Friday, November 20, 2009

Ehrman vs. D’Souza at UNC

I purchased this debate so that you will never have to do so. Seriously, don't bother, there are far better debates available entirely for free online, many of which include video.

Ehman does a fine job of unpacking the problem of suffering, just as he has done in plenty of other debates. D'Souza, to his credit, dose a fine job of muddling the issues by bringing in a few facially plausible analogies to childrearing and parenting, along with the bizarre idea that a decent respect for human free will obliges one to stand back and allow rapists and murderers to act as they will. He makes it sound better than that, of course.

The rebuttal period was lamentably short, such that no one really digs into the problems of whether the free-will defense is soundly grounded upon facts about the world, although Ehrman runs a clever rebuttal based on the putative nature of the Christian afterlife. Moreover, the soul-building theodicy is put forth but never really examined. There just wasn't enough time to do so.

Overall, both speakers do a decent job, given severe time constraints, but they never really get beyond the first level arguments and hinting at a few possible theodicies. Best take a pass on this one and find another one of Ehrman's several debates on this topic.

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