Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hitchens vs. D'Souza in Orlando, FL

Yet another debate between Hitchens and D'Souza, in which both debaters attempt to pump the intuitions of the audience as much as possible without making anything resembling a rigorous argument. They each deploy their usual rhetoric, Hitchens appealing to the human desire for liberty from tyranny, while D'Souza appeals primarily to the human desire for paternal love and blessing.

Here is an example of the sort of "argument" you get in this debate: Christianity is unique in claiming that God came down to Man, while all other religions are merely ways for Man to come to God. One might suppose D'Souza doesn't go in much for comparative mythology.

Here's another one: The sun will go out and the universe end in heat death, therefore it is clear that God did not design either the solar system or the universe. Bill Craig would take all of 30 seconds to dismantle this one, as indeed he did upon another occasion.

I've often wondered why popular debaters continue to use the same exact arguments over and over despite having been strongly rebutted either on paper or in person. I am supposing it is because they are more concerned with scoring points right then and there than they are with intellectual consistency in the long term.

I'm also discontent with the format of this debate, which is to give each speaker very short segments on specific topics. I'd much prefer more time for development of an argumentative framework upfront, and more discretion to the speakers on how to do so.

Overall, I'd not recommend this one, since each of these men have performed significantly better on other occasions.

1 comment:

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