Monday, October 12, 2009

Lewis vs. Tzortzis in the UK

Hamza Andreas Tzortzis has clearly watched William Lane Craig and adopted his most effective arguments, that is, those which atheists have had the most trouble refuting on stage (as opposed to in print). He does an excellent job of presenting a Kalam Cosmological argument and a variation on the fine-tuning argument.

Richard Lewis makes the typical rookie mistake of going into rebuttal mode right off the bat, instead of giving his own affirmative arguments for metaphysical naturalism. Minus several style and effectiveness points for that. He does get around eventually to the problem of evil, but he even approaches that as if rebutting theodicies instead of outlining the argument in a positive way. Also, I must say that a few his rebuttals are indeed logically cogent, thought they are neither presented in their strongest form nor with a sense of personal confidence.

Instead of having designated rebuttal periods, they go straight into questions, which might explain why Lewis could not resist the opportunity to rebut during his opening time. Alas, adopting this format loads the dice even more heavily against Rick Lewis, on account of the highly devout audience.

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

Believer rating: 4.5 stars

Unbeliever rating: 2.5 stars

1 comment:

T said...

I agree with this assessment, but still think there's not quite enough stars for Lewis here. True, if it was a standard debate one could say he was just a mess and lost; but it seems to me things were a little less formal, and in the setting he did a very good job at rebutting, even if not really putting forward an argument for himself very strongly.

It is striking how Tzortzis sounds almost exactly like Craig (albeit with more humour, and less stiffness); that being said, I thought Lewis did a lot better than most at systematically answering point-by-point the theist arguments made --- though in a low key sort of way.

At any rate, it was a very civil debate... which was nice.