Archsage

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Depthcharge has keenly asked for the Michael Sparkling debate thread to remain as professional as possible. Because of that, This thread is made for us to discuss, informally, the happenings of the debate between the two.

Link to The Now Complete Debate

Michael (P) vs Sparkling (N) "The Christian God Exists"

After their opening, rebuttal, and concluding statements are both done, I'll try to organize a formal Q&A session where we can ask each of the debaters particular question relating to the Debate topic or the subjects raised in their responses.

So keep all your debate comments in here, and leave the actual debate thread for Michael and Sparkling.

“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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Archsage

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 10:43:01 am »
I thought that Michael's opening response was pretty darn strong. I don't believe, however, that his arguments for Jesus being Lord (and not a Liar or Lunatic -- CS Lewis's Trilemma) were as sound as his TCA. He also did not address the, albeit silly, option of Jesus being merely Legend. But with the word limit, I can understand why it was so.

I'm curious to see how Sparkling will respond. He said he wasn't planning on using up the 3k words available, and he said he wasn't claiming any specific stance on his own. So Sparkling has put on the burden of rejecting Michaels TCA, Jesus's claims to Deity, and the actions of first century Christians.
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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Saibomb

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2011, 11:59:51 am »

Let's start with Islam. Word comes to a dude named Mohammad about God, and this new movement in the middle east. He shuts himself in a cave for six weeks, eating.... roots, dirt, mushrooms? When he comes out, he says and angel spoke to him! And gave him the word of God!

Nice, but I'd like to see some kind of second or third witness please. Oh yeah, one dude, and mushrooms.

LOL this killed me.

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LNC

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 01:57:35 pm »
Nice opening, Michael.  Very prosaic, but containing a very tight argument.  

LNC

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Lion IRC

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 06:49:17 pm »

"When nothing happens, nothing happens". ie. God standing still?


Pawn to E4? E5?


This user will NEVER be posting at Reasonable Faith Forum again.

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Jack

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 07:56:36 pm »
The most entertaining version of some of the worst arguments for theism I've heard, which wasn't a parody.

The challenge for sparkling will be not to look a lot more boring in contrast. This will be all the more difficult since the rebuttals to these kinds of arguments are so numerous and well known.

Also, in setting up such typical arguments like the TCA and Lewis' trilemma, it seems almost inevitable that regardless of which particular well-heard response is made, the theists will go "oh goodness, you're not trying that old canard are you?"

The biggest problem I have, and most atheists have I think, is the step from "the universe has a cause" to "the cause was a mind." In particular, the dichotomies set up by Michael don't seem like dichotomies to me. Also, the universe creating competition went straight over my head. This entire section of the argument seems like question begging extraordinaire.

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depthcharge623

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 08:47:59 pm »
If you admit that it went over your head, why exactly do you think you're in a position to criticize it?  I usually don't criticize the arguments I don't understand.

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Msheekha

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 10:47:11 pm »
May God bless you Michael and continue to do so brother.
The Assyrian Church of the East, the Church of martyrs.

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Michael S

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 11:16:50 pm »
I usually believe that debaters should stay out of the discussion thread until post debate, but there's a few things here that I wanted to comment on. I'll make a point of trying to refrain from talking about future posts in the debate, or strategies etc, and stick to what I consider to be good form / poor form.

noseeum wrote: The most entertaining version of some of the worst arguments for theism I've heard, which wasn't a parody.


Thanks! I... I think.

noseeum wrote: The challenge for sparkling will be not to look a lot more boring in contrast. This will be all the more difficult since the rebuttals to these kinds of arguments are so numerous and well known.


I'd actually caution Sparkling against trying to be funny and entertaining, unless he is that way naturally. Pretty much everyone on this forum knows I don't take myself seriously, so I can get away with it.

Trying to mimic another dudes style can be disastrous at the best of times, let alone when you're trying to win a debate. At this point, I'd just say 'Speak from the heart, speak intelligently, and be yourself'.

noseeum wrote: Also, in setting up such typical arguments like the TCA and Lewis' trilemma, it seems almost inevitable that regardless of which particular well-heard response is made, the theists will go "oh goodness, you're not trying that old canard are you?"


This. This is the comment that I really had to respond to. To simply dismiss an argument with 'Oh this one again, we've all heard it before, it's not convincing', but then refrain from engaging with the argument to show why it's flawed is not only intellectually lazy, but it's a little dishonest and suicide in a debate.

I'm not sure why you'd attribute to some of the theists in this forum, and especially to the theist in this debate.

Honestly, I always keep this tucked up my sleeve to pull out when an atheist tries this line on me "Oh, more theist tripe that could be pulled apart by a six year old", so that I can respond with "Well then, it should be easy for you to pull it apart now, shouldn't it?"

