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Re: [atheists-27] Challenge to debate

From: Don W.
Sent on: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:11 PM
I was fearing that the preacher who challenged me to a debate was backing out because I was getting no responses to the messages that I left.
However, today I got a phone call that started, “This is the voice of God. Why have you been running from me.” It was my preacher. He was thinking that he was being humorous. My thought was, “Oh boy! I've got a real nutcase here.” I almost hung up on him.
He also said that he was still enthusiastic about having the debate. Negotiations about getting it set up clearly have not been very speedy to date but we now will be getting together at the end of the month to see what we can plan. He is a Deacon at his church and he will have time to discuss what we might do with the other leaders there.
 
Don

From: Chad <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Monday, August 19,[masked]:55 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Challenge to debate

wish Howard Cosell was still alive to moderate this event.
chad
Sent from my NOOK

Paul <[address removed]> wrote:

Don,
If this debate happens, please record it for those of us that can't make the trip.
Sent from my Kindle Fire


From: Don Wharton <[address removed]>
Sent: Mon Aug 19 00:29:56 EDT 2013
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Challenge to debate

Well we have an enormous enthusiasm for our possible debate.  We will certainly follow through if he follows through on his end.  I fear that he will figure out that he taking on more than he can handle and will back off. 
 
I read the transcript of the video that Martin recommended.  It is faster than viewing the video.  The last sentence:
 
 
He is quite correct.  Our respect enables not just this evil.  An entire range of evil such as the suppression of gay rights, the reproductive rights of women, etc.  I can't prove that it is the critical incremental support for our excessive "investments" in our recent wars but I strongly suspect that is also the case.
 
Don
 
 

From: Martin Snowden <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Cc: Don Wharton <[address removed]>
Sent: Sunday, August 18,[masked]:48 PM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Challenge to debate

Don,

I would like to come to the debate, should it happen, as I expect many here in this list would. Perhaps you could reserve sufficient seating should things progress?

Also, your mention of Dawkins and perceived "insults" here reminded me of a favorite lecture of his, a Ted lecture now over 11 years old, where he introduces his support of "Militant Atheism" and why he thinks it is necessary. I think Dawkins makes a fine argument here, describing why treating religion, and its adherents with "respect" is a cultural norm that should be broken, and culminating in his closing remark of the lecture: "Let's all stop being so damn respectful!

Interestingly this classic lecture also discusses a couple of other topics you recently raised here, namely:
  • "Religious Faith and Intelligence": Note Dawkins discusses a similar meta-analysis done years ago by Mensa
  • "Atheist vs Bright": While Dawkins does not mention "Bright" here, maybe because the lecture was older than "Bright" came under his radar, he discusses alternative names, such as "Agnostic", "Non-theist", and "Naturalist". Of these he gives argument for favoring "atheist". Of course "Freethinker" wasn't on his radar either, bah-humbug.
I don't think anyone should be rude or insulting for the sake of it, but neither should religious views be treated with the respectful kid gloves that all too often atheists wear in debate (other than the militants like Dawkins and dear-departed Hitchens of course).

Anyway, it is a classic lecture and well worth anyone here spending 30 minutes viewing it, especially if you have never seen it or just distantly remember it:

http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism.html

Martin.

On 8/17/2013 1:29 PM, Don Wharton wrote:
I think the notion on their side is to publicize their church.  Frankly it would not bother me much if they were to get more members out of the event.  They are so far on the innocous side of the religious spectrum that little societal harm would come from that. 
 
There will be a number of significant real differences.  I think they want to make the point that Dawkins and similar thinkers are "insulting" them.  I will need to make it clear that confronting false truth claims is not a personal insult.  It is just part of a process of moving society toward a more moral evaluations of outcomes.  I think on their side there is a significant support for post-modernism, everyone's personal story deserving of equal respect.  The scientific method does not allocate equal respect to all truth claims.
 
Don

From: friend of Smokey the Bear mailto:[address removed]
To: [address removed]
Sent: Saturday, August 17,[masked]:09 AM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Challenge to debate

what will be the point of the debate?


On Sat, Aug 17, 2013 at 2:01 AM, Don Wharton <[address removed]> wrote:
I was attending a play in the basement of a nearby church tonight.  One of the people from the church noted that they even had non-theistic members.  I decided to talk to the person and tell him how much I appreciated their inclusion of non-theists.
 
Well it turned out that the person preached at the church and he confessed that he wanted to debate Richard Dawkins.  I confessed that I might be the closest he could find in a local DC atheist activist to represent the Dawkins perspective.  He basically threw down the debate guantlet and I graciously agreed to debate him. 
 
The church is very liberal, have many gays and gay friendly people as members.  They are clearly not the fundies that are wrecking havoc in the wider society.  I told him that our debate might be more like a love fest than any standard debate.  He did not mind.  He did say that while the church included non-theists that most of the members were theists.
 
We will see if this really happens.
 
Don
 
 




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