Atheist Face-Off: Part Two

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On Thursday, ABC showed the first half of the debate on "Does God Exist" between Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron and Brian Sapient & Kelly. We've compiled the video from the second half of the debate. Check it out...

First half of the atheist debate is here along with some behind-the-scenes footage.


Here's a promo ABC is running - quite hilarious:


Here is the Nightline (HEAVILY EDITED) version.



What happened in the parking lot and behind the scenes??



Here is the second half - with less editing and more reality - you can see what they did to water down things...


Part 6: (beginning of second half)



Part 7:


Part 8: Questions from the audience:


Part 9:





 

Posted by Sam Hartman on 2007-05-12 02:27:14
Thank you so much for posting this!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-13 13:31:47
Thankyou for posting more footage! I swear Way of the Master is only showing the instances where Kirk and Ray are in the highs of their spiels. This is of course right before being debunked, but still it gives the impression that they "won" in a sense.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-19 17:22:14
This was great. Thanks for posting. I can't believe they used Einstein as an example of those believing in God. It is well documented, that in fact he did not believe in a personal god. When he talked of god (and is thought to be be rather cheeky in this way), he was actually talking about nature, and the laws of Physics.
Thanks for nothing guys...
Posted by Sean on 2007-05-25 22:13:29
Well, it's great that guys (and girls) like RRS are out there fighting the good fight, but man, I've seen Penn and Teller and James Randi come off as more friendly and less of a shrill asshole than Chris does in a lot of this footage. Especially the UNEDITED stuff. When you make Randi look like a nice guy, you know you have some rage problems. Anger is good to fuel your passion, but Anger absolutley turns off anyone who hasn't decided yet, and let's face it, the only people who might have been swayed by anything in the "debate" are people who haven't made up their minds yet.
Posted by Luigi Novi on 2007-05-25 23:17:03
Hey, that photo at the top looks familiar! (Thanks, guys!)

During Todd Friel's interview with Brian Sapient outside the church after the debate, Friel makes several comments of bizarre reasoning. From these comments, we can infer several things:

-Sapient hates Jesus, simply because he doesn't believe that he existed.

-Sapient hates Christians and Christianity, simply because he doesn't share their beliefs, and wants to present a dissenting opinion that the mainstream media doesn't often air.

-If you disagree with an organization, movement or point of view, and want to educate people as to your dissenting point of view, it must mean that you hate the people who hold that view, because, as Friel says, Sapient would not be fighting against something he doesn't hate (I guess that means that Friel hates each opponent of every politician he votes for, and for that matter, every one who disagrees with any movements he is invovled with).

-No Christians are persecuting anyone, nor are any atheists being persecuted because they're not coming to Sapient's house to burn it down.

-Any discussion of abortion is the same as a discussion of late-term abortion, and thus, if you're pro-choice, it automatically means that you are for late-term abortions.

-In order to have evidentary support for your conclusions, you have to have an encyclopedic command of every fact and name that you've come across in your research and used in forming those conclusions, and be able to cite it at the drop of a dime when being interviewed on the street of a city far from your home. If you cannot do this, then your conclusions are without support.
Fun with photoshop
Posted by Sean. on 2007-05-26 05:40:17
It wouldn't be very hard to edit that top photo to make Kirks give the "crazy" eyes look to something else in that picture instead of Sapient.......

Right...like I'm the only guy who's been looking at 'em...yowza!
Posted by Pile on 2007-05-28 00:02:50
ROFL...

