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← Christians and Atheists to Debate Existence of God in First-Ever 'NIGHTLINE FACE OFF'

Christians and Atheists to Debate Existence of God in First-Ever 'NIGHTLINE FACE OFF' - Comments

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 1 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Unfortunately I think this is going to make atheists look stupid...

It's a shame that atheist philosophers know better than to debate theists... because they'd at least have a better chance of getting the point across... the Rational Response Squad sounds like a bunch of teenagers who are just angry with "God"...

Thu, 03 May 2007 10:11:00 UTC | #34499

rydrum2112's Avatar Comment 2 by rydrum2112

Spinoza-You should ask Richard, he spent an afternoon with them. If they handle themselves appropriately I dont think there is any need to say it will make atheists look stupid.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:04:00 UTC | #34523

ClemIsMe's Avatar Comment 3 by ClemIsMe

Nightline gives this nonsense popular legitimacy. I suppose you have to applaud someone taking up the challenge for reason, but I very much doubt it will gain rationalists much credence - I fear the opposite. Never deabate an actor, even a very bad actor.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:05:00 UTC | #34524

Phaderus's Avatar Comment 4 by Phaderus

With all due respect to the RRS, and I am sure that they will do well, the problem with this debate is that the opponents are not mainstream enough to get the respect needed to raise this debate to broad public awareness. With no degree behind any of the names involved, it will be too easy for opponents or proponents of either side to disavow whatever mistakes or accomplishments are made by the participants.

BTW, what's with "self-proclaimed" always proceeding the word atheist? It seems to imply that the person is deluded, like a self-proclaimed prophet.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:21:00 UTC | #34526

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 5 by Cook@Tahiti

Thank you for debating the Rational Response Squad. Please hold - someone will be with you shortly. Your arguments are important to us.

Press #1 if you're arguing that all "this" had to come from somewhere.

Press #2 if you arguing that science can't explain everything.

Press #3 if you're claiming Hitler & Stalin were atheists

Press #4 if you're arguing that we can't disprove God.

Press #5 if you're arguing God gives people morality, consolation and hope


Press #6 if you have any evidence whatsoever for the existence of God.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:34:00 UTC | #34530

Canuck#1's Avatar Comment 6 by Canuck#1

PLEASE, PLEASE not again-surely every thing that has gone before should predict the scenario that will play audience loaded with "devout" christians, dabaters who are speaking two different languages and live in two different worlds. We can put our time to better use..still I will tune in and be as frustrated as everyone else. GOOG LUCK TO OUR SIDE.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:35:00 UTC | #34531

Shatite's Avatar Comment 8 by Shatite

The fact that the media is in business to make ratings and money rather than to inform people rarely gets any more apparent than when discussing religion. Time and time again atheists are either misrepresented if not left out altogether. I am still waiting for a nationally broadcasted program here in the states that gives people like Prof. Dawkins more than 3 minutes of time.

I wish the best for the RRS, but I fear that this is going to be more of the same. We shall see.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:36:00 UTC | #34534

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 7 by scottishgeologist

Cameron and Comfort? That's those two who were in the banana video? right?

Man, so that piece of barely disguised gay soft porn is proof of Gods existence? Jee...

And what about:

"On the Day of Judgment," Comfort tells one man on the streets of New York, "God will see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. You have sinned against God. You need his forgiveness."

On occasions, things go badly wrong and the pair are attacked by members of the public. Comfort recalled one incident, saying, "While I was preaching the Gospel a gentleman came up and he started spitting on me. And he spat quite a few times."

He wasnt really spitting, he was choking on a banana.....

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:36:00 UTC | #34533

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 9 by BaronOchs

It seems there are two questions rolled into one debate here, and that is always a bad thing.

i.e: Atheism/faith in general but also the Blasphemy Challenge.

The RRS should be expected to win hands down over the first one, but the danger is Comfort and Cameron will gain ground with the audience over the second and make that look like there overall position is stronger. I'm not against it but the BC is not exactly atheism's finest expression and it may be a burden not a blessing in this debate.

