this was his toughest debate )

It is interesting that Craig thought this was his toughest debate and Luke M. rates this debate as ugly. Others, like Jeff Lowder called the debate a draw, so I think regardless, this debate would be interesting to listen to! Read it, and let me know what you think!

William Lane Craig v Douglas Jesseph again

( transcript )

I heard that they debated once more! Other reasons why I wanna hear these debates is that Jesseph was on his college debate team and according to Craig, insisted to the bitter end to go first in the debate, knowing that Craig pulls a lot of slick debate maneuvers or wanting to do those maneuvers himself! Tabash was slick enough to want to go first in his debate with Craig but the only ones that I can think of who have gone before Craig in a formal debate are he and Jesseph.

Note: I am not sure which one of these Craig is referring to, I would assume the 1996 one, but then so much is all mucked up about it. On the Patheos site it says that the first debate I link to took place in 1997 in the summary but not on their list of debates...

William Lane Craig v Wes Morriston

( Morriston talks about it and mentions it in his CPBD interview )

This debate happened recently, too! It was even recorded but apparently the recording messed up and we shall never hear it. Morriston is a Christian scholar known for being critical of Craig's mathematically-based arguments and one of the people that Luke M. suggested as someone to give Craig a good debate.

Look at the link to Morriston's site above, it has his assessment and ppt slides.

William Lane Craig v Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

( did it happen? )

S-A did a book and debated Craig on suffering and from what I gathered from messing around on the internet, I think they actually did another debate between their suffering debate (1999) and their book (2004). If that is the case, I would LOVE to hear/see it. But bare in mind, this debate might just be a figment of my imagination!

Keith Parsons v O. Gerald Trigg

( out of stock VHS tape )

The only other debate featuring Parsons that I know of. I have already probably bugged him about his other Craig debate so I am a little worried about asking him if he knows anything about this one. Like his other Craig debates, Parsons has noted that he felt he did well, though he might have offended some of the more devout attendees in the audience.

Hector Avalos v Rubel Shelly 1998

( VHS tape in the ISU library )

This is the one that WL Craig referenced in his own debate against Avalos in 2004. Before getting to the debate topic, Craig spent almost 5 minutes attacking Avalos for his "unprofessional" conduct in his debate with Shelly. I would enjoy seeing this debate and maybe I can get it through ILL. But then I would need to get a VHS video player!

Eddie Tabash v Richard Swinburne

( Hallq reviews the debate in 2006 )

Swinburne is supposed to be one of the better apologists out there, he seems pretty interesting because he doesn't subscribe to the Divine Command Theory. According to comments in the review I linked to, Tabash only barely won the debate so it sounds interesting.

This is another debate that I contacted Tabash about. He asked me for my address so he could send it to me but that was almost a month ago. I know that Tabash is a lawyer and actually has a life but it's breaking my heart!

UPDATE: I actually got it from Mr. Tabash but I have been putting off watching it.
Thomas Henry Huxley v Samuel Wilberforce on Evolution 1860  
( Wikipedia page on the debate )

Supposed to be a lot of fun. I am pretty sure I won't come across an MP3 file or YouTube video of this debate anytime soon.

 Kenneth Miller v Kent Hovind 2000

( Hovind mentions it on his radio show )

Miller is my favorite Creation opponent and a great debater. Hovind is slippery, slimy and a great debater. This would have been a fun listen!

Farrell Till v Michael Horner Resurrection 1995 

( transcript

I've only heard Till debate against Hovind on the Genesis Flood and he did a great job and knows his stuff. Again, he's one of the peeps Luke M. would like to see debate Craig but he unfortunately passed away last year.

Farrell Till v Norman Geisler Resurrection 1994

( transcript )

Same reasons as stated above.

Eddie Tabash v Greg Bahnsen 1993

( dead YouTube link )

The debate might have been in 1996. I want to hear it because of how funny Eddie's assessment of Bahnsen's performance seems to be. NOTE: I just bought them, impulsively. I think I'll make post about it. I plan on contacting the web manager of the site where I bought it and begging him to make it free for everyone.

UPDATE: Okay, I bought it. It was just okay...Bahnsen isn't too great of a debater, he didn't seem familiar with the even more known arguments against theism.

