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Can this please happen

dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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11/21/2014 2:06:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hamid: " 'Actually, I would love to see Richard Dawkins take you on.' - Dave M.

"So would I, because I think it's possible for Dawkins and Langan to find common ground...not on the issue of God or evolution, that really would not be a productive conversation at this point probably, and it would be a waste of both their times, and there are vested interests in keeping the conversation simplistic. Rather it should be on the topic of simulation in life and the universe."

Hamid, the notion that Richard Dawkins and I should get together in a spirit of reconciliation is touching. However, although I'd be perfectly willing to participate in such an exercise (especially if I could do it over the net - this ranch is over a hundred miles from the nearest major airport), Dawkins would not. Being a darling of the academic establishment, he is in a position to hide himself away inside the ivory tower from those who disagree with him, especially nonacademics, and will almost certainly do so in my case. Why? Because his pet issue is the question of the existence of God, and he very well understands that on this particular question, it's not the Discovery Institute or William Lane Craig about whom he most needs to worry.

Against (e.g.) Craig, Dawkins would be up against a very capable debater who knows well how to blunt and deflect standard attacks on theism. Because Dawkins himself is a very capable debater who knows how to deliver such attacks with great wit and aplomb, the likely outcome would be a draw ... just as it usually is in such contests, with neither side having a clear and decisive advantage. But against me, Dawkins would be far more likely to emerge the clear loser. That's because I have a well-developed logical picture of reality, and this is just the kind of advantage that could break the symmetry.

Let me put this as succinctly as possible: in any fair, content-based debate against me regarding Dawkins' pet issue, the existence or nonexistence of God, he would lose. He would lose even if he joined forces with Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Larry Krauss, Steven Pinker, and a slew of other top (atheistic) academics skimmed from the cream of the university system. Why would they lose? Because, despite any and all assumptions to the contrary, they lack a well-developed logical understanding of reality, and any fair, content-based debate is ultimately decided by logic.

Many people are under the illusion that Dawkins and company possess a logic-based picture of the world. But they certainly do not. If such a discussion were allowed to proceed without content-free polemics, rhetorical diversions, playing to audience bias, staged disruptions, and so on, this could be unequivocally demonstrated. In fact, it would be a shut-out. In very short order, I'd be washing up while Dawkins and his friends pondered that which haunts their dreams: the new prospects for logical theism and world religious unity unleashed by their fondness for atheistic grandstanding.

No, I wouldn't be looking for a debate between Dawkins and me. He's simply not up to it. Besides, it would amount to something very much like "cruelty to academics", and who wants to be guilty of that? ;-)
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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11/21/2014 3:26:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
While Langan seems to be being knowingly self-serving by saying that he knows he'd win, I think it actually comes off as a negative, since being that he would clearly judge this himself, and has already decided it, it seems to portray a person with no capacity nor willingness to change their mind or rethink their position under any circumstance.

We can be quite sure that this 'definitive win' would only occur, as it already has, inside the minds of Langan himself and a select few followers, while to the rest of the population his arguments would remain nonsensical.

I mean, what does a statement like this mean:

"Why would they lose? Because, despite any and all assumptions to the contrary, they lack a well-developed logical understanding of reality, and any fair, content-based debate is ultimately decided by logic."

Other than literally, "I will win because I'm right about everything"?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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11/21/2014 1:40:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/21/2014 3:26:42 AM, sdavio wrote:
While Langan seems to be being knowingly self-serving by saying that he knows he'd win, I think it actually comes off as a negative, since being that he would clearly judge this himself, and has already decided it, it seems to portray a person with no capacity nor willingness to change their mind or rethink their position under any circumstance.

That doesn't make any sense. He knows what arguments they'd make and is saying he could effectively counter them.


We can be quite sure that this 'definitive win' would only occur, as it already has, inside the minds of Langan himself and a select few followers, while to the rest of the population his arguments would remain nonsensical.

That's because your exposure to Langan is most likely limited to the CTMU paper, which leads you to believe he is unable to communicate on a level that most people can understand. I can tell you right now that's false. When he says he'd win, he means he'd win in a way that any reasonable person could recognize.


I mean, what does a statement like this mean:

"Why would they lose? Because, despite any and all assumptions to the contrary, they lack a well-developed logical understanding of reality, and any fair, content-based debate is ultimately decided by logic."

Other than literally, "I will win because I'm right about everything"?

He's just saying "I would win because my understanding of reality is far more sophisticated, allowing me to get at the root of the issue rather than just scratch the surface with arguments that lack a fundamental model of the universe."
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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11/21/2014 2:45:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/21/2014 2:31:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Sooo.... Are we going to debate?

I don't feel like doing another "does God exist" debate. I'd rather have a debate on the merits of a particular argument for God or some God-related issue. Do you have anything in mind?
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/21/2014 2:55:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/21/2014 2:45:58 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/21/2014 2:31:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Sooo.... Are we going to debate?

I don't feel like doing another "does God exist" debate. I'd rather have a debate on the merits of a particular argument for God or some God-related issue. Do you have anything in mind?

Nothing in particular. List a few topics then and I'll pick the one that bores me the least, I can do most of them though except moral ones (since I am doing debates on those now and I mum getting aneurysms...).
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/21/2014 2:58:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/21/2014 2:45:58 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/21/2014 2:31:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Sooo.... Are we going to debate?

I don't feel like doing another "does God exist" debate. I'd rather have a debate on the merits of a particular argument for God or some God-related issue. Do you have anything in mind?

You can probably debate those ontological arguments you presented on the forums a whole ago. There were two of them, I forget
Philocat
Posts: 728
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11/22/2014 11:04:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I must confess, I hadn't heard of Chris Langan before, but after now researching him it would be very interesting to watch such an intelligent theist debate Dawkins, who is famously intellectually snobbish towards theists.
It would be even better to have such a debate over the Internet, to maximise the effectiveness of argument over rhetoric.