How Would You Rate the Speakers? May 10, 2007

How Would You Rate the Speakers?

The Unbrainwashed made the following comment about the Nightline debate:

I actually found [Kirk] Cameron and [Ray] Comfort to be much more articulate than the atheists. They just seem more at ease and able to engage in a discourse more readily than their atheist counterparts. That’s not to say that their arguements are valid, just that the presentation of their inane ideas makes them seem more credible. Now if Dawkins or Harris was there, I surely could not make this remark. I’m also not trying to insult Brian and Kelly, but just making an observation. Anyone else feel the same way?

The way the speakers came across is worth discussing.

I will admit I was a bit worried about how Brian and Kelly would stack up against Cameron and Comfort, both of whom are very polished speakers.

My worries were alleviated when I saw the preview video, though. I was pleasantly surprised at how they did. Yes, there were some speaking gaffes, but they presented themselves very well. Nightline did them a huge injustice. (Earlier today, by the way, that video was among the top rated/discussed/viewed videos on YouTube.)

Atheists do need to take a lesson from this. We have plenty of atheists who know their stuff, but can’t present it. (I’m not referring to Brian or Kelly here.) They think that because they have logic on their side, all will be understood. It won’t. You need to know how to present yourself to people who know very little about atheism, the Scientific method, the need for evidence, etc.

The one thing we can be assured of, thanks to Nightline, is that less educated people in our country have now become even dumber when it comes to understanding Evolution.

Curse you, Martin Bashir!

[tags]Unbrainwashed, atheist, atheism, Nightline, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Brian Sapient, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, YouTube, Evolution, Martin Bashir[/tags]

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  • Darryl

    See the review of the ‘debate’ on Slate:

  • My last few posts, especially the one from earlier today, discusses exactly this in a bit of detail. Neither side presented anything well but the Christians were more prepared and more professional. IMO, Brian was at the bottom of the barrel even though he had a good deal to say that was on point but Kelly is heads above a better debater…and she’s not the best either. Kirk added little and was really not needed; Comfort was the figurehead on display here.

  • Robin

    Kirk and Comfort presented themselves better but, Kirk is/was an actor so obviously he has had plenty of rehearsal time before. Comfort is a minister and speaks at least once a week regularily so he has had his rehearsal time as well.

    Personally I preferred Brian more so then Kelly. No offense but she does not have a smooth speaking voice.

    Now this was not a critique in what they presented, it is only in how they presented it.

  • Oh, I completely agree. Kelly’s wavering voice indicated just how nervous and defensive she really was during the whole thing. But I found she was able to be a bit more articulate and definitely laid of the snide comments unlike Brian. Brian’s material was more put together but it was presented in an in-your-face manner that lacks any professionalism.

    I agree, hands down, that the Christians definitely had more “prep time” given their backgrounds.

  • Robin

    Yes it was her nervousness and Brians frustration…that basically did them in, in the overall presentation. But hands down they won in the overall reasonable, rational, not to mention factual information category. jmho.

  • Brian Sapient and Kelly are full of it. Their tactics are despicable. Read this to know what I mean.

  • This is called “being prepared”. As you remember, Kirk magically brought with him “transitional fossils” as “previously prepared by our graphic designer”. This means he too had prior knowledge of what was going to be discussed.

    Did you see the notebooks that both sides had with them during the debate? It was full of their own notes, points, and speeches as previously prepared. This means that both sides knew what the other side was going to discuss.

    Your highly biased view that this is despicable is quite laughable inasmuch as almost every single debater does the exact same thing, Comfort and Cameron included.

    Honestly, all the name calling about this is coming from the Christian side of things, that doesn’t do much for credibility. It seems Michael Stradley wants to spend more time calling Brian names than trying to promote good Christian values and seems to think there is nothing wrong with this.

    Matthew 19:19
    19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Either Michael is breaking a long standing tenet — and commandment of God — or he hates himself as well. I believe Ray would call this “blaspheming in the name of God”.

  • I noticed Brian and Kelly taking notes during the debate, but Kirk and Ray didn’t appear to be writing things down. The whole transitional fossil bit was gimmicky and Kirk brought the subject up on his own. Brian’s “what a numb-nut” didn’t help, even if I agree with him.

    I thought that Ray and Kirk were more inclined to ‘stick to the script’ and Brian and Kelly were more inclined to have a discussion or at least raise an argument.

  • HappyNat

    Oh, Frank . . . I thought I was done with you. But you pop up again . . .it is a small internets.

  • Bart Dorsey

    I uploaded the debate as it aired on TV so people can see how it was cut up.

    Part 1

    Part 2

  • valmorian

    Brian and Kelly gaffed with respect to the morality question. The proper answer to “isn’t morality subjective if not grounded in God?” is to bring up Euthyphro’s Dilemma, which outlines very clearly that either morality is objective without respect to God, or it is subjective then, too.

  • I finally got around to watching it, and it was definitely as bad as everyone was saying it was. At least from the minimal clips that ABC chose to show I didn’t hear either side say anything intelligent the whole time. Brian and Kelly were rude, Cameron & Comfort were polite but condescending. I doubt that anyone was impressed by either sides’ arguments unless you were already inclined to agree with them. And it’s pure self-promotion for either of them to declare themselves the “winner”. They were all losers IMO.

  • Logos

    I think you hit the nail on the head!

  • Darryl

    These kind of debates do little for either side. Arguing something as abstract as whether or not God exists does not require handling facts, and facts are the dividing line: the only facts believers have are their subjective experiences; the only facts that non-believers care about are objective (unless you’re a brain researcher or student of religions or some such thing). So long as the measure of factuality is different for these two parties, nothing gets resolved. I do not for a moment doubt the experiences of Christians; only their awareness. As one who once had similar experiences that were ‘real’ to me, I sympathize. But, their experiences do not change my reality, nor the laws of physics in the universe. If they would understand that their experiences are private, as are those of believers in every religion that involves altered mental states, they would not be militant, and they would not be trying to convince me and the rest of the world of the ‘Truth’ of their beliefs.

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