Edwin Kagin plus v Michael Medved and callers 2005 


Augh this one was so fun. Edwin Kagin is known for being a fun wily polemic with a good ol' Southern accent. He and a camp volunteer (or attendee) to camp quest, Sarah Silverman (not that one) call in to talk about Camp Quest, a secular camp for kids. Medved tries his darnedest to use his radio personality schtick to take the upper hand on Kagin and even Silverman (who was 15 or 16, IIRC) and just can't do it. Kagin is wonderfully polemical and Silverman comes off as super sweet. The callers were a lot of fun, too.

I had this debate! I don't know WHY I deleted it, if I did or where the hell it is!

River v Hovind Misc Debates

( damn you Floridian weather! )

River is the one guy who really got under Hovind's skin when he called into his old Creation Science Hour internet radio show. These ( 1 & 2 ) are the only recordings available that I have found. River also called in to The Infidel Guy when Hovind was a guest and that was a lot of fun.

I finally got into contact with River and he told me that he once tried to get copies of the shows he was on but the show's co-host Jonathon Sampson said the archives were lost in a storm. River told me that he called in in late 2004 and early 2005 but both of those periods are missing from this archive of the show: 3Bible, scroll down! Truth radio has a weird re-broadcasting of the show that I am not sure is around the same time...I did try to sift through the episodes but it was too much, a lot of times (in 2004 at least) no one called in and Hovind just read letters talking about how great he was and talked about creepy things like how if he were god, we would all be dead...

William Lane Craig v Michael Schmidt-Salomon

( video in German )

This one is in German, but apparently Schmidt-Salomon devastated Craig...and by apparently I mean one person said that he got beaten up in the Craig Debate Reviews comments...

And so there you have it. Someday I will create a time machine and travel back in time and record all these debates in HD and then, I will truly have ALL THE DEBATES.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hitch v McGrath Religion in the Modern World

This debate ( audio | video ) took place in 2007 between Apologist(?) Allister McGrath and the Hitch concerning the topic: "Religion in the Modern World".

3.25 stars.

PhilVaz 3/5

This debate was just meh. Hitch is the most fun when he is debating someone more caustic. McGrath just seems too liberal. This is a shame because the debate topic was more Hitch's style in that it wasn't about proving or disproving god, McGrath, IIRC, accepts evolution and is more of a lecturer, not a debater. But alas, this one just has a few interesting moments but nothing fun.

It is also a pretty short/poorly formatted debate. There isn't even a Q&A.

Technical: Good AQ and watchable VQ

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Craig v Harris on Morality 2011

This debate ( audio | video | 2hrs ) occurred in 2011 between one of the four horsemen Sam Harris and Apologist Debate Missile WL Craig. It got a lot of blog attention and thus you'll see a lot of reviews below.

2.75 stars LAP

CSA review 1, 2 &
APF review: 4.5/5
Hallq's review and more discussion
TGS review
WK review: Xians always win

I just think that Sam Harris is an alright speaker. He seems bland to me, but he is one of the folks that Luke M. expressed a wish to see debate WL Craig AND after pestering Chris Hallquist about his favorite debates and learning that Craig's debate against Harris was one of them I decided to give Harris a chance.

Le sigh. The debate a bummer. Both Craig and Harris don't fair too well. The difference is that Harris came off as being off-topic, so it looked like he was just rehashing all the normal New Atheist topics while Craig - even on an off debate - still knows that calling out his opponent for not responding to his arguments and claiming that he is talking about irrelevant things, makes you look slick and puts you in the lead.

In Hallq's review you'll see that some have argued Harris wasn't off-topic, and I can see that, but he certainly didn't do a great job of explaining why his points were relevant. Honestly, it just sounded like he wanted to criticize religion which isn't a bad thing, but morality is a big issue, and Harris wrote a book called The Moral Landscape! Craig also apparently made a lot of rules about the debate that biased the topic in his favor, which if true, is pretty lame (though not surprising, I mean, Craig won't talk about whether the bible is free of errors because he thinks bringing it up is a "debate tactic") so Harris purposely decided not to play by Craig's rules. This would have been nice if he actually mentioned that he was doing this and why in the debate.

The questions were kind of bleh but the mod did a good job of stopping people from hogging the mic.

If you want to see a debate where someone doesn't play by Craig's rules but still throws down then I would suggest you check out Craig's debate with Stephen Law.

Technical: Good AQ and VQ.

