Of battles and wars

17 02 2009

Christopher Hitchens will be debating William Lane Craig in April on the question: “Does God Exist?”

And the apologetics community is creaming its collective trousers. Craig is apparently a very skilled debater, so they’re expecting him to trounce Hitchens. Ergo more souls won for Jesus! Ergo more idiots rolling around on the floor speaking in tongues! Yea!

Hint: it doesn’t work that way. Perhaps it does work that way in the authoritarian-follower universe (call it the “argumentum ad D’Souzam“), but atheists don’t consider Hitchens their pastor or Pope, you won’t find Hitchens’ conversion to fundamentalist Christianity (should that eventuate) precipitating the conversion of the heathens en masse, and there will still be atheists around to scrutinise Craig’s arguments even if Hitchens is defeated. (Some would argue it wouldn’t be the first time.) An apologist defeating an atheist in a public debate only demonstrates that the apologist is a more skillful debater than the atheist. It does not constitute evidence that a deity exists. To paraphrase Al Swearengen, you may want to write that down and stick it over your one good fucking eye.

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Kohn-descending: The Spirit of Things on secularism

16 12 2007

It strikes me that the most strident reaction to the recent work of atheism’s “Big Four” (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens) has come from so-called moderate or liberal theists. For example, Terry Eagleton produced a scathing critique of The God Delusion soon after its release, in the blog Stanley Fish writes for the New York Times he disparagingly refers to Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens as “The Three Atheists,” and earlier this year Archbishop Rowan Williams himself got stuck into Dawkins. Sean has already posted on Tom Frame’s attack on secularism in <i>The Australian</i>.

Closer to home, ABC Radio National’s Religion Report and Rachael Kohn of The Ark and The Spirit of Things have been quite hostile to atheism. Kohn demonstrates this admirably on a recent episode of The Spirit of Things, “Secular Alternative?,” which in spite of its title–yes, Rachael, “secular” and “atheist” have different meanings–turns out to be another vehicle for Kohn to bag (her strawman definition of) atheism, either directly or via those she interviews. Read the rest of this entry »