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← Intelligence Squared Debate: Is Atheism the New Fundamentalism?

Intelligence Squared Debate: Is Atheism the New Fundamentalism? - Comments

SamKiddoGordon's Avatar Comment 1 by SamKiddoGordon

Reality is as reality does. If thats fundamentalism, I'll eat my hat.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:32:00 UTC | #418639

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 2 by helen sotiriadis

ah... watched this on live stream. it was great.
wasn't thrilled about the Q&A format though.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:33:00 UTC | #418640

LWS's Avatar Comment 3 by LWS

Richard Dawkins was the most eloquent and comprehensive speaker on the panel. Harries and Moore really didn't put any effort into defending their side. The result of course is that Dawkins & Grayling won.

Harries' remarks were overall predictable and dull. In the diatribe against 'fundamentalism' he said it is 'impervious to the facts' yet he is wearing a big, glossy, bling-bling crucifix, the symbol of his faith, something that is based on magical thinking and that he continues to proclaim, not too loudly, is true. His citing of Pullman's old God (His Dark Materials Trilogy) is of a man that nobody pays much attention to anymore. It is perhaps a mirror image of himself.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:36:00 UTC | #418642

DeusExNihilum's Avatar Comment 4 by DeusExNihilum

they emphasise the physical and the scientific aspect of humanity at the cost of any spiritual understanding.


Show me that there anything spiritual to understand in the first place and then, and only then, is it valid to use this kind of reasoning.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:43:00 UTC | #418644

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 5 by mordacious1

I'll have to watch this again. I have to admit, during some of Harries' remarks and most of Moore's, I was reading the tweets (Pzed was more entertaining). Also did not especially care for the Q&A session.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:45:00 UTC | #418645

kkelly's Avatar Comment 6 by kkelly

I wish there didn't have to be debates hinged on the fundamental misuse of a word.

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 23:57:00 UTC | #418648

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 7 by Nunbeliever

Interesting how Charles Moore is talking about how ARROGANT and fundamentalist atheists are. "How stupid of them to think they know all the answers to the great mysteries of the universe."

I'm sorry. Some of us might be arrogant. We are only human(ist)s. But, at least we are not the ones claiming to have access to holy books inspired by the creator of the universe himself. One would think that would count in our favor ;-)

And where did they find that utterly annoying moderator???

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 00:05:00 UTC | #418649

debunk's Avatar Comment 8 by debunk

I watched it live yesterday. The questions from the audience were tedious. I wish they'd just answer questions posed through twitter after screening them, the people in the audience tend to blather on and on.

All in all, it was a good debate, though the remark from the moderator at the end was a bit odd (I guess he thought the microphones were turned off by that time).

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 00:05:00 UTC | #418651

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 9 by Dr. Strangegod

Similar to SamKiddoGordon, but I like to just go with, "What is is."

I'll check this out at some point, and I really should for simply academic reasons, but the whole question is just so fundamentally wrong that I can't bring myself to listen to it. I appreciate that Richard and A.C. are willing to publicly listen to such arguments and refute them soundly for everyone to see, but the bald-faced hypocrisy of these guys even trying to debate the point makes me wonder if its better to just ignore them.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 00:23:00 UTC | #418656

daverussell's Avatar Comment 10 by daverussell

This link doesn't seem to work here in Korea...actually when I registed for Int. squared, there was no 'Korea' option in the location box - along with Iran if I remember. Ah well.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 00:27:00 UTC | #418658

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 11 by mjwemdee

Nope. Can't get this link to work. And I'm in Surrey.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:06:00 UTC | #418667

digibud's Avatar Comment 12 by digibud

the video didn't appear to work. the screen remained black but it simply took a long time to load and showed no progress bar. eventually it did load and begin playing.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:09:00 UTC | #418669

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 13 by Stevezar

Cant see any video eother but I love the title of RD's segment: "Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings." Priceless!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:26:00 UTC | #418672

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 14 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Great debate!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:28:00 UTC | #418673

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 15 by Alternative Carpark

Why don't they just stick it on youtube if their own server is so crap?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:29:00 UTC | #418674

Silvia's Avatar Comment 17 by Silvia

Well, this link doesn't work for me either, but it's being posted at you tube. The first segments are already posted at http://www.youtube.com/user/AtheistMediaBlog . I hope the other parts will soon be there too.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:31:00 UTC | #418677

Squigit's Avatar Comment 16 by Squigit

*pout* I also cannot seem to get the video to work. :(

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 01:31:00 UTC | #418675

ViciousCircle's Avatar Comment 18 by ViciousCircle

Brilliant debate enjoyed it throughly and thanks to all involved.