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

RE: 7-23-2013; There were a lot of mistakes I needed to fix....at one point I said the word "people" instead of "bible"...augh.

Tabash v Slick "Does God Exist?" CHECK

This debate ( audio | video | 1h54m46s ) took place in 2009 between Lawyer Eddie Tabash and Apologist Matt Slick. The debate topic was "Does God Exist?" and this isn't the best debate but it certainly was interesting.

3.5 stars. CHECK

The Godless Skeptic review: Tabash won

First I suggest you all read a better written review of the debate here because my reviews aren't nearly as full of content as the ones that I link to (sans the ones to WK which amaze me that someone could write so much summary about a given debate and not follow the arguments presented by anyone he disagrees with).

Matt Slick has some issues. I think he has potential to be a much more formidable apologist but a) he is just wayyy to condescending b) gets too excited about his pet arguments (which aren't that good to begin with) and c) is too whiny. He just comes off as a total douche and though I won't lie, I think he probably is, he probably could still improve his tact.

But I digress, on to the debate: Slick starts out setting up a lot of qualifications in order to ultimately present just one argument (something that is quite obvious, Eddie points out and Slick doesn't deny). Eddie presents his usual stuff, he does ask a lot of questions and says a lot (hence why he came off better against Craig when they debated) but he does make arguments. He argues against divine command theory, divine hiddeness, the argument from design, the argument from fine-tuning and claims of miracles. He further demonstrates how morality based on the bible is demonstrable and subject to varying interpretations that lead to an incoherent worldview.

In the rebuttal period Slick comes out swinging. He flips out on Eddie for not addressing his one argument*, dismisses Eddie's criticisms for the morality of the Christian faith because atheists are morally bankrupt and that the debate is on whether God exists and complains, complains, complains.

Slick keeps mentioning throughout the debate that he's watched Eddie's previous debates, several times, and that he has counted the questions Eddie has asked and that there were just too many. He further suggested that he could answer them all and here is where it gets good: he doesn't. The entire time, Slick relies on complaining that he has debated this stuff for over 30 years, has debated atheists in formal and informal settings and that he totally could answer these questions. If you're so experienced in these addressing these questions then why did you waste yours, Eddie's, the audience's and my time NOT answering them. I mean, Eddie is a lawyer, a part-time judge plus he's active in the atheist community and debates. This is your livelihood, Matt, you make your money defending these superstitious ideas, and like you repeat over and over and over and over in this debate, you've been doing this for a long time.

I'm serious, Slick's whole second rebuttal is complaining about how Eddie asked too many questions and how great of an apologist he is. He addressed one thing: Eddie can't pass judgement on the bible because the atheistic view is morally bankrupt. But what about Hindus? or Buddhists? or Neo-Pagans? If Slick were debating one of them would he deign himself to consider the fact that the bible is an evil and disgusting book? This is a question that I am thinking of asking more seriously, atheists have plenty of moral frameworks they can rely on to pass ethical judgements, too, but can't we just agree with the myriad of others religious views who agree that the bible blows?

Regardless, Slick doesn't even explain why they are morally bankrupt. I mean, I guess he hints at it and because I know the arguments I can put two and two together but seriously, he totally wastes his first rebuttal.

Eddie doesn't. Eddie devastates Slick's opening argument and because Slick was dumb enough to a) only present one argument and b) waste his rebuttal period away complaining about the questions Eddie asked, Eddie has more than enough time to demonstrate how his questions are relevant and need to be answered and explains that he asks them but further answers them himself.

Technical: Good AQ and VQ.

**Matt is good at saying "I'm not saying that X is a Y, but...X is a Y". Several times he said something like that. He said that he wasn't claiming Eddie was trying to deceive, or dupe, anyone but then continued on as if he were saying that anyways.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Debates

The following are all the different debates I have been in or involved in. I have mostly debated 911, the topic I know the most about. I'll give mini-reviews/assessments with 'em.

Same Sex Marriage Debates

Me v the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Fags) kids (2010) ( video playlist )

4.75 stars FUN

These are pretty funny. The kids know how to tow the party line. The problems that people have with the videos is the singing in the background is pretty bad. I also employ the use of shaky cam for artistic purposes.  

Me v Charlie Check'm the Homophobic Atheist Rapper (NSFW) (2012) ( video playlist )

4.25 stars CHECK

The first few have Check'm pretty low in sound quality. Check'm is also very frustrating, but I was told that I did well in these so hence the higher score and the "CHECK", as well. Check'm curses a few times, as do I. I try to keep all my videos PG cause I think that cursing loses its greatness if used too much.



