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Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig
Posted: 16 April 2011 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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To give some context, I disagree with almost everything that Sam has to say in his new book.

But on his debate with Craig, I thought that was the best smackdown on Craig ever. Best ever. Best smackdown on God I’ve seen out of the 4 Horsemen.

Sam appreciates that people’s moral sense is the buttress that holds religion in place. We’ve been attacking God from the wrong angle. It isn’t that he doesn’t exist, it’s that as described, he is the most horrible fictional character ever conceived. Sam hammered mainly on the immorality of God, and the immorality of worshiping him. He did it effectively, ruthlessly, and even brutally. God as Celestial Psychopath. Wonderful.

Attack God as immoral, and you attack the motivation for people believing in him. They always say “Without God, you can’t have morality” Sam turned that around, and said “With God, you can’t have morality.”

Also, I agree with Sam’s comments on debate strategy. Craig is a gibberish machine. He can cover the walls in his projectile nonsense faster than you can clean it off. It is a mistake to try. Instead, hammer away on your themes, and make Craig respond to them.

Sam was much better in combating Craig than Hitchens was. Sam knew the relevant fundamental philosophical points, and had well reasoned arguments at all turns. But he stuck primarily to his game plan, instead of trying to refute Craig’s nonsense.

I thought Sam embarrassed Craig, as did that gal in the Q&A session, and as Craig did to himself when he refused to respond to that question about homosexuality.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Soma 67
I like the “trance-dance” summation you make of religious need.  For so often I demand, not freedom of religion, but rather, freedom FROM religion—because so much of the planet’s population is caught up in the ridiculous dance of illogical worship, practice and doctrine.

Again, Dr. Craig did nothing to indicate the presence of a god.  He looked sadly beaten by his rhetoric and repetitive drivel about epistemology and ontology.  The man can’t give up on God because for him the opposite is chaos and nihilism.

Having said that, what is the point of believing in mythological, poetic and prosetic literature without proof?  Why must the alternative be insanity?  As we become more logical in our existences, our egos, our releases from religious persecution—do we not become wiser and better?  Do we have to lose it because there is not god?

I have always been disturbed that the only option, if there is no god, is suicidal sociopathic behavior—-“Augh, the sky is falling—there is no god!”  Why do people get so upset?  Let freedom from religious fallacy reign over us, allow us to become better thinkers, inventors, logicians, sociologists, professors, teachers.  It would eliminate much jibberish on this internet thingy—if we got rid of all the preaching of the gospel to all the world.  Who hasn’t heard the Christ News?  We know it’s out there—move along—nothing more to say, but to ask, could you keep your religion to yourself?

Walk in whatever way of life you want to…just don’t put it on me…I tried walking that way—I found it to be filled with falsehood, fakery, trickery, lies, greed and shame.  I believe I’ll take my agnostic message a lot further than the creeds of today’s faith-based organisations.  Thanks for reading….Ciao bella.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Vladimir_Marduk - 09 April 2011 03:42 AM

I’m just finishing up part 6 of 9 of the debate and I’m wondering if anyone else had the following thoughts:

1) Sam Harris crushed Dr. Craig

2) Since Dr. Craig used quite a bit of straw man arguments (misrepresenting arguments) that anyone who’s paying enough attention, has enough understanding of Sam Harris’s philosophy, and has a good enough background in logic could crush Dr. Craig in a similar debate.

3) I really wish I was able to attend.

At first, as a Christian, I was a little disappointed with the debate. However, the more I watched and listened to the debate over, I realized how often Dr. Craig had responded directly to Dr. Harris’ points that I hadn’t realized, (perhaps because his philosophical language) and just how many of Craig’s arguments were only responded to in a misrepresented form. Overall, I thought the arguments heavily favored Dr. Craig. Do not forget, as the moderator explained, that the topic of the debate that they both agreed on was the question, (perhaps not the exact quote) “is the foundation of moral values natural or supernatural?” The debate was not on Christianity or Islam, or the bible at all. The fact that Harris mentioned those things so often suggests to me that he was avoiding the real debate.

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Posted: 17 April 2011 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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greetings,

toombaru - 11 April 2011 12:10 PM

The ideas of “good”, “God” and “morality” all come from within the electro-chemical reactions of the neurons in the human brain.
Outside of that arena…..they do not exist..

Metaphysical worldviews,  such as ‘atheism’ = ‘there is no god’,  ALSO do not exist outside of the mind/brain”.

edit to add:

TJ the Christian - 16 April 2011 10:22 PM

At first, as a Christian, I was a little disappointed with the debate. However, the more I watched and listened to the debate over, I realized how often Dr. Craig had responded directly to Dr. Harris’ points that I hadn’t realized, (perhaps because his philosophical language) and just how many of Craig’s arguments were only responded to in a misrepresented form. Overall, I thought the arguments heavily favored Dr. Craig. Do not forget, as the moderator explained, that the topic of the debate that they both agreed on was the question, (perhaps not the exact quote) “is the foundation of moral values natural or supernatural?” The debate was not on Christianity or Islam, or the bible at all. The fact that Harris mentioned those things so often suggests to me that he was avoiding the real debate.