Trivial fact: Nightline is also the name of a telephone counselling service at most UK universities. Don't know if they have it in the US?

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:40:00 UTC | #34536

roach's Avatar Comment 10 by roach

All the RRS has to do is let Cameron and Comfort talk. They'll quickly demonstrate they have nothing intelligent to say.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:49:00 UTC | #34539

bdrasin's Avatar Comment 11 by bdrasin

Perhaps you think that anyone who says that he can prove the existence of God is a dreamer. Maybe, like most people, you believe that the issue is a matter of "faith." Then we must be dreamers, because we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible. Do you find that hard to believe? Then watch the debate. - Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron

Oh, comes the vaunted "Transcendental Argument for God". If you haven't heard it before it basically means asking a bunch of obtuse metaphysical nonsense like "How do you know what knowing is without some absolute standard to judge it with?" Repeat until the opponent goes crosseyed and then claim you have proved that God exists.

This is actually not easy to argue with, mostly because it is so obtuse. I've seen a lot of Atheists get "deer in the headlights" when confronted by this. One of the better send-ups I though is Kile Jones vs. Greg Lopez on but you need a subscription to get it.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:51:00 UTC | #34542

Yorker's Avatar Comment 12 by Yorker

I see Martin Bashir will be moderator, he's a controversy lover; his biggest "scoop" was the televised expose of Michael Jackson.

I don't think I'll bother following this one.

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:56:00 UTC | #34543

Fishpeddler's Avatar Comment 13 by Fishpeddler

Comment #37130 by roach
"All they have to do is let Cameron and Comfort talk."

Presumably those two feel they have a new trick up their sleeve, but I hope to god they break out that banana:

"See, out of a mere 350,000 species of plants, one of them produces a fruit that we can easily hold, peel, and eat. The only way that can possibly be explained is that God exists."

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:56:00 UTC | #34544

VanYoungman's Avatar Comment 14 by VanYoungman

There is no proper forum to relate to you all for what just happened in my Basic Logic College course, but here's the late-paper excuse for all time. The class was assigned to write an analysis of at least 3 of Richard's arguments he used in TGD. The paper was due today. My student told me that the reason she couldn't hand it in was that she took the book with her on her week's vacation to Oahu, Hawaii and while on an outing with some natives, she asked one young man to reach into her back pack and get her a bottle of sun screen. While he reached in her pack, he spotted her copy of The God Delusion, yanked it out and threw it over the cliff of Ka'anapali. Since she hadn't finished the book, she could not complete her paper in time. She explained the young man was a follower of Jah, the god who in the past threw non-believers over the cliff. Should I accept the excuse?

Thu, 03 May 2007 11:57:00 UTC | #34545

Fishpeddler's Avatar Comment 15 by Fishpeddler

Comment #37121 by Rtambree

LOL. Press #7 if the sun comes up, the sun goes down.

Thu, 03 May 2007 12:00:00 UTC | #34546

Fishpeddler's Avatar Comment 16 by Fishpeddler

Comment #37136 by VanYoungman
"Should I accept the excuse?"

She claimed a theist engaged in an irrational act of violence in the name of their faith? And you doubted her? ;)

Thu, 03 May 2007 12:08:00 UTC | #34552

diquea's Avatar Comment 17 by diquea

Ugh, I have to agree with Spinoza. I definitely would not consider Sapient and his crew the best and brightest representatives of the reasoning for the atheist position.

Go read their forums and responses to hate-mail, you'll understand what I mean, I think.

Thu, 03 May 2007 12:16:00 UTC | #34554

willerror's Avatar Comment 18 by willerror

--"On the Day of Judgment," Comfort tells one man on the streets of New York, "God will see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. You have sinned against God. You need his forgiveness."--

I would punch him in the fucking face if he said this to me or someone I love. What a worthless, lying, hypocritical, deluded *psychopath.* And yet, I would be the one in legal trouble.

