Really…I would have expected the crowd to be mostly born-again Christians.
Oh my god! I can’t believe this is on the internet. It was a day from hell.
I was there. I was the Fairlane’s technical director at the time. It’s a big banquet center and hotel in Dearborn, MI which has a huge Muslim population. We hosted Jim Zogby’s AAI and other Middle East related groups. Dearborn is where presidential candidates come to reach out to Muslims.
This was a technical disaster. The Tawheed people were very nice but the crew was not well prepared. They wanted to handle everything themselves and left me to following them around and making sure no one got hurt. As in tripped, clobbered, electrocuted or crushed.
We packed nearly 900 people in that room and prayed that the Fire Marshall was not one of them. By noon, it was sweltering. If the audience looks a little confused, it might be because they are listening to two PA systems that were out of sync with each other. The sound was unintelligible in the back half of the room. They did insist. They also insisted that prayer at the beginning be heard at Sammy Hagar levels. The mic cords were all too short. They kept messing up the pipe and drape.
Many more people sat in other rooms where the sound and video were piped in. Their sound was 2 seconds later than the picture and barely audible. Other rooms were set up for prayers with countless bed sheets.
I got to hear a lot of the debate and I was unimpressed with the atheist team. The crowd was not on their side. I could have done better. Any of us could have done better. The audience and all the attendees were polite, well-behaved and displayed admirable patience and endurance.
This did clean up nicely on tape. It almost looks normal. I’ve been skipping through it. So far, thankfully, I do not appear in it. I was hiding in the office reading the Harris forum.
I enjoyed the atheists, but I didn’t quite get their direction. Somehow, they found themselves trapped in a dialog about theoretical cosmology…. which the audience could never decipher unless the were hip to physics and such… so they are left to simply trust the words of their favorite speaker.
In the opening statements, the atheists both made some good points, but that was left in the dust as they allowed the theist to dictate the direction of the argument with accusations.
There were some obvious things that needed to be said.
The most glaring non-remark was this:
Given that the theist seemed to require great evidence for any points made by the atheist, why do they seem to abandon that requirement when they say “god did it!”?
I appreciate your story. I was amazed at the numbers of muslims…and Rajabali was doing all he could to resist pulling the crowd into a frenzy of protest. You could tell that the crowd would have done his bidding if he decided to launch them into action.