You’re right.  As is evidenced by the comments so far,  many are missing this point.

[ Edited: 17 April 2011 05:18 PM by stu7890]
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Posted: 17 April 2011 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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TJ the Christian - 16 April 2011 10:22 PM

Do not forget, as the moderator explained, that the topic of the debate that they both agreed on was the question, (perhaps not the exact quote) “is the foundation of moral values natural or supernatural?” The debate was not on Christianity or Islam, or the bible at all. The fact that Harris mentioned those things so often suggests to me that he was avoiding the real debate.

Sam had an agenda separate from pandering to the debate.

His first agenda was to make the argument for his own theory of a naturalistic objective morality. His second agenda was to attack Christianity and Islam as is. I thought he did exactly the right thing. Note that Sam defended his own theory of objective morality and attacked Craig’s actual theological beliefs, while Craig ran as fast and as far away as he could from his own Christianity. Who’s winning in reality, and not by the artificial terms of the debate?

Craig spouted the usual scholastic gibberish of God being good by definition, divine command theory, and other such nonsense. Sam responded with the standard Euthyphro dilemma, and an attack of the psychopathology of Divine Command theory.

Can anyone name a cogent point made by Craig that needed and lacked refutation from Sam?

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Posted: 24 April 2011 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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toombaru - 13 April 2011 06:02 PM

I am suggesting that the human species may not be the apex species in the world today without the benefits that delusional-shared belief structures offer; and that wiping out religion may not be as beneficial as it first appears.

It’s not like secular leaders have a perfect record.

It’s certainly possible that without religion, the world goes to hell, so to speak. Dennett takes that suggestion seriously. He wants to domesticate religion, not destroy it.

The same argument could have been made about small pox. Maybe small pox plays some mysterious function that we didn’t know in our species, and if we eradicate it, we’ll all go to hell. Maybe. It’s possible.

The conservative impulse, of” whatever is, is right”, should be given it’s due. Things are the way they are for a reason, and it’s hard to know all the consequences of removing a piece of civilization. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

Is religion “not broke”? Do you see no clear problems with it? It’s one thing to be conservative about making changes, it’s another to be paralyzed from taking action against clear problems because “something might go wrong”.

As for the record of “secular leaders”, the separation of church and state is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a free society. Separation of church and state was one of many attempts to liberate ourselves from other people claiming that our lives were theirs to direct and spend. Divine right of kings. Theocracy. The will of the Volk. The Revolutionary Vanguard of the Proletariat. All different justifications, all different claims to the right to rule, and the demand for servitude. When people grant others the right to conscript people into The Cause, bad things happen, and that’s true whether The Cause is a Supernatural Cause, a Natural Cause, or a Collective Cause (hence my revulsion for Sam’s WBCC).

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Posted: 24 April 2011 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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buybuydandavis - 24 April 2011 07:56 PM
toombaru - 13 April 2011 06:02 PM

I am suggesting that the human species may not be the apex species in the world today without the benefits that delusional-shared belief structures offer; and that wiping out religion may not be as beneficial as it first appears.

It’s not like secular leaders have a perfect record.

It’s certainly possible that without religion, the world goes to hell, so to speak. Dennett takes that suggestion seriously. He wants to domesticate religion, not destroy it.

The same argument could have been made about small pox. Maybe small pox plays some mysterious function that we didn’t know in our species, and if we eradicate it, we’ll all go to hell. Maybe. It’s possible.

The conservative impulse, of” whatever is, is right”, should be given it’s due. Things are the way they are for a reason, and it’s hard to know all the consequences of removing a piece of civilization. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

Is religion “not broke”? Do you see no clear problems with it? It’s one thing to be conservative about making changes, it’s another to be paralyzed from taking action against clear problems because “something might go wrong”.

As for the record of “secular leaders”, the separation of church and state is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a free society. Separation of church and state was one of many attempts to liberate ourselves from other people claiming that our lives were theirs to direct and spend. Divine right of kings. Theocracy. The will of the Volk. The Revolutionary Vanguard of the Proletariat. All different justifications, all different claims to the right to rule, and the demand for servitude. When people grant others the right to conscript people into The Cause, bad things happen, and that’s true whether The Cause is a Supernatural Cause, a Natural Cause, or a Collective Cause (hence my revulsion for Sam’s WBCC).

