Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Layfield & Tee vs. Tzortzis & Deen

Hamza Tzortis leads off by quoting Dr. Craig’s argument #1 (Kalam cosmological argument), borrowing so heavily therefrom that he occasionally goes beyond homage to something more like reenactment. He manages to waste a bit of time over actual infinities here, but otherwise he does a fairly good job. As usual with the Kalam, the argument is founded upon an invalid equivocation to get us from "begins to exist" in the usual sense of the phrase (rearrangement of matter into a novel form, over time, via natural forces) to a completely unique cosmological sense of the phrase.

Brian Layfield starts off with reminiscences of his childhood. (This is almost never a good sign.) He eventually gets around to a relatively robust presentation of the problem of human suffering, and throws in a few other tidbits.

Adam Deen focuses upon provides us something very much like Dr. Craig's argument number #3, an argument from the existence of something he calls “objective moral truth,” and just like Dr. Craig, the argument here merely assumes submission to Authority is the only sort of universal morality worth considering. Coming from a Muslim (one who submits to Allah) this is not particularly a particularly surprising view. Also, since neither Tzortis nor Deen credit Craig for their arguments, I must wonder about whether they think there are any objective moral truths to be had on the topic of plagiarism.

Robert Tee leads off, oddly enough, with radiometric dating of rocks and such, and goes on to make a several scientific arguments against creationism. I’m assuming that he is assuming that the theists in the room are primarily creationists, and for all I know he is correct about this. In any event, he gets nailed on cross-ex for taking this approach.

Overall, this event isn't worth watching, but it does serve one useful purpose, that is, as a demonstration that generic arguments for a Creator Deity work equally well for any flavor of monotheism. Of course, this implies that such arguments tell us so little about the nature of the One True God, that we would have to go far beyond them in order to embrace some particular faith. Even if the arguments of Tzortzis and Deen went through (and I've already shown why they fail) they would at best admonish us to have faith in the god of Spinoza, Paine, and Einstein, rather than the God of Abraham, Jesus, or Mohammad.

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