Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ahmed vs. Habermas at Cambridge University

This debate was outstanding, a geniune clash of intellectual titans.  

Ahmed leads with attacks the validity of any appeals to scholarly consensus, which rely heavily on faith that the speaker is neither miscontruing nor overgeneralizing from their sources, which are practially unverifiable to a lay audience during a spoken debate. He also lays out a handful of devastating logical arguments which militate in favor of skepticism with regard to the resurrection of Jesus. Habermas comes back with his usual approach from scholarly consensus, which falls a bit flat having been preemptorily undercut by Ahmed's arguments.

In the back and forth between the two debaters, we also saw Ahmed's erudition and methodological clarity on display and in sharp contrast to Habermas' appeal to the authority of New Testament scholarship. Even such a luminary as Habermas had some difficulty from being overwhelmed, though he put up the best possible scholarly case for his side of the argument (aside from a few bizarre arguments about near-death experiences).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shermer vs D'souza in Nashville, TN

This debate covers a lot of ground, but it has far more breadth than depth. Michael Shermer is almost always careful and circumspect in his assertions and arguments, while Dinesh D'Souza is almost always overreaching in his arguments and hasty in his inferences. This event provided no glaring exceptions to these general rules.