Debate Recaps October 13, 2011

Debate Recaps

Last night, Dave Silverman of American Atheists debated Dinesh D’Souza at the University of Pennsylvania. Staks Rosch was there and gives his recap here. Shaun McGonigal also offers his own summary.

I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing Silverman pulled out a lot of these:

Meanwhile, Jerry Coyne debated theologian John Haught over the topic: “Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?” at the University of Kentucky and gives his own interpretation on the event. (Video of the event is forthcoming, Coyne says.)

Despite Coyne doing his homework on Haught, Haught didn’t seem to know who he was up against:

Haught had not prepared to debate me in particular: he gave what seemed to me a canned presentation, not referring to my views at all. My take was that he seemed perturbed by my using his words against him. During the questions afterwards, took great pains to claim that all of the quotes I gave from him were taken out of context (they weren’t). He also argued that I was a victim of scientism and that I needed to “get out more” because I didn’t understand religion.

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what anyone subjects themselves to D’Souza.  He is really slippery and quite adept at public speaking and debating.  The linked story talks about how he throws out lots of information which doesn’t give the opponent a chance to respond to all of the points.  If he throws ten points out and Silverman responded to two then he could claim that he won eight out of ten even though the debate format wouldn’t allow anywhere near enough time to address each point.  Even though the same canards that have been taken apart for centuries are put forward each still has to be tackled in a debate.  Add a Gish Gallop  and D’Souza’s ability to answer a different question (like a politician) and you just want to avoid him like the plague.

    He also argued that I was a victim of scientism and that I needed to “get out more” because I didn’t understand religion.

    I don’t understand religion.  I don’t believe that getting out more will help with that.  Gathering more data has always shown me that religion makes less sense than I used to think.  I think that Haught means “stay in more and study the bible”.

  • “I needed to ‘get out more’ because I didn’t understand religion.”

    That’s the same line pretty much any religious persons will use when they realise that what you say against the Bible and Christianity makes sense and it scares them. I know they use it because my girlfriend’s father uses it on her and used it on her ex-boyfriend. They will also claim that you’ll understand when you’re older. How much older? 40? 60?

  • I also posted some additional thought about religious debates in general here:

  • Nick

    Because  when you get older, you become more afraid, making things like religion more attractive.

  • Pollracker

    The guy said athiest don’t understand religion I have a pretty good understanding of multiple religions I just as a default assume their wrong reather than give credence to nonsensical thinking

  • Sounds a lot like Hitchens in his debate against Turek. Hitchens rarely addresses one of Turek’s questions directly and even at one point states that he doesn’t have to answer his questions. It’s a stinking debate! Of course you have to address the question!

    Check it out at

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