Design or no design?
Posted by Tr1nity on 2007-05-28 00:25:14
The argument for design rests in the realm of specificity and complexity of combined systems that work in concert resulting in a task or tasks occurring that could not occur if the information were altered. By itself it is not sufficient to prove design with these factors alone, but what must also be shown is that the information could not form as it is without the intervention of an organizing force sufficient to place the information in the specifically complex system observed. For instance a hole in the ground with a specific size contains a certain amount of water in it. This is a specifically complex system in that the hole is a specific size and water within it fits the perameters of the hole exactly as it is observed to be doing making it a complex two tiered system. The hole forms the perameters that define the amount of water it can hold and the water dutifully fills these perameters perfectly. Now the observation of this system does prove that it does exist, but does it prove it was made to work as it does? After all the hole does in fact hold the water so a task is being fulfilled that could not be fulfiled if either the water or the hole were removed? Of course not! Design involves intent and a hole with water in it by itself does not demand intent so therfore does not demand design of it. Certainly further srutiny of the hole itself could be made that may find evidence that the hole was made by forces outside whose conjunction could not be explained outside of intentional making of it, for instance scrapings along the inside of the hole suggesting a hard implemet of some sort applied to the edges of the hole. If a hard implement consistent with the scrapings could not be found in the area of the hole or within it or if found, could not be found to have the ability within itself or with the undirected aid of the surrounding measurable discernable phenomena to have made the markings, and perhaps formed the hole by itself, then while the found implement could be argued to be the causing factor of the hole another force must have existed that manipulated the implement in the way that would cause the implement to form the markings inside the hole. Obviously if no implement is found then you need both the implement and the directive force required to cause the implement to form the scrapings. Without a force or system that could have formed the hole and with the scrapings being evident the specificity and complexity stepped up a notch to a 4 tiered system now we have a hole with water and scrapings within the hole showing an implement (present or not) was involved with the creation of the holes perameters that the water dutifully continues to fill. Given this much information in the absence of an evident force or system capable of causing the observed phenomena it is then probable that the hole was made as it is with intent, but it does not demand that the water is a part of the intent of the hole water system as it can be observed that rain could unintentionally fill the hole as it is found. Further other observable phenomena exists concerning the nature of water and its tanacious ability to fill holes as part of its natural capabilities. So the peramters of the hole do determine the amount of water held but do not determine waters ability to fill it. The force required to make water fill the hole exists within the specifically complex system that makes up what water observably is. Water by itself has the capability to form itself to the peramters of the hole without the evident need of intent to do so therfore no designer required as intent demands a designer. The hole on the other hand shows intent becuase implements don't make scrapings without being directed to do so. Direction equals intent equals a designer.

Now then one hole with some spurious scrapings may be evidence that the hole was made depending upon the nature of the scrapings and the likelyhood that the scrapings came about during the formation of the hole, but 30 holes all in one area each with the same scrapings would be further evidence of intent. The holes all having matching perameters both winhin themselves and there locations to one another adds more evidence of intent of the holes and therefore their design. The holes forming the word HELLO would be even MORE evidence of intent. At no point can you say definitively that the system was designed, just at some point you DECIDE to ACCEPT that the hole system was intentionally made as it is observed to be. You would be right to do so, because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for an implement to scrape inside of holes without INTENT becuase scraping implements do not move themselves around. The force/system needed to bring the interface of the implement with the ground is part of a very short list of discernable obeservable phenomena that drops to exactly one thing if all others are found to be absent and that one is of course a sentient designer or a human being. Only humans use implements to make holes.

So to finish, life systems are more specifically complex than a series of holes spelling the word HELLO. In fact I don't think we can find an equivocation that would be satisfactory, maybe you could say a similar form of complexity might exist if you were to find that every galaxy in the universe looked at from the right angle formed the encyclopedia britannica 1973 edition (including pictures). Perhaps that would be similar in specificity and complexity of information found in living systems? I think the further existence of "will" trumps that even, but... Anyways... we further know that life systems have not always existed on this planet, so they did in fact come about. As we are sentient self aware creatures we can observe phenomena and TO DATE there is no observable discernable phenomena capable of creating life systems, but its intentional creation is evident by its specifically complex nature as it being MADE or FORMED cannot be explained by any other observable discernable force other than making. Implements do not move themselves around and matter does not move itself into the formation of life systems. Both systems REQUIRE a directed intentional force to form the resulting phenomena and man did not form himself. The evidence DEMANDS that ANOTHER creator does exist just as the scrapings DEMAND that an implement capable of making the scrapings must exist.

Or more simply put a painting demands there be a painter regardless of whether or not you can interview him.
Jesus the easy going faith
Posted by Tr1nity on 2007-05-28 01:01:41
I think that Kirk and Ray have a very skewed view of what is and is not permissable. I'll go with Kelly's argument about Jesus and forgivness. However I cannot see how ignoring the 10 commandments will somehow save society. I mean which one of them is counter to positive social growth?