Me plus v Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron plus (2009) ( video playlist )

5 stars CHECK

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron came to UCLA to hand out free copies of The Origin of Species in honor of its 150th year since it was published. Before the actual content, Comfort (in a larger font) wrote a pretty stupid preface. As the president of the skeptics club on campus I and a bunch of others went down there to hand out bookmarks with information about evolution (and pictures of bananas) to argue with the two pop-apologists.

The one with Kirk Cameron arguing with my friend Randali got very popular. It was on TMZ, PZ Myers talked about it (in the comments someone made a transcript of everything!) and it has just over 200,000 views. I am barely in the most popular one because Cameron only wanted to talk to one person at a time (legit).

One thing that was annoying was that some guy came down and played the tuba. Almost all the comments were people complaining about the tuba and not being able to hear what was happening. I thought that the tuba guy was there with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron but my friend later told me that he knew the guy through band and that he just decided to come down and play his tuba. Just decided...


911 Debates

I call in to a debate with Dylan Avery and Pat Curly (2009) ( audio | video part 1 )

4.25 stars BEST

JREF discussion about it (my username is fourtoe)

The 4.25 stars is for the whole debate, the AQ, the host and other callers. I call at 24.49 into the debate. Listen to the whole debate though! The video is just audio and it's poor AQ.

Me v Misc. Truthers and Jeremy the Bearded Truther (2010) ( video playlist )

3 stars

A lot of information is brought up. Jeremy is the only Truther who I have met irl who knows the more tedious arguments about 911. Sorry for the shaky cam!

Me v CSI911.info Guy (2012) ( video ) 

2.5 stars LAP

This one I did not do well in. I had to walk on eggshells around the guy cause he got pretty defensive. He also refused to look at any other sources of evidence. My style is pointing out that thousands of independent entities have studied the attacks on 911 that explain the things that Truthers complain about as unknown. The guy also dismissed a lot of stuff I said because it was found on JREF, a place known for throwing down with Truthers.

But yeah, I just wasn't prepared and couldn't go about this as I normally do because of how defensive and condescending the guy would get.


Misc Debates

Me v Crazy Anti-Semitic 911 Truther (2011) ( video )

3.75 stars FUN

After I graduated from UCLA I was still in contact with some of the club members of the skeptics club I was apart of. They called me and told me that the Westboro Baptists were in town and I went down to debate them again! As you can see, I tried to debate the more adult members this time around but it was either too loud or the guy was too busy talking to his iPhone. THEN a wild 911 Truther appeared! I was so excited, but the guy was just nuts...so here we are. 

Me v Crazy Lyndon LaRouche Supporter NSFW (2010) ( video )

1 star

This isn't really a debate as it is more of a recording of some guy calling me a bitch over 50 times (I once counted). The LaRouchebags are a cult of personality around a guy with no personality Lyndon LaRouche. Their members are known for the Obama Hitler mustache signs and for being aggressive and creepy. They're also known for not arguing with someone if they know that the guy knows what they're talking about and if the guy has a camera. They have that right, but...


Well there you have it. I enjoy debating too, but I don't think I would do well in a formal debate like most of the ones I review. I think I would be better at more of a dialogue-debate. Also for some reason I am interested in rather esoteric topics, like conspiracy theories and most people aren't interested in them because of how ridiculous they are.

Till v Hovind Genesis Flood BEST

This debate ( audio 1 & 2 | video | 2h25m12s ) took place in the early 90s. It was between Farrell Till and Dr. Kent Hovind and the topic was on the scientific accuracy of the Genesis Flood.

DB: 5m

5 stars BEST

Farrell Till is another guy that Luke M. has mentioned as a good opponent to WL Craig and this is the only audio/video of one of Till's debates that I can find. It is a good one though!

Kent Hovind is a notorious YECist who has recently decided to bring his views to prisoners, exclusively. The late Farrell Till is an ex-pastor and I have heard others mention that he knew the bible better than anyone ever. The debate certainly shows that, he corrects Hovind a few times.