Thu, 03 May 2007 12:32:00 UTC | #34560

justme's Avatar Comment 19 by justme

The moderator Martin Bashir and the use of ABC concerns me.

* ABC -- Kirk Cameron's former employer. I'm sure he still has friends there who don't want to let him look like a fool.

* Bashir has a reputation for splicing together interviews to prove his point.

Notes: Do a quick search to see the controversy that occurred after the Michael Jackson interview was broadcast. (Jackson is strange enough that I don't see the reason to do a hatchet job on him. Yet, I'm not in the business of interviewing people so what do I know?)

* Bashir has interviewed Cameron before and was sympathetic towards both him and Comfort. Note the tone of prosecution that Cameron highlights and Bashir relays.

* He also did a very sympathetic report on -- an anti-porn and pro Jesus ministry.

The priest from was basically given a soapbox to stand on. There were no real objections (either because the porn industry is not threatened or because Bashir did not report any concerns).


The actual debate will go to Brian and Kelly ... the edited and broadcast one people see will give an approving nod to Cameron and Comfort and not will not support those 'evil, immoral atheists'.

My expectation is that the edited version that is broadcast will give either Brian or Kelly one good comment while Cameron and Comfort will get 4 or more. Any remaining good comments from Brian or Kelly will be sidelined as petty and used as fodder for the stock answers of Cameron and Comfort even if those answers are refuted in the original debate.

For both groups, the comments won't be sharp and insightful. Instead, they will be grease lense versions of reality with most of the edge removed so as not to offend or put the 'heroes' (Cameron and Comfort) in a bad light.

I would love to be shown that I am wrong, but it's not looking good at this point.

ABC as a corporation and Bashir as an employee of ABC knows who butters more toast for them and they are not motivated to treat this fairly.

Thu, 03 May 2007 12:52:00 UTC | #34566

urbster1's Avatar Comment 20 by urbster1

Brian Flemming just posted about this in his blog (

"My predictions:

1. Ray's argument will not be able to meet the above test. It will fail to hold together logically even if its premises were true, and, to boot, most or all of its premises will be false. It will be a train wreck of an argument, an absolute failure by any objective measure.

2. Nonetheless, moderator Martin Bashir, in order to achieve 'balance,' will turn the tables on the atheists and ask the them to defend a host of challenges that have nothing to do with Ray's argument. In other words, Ray's case will fail so miserably that Martin Bashir will feel compelled to politely turn away from the wreckage and turn up the heat on the side that hasn't come to the event with any claims at all. Because that's what's 'fair.'"

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:11:00 UTC | #34568

Liveliest Crib's Avatar Comment 21 by Liveliest Crib

I'll echo the concerns that this debate will not be productive. It will be closer to something on Hannity & Colmes or professional wrestling than it will, say, the polite discussion between Dawkins and the Bishop of Oxford. I could be wrong, but the forum does not bode well.

Moreover, if you can get passed their obvious ridiculousness, if you watch Cameron and the aptly named "Comfort" on their insane website, you'll discover their tactics. Yes, there's the silly banana episode, but there's also their "man on the street"-style cross examinations of people. It usually runs something like this:

Comfort: Do you consider yourself a good person?

Unfortunate Interviewee: Sure.

C: Oh yeah? Have you ever told a lie?

UI: Ever? Of course.

C: So, what does that make you?

UI: [Nervous laughter] Heh, I guess you want me to say "liar," but ---

C: Right, you're a liar. Have you ever stolen something?

UI: Well, nothing of consequence. I mean---

C: But ever. Have you ever stolen something? Anything?

UI: Well, sure, if you want to go back to Jr. High School or someth---

C: So what does that make you?

UI: Yeah, yeah, I get it.

C: That's right, you're thief and a liar. And you have to get right with God.

UI: Well, I don't share your beliefs.

C: So, it's ok to lie and steal?

UI: No, that's not what I'm saying. Just that I don't believe in god.