People taught to answer only to themselves will inevitably take there own counsel as it regards there actions towards you.
A mile a step at a time
Posted by Tr1nity on 2007-05-28 01:31:02
Steps take up space and a mile is a measurement of space, so eventually you will get a mile of space used up if you keep walking. Evolution is an unknown process as it cannot be observed. It's peramters are therefore unknown so no measurment of "evomiles" exists. As such the existence of microvariations do not mean that so many of them equals a "macro evomile". The association of the two that X number of micro variations equals "X macro vatriations" does not exist as the process of evolution remains unobserved.

Using existing phenomena and their states as evidence of evolutions activities is assuming evolutions existence a priori. To have scientifically observable results of a process you must have a material reason explainable from within the process itself for the phenomena to be a result of that process. As we have no empirically observable evolutionary process we can have have no scientifically derived phenomena, therefore earth's biota cannot be used as evidence of evolution in any scientific sense.
Posted by harpoonflyby on 2007-06-12 01:31:14
Tr1nity you have just debunked all of history with your rationale. Science cannot also not be used to test that any facet of our history as any of us knows it actually occured, in an experiment. Therefore you are willing to support for any "believing" purposes that history did not occur. Do we not have both organic and inorganic markers of history, such as large trees that do not appear as such instantaneously, large craters and deep canyons, thes do not deny that a history is out there somewhere in time. If there is enough evidence left behind, then you can begin to draw more and more reasonable conclusions about a hypothesis, even if you cannot prove it in an experiment
History Debunked?
Posted by Tr1nity on 2007-06-19 19:12:42
I agree (I think) with what you just wrote, but I'm not sure I see the connection.

If you are saying that because science cannot be used to prove historic events (documented ones I assume) actually occurred as documented then I would agree that it is limited. Archaeology has its strengths and weaknesses.

I'm not sure I agree that my logic carried over into this area automatically would cause a debunking of all history to occur. It would certainly limit provability (is that a word?) You can believe un provable things but you should be responsible in that you make honest efforts to take into account all available information regarding the believed in events or things if you choose to actually believe in them. This is called rational thought.

I think you may have been offering that I am stating that unprovable equals non existence.

I would say this; left within the realm of the natural as currently understood by mankind the force of evolution as defined cannot account for the creation of living systems from non living matter.

I further offer that evolutions definitions of cause/effect are presently and utterly dependent upon the imagination of the observer being that they are completely without discernable natural progressions. Even the existence of progressions is an invention of the mind absent from one single solitary natural discernable phenom to support their existence.

In conclusion I will offer this: If a natural system cannot be discerned as existing then that system does not exist until such time that discernable phenomena becomes evident. Anything coming from something that does not exist is in fact an impossibility. From nothing nothing comes. So once you remove the impossible from the equation what you have left, regardless of how improbable it may seem, is the truth.

Perhaps you will say you are still looking for this natural force and believe it can be found. I offer that using your imagination to define this force is a fundamental mistake that will actually keep you from finding it. Look at what "is" and go from there.
Evolution can be observed
Posted by Pile on 2007-06-20 12:45:03
"Evolution is an unknown process as it cannot be observed."

That statement is 100% false.

Evolution is a fact. It can be observed. If you have a child, take a look at that child. Notice how the child has inherited traits from both parents. That's called EVOLUTION!
Kelly
Posted by Seth on 2007-06-24 19:19:25
I agree with you, but Jesus H. Christ, the way you present your argument is detrimental to the argument you are making.

The way you win these kinds of arguments is to, ironically, be more Christ-like than the other side. That means not coming into the debate with an attitude and leaving the condescension's at the door.

Perhaps just being more calm when you call god a "megalomaniacal tyrant" would help. No need to declare it as if you are god him/herself, delivering judgment.
Posted by Pile on 2007-06-24 23:14:28
Huh?

Why would I want to be more "Christ-like" in the process of arguing that Christ is a figment of someone's imagination?
Posted by B H Johnson on 2007-07-01 21:20:23
 
I would like to highlight a couple of the more amusing comments from Kirk Cameron regarding his 'understanding' of biology and evolution. He stated that “we have a Website..., it's called intelligentdesignversusevolution.com; it offers ten thousand dollars to anyone who can present a genuine LIVING transitional form”!? How convenient that they choose to restrict any evidence to LIVING transitional forms; I guess that rules out fossil evidence. Should this offer be anything other than some sort of ill-conceived antic then I must surmise that such blatantly deceptive gimmickry is obviously intended to impress their fellow theists and little else.