Anyways, they debated the Genesis Flood and Hovind brought up a lot of crazy ideas and wasted a lot of time on making fun of evolution. He certainly gave a lot of information and I must say that Hovind does do the Gish Gallop but not so much here and I actually think that Hovind is a great speaker and good debater. He is poor on logic and uses very sketchy methods but his presentation style is so slick and fast that it's hard to keep up.

An interesting thing is that Till is the exact opposite. Till speaks very slowly and is an older gentleman. He does a great job of dismantling Hovind's arguments which are poor and absurd to begin with but once you hear the crowds' responses at the beginning of the debate you'll know that Till had his work cut out for him. However I think despite this bias Till still came out on top, or certainly won more people over because of his clarity, ability to answer Hovind on every claim and unchallengeable knowledge of the Bible.

A very fun debate and it certainly made me think that Till could have given Craig a run for his money, though he would have had to be prepared to speak faster and handle more convoluted arguments.

Technical: Poor AQ and VQ, I still rec it though!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Poor Jason Gastrich

In the early 2000s, Dr. Jason Gastrich took on a bunch of atheists for some reason. I guess he had a radio show and did some informal debates. The following debates sound like they came from such a radio show and/or were just recordings of phone conversations he had with different people.

Dr. Gastrich is a baddddd debater and just does not seem to grasp basic forms of critical thinking and logic. I've never felt so douchey as I do when I say that about someone, but I don't think anyone would disagree with my assessment after hearing these debates, honestly.

Why this post? Well there are a bunch of his debates online which feature other debaters that I enjoy. He also sounds like your average YEC biblical literalist and some of these informal debates feature a well-versed atheist taking the time to dismantle basic apologetic and/or Creationist lines guys like Gastrich support. One final reason is that I am trying to find debates by the people who Luke M. wishes were able to debate WL Craig and see if they can hold up. Doug Kruegers' on the list and he has two interviews (only one is linked below, however) with Gastrich. Dan Barker is another person mentioned by Luke and he too is interviewed by Gastrich.

So here are mini-reviews to a couple of debates featuring Dr. Gastrich:

Dan Barker v Gastrich 2002 ( audio | video )
3.5 stars
They talk about biblical prophecies and stuff. Dr. Gastrich gets beaten up pretty bad - at one point he states that he would castrate himself if god told him to.

You hear a bit about Barker's background in this one, too. It's so interesting how sincere Barker is when he says that he really did love his life as a Christian. I could go on but in short it's this background that certainly makes Barker a bit more understanding in his debate with Gastrich in this one.
Technical: Low sound AQ

Douglas Kreuger v Gastrich 2003 ( audio 1, 2 and 3 )
4 stars CHECK
Again, Dr. Gastrich gets beaten up pretty badly. Doug is a little more concise in his tearing apart of Gastrich's position and he was really good at tearing down the accuracy of the Bible and Creationism.
Technical: Kreuger's audio is really low and some sort of weird machine's fan kept whizzing throughout the interview. 

Reggie Finely (The Infidel Guy) v Gastrich ( audio )
2.75 stars
Nothing too much of interest.  Dr. Gastrich is particularly snarky in this one.
Technical: Low AQ, again.

Eddie Tabash v Gastrich ( audio )
3 stars
Gastrich just doesn't seem to follow arguments. Like, he'll laugh at things that he thinks are absurd but really aren't and assumes that his incredulity is enough to counter an argument. It seems like he just gathers up a bunch of canned responses from other apologists/creationists and goes with them. He also isn't very organized. Poor Eddie, he seems to only get debates with lameos like Gastrich, Friel or Slick. He apparently debated Frank Turek who isn't the best apologist but knows how to work a crowd and parrot WL Craig, at least.
Technical: Little better audio.

James Randi v Gastrich ( audio TBP )
2.75 stars
To be fair I barely remember this one. But the AQ is bad, it is shorter than the others mentioned so far and hey, if I can't remember it, it must not have been all that interesting. Randi is pretty flippant in this one and that's usually how he rolls when in a debate-like interview.
Technical: Poor AQ

"So why this post, seriously?" You all ask. Well, I haven't posted in a bit and some debates don't deserve their own separate posts, imo. I might do this with other debates, as well. Who knows?

Also, when I first heard the IG and Randi debates I thought that Gastrich was like 18. He's not. He wasn't, either. From what I can tell, he graduated high school in 1992. Assuming he was 18 in 1992, that would make him at least 28 in the earliest debates I have listed here. To be fair, I am 28 and sound like a 15 year old so I hope this last comment doesn't just seem to be completely mean-spirited.

