Part of My Introduction to A Debate Book With Dr. Randal Rauser

As you read this book keep in mind that Dr. Rauser has by-passed what I consider the proper protocol. He has unfairly placed himself in the so-called final championship game by jumping in line, as it were, bypassing other worthy religious contenders in order to debate me, an atheist.

I’m obliging him of course, but before debating an atheist he should show that his brand of Christianity can successfully win prior debate contests with the many other religionists found around the world. He should earn his right to be here in the championship game, something he has not done. Why? Because the bottom line is that atheists are skeptics. That places us in a bracket all our own. We are not affirming anything. We are denying the claims of religionists. We do not think there is sufficient evidence to believe in supernatural beings and forces. Since this is the case, religionists must first determine among themselves who is their best contender. That process did not happen here precisely because they cannot agree among themselves who should be in the finals.

I consider this important enough to mention, for in every part of the globe religionists who circumvent this proper protocol will have their provincial debates with atheists as if those are the only two options to consider: Hinduism vs. atheism, or Islam vs. atheism, Orthodox Judaism vs. atheism, and, well, you get the point. The implied assumption is that the culturally dominant religion gets to act like it has earned its place in the championship game just by virtue of the fact that it is the dominant cultural religion. That is emphatically NOT the case.

If the proper protocol were followed there wouldn’t even be a final debate between a particular dominant cultural religion and an atheist. That’s because no religion can rise to the top by legitimately beating all of the others, thereby winning a rightful place in the finals. They would all just endlessly beat up on themselves with no clear winners. And that’s precisely one of the major reasons why we’re atheists in the first place. It’s because no religion can rightfully be shown to have any more epistemic warrant than the many others. They all share the same epistemic grounding. They all stand on the quicksand of faith based reasoning. None of them can decisively win against the many others. So while I have granted Dr. Rauser a place in the finals with me, afterward he must still go back and justify why he was here in the first place rather than one of the myriad number of other religions, including the various branches of his own.

[First posted 11/4/10]

5 comments:

GearHedEd said...

"If the proper protocol were followed there wouldn’t even be a final debate between a particular dominant cultural religion and an atheist. That’s because no religion can rise to the top by legitimately beating all of the others and thereby winning a place in the finals."

That's not what Breckmin told me...

;o)

david said...

As you read this book keep in mind that [?] has by-passed what I consider the proper protocol. He has unfairly placed himself in the so-called final championship game by jumping in line, as it were, bypassing other worthy political contenders in order to debate me, an anarchist. I’m obliging him of course, but before debating an anarchist he should show that his brand of politics can successfully win prior debate contests with the many other political theorists found around the world. He should earn his right to be here in the championship game, something he has not done. Why? Because the bottom line is that anarchists are skeptics. That places us in a bracket all our own. We are not affirming anything. We are denying the claims of political theorists with regards to the state. We do not think there is sufficient evidence to believe in the legitimacy of the state. Since this is the case, opposing political theorists must first determine among themselves who is their best contender. That process did not happen here precisely because they cannot agree among themselves who should be in the finals.

I consider this important enough to mention, for in every part of the globe political theorists who circumvent this proper protocol will have their provincial debates with anarchists as if those are the only two options to consider: liberalism vs. anarchism or conservatism vs. anarchism, socialism vs. anarchism, and, well, you get the point. The implied assumption is that the culturally dominant political system gets to act like it has earned its place in the championship game just by virtue of the fact that it is the dominant political system. That is emphatically NOT the case.

If the proper protocol were followed there wouldn’t even be a final debate between a particular dominant political system and an anarchist. That’s because no political system can rise to the top by legitimately beating all of the others, thereby winning a rightful place in the finals. They would all just endlessly beat up on themselves with no clear winners. And that’s precisely one of the major reasons why we’re anarchist in the first place. It’s because no political system can rightfully be shown to have any more epistemic warrant than the many others. They all share the same epistemic grounding. They all stand on the quicksand of state based reasoning. None of them can decisively win against the many others. So while I have granted [?] a place in the finals with me, afterward he must still go back and justify why he was here in the first place rather than one of the myriad number of other political systems, including the various branches of his own.

:-)

mikespeir said...

"It’s because no religion can rightfully be shown to have any more epistemic warrant than the many others."

I'm not quite sure I buy that. I don't know that all religions are equally ridiculous. It might be possible to create an array of progressively finer sieves that would screen out less likely ones before ultimately letting nothing through.

Sara said...

Isn't it kind of arrogant to label yourself the final champion? First, you didn't debate other atheists/naturalists/skeptics or even agnostics to get to write the book. Also, this is only the finals if you assume the atheists are going to win. If you assume (as some readers will) the theist side will win, it seems reasonable to "prove" theism first, and then debate the various forms.
I'm just a litle worried the arrogance will be off-putting to many readers.

John W. Loftus said...

Sara, I am not personally the champion. Atheism is in a bracket all it's own waiting for whichever religion wins their side of the bracket.