Furthermore, Mr. Cameron states “DNA are microscopic strands containing DIGITAL information...” and “that whole thing is packed with genetic, encoded DIGITAL information...” It appears that future as predicted by Ray Kurzweil as well as many transhumanists may already be here! There is nothing “digital” about genetic information, DNA or any biological structure or process.

With respect to the (unedited) debate I felt Mr. Bashir performed reasonably well. The arguments and claims, i.e. “proof,” asserted by Mr. Cameron and Mr. Comfort are no different than those posited by Kent “Dr. Dino” Hovind, William Dembski, and other insular theistic dogmatists that rely on the sophistry and religious propaganda. For anyone with a modicum of scientific understanding these same old specious arguments and banal claims, which have been repeatedly and thoroughly refuted, hold as much water as a sieve. And – as it always has been and always will be – faith is all the theist will ever have to rebut science and truth.
 
Suggested improvements & sources
Posted by Xantippes on 2007-07-20 08:10:21
First, a note to the creationists. Please watch this (a Roman Catholic biologist speaking about intelligent design):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg
--------------------------------------------------

Ray and Kirk utterly failed to "scientifically prove god exists", as they claimed they could. Their ridiculous assertions and infantile, inaccurate "arguments" would be laughable if they weren't so painfully ignorant. All they produced were a bunch of cutesy little analogies (fallacies) with no actual evidence.

RRS overall demonstrated a better understanding of the issues, but they failed miserably in several key points, I think. And, some of these points were EASILY predictable, too. (I was also not impressed with their conduct, nor with the atheists in the audience---very caustic.)


I do not mean the following to be an attack on the RRS. I am an atheist myself, so think of this as some friendly advice for the future. :)

----------
This post ended up being ridiculously longer than I had intended. For that, I apologize. Here are the two most important points to take away from it, but I significantly (and importantly) expound below:

1) Maintain an exaggeratedly polite and professional demeanor (as opposed to the New Scientist guy mentioned in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2xGIwQfik - LOL).

2) Stick to extremely well-documented, specific facts (and, similarly, soundly logical arguments). In other words, do even more research than you clearly did, and ONLY mention the rock-solid stuff.
----------

Specifically, I would have liked to have seen the following RRS improvements:


1) Maintain a much higher level of respect in general demeanor IN SPITE OF the idiotic "arguments" being used by Ray and Kirk. By way of more specific example, I believe Kelly was more hurtful than helpful to the debate. It's not that she didn't know her stuff reasonably well; she did. It's that her behavior, both verbal and nonverbal, was sarcastic and condescending. Sapient slipped-up a bit, but he was more respectful overall (except in the parking-lot interview, in which case the other guy was being an ass, too). As stupid as it is to have to admit, it is nonetheless true that it is VERY important in debates to maintain an impressive, professional demeanor. It HUGELY influences perception and success.


2) The "missing link" argument was so predictable as to be virtually guaranteed to arise. It's inexcusable to have come unprepared for it, with no specific examples. I have some suggestions for you to learn more about to use in the future as specific examples:

2a) Read about Cetacean (whale) evolution. It's a beautifully contiguous transitional line-up, from pakicetids through such things as ambulocetus natans and protocetids, on through the modern whales.

2b) Watch the Dr Ken Miller lecture (and subsequent Q & A) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg (most of 2 hours in length, but excellently presented), in which he demolishes "intelligent design". You may get some useful things from throughout the lecture (e.g. Behe admitting astrology into "the new science definition"; or specific microbiological evolutionary examples), but I particularly would like to point out this: a few minutes from the end of the Q & A, Dr Miller gives two specific MODERN (e.g. within 65 years) examples of evolutionary adaptation in action.

2c) Read about the PROCESS of fossilization; then, pre-suppose evolution to be true (continuously changing species), and then "predict" what would be EXPECTED to be in the fossil record. (i.e. Fossilization occurs rarely, only for certain types of animals (i.e. not usually soft-bodied organisms), and in far-flung "random" locations which must be searched for and found. It's EXPECTED that only certain "stair-step" points along the continuum would be preserved and discovered.)

2d) Related to (2b), but possibly a bit less related to this debate, read the Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District decision written by Judge Jones. It's remarkably readable, entertaining, and interesting... and illuminating. If nothing else, it may have given you insight into the mindsets of your opponents.