(Revised 6-11-2015)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chris Hallquist vs Calum Miller on Unbelievable discussing Probability and the Resurrection 2013

This debate ( audio | 1:20m ) took place last week between Chris Hallq and Calum Miller. It was supposed to be on probability and the resurrection, though they didn't really go into the details that the title of the episode implies, sadly.

2.25 Stars: Nothing too insightful seeps out of this debate with a blogging favorite and young English apologist.

Hallq's posts on the show.
Facebook discussion of the show.

I won't lie, I was pretty disappointed with the show. From reading the APF reviews of the past shows of Unbelievable and a few of my own experiences with other eps, it seems like the show has misses that significantly outweigh the hits. This is a bummer considering the show does get great guests and has such interesting topics!

But on to the debate. Or lack of it. I had some hope this would become a more technical debate in that it would talk more about probability. Bayes Theorem was only brought up once and it actually wasn't even defined or explained, at least not directly.

Calum also seemed like the most liberal Christian and though he didn't do terrible or anything, he just wasn't amazing, either. One weird thing is that Calum doesn't like the KCA, the argument WL Craig is famous for popularizing.

As for Hallquist, a great blogger I enjoy following, he suffers from an issue that apparently has plagued him before: his speech is filled with ums and uhs. People have told him about this and I feel bad stacking more criticism on him but it just became too distracting. Also, I think it was contagious, the host even started um-ing and uh-ing more it seemed.

Hallq did make some good points about Mormonism but they didn't so relevant to the topic when they were mentioned, or at least I bet that's how Christians will see it considering how critical they are of Mormonism (unless of course the Republican nom is Mormon, then they seem to be more open towards the religion :P). I was also a little annoyed that even though he was asked to debate probability with a student of Richard Swinburne - the guy who came up with the stat that there is a 97% chance that the resurrection was true - he said he had only read Swinburne's book a while ago.

I was surprised to find out that Hallq and I are the same age and Calum sounded pretty young too. One of the perks of Unbelievable is that it seems more willing to get younger guests on and this has some pros and cons. A pro is that people like Hallq and Ed Turner get to go up against apologists who should pretty much be considered professionals in their field...though in this case Calum doesn't seem to be one nor is he claiming to be one.

Good audio quality - it's radio.

8-23-2015 Lowered the score, cleaned up some writing. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Barker & Carrier v Rajabali & Corey on "Does God Not Exist?"

This debate ( audio | video playlist | 3h15m58s ) took place in 2004 in Dearborn, MI between Dan Barker and Richard Carrier v Hassanain Rajabali and Michael Corey. The debate had a weird topic: "Does God Not Exist?" and this is probably the most flustering debate I have ever heard on the topic of atheism/the existence of god.

3 stars

APF review: 4/5 stars
Carrier's assessment which I suggest ya'll check out.

Like Damion on APF I suggest you fast forward to ~22 minutes in if you wanna skip all the prayer and intro (only ~18 minutes if you wanna here the intros because both the theists are not that well known). This debate has so much going on that I just don't know how to rate it. I am mostly just gonna comment on it in this review.

Short review: the theists were contradictory, illogical and did not address any of the arguments and instead rested on trying to make the crowd cheer (which isn't too special considering over 90% of the crowd were believers). Barker and Carrier gave good arguments and organized well and over gave pretty good performances which were even better considering the debate structure and how aggressive and unscrupulous their opponents were. Ultimately this is a tough listen and though both Barker and Carrier give good performances I can't say that about the other side.

Also, concerning the structure, it was really poorly formatted and along with the dumb debate topic, heavily favored the theists:

Openings: Theists then Non-Theists

Rebuttals: Non-Theists (what?) then Theists

Cross: Theists Ask Questions then vice versa

Q&A: One side gets a question to respond to and the other side can counter (I like this format, at least)

Closing: Non-Theists (what? again?) then Theists

In what debate we we have one side get the first and last word? Kind of weak.

The theists probably showed thee most unprofessional, revolting behavior that I have ever seen in a formal debate. Both Rajabali and Corey (if he were alive) should be ashamed of their performances as evident in the following observations I made:

They were rude because they constantly laughed at and interrupted Barker and Carrier throughout the debate.

