Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Conradi vs. Paget in Sydney, Austrailia

This debate may not be the most substantive or best argued one on the internets, but it is certainly a worthy listen. At least three things set it apart from the others:

1) Not the same old voices making the same exact arguments you've heard so many times before.
2) Not the usual audience, but rather a rowdy group of Aussie sceptics who laugh out loud.
3) Not the usual debate framing of vague proposition vs. its negation, but rather a head-to-head between two very different worldviews

(Bonus: Aussie accents!)

Paget promotes universal fine-tuning and makes an argument from Christian Scripture, basically saying that the texts make more sense in terms of historiography rather than mythmaking. Conradi does a fairly good job of picking apart Paget's arguments, and makes the case for withholding assent to any of Paget's generally theistic or specifically Christian claims.

Around 27 minutes in, Conradi spins out a parody of the major points of Christian dogma which is both spot-on and hilarious. That bit alone was worth the price of admission. Towards the end, though, he overplays the parallels between Jesus and the other dying-and-rising gods of the contemporary mystery cults, without so much as referencing original sources. That part was a bit embarrassing. Overall, though, it was a good performance from both sides.

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