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← Faith-heads thrashed at Oxford Union

Faith-heads thrashed at Oxford Union - Comments

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 1 by Vicktor

Bravo!

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:34:46 UTC | #553655

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 2 by Andrew B.

Was there a vote taken at the beginning of the talk also, or just the one at the end? It's always great to see how effective the speakers are at convincing the audience (I'm thinking of the impressive shift in opinion at the Hitchens/Fry IQ2 debate).

I'm glad the motion failed (and so spectacularly), especially because it was such an absurd proposition. It's more than a little frustrating to see religious apologists constantly try to claim various virtues as inherently religious. Cristina Odone tried this recently, but Harris and Grayling weren't having it.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:39:03 UTC | #553659

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 3 by TIKI AL

"Reducing human beings to the faint after-image of some omnipotent deity, or trying to give human life meaning by postponing real fulfilment to some post-mortem paradise, they argued, can actually threaten to rob real life of its meaningfulness."

...Bingo! For many years I have been telling the godbots that lead good lives to give themselves more credit and not attribute it to hell-fear.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:40:08 UTC | #553660

Nseye's Avatar Comment 4 by Nseye

Please tell me it was recorded somehow..

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:40:55 UTC | #553661

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 5 by irate_atheist

Forty-seven agreed it was, eh? Tut tut...

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:40:57 UTC | #553662

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins

Was there a vote taken at the beginning of the talk also,

I doubt it. That has never been the custom at the Union, as far as I know

Richard

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:41:39 UTC | #553664

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins

Forty-seven agreed it was, eh? Tut tut...

As A J Ayer once said, on a similar occasion, "What's gone wrong with our admissions procedure?"

Richard

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:44:44 UTC | #553670

AlexP's Avatar Comment 8 by AlexP

"This House believes that a world without religion is a world without meaning."

When you think of it, that's actually right. The only mistake is that it doesn't add "...and so is a world with religion."

Once you got that sorted out, you can concentrate on the really important questions, the kind of questions that help us to improve our lifes. Without a greater meaning, perhaps, but not without worth or joy.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:53:54 UTC | #553679

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 9 by DocWebster

As A J Ayer once said, on a similar occasion, "What's gone wrong with our admissions procedure?"

Richard

Either he is or you are responsible for my ruined keyboard. It's cruel to be that hilarious during the first cup of coffee in the morning.

I must take issue with you also AlexP. The world has any meaning you wish to put to it, what the world lacks is a specific purpose.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 17:15:53 UTC | #553703

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by God fearing Atheist

Was the debate recorded? Can it be listened to over the net?

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 17:31:30 UTC | #553721

JackR's Avatar Comment 11 by JackR

I should think so too. The fact that that's a pretty solid atheist team can't have hurt.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 17:34:49 UTC | #553724

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 12 by Cartomancer

While I generally cannot abide the Oxford Union and the preening self-important rah-rah types who frequent it, I am heartened that even there the religious lobby finds little purchase. If anywhere in the university is going to be a stronghold of uncritical establishmentarian values, it is there.

But if one were in Oxford last night and in the mood for atheism, one would have been much better served going along to Wadham's Okinaga room, where our own stalwart Paula Kirby spent a delightful hour dissecting the moral opprobrium of the christian cult. A similarly inspiring victory, by all accounts, and with the added advantage that one need not have swelled the coffers of the odious Union crowd to attend.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:00:18 UTC | #553753

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 13 by Dark Matter

"I doubt it. That has never been the custom at the Union, as far as I know

Richard"

A shame - it would have been useful to know if anyone actually changed their mind because of the arguments deployed.

However, a fantastic result.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:00:31 UTC | #553755

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 14 by Roger J. Stanyard

Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins :

Forty-seven agreed it was, eh? Tut tut...

As A J Ayer once said, on a similar occasion, "What's gone wrong with our admissions procedure?"

Richard

Your recruitment procedure for academics. You've got John Lennox on the payroll.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:18:29 UTC | #553770

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 15 by mirandaceleste

Comment 2 by Andrew B. :

Was there a vote taken at the beginning of the talk also, or just the one at the end? It's always great to see how effective the speakers are at convincing the audience (I'm thinking of the impressive shift in opinion at the Hitchens/Fry IQ2 debate).

I'm glad the motion failed (and so spectacularly), especially because it was such an absurd proposition. It's more than a little frustrating to see religious apologists constantly try to claim various virtues as inherently religious. Cristina Odone tried this recently, but Harris and Grayling weren't having it.

Yes, when I first read about the results of the debate, I assumed there had been a vote at the beginning, too, just as there is in the IQ2 debates. Then I remembered that, although the IQ2 debates are traditional Oxford-style debates, they have modified the style a bit, including the addition of the pre-debate vote.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:21:35 UTC | #553772

AlexP's Avatar Comment 16 by AlexP

@DocWebster

Point taken.