They were incoherent, both Corey and Rajabali made bizarre and contradictory claims about free will and ad hom attacks.

They were angry, especially Rajabali. He sounds hysterical at some points and calls both Barker and Carrier liars in the debate.

They were mean-spirited. Several times the theists literally laughed at the statements made by the non-theists or disparaged them overtly. Now sometimes arguments should be disparaged and I am not above doing that, but you should still address/counter them and/or show why they are flawed with respect to the debate or topic - which both theists and especially Corey did not do. When Richard brought up an article for his argument Corey just dismissed it by saying Richard didn't understand it. This tactic certainly worked because the crowd loved it.

Finally, they exploited their crowd and their religion. One of Barker's arguments was from religious confusion and he mentioned the fact that Rajabali and Corey hold to two different beliefs about Jesus. Rajabali flipped out about this and said that Corey never claimed to be a Christian and that Barker lied to fool the audience. Furthermore, Corey doesn't address this and even refers to god as Allah in the debate (which also got a loud cheer). Corey apparently (and it was obvious from the arguments he made) was a Christian but he was just so flexible to let slide the fact that Muslims don't think that Jesus rose from the dead, something kind of important to the Christian faith...This is the height of dishonesty, imo.

A note on Rajabali: I need to hear is other debate with Barker but I have to say I was not impressed with Muslim apologetics. Many of his arguments and misunderstandings were - for a lack of not sounding like I am a philosophy expert - philosophically naive and ones that even amateur Xian apologists shy away from. IIRC, I heard someone discuss the young nature of Muslim apologetics and how it has a ways to go and I agree. Rajabali was obviously not used to having his theistic (not necessarily Muslim) beliefs questioned by the way he acted and floundered in the debate. I would say that I am more interested in hearing Muslims v Non-Theists debates but they aren't too wide spread. Also, considering the strictness of the debate about insulting Islam coupled with Rajabali's performance it seems like those debates won't be too interesting because they're not as (as weird as it is to say it) open to having their religion criticized, which is such a shame.

Craig v Dacey on Does God Exist? 2nd Debate BEST

Make a counterargument cake!

This debate ( audio | 2h08m11s ) took place in 2005 between Craig and Philosopher Austin Dacey with the following debate topic: Does God Exist?

4.5 stars. BEST

PhilVaz 5/5
CSA review: good

This is a better debate than the last, it is longer and both debaters showed that they learned some things from the previous debates. Again I agree with Luke in that this one is better for the couple of reasons.

Dacey's presentations are a little bit more dense in content. Also, Craig does a pretty good job, himself. This is one of his best performances and it is just a bummer* that it happens to be against probably one of his best opponents. Though he was without faults at times - something which probably also lead him to concede at the beginning (a classy move, btw) that Dacey is a tough opponent

Unlike the previous debate, there is only audio, and it is kind of quiet. A few stutters occur in Craig's first rebuttal, too.

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

*Considering Craig's debate style, I think he wouldn't mind my talking about his debates in such a competitive fashion. I agree that not all debates should be about only scoring points but that's how Craig debates AND that still, isn't a negative view of debates, imo, anyways.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Carrier v Marshall 2013 Is the Christian Faith Reasonable?

This debate ( video | 1h52m02s ) took place in 2013 between Richard Carrier and Apologist(?) David Marshall. They debated the reasonableness of the Xian belief.

3.25 stars.

This debate is an example of what I mentioned in my reasons for this site page. In order to attempt to have a lot of content out in a short time I decided to just review all the debates I like/are already popular and I predicted that as I started debating newer debates, my ratings (which were all pretty high) would start to diminish because I was just listening to the debates to listen to them...well here we are.

Nothing really new or interesting with this debate. Richard did fine though I think that his debates with Jacoby and Licona were the best of his that I have heard so far. What is definitely the case is that he devastated Marshall. I don't know much about Marshall but he just doesn't seem to have the flare for debate - which isn't always bad, I don't think Vic Stenger is the most charismatic but I think he can present and call out arguments pretty well - but it certainly becomes evident even with his opening speech.

In fact, both kind of muddled up the debate topic, imo. Both didn't really state things too explicitly and this probably should have been emphasized due to the fact that the debate wasn't a) an argument about the existence of a god nor was it b) only about the historicity of the bible. Yet the debate seemed to only focus on one or the other.

