Monday, December 28, 2015

Richard Carrier's Counter-Apologist Debate Course

One of my favs is Richard Carrier and he will regularly run online courses in topics related to the Great Debate. Anyways, he is having a Counter-Apologetics course in January which teaches you how to tackle the arguments against God. I think John Shook is involved, too (in an email about Carrier's previous course on the topic Carrier mentioned that the upcoming one would have Shook helping him with the content).

The course will also cover Muslim apologetics, something I was interested in and I'm sure to enjoy as well.

The course is big on Bayes arguments but after a brief look over the course website I was hoping for more information on the art of speaking or debating persuasively. The required text, Atheist Primer reads well so far.

Well yeah so it was suggested to me to summarize my experiences with the course and I hope I can do that here. It costs 60 bucks if you all want to join so check it out!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This debate ( audio | 1:45m ) for whatever reason isn't on YouTube and only available in rm format HERE. At some point it must have been on YouTube because I have a huge Mp3 file (linked above) of it on my Mp3 player.

2 stars: More a set of lectures from two likeable guys but too many drawbacks make me not want to recommend this one. But read McCormick's book!

Each speaker gave a 20 minute opening and then took questions from the audience. It was very light-hearted and more of a lecture-for-the-kids kind of thing.

Both guys are good friends and professors at Sac State in California. A bit after his book, Atheism and the Case Against Christ was released McCormick and DiSilvestro had a bunch of debates with each other on various topics. The more known debate from awhile ago is the one they had on the Resurrection which are reviewed at CommonSenseAtheism HERE and AgnosticPopularFront HERE.

Because McCormick's ACAC is one of the wider-audience atheist books (sans Hitch but that doesn't count) that I really liked a lot AND the case McCormick uses against the Resurrection is also one that I really like, I decided to relisten to this one despite remembering that I didn't really enjoy it.

Unfortunately, I still don't enjoy the debate all too much. As a very causal point-counterpoint set of lectures, this 'bate works a bit better, maybe but even then I felt like something was missing.

DiSilvestro gives a couple of arguments for theism framed in the context of the arguments William Lane Craig gives but unlike Craig, who is an apologist and debate machine, DiSilvestro gives the more moderate case for theism and gives another thoughtful but vague or weak final argument about integrity.

McCormick starts and presents his case in the form of an extended Argument from Divine Hiddenness Case against God. It reminded me of Tooley's single Problem of Evil he gave against WLC in 2010 which was given as a single argument, only with a number of different references to other types of arguments atheists give, only all with respect to the POE. So though McCormick labeled his argument the ADH, it wasn't explicitly that given by JL Schellenberg. Instead it focused on a number of 'hidden' aspects of a theistic deity that shouldn't be hidden. This was followed by a discussion of morality that McCormick really dropped the ball on in terms of his example, which dealt with sex and abortion...This maybe a bit confusing but part way through I kind of forgot why he was talking about this due to cringing so much. Then he discussed how concepts of morality could have arisen through evolution.

There were no rebuttals and the rest of the event was an extended Q&A with thoughtful but not quite the best questions. The thing seemed more like a learning thing, not so much a debate which I like, but it just wasn't all that great or enlightening.