Monday, August 10, 2015

Arif Ahmed vs Ayyaz Mahmood Khan - Atheism or Belief: Which is Evidence Based? April 2015


This debate ( video | 2 hours ) took place in 2015 between Arif Ahmed and a new guy to me, Ayyaz Mahmood Khan. This was sold as more of a discussion with a more informal tone. The topic was Atheism or Belief: Which is Evidence Based?

3.25 stars: A cordial debate but rendered underwhelming by the still youthful, unsophisticated state of Muslim apologetics.

Arif Ahmed goes first starting off with a fullproof debate approach: he asks what evidence would we expect to see if there was a God and what evidence would we expect to see if there wasn't a god. Ahmed spends a little too much time fleshing out the purpose of such an approach and defining the theistic god. He then goes on to examine a few types of evidence often presented by theists: personal experience, divinely-inspired revelation, and I think one more. He also discusses the problem of evil and the types of evidence one could present that would sway him from atheism to belief.

Ayyaz Mahmood Khan begins his presentation very well, coming off as quite open-minded and articulate. However this is where the debate really kind of falls out of sync if you will. Earlier I was surprised by the arguments Ahmed focused on because IMO, a savvy apologist would tackle the debate topic with the more sciency-sounding theistic arguments in their arsenal, e.g. KCA, FTA, and the Design. Muslim apologists can rely on a lot of the more polished material presented by Christian apologists like WLC when the debate topic is properly vague. However Ahmed's opening and the focus on the concept of evidence such arguments seem more germane and this becomes more clear when hearing what Khan rests most of his case on.

Khan almost exclusively focuses on the prophecies fulfilled by the Quran and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In the Quran, Muhammad is alleged to have articulated the concept of cars and airplanes and Ahmad supposedly predicted the First World War and the fall of the Russian Empire.

Now, even Christian apologists, who have been at this stuff much longer, get make biblical prophecies sound reasonable. Khan's arguments for such fulfilled prophecies sound like the arguments made by psychics or people who think that the prophecies of Nostradamus were correct. Khan also makes pretty weak and vague attacks on the arguments brought up by Ahmed and the format of the debate, unfortunately, seemed to sweep any discussion about that stuff under the rug.

Ahmed makes the solid arguments against prophecies and it seems like the audience was on his side according the questions. But Ahmed is just such a stellar speaker, debater, and critical mind. This debate, like his last few recent debates seem to be a waste of such an awesome guy.

Khan also might have come off as well-spoken and charming, but his argument game was pretty lacking. I'd like to see him do more stuff but that might not be so great if he's committed to steadfastly defending the vague predictions of his favorite Muslim teacher.

Very nice, clear audio. I didn't watch the debate but I'm sure it's solid quality, too.

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