What I meant to say was, that for all their clamoring that without religion, the world is doomed to despair and nothingness, no religion has, as of yet, managed to point out in what way their particular religion offers any "meaning" more profound than that of mundane worldviews.

Well, other than the answer "because we really, really believe it."

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:25:39 UTC | #553779

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 17 by aquilacane

"This House believes that a world without religion is a world without meaning."

The world has no meaning with or without the idea of god, it doesn't need a lack of god to be meaningless.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 18:58:03 UTC | #553804

Cents's Avatar Comment 18 by Cents

Let's hope Hitchens can do as well in tonight's Munks debate in Toronto with Blair!

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 19:14:09 UTC | #553824

Emmeline's Avatar Comment 19 by Emmeline

It's a good result and I hope that any prospective politicians in the Oxford Union stand by their convictions when they are in office, rather than pandering to the whims of faith groups for fear of offending them and their diminishing flocks. We need the next generation of UK politicians to abolish state-funded faith schools (at the very least).

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 19:21:59 UTC | #553829

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 20 by Philoctetes

OK, that's the intelligentsia but it will be tougher convincing the morons

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 19:35:59 UTC | #553844

Chris Redmond's Avatar Comment 21 by Chris Redmond

Would you be willing to enter into debate with any more religious apologists, Richard? I'd imagine you still get bombarded with invites to debate William Lane Craig...?

Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins :

Forty-seven agreed it was, eh? Tut tut...

As A J Ayer once said, on a similar occasion, "What's gone wrong with our admissions procedure?"

Richard

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 19:54:00 UTC | #553858

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 22 by Stonyground

I find it a little strange that those who believe that their own lives would be meaningless without religion seem to think that their worlview must apply to everybody. the easily observed fact that atheists everywhere are not throwing themselves off the top of tall buildings never seems to enter their consciousness. The same thing applies to the notion that atheists must be totally evil, theists seem to cling to this notion despite the fact that it is self evidently untrue because they simply can't understand how people can be moral if they don't believe in a god.

Science, rainbows, cats, motorbikes, jokes, sex, mending things (I actually get paid for that), making things out of wood, cooking food, eating food, growing food, family, watching your children grow and learn. Life is meaningless if you don't subscribe to some stupid, childish delusions about imaginary beings who live just above the big blue dome? Please.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 21:01:00 UTC | #553884

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 23 by helen sotiriadis

i'd love to see it also -- i assume that if it's eventually available, i'll find a link here...?

in the meantime, we've got hitchens / blair coming up.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 21:14:18 UTC | #553893

SGP's Avatar Comment 24 by SGP

Eek! The reference to OICCU brought back unpleasant memories. In my day, they used to target gay and lesbian students: they'd arrive as a group outside their rooms, force themselves through the door, and then read bible quote at them to try to make them 'repent'. Whatever 'meaning' such bullying gave to their lives, they're welcome to it :-(.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 21:18:56 UTC | #553897

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 25 by perkyjay

This is a similar result to the 1938 OU debate that, "This House would not under any circumstances consider fighting for King and Country". I may have the wording of the motion wrong, but the pacifist sentiment is quite clear.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 21:47:09 UTC | #553908

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 26 by AtheistEgbert

Sorry, but I don't need the Jesus story to make my life meaningful. There are millions of different fictional stories out there that are equal or more meaningful.

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 22:09:42 UTC | #553922

aliensmack's Avatar Comment 27 by aliensmack

I think it is a mistake to assume that all things must have meaning . I think it is a human failing that we try to find meaning in everything and that when we can't find meaning then me feel lost or alone .

I'm perfectly happy knowing there is no meaning

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 22:18:58 UTC | #553928

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

that a world without religion is a world without meaning.

Forty-seven agreed it was, eh? Tut tut...

Comment 27 by aliensmack - I think it is a mistake to assume that all things must have meaning .

That can't be right! With Deep Thought after (a very quick seven and a half million years) :

The Ultimate answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is...

(You're not going to like it...)

Is...............42

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 23:01:38 UTC | #553951

David Millar's Avatar Comment 29 by David Millar

I can see the value in having the debate but "winning" or "losing" by popular vote seems just a little bit wrong. Why not settle the matter just as conclusively by "trial by combat"?

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 23:33:02 UTC | #553963

David Millar's Avatar Comment 30 by David Millar

I can see the value in having the debate but "winning" or "losing" by popular vote seems just a little bit wrong. Why not settle the matter just as conclusively by "trial by combat"?

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 23:35:06 UTC | #553964