Also, the TCA is designed as a subtly different argument from the usual first cause or Kalam arguments, specifically to demonstrate why the responses to the usual theist arguments fail. Something I plan to demonstrate if Sparkling pulls out the usual atheist responses.

noseeum wrote: The biggest problem I have, and most atheists have I think, is the step from "the universe has a cause" to "the cause was a mind." In particular, the dichotomies set up by Michael don't seem like dichotomies to me.


Happy to engage on this with you post debate, but for now, I'll leave that for Sparkling to demonstrate, rather than helping or hindering his case outside of the arena.

noseeum wrote:  Also, the universe creating competition went straight over my head. This entire section of the argument seems like question begging extraordinaire.


I appreciate your honesty here. More than happy to go through it with you after the debate is over.

Also, this reminds me (addressed to everyone, and especially Sparkling), what kind of time limit are we putting on responses? That's one thing we didn't agree on before the debate started.
There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
The Dalai Llama walks into a Pizza shop and says "Can you make me one with everything?"

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Archsage

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2011, 12:09:48 am »
Yes, a time limit... Where is that Sparkling? Probably enjoying the festivities of the season.

   

    But I'd suggest that a time limit for the rebuttal section be thought up, at least. I personally was thinking 12 hours. It sounds long, but it accounts for differing time zones.

   

   I'd also suggest that for future debates the opening arguments be no more than 24 hours apart from each other.

   

   Conclusions can be much shorter, as they are more focused on wrapping things up, not really about rebutting your opponet. Is a 6 hour limit good here?

   

   Of course, the positive is to always go first.

   

   So it would be 24/12/12/6 hours? Over the course of 3 days (the remainder of the last day being for formal q&a)?
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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Archsage

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2011, 12:18:15 am »
To restate my proposal, future debates would go likee this:

   

   (1) Positive makes Opening Argument by specified Debate Date

   

   (2) Negative must post Opening Argument within 24 hours of (1)

   

   (3) Positive must post rebuttal 1 within 12 hours of (2)

   

   (4) Negative must post rebuttal 1 within 12 hours of (3)

   

   (5) Positive must post rebuttal 2 within 12 hours of (4)

   

   (6) Negative must post rebuttal 2 within 12 hours of (5)

   

   (7) Positive must post conclusion within 6 hours of (6)

   

   (8) Negative must post conclusion within 6 hours of (7)

   

   Is this format good? And I'm still thinking of how to run the formal Q&A section. Anyone have any ideas?
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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Michael S

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2011, 12:33:21 am »
Hah. I was thinking a week. This is much more exciting!
There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
The Dalai Llama walks into a Pizza shop and says "Can you make me one with everything?"

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Archsage

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2011, 12:48:03 am »
Perhaps for Sparkling's opening statement we could wait that long.

   

   But I think future debates should be more like events, and they should demand focus on the debaters. By making the time limit streamlined like this, it limits the entire debate to a maximum of 3 days, and makes it much more interesting to read. and look forward to. It is also a more definitive time period, putting actual pressure on participants to make their case.

   

   I was thinking about the Q&A, and I thought that the questions should be screened. But it should be done so by at least two people, to prevent bias. For example, in this debate now we would have two screeners for each side. Since I'm a Christian Theist I would screen Questions aimed towards the Negative side (for the atheist, Sparkling), and an atheist would be my partner, screening questions that are addressed to the Positive side (for you, the Theist). That way we'll cut through crud *and* prevent bias.

   

   Q&A's should be pm'd to the respective screeners from the start of the debate to sometime after the last conclusion (i'm not sure how long the Q&A will start after the last conclusion yet...). It would be the screeners job to prepare the best, and appropriate non-repeating list of questions to be asked to each speaker.

   

   Anyone have any suggestions or ideas to add?
“It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness..."  –Blaise Pascal

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bdsimon

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2011, 05:17:52 am »
Anyone have any suggestions or ideas to add?

I would say that if you have future debates that there be a strict time limit for the opening. If you agree to the format of a debate then you should be prepared immediately for your opening statement- it is not a response to your opponent's statement and large delays allow you to treat it as such which gives a rather large advantage to the person going second.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

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Lion IRC

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Michael vs Sparkling Debate Discussion - "The Christian God Exists"
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2011, 05:27:59 am »

For the Q&A why not let the debaters pick which questions they want to answer? Then there's no element of bias.

And the suspense is killling me but I think forfeit after a week is fair.
There was a debate on rationalskepticism.org which lasted for 6 months!
Neither side stuck to the agreed 7 day deadline.
Time pressure is part of the contest.

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