For example, Marshall notes that Richard is not addressing the arguments for the existence of god and this is the only time that Richard comes back and notes that this is irrelevant to the debate - this kind of thing happened in the Parsons v Craig debate only Parsons was a lot more no-BS about pointing out the same thing that Richard does and does it so well that Craig never brings it back up.

Marshall was just too all over the place, his opening speech talked a lot about miracles and it seems like a good apologist would at least know not to bring up modern day miracles because of how sketchy they are but he brought up a lot of coincidence stories and stuff and I felt bored and had no idea where he was going. He also decided to bring up the fact that Richard lost to Craig and named dropped Luke M. when he talked about how tough of an opponent Craig is. To this internet nerdy atheist, it was obvious that Marshall is an internet apologist - not too bad of a thing, but it should be noted that this debate is an example of how being able to argue a lot on the interbuttz doesn't really translate over to real lifebuttz.

After watching the debate I've lurked around all the atheist/apologists blogs out there and I guess Hector Avalos has been in a little internet tiff with Marshall. I wish Reggie still did the Infidel Guy because I bet BET they both would love to go on IG to square off and I wouldn't mind hearing that. The closest thing we got going that I know of is Unbelievable but that's too short and has little audience interaction.

Technical: Great VQ...I might upload an Mp3 of it but the program I use to make Mp3s from yt vids makes them like 300 MB!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Craig v Cavin Jesus's Twin BEST CHECK

This debate ( audio | 1h33m20s ) is the earliest debate on the res that I have heard Craig participate in. In took place at UCI in 1995 and Craig's opponent was Robert Greg Cavin.

4 stars. BEST CHECK

PhilVaz 3/5
CSA review: bad

I should mention that the title is misleading, kinda. This was a regular resurrection debate but the difference is that Cavin I guess, is known for upholding a theory that Jesus had a twin that impersonated his brother after his death.

Craig does eventually use his usual arguments but does a few things different. This debate is almost 20 years old so that could account for this but Cavin does defend a pretty novel argument and agrees with 3 of the "facts" Craig usually brings out. One change is that he does a more thorough challenge against Bayesian probability, though it is actually pretty weak. He also significantly fleshes out his historical criteria he uses from McCullough, which others have argued is dishonest of Craig. He also pokes fun at the twin theory by calling it the Dave Theory after a movie where a body-double named Dave becomes the President when the pres is put in a coma.

Cavin doesn't really completely rely on the twin theory. It seems like it is just a more elaborate thought experiment that is supposed to be kind of weird in order to emphasize the point that something as bizarre as Jesus having an unknown twin who impersonated his brother after his death is still more probable than someone rising from the dead. Cavin doesn't do that great of a job making this explicit but he does do a good job on a couple of things that I would like to see others do in a debate against Craig on the res: he really deflates Craig's arguments about not using Bayes Theorem in history, pointing out that Craig does not address this and keeps arguing against him as if he is still using BT, using more interesting arguments against the resurrection.

Continuing from what I mentioned above, Cavin brings up the super powers that Jesus possesses after he resurrects and the possibility that Craig needs to explain how the laws of thermodynamics could be suspended and other issues of probability usage that can be applied to historical research. Like Luke says in his review of the debate, Cavin does a good job of pointing out how Craig only dismisses and weakly argues against these particular arguments, which show Craig's position to be completely ad-hoc.

But alas, Craig just got away with too much stuff or Cavin just didn't nail him as thoroughly as I'd like on some of his BS. One thing I think Cavin coulda done has to do with his own twin theory. Craig argues that the narrative of the bible doesn't allow for Jesus to be switched as a baby because he was born in a manger and this is documented. Cavin responded to this and I won't recount it here but the response I wish he gave certainly relies on the fact that I have hindsight and have seen Craig's later debates so I don't blame Cavin for not taking it up: Craig has in several debates claimed that he doesn't argue against Biblical Inerrancy. But if he is gonna use it to counter Cavin's claim with the manger or counter the more general claim that Jesus had super powers after he rose then it is perfectly legit to call into question the accuracy of the NT.

I rated this debate so high because if features Craig using a slightly different framework, Cavin did a good job is showing the logical issues with Craig's case and presented a more-novel approach to this debate that I haven't seen from others.

Technical: Decent AQ. The people who recorded were probably on Craig's side because they would leave in the clapping after Craig's speeches but not the ones after Cavin's :P

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

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