C: Well, be honest, though. Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God?

UI: Beyond any doubt? Of course, not. You can't prove anything bey---

C: Right, because that would take infinite knowledge and omniscience that only a god could have.

UI:? Ok, fine.

C: So, are you really an atheist?

UI: Well---

C: No, you're technically an agnostic, because you're not sure.

[Cut back to Kirk and Ray on chairs with their bananas.]

Kirk: So, you see, there really is no such thing as an atheist. The "atheists" admit it. And they admit they're sinners. They admit they're not sure, and they admit that sinning isn't something you should do. Why is sinning bad? Only one reason. And we all know what that is.

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:20:00 UTC | #34572

relevo's Avatar Comment 22 by relevo

Of course, I'm always for giving acclamations to Brian and Kelly, but in this case I don't think even the network will at all be on their side. My guess is people will see Kirk, and think, "Hey, that's the guy from the sitcom who was on those Christian movies advertised on NBC. What a great guy."

My hope of course is that people not jump to immediate negative conclusions of Brian, and Kelly based solely on the fact that they are atheists challenging majority religious dogmas, even though statistical studies have already demonstrated differently.

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:31:00 UTC | #34574

Fedler's Avatar Comment 23 by Fedler

Comment #37136 by VanYoungman on May 3, 2007 at 12:57 pm

If your student was serious, I would think she could have written a report covering as far as she had gotten in TGD before it was allegedly thrown over a cliff. Just a thought.

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:38:00 UTC | #34576

CruciFiction's Avatar Comment 24 by CruciFiction

ABC debate streaming is re-scheduled for May 9 at 1 pm ET

An ADMIN needs to change the time posted at top of page from 2PM to 1PM.

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:39:00 UTC | #34577

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 25 by KRKBAB

Hey Folks, this is my very first posting! I don't type too fast and I'm not totally up on computor lingo.
I read this site (site?) daily and I love it- solidarity, so to speak (even though a group of atheists is like "herding cats"). I've lived all of my 49 years, and 357 days in the USA. If I were a LITTLE younger and had better means, I'd become an ex-patriate and move to Canada or Northern Europe to feel a lttle more at home with like-minded people, but I think I'm going to tough it out here. The good news is, I "might" get to retire in France where my wfe is a native of. This is just an introductory posting, More from me later! Happy Universe

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:43:00 UTC | #34579

Aaron SF's Avatar Comment 26 by Aaron SF

I feel naive now. My first thought was "Oh joy... an actual debate, how can Atheists loose!?"

But it's on TV and you have an Actor on the "God Exists" side. Why do you have an actor on that side? For ratings? Can't be to lend credibility.

I'll pretend to be optimistic 'till I watch it.

Thu, 03 May 2007 13:52:00 UTC | #34580

Eureka Step's Avatar Comment 27 by Eureka Step

Get Hitchens alongside the RRS. Dawkins too!

Thu, 03 May 2007 14:06:00 UTC | #34583

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 28 by perkyjay

Do we really care how this "debate" works out. It's only a blip on the screen of a major epic. Even if the christians win hands down, truth is on the side of the atheists - that cannot change or be changed by one debate. I think the atheist cause is gaining ground by leaps and bounds and one must accept that our cause cannot win every skirmish, and this is really all it is - a minor skirmish.

Thu, 03 May 2007 14:08:00 UTC | #34584

Fishpeddler's Avatar Comment 29 by Fishpeddler

Comment #37171 by KRKBAB
Good to hear from you! And happy 50th birthday next week!

Thu, 03 May 2007 14:10:00 UTC | #34586

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 30 by perkyjay

Re: 13736 by Van Youngman: The excuse that your student gave sounds suspiciously similar to the classic "the dog ate my homework". Whether or not you accept it is entirely your decision, but I would be suspicious of it. Can you lend her your copy of TGD and extend the deadline for her ?

Thu, 03 May 2007 14:22:00 UTC | #34587