3) The "atheism vs morality" issue was another entirely predictable point. You should have had specific examples more readily available, such as:

3a) Gregory S. Paul's paper ("Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies") from a couple of years ago, in which he compiled independent data from numerous sources and clearly showed that there is a correlation (but not necessarily causation) between religiosity and social dysfunction. If nothing else, this proves "giving up religion DOES NOT automatically lead to social dysfunction", as most religious people seem to implicitly assume.

3b) It is at least good that you found the Sam Harris citation regarding modern secular countries and health indicators. (But, it would have been far better to have had this more readily available on the spot.) Also, when giving Sweden (amongst others) as an example, you should have stuck strictly to the question posed (atheism), rather than switching to another (evolution). It came across as slightly similar to Comfort's "cancer/suffering" nuttiness.

3c) Learn about game theory. It may not sound serious, but I assure you it is hard science. It studies interactions of entities and the successfulness of various "strategies" within "societies". It has powerful implications for evolutionary behavior and perhaps even secular morality. (For example, one may run simulations of various entities using differing strategies and interactions, and see who "wins". Possible strategies include the Golden Rule, Silver Rule, Bronze Rule, Iron Rule, "Tit for Tat", and so forth.)

3d) Ask what morals the Israelites supposedly abided by when crossing the Sinai peninsula (prior to receiving the 10 Commandments). Why didn't they just implode in chaotic, orgiastic murder-sprees?


4) There were some other issues that could have been handled quite a bit more smoothly as well, but some of that falls under (1), as simply maintaining professional demeanor. A bit more to the point: it would have been better to stick more to hard facts. For example:

4a) If they mock the Big Bang, point out that it is directly implied by such things as background microwave radiation and red shift. It's not really speculatory.

4b) When they mocked evolution so ridiculously, simply point out that 150 years of vigorous scientific research trying to DISPROVE evolution has met with failure, and that it's predictions (have some specific ones ready; e.g. Dr Miller's lecture) have time and again been proven true, and that it's explanatory power is used throughout many disciplines (e.g. drug design and disease control, but it also perfectly meshes with geology, physics, chemistry, paleontology, archaeology, cosmology, genetics, and a host of other fields of study). Ask them why there are *different* yearly flu vaccinations and how we predict which is coming. (And know how yourself.) Ask where HIV so recently came from. etc. (Give the examples of ambulocetus natans and the modern stuff mentioned by Dr Miller, etc.)

4c) Even if there is only a small amount of evidence for the existence of Jesus, THERE IS STILL SOME. Its credibility may be debatable, but Jesus' (non)existence is most definitely not established as a hard fact (even if, for example, parts of his story seem clearly inherited from the stories of Mithra, Dionysus, and Attis). This, in combination with how hotly volatile the assertion obviously is, means it's probably best to simply omit it from mention. Every "weak point" you put forth as true only weakens your credibility.


5) Finally, it might be nice to have a few quotes on-hand for various situations. For example:

5a) From perhaps the only truly honest theist in the world... Kurt Wise (supposedly a scientist... whatever that means without adherence to evidence; look-up Dawkins' response to Wise). Kurt Wise: "I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand."

5b) I don't recall it exactly, but Dawkins said something (I think in The God Delusion) about how most people can't tell the difference between what "is desirable to be true" and what "actually is true"---a VERY important point, I think.

5c) I'm sure there are a lot more. But, I suggest reading through most of this site:
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/truth/200Soundbites.html
Especially note the quotes by Dawkins, Luther, Hitler (and other Nazi info), Cardinal Newman, and Einstein, amongst others.

5d) LOL @ Douglas Adams' puddle analogy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyerwOIwfRc


--------------------


(On a a semi-unrelated note: if these guys are going to insist that abortion is wrong according to God, then it might be worth pointing out that God is the biggest mass-abortionist ever since there are millions of miscarriages taking place all the time, often without the mother ever even knowing she was pregnant.)

(Regarding the Dawkins' quote in Kirk's closing comments: I'm sure he meant that as being preferred ONLY because it's a naturalistic explanation, rather than supernatural.)

(Good grief, how many times did Kirk try to claim conversion-from-atheism as some sort of winning point throughout the debate?! LOL)
 

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