A Debate on God’s Existence (Abridged) August 24, 2008

A Debate on God’s Existence (Abridged)

If you’d like to read an abridged version of a recent debate on God’s existence between atheist Michael Shermer and Professor John Lennox, here you go:

Lennox: [story of personal tragedy and near death experience]

Shermer: yes, that’s very moving but still isn’t evidence for god, in fact it’s a problem [problem of evil explained] [prayer studies]

Lennox: [further appeal to authority], [sermonizing], I’ve been to Auschwitz you know..

Audience: OOOOH! Godwin’s Law is in effect, Lennox loses, let’s carry Shermer down the street shoulder-high.

Moderator: I know not of this Godwin of whom you speak. Shut up, you lot.

Shermer: OK, if we’re ignoring Godwin: Gott Mit Uns on belt buckles, [slight misspeak]: First World War

That’s just the excerpt. The full version is here.

All debates should be made this entertaining 🙂

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  • nontheist

    You know what would be great? Film of the event with the above notes superimposed in a lower-third!

  • Epistaxis

    Gosh, it’s too bad he/she is probably even less willing than an American to watch our presidential debates.

  • geru

    From what I’ve seen from his other debates, Lennox is totally useless. I mean his only argument is:

    “Well, you can’t really understand this because the only way I can explain it is using my magic language, which you can never understand, unfortunately.” *smug smile*

    It should be explained very carefully to all the people who use this argument, that even if you do possess the greatest wisdom in the world, and you know that it is so simple, it is simply worth NOTHING if there is no way to explain it to others. Because I would argue that the ability to express your ideas to others is what separates you from insane people.

    Insane people can believe that they possess wisdoms that are beyond anyone else’s grasp, but they can’t explain their ideas, because they don’t really exist outside their heads.

    As I understand, isn’t this the problem schizophrenic people have, it isn’t that they’re “thinking wrong”, the problem is that they cannot interpret the world correctly, and they can’t express their thought to others correctly? Kinda like their in/out barrier is screwing things up.

    So what’s the difference between the schizophrenic who can’t communicate with others properly and the religious person who can’t communicate his ideas to non-religious people?

  • I have one of these belt buckles. It was a gift from a German officer to my father in law who, after being wounded, was put in charge of German prisoners in northern Italy. This is first hand evidence testifying to the Nazis christian faith. The German officers also used to pray regularly to their christian god.

  • As for schizophrenia and religion. I have a close relative with this condition. I have studied it and have first hand knowledge. Your comparison is not a good one and I find it unhelpful to those who suffer the stigma they endure from the media and public.

    However, I have come across many mentally ill people who are also very religious. Part of the reason for this is the tendency for people of faith groups to pounce like the filthy mind vultures they are on the sick and vulnerable. I am of the opinion that people who want to spread their disgusting superstitions should be kept well away from anyone with schizophrenia.

    Please go to:


    for more information.

  • SarahH

    I think that claiming something and then stating that the explanation is impossible to explain is often a form of cognitive dissonance. The person making the claim knows somewhere, deep down in his brain, that his claim is full of holes and won’t be defensible – maybe it really can’t be explained because there isn’t an adequate explanation.

    “God works in mysterious ways” or “A wizard did it!” are ways of avoiding challenging one’s own beliefs as well as an attmpt to shield them from the scrutiny of others.

  • geru

    As for schizophrenia and religion. I have a close relative with this condition. I have studied it and have first hand knowledge. Your comparison is not a good one and I find it unhelpful to those who suffer the stigma they endure from the media and public.

    Ok, I shouldn’t have singled out schizophrenia then. As I understand, schizophrenia is an condition that covers an immense field of mental symptoms, and I unthinking used in the popular definition.

    I have no personal experiences about anyone currently being mentally ill, but the idea of the communication barrier stuck onto my mind from some article.

    In short, what I meant was that you could think that you have the greatest idea mankind has ever come up with, and the knowledge of having this idea could be a great source of inspiration to you. But if you’re unable to describe this idea to anyone in any understandable way, then this could be a sign that you are actually deluded, and there is no real idea, only the feeling of having this great apparition.

    Or actually I do have at least a second hand experience of bipolar disorder. From what I’ve heard, the manic episodes contain the kind of symptoms I described, having a sudden apparition that causes great amounts of motivation, which can lead to impulsive and irrational behavior.

    I should still emphasize that I did not mean to compare mental illness as a state to any kind of religiousness. I realize that mental illnesses are a kind of “Hitler-card” that are unfairly used in comparisons, and this kind of comparisons do harm to the public understanding of mental illnesses.

  • geru

    Actually, why did I even bring up bipolarity, disregard that passage. 🙂

    (Where’s the edit function?)

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