 

 

Sentient life is a program whose function is to survive and reproduce.
Religion is merely a mirror reflection of the innate wiring that all humans inherit.
It is unlikely that homo sapiens will ever be able to think their way through a problem that originates in their
own conceptual-magical thinking.
I live in an idyllic little village in the Central Coast in which there is an on going battle over rather or not to allow more
building permits.
Fist fights are not uncommon at planning meetings.
And yet some envision a world in which we will be able to scientifically study our emotion driven reality and smooth out the
bumpy parts.

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Posted: 24 April 2011 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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toombaru - 24 April 2011 09:21 PM

It is unlikely that homo sapiens will ever be able to think their way through a problem that originates in their
own conceptual-magical thinking.

A number of cultures, mainly in the developed world, have hugely swung away from a belief in God. So people, can, en masse, stop magical thinking, and the speed of change has been rather dramatic.

See Europe in particular.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

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Posted: 24 April 2011 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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buybuydandavis - 24 April 2011 09:36 PM
toombaru - 24 April 2011 09:21 PM

It is unlikely that homo sapiens will ever be able to think their way through a problem that originates in their
own conceptual-magical thinking.

A number of cultures, mainly in the developed world, have hugely swung away from a belief in God. So people, can, en masse, stop magical thinking, and the speed of change has been rather dramatic.

See Europe in particular.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism


Is it your belief that the elimination of religion and magical thinking would benefit the human condition?

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Posted: 24 April 2011 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:04 AM

Is it your belief that the elimination of religion and magical thinking would benefit the human condition?

Yes, although I was responding particularly to your claim that mankind can’t do it. Much of mankind has.

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Posted: 24 April 2011 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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buybuydandavis - 25 April 2011 12:18 AM
toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:04 AM

Is it your belief that the elimination of religion and magical thinking would benefit the human condition?

Yes, although I was responding particularly to your claim that mankind can’t do it. Much of mankind has.

I believe that any belief in the supernatural is unfounded.
I do not believe that we have enough information to surgically remove a major part of people’s lives.
I don’t know if the Brits would be better off without the queen and I am not convinced that humanity would be better off without religion.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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buybuydandavis - 25 April 2011 12:18 AM
toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:04 AM

Is it your belief that the elimination of religion and magical thinking would benefit the human condition?

Yes, although I was responding particularly to your claim that mankind can’t do it. Much of mankind has.


I don’t think nearly as much of Mankind has eliminated religion from their lives as we atheist types may tend to assume. Many of us have only jettisoned the mythology—the most definitive aspect of Religion. Religion “proper”, however, is a set of behaviors and ideologies, not just the mythology, and some of those behaviors and ideologies are rationally problematic. It’s arguable that we’ve jettisoned Religion when we reject the mythology, but I’d argue the mythology is a symptom rather than the actual pathology. The core of Religion is the mechanism by which believers justify and validate unfounded presumptions. Religion calls it faith, and the religious form of religious faith is uniquely simple and ubiquitous, but there are other manifestations—religious thinking patterns rear up in other arenas—namely pseudoscience and the alleged “paranormal”, but also in politics, for the more obvious examples that lend themselves to easy categorization.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:28 AM
buybuydandavis - 25 April 2011 12:18 AM
toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:04 AM

Is it your belief that the elimination of religion and magical thinking would benefit the human condition?

Yes, although I was responding particularly to your claim that mankind can’t do it. Much of mankind has.

I believe that any belief in the supernatural is unfounded.
I do not believe that we have enough information to surgically remove a major part of people’s lives.
I don’t know if the Brits would be better off without the queen and I am not convinced that humanity would be better off without religion.


Like when a president tries to redistribute the wealth?

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Posted: 25 April 2011 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:07 PM

Like when a president tries to redistribute the wealth?


“Redistribution of wealth” is almost always just a way to say “failure to maintain the initial radically inequitable distribution of wealth” while side-stepping the guilt and shame that psychologically healthy adults would feel if they put it more directly and honestly, and still advocated it.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 25 April 2011 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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SkepticX - 25 April 2011 12:18 PM
toombaru - 25 April 2011 12:07 PM

Like when a president tries to redistribute the wealth?


“Redistribution of wealth” is almost always just a way to say “failure to maintain the initial radically inequitable distribution of wealth” while side-stepping the guilt and shame that psychologically healthy adults would feel if they put it more directly and honestly, and still advocated it.

 

I am suggesting that all conceptual thought is magical thought.
The mind of man imagines separate objects and then attempts to describe how they relate to each other.
It mistakes its own descriptions for reality.
Thinking that science can answer the mind’s questions about it’s own pseudo-reality is no different than the thinking out of which
religion is born.
The human brain is far too complex for the human brain to understand and yet the mind struggles grasp its own essence.
It is no closer to doing that than it was ten thousand years ago.
Consciousness will never understand itself.

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