What is it about apologists that they have to have a sort of greasy, used car salesman's demeanor?Wolpe consistently retreated to the liberal bastion that all religions are a little bit true while dodging the reality that religions are competing, frequently contradicting road maps to a God that is conveniently separate from Religion and therefore unassailable in argument. This mirrored his constant appeal to philosophy, religion, and metaphysics as "get out of science free" cards.Harris handled himself admirably, though he didn't answer every question the way I would have liked, particularly when it came to calling Wolpe on his scientific ignorance re: neurology and the brain. At least Harris showed some composure and patience. The audience was certainly friendly to him.
I felt that Wolpe was out of control in this debate. He was constantly cutting Harris off and making sarcastic remarks during Sam's responses. I was disappointed that the moderator didn't do a better job of keeping Wolpe under control. I agree with openlyatheist that Wolpe consistently retreated to a liberal, almost universalist theology as a dodge. He almost didn't even sound like a Jewish rabbi, as he made no attempt to defend the religion he actually represents. Rather, he was merely offering a cover for all religions. Precisely what Sam was pointing out the dangers of.Overall though, Sam takes this one. His point about metaphysics and "Elvis is still alive" was priceless. He absolutely destroyed Rabbi Wolpe with that.
It seems that as atheist or theist these debate serve little purpose other than to confirm our views. To say that atheism is based in rational and open debate is clearly not so - it is belief in a position that cannot be proven, it excepts lack of proof of the opposite position as demonstrating the error of the opposite but fails to apply the same logic to its own position.I scored the debate in favour of Wolpe - clear cut, yes Harris made a few good points, but not when addressing the moot of the existence of God.I was certainly interested in Harris's view that "Atheism is a term totally without context, it is like being a non-astrologer" roll on the honesty of the agnostic.Hamba kahle - peace
akiwibear: do you believe in santa? why or why not?
To say that atheism is based in rational and open debate is clearly not so - it is belief in a position that cannot be proven, it excepts lack of proof of the opposite position as demonstrating the error of the opposite but fails to apply the same logic to its own position.Akakiwibear,You seemed to have missed one of Harris' key points. All he's asking is that we all use the same criteria for evaluating the existence of God exists that we use in every other area of our life. When non-thests do just this, we conclude it's highly unlikely that the God actually exists. You, on the other hand, claim a whole other realm exists and that God resides there. Do these really seem like equivalent propositions to you?I scored the debate in favour of Wolpe - clear cut, yes Harris made a few good points, but not when addressing the moot of the existence of God.Wolpe constantly made claims which would have significant scientific impact if true. However, Wolpe simply did not have background or knowledge to make such claims. This includes probabilities behind the naturalist view of the world we're presented with on a daily basis. Theism's inability to imagine a world where God doesn't exist is not proof that he does exist. Nor do I see how Wolpe, or anyone else, can get from a transcendent force required to create a universe to a personal God that has specific want's and needs and offers us eternal life. It's a huge leap for which there is no clear evidence in the natural world. I was certainly interested in Harris's view that "Atheism is a term totally without context, it is like being a non-astrologer" roll on the honesty of the agnostic.This is why non-thiestic Buddists can be described as Atheists. They fit the definition because they do not believe in God or Gods. Their positive beliefs, which define their morality, are independent of this definition.As a human beings, we can make mistakes. We can misinterpret things. We know this because we've looked at the "wiring behind the board" of our development as a species and seen the various mechanisms which influence us. As such, we advocate empirical observation and verification to compensation for our limitations. But if you presume we are the creation of a omnipotent, omniscient God, then you presume we can know his perfect mind and will. You presume there is some method of gaining absolute truth that does not require verification, is except from human limitations and is above rational and scientific scrutiny. Ultimately, all problems can be reduced to falling on the wrong side of the line drawn by divine revelation. We either obey God's will or we do not. Everything else is opaque, mysterious or irrelevant. The "solution" is to believe that God sent his son to die for us and to ask forgiveness. When these "truths" were set in stone over 2,000 years ago by an ancient, superstitious culture, how can actually progress as a species? How can we build a durable future for ourselves and those who come after us?
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