My favourite bit was at the end when the results came out. You can hear Richard saying to AC, "I'm just working out the percentage." Classy!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 02:04:00 UTC | #418681

wetbread's Avatar Comment 19 by wetbread

I like Grayling more every time I hear him. He's a very patient man, perhaps even a walking talking example of why the answer to the question under debate is "no." I'm reading his, "Toward the Light of Reason" right now, and it's really very good. I'll have to pick up "Against All Gods" next.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 02:14:00 UTC | #418683

Koreman's Avatar Comment 20 by Koreman

@1. Comment #437084 by SamKiddoGordon on November 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm
It's the only true fundamentalism ;-)

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 02:15:00 UTC | #418684

rgpratt's Avatar Comment 21 by rgpratt

My favourite bit was at the end when the results came out. You can hear Richard saying to AC, "I'm just working out the percentage." Classy!


But they conveniently cut the sound at the very end, so we can no longer hear the moderator as he leans over to Charles Moore and says, "Well done, Charles. I was on your side". Not so classy ...

The moderator was foolish, excitable and trying hard to be wittier than he was capable of. His frantic questions at the end betrayed him: Did he really think his question, "If God didn't create the Universe, who did?" would stump anyone?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 02:52:00 UTC | #418696

Eshto's Avatar Comment 22 by Eshto

I only caught some of this, I saw the Moore dude basically yell at Richard and tell him he's a big fat jerk and totally go way over the time limit.

Then Richard compared Yahweh to a leprechaun, and Grayling said if he met a leprechaun in real life he would tell it "hello" in an Irish accent.

Then I spit what I was drinking out because I was laughing so hard.

I can't wait to watch the whole thing!!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 03:27:00 UTC | #418712

Squigit's Avatar Comment 23 by Squigit

My thanks to Silvia for the link.
I enjoyed that. Atheism cannot be fundamentalist because it makes no statements of fact: it is simply a lack of belief in theism. Theism, on the other hand, is, in and of itself, fundamentalist because it makes statements of fact. In fact, it makes three:
1. There *is* a god.
2. There is a god and it is *my* god.
3. There is a god, it is my god and *all other gods are false.*

EDIT: In response to melsdr just below me: are you kidding? Grayling has better hair than I do!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 04:09:00 UTC | #418725

melsdr's Avatar Comment 24 by melsdr

Charles Moore put forward the most unpleasant, ad-hominem argument, complete with the usual guilt-tripping christian nonsense towards the end. Perhaps when he read the motion, he mistook "Atheism is the new fundamentalism" with "Richard Dawkins is a wanker. Discuss.".
Harries was more pleasant but no more convincing. It was my first time seeing Grayling, and was impressed with everything apart from his haircut. RD's usual stuff, as clear as ever.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 04:29:00 UTC | #418728

Rhiannon Le P's Avatar Comment 25 by Rhiannon Le P

Charles Moore was exactly as bad as melsdr mentions above, but Richard Harries is an alright debater, don't you think?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 05:02:00 UTC | #418735

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 26 by Alternative Carpark

AC Grayling was devastating, and even the most unreasonable of persons could not describe him as "strident".

Does AC stand for "Alternative Carpark" by any chance?

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 05:08:00 UTC | #418740

melsdr's Avatar Comment 27 by melsdr

The other mistake Moore makes is that he just assumes the motion without arguing for it. He does not make any real attempt to prove that atheism can be fundamentalist, and just slags off Dawkins. He complains that Atheists project extremist religious views onto all the religious. Then he attacks Atheism by attacking Dawkins. If he cannot see the hypocrisy in this, then he does not deserve to be taken seriously.
Also if Moore can look at the Dark Ages in Europe and say that his views are aligned with the 'mainstream' christian views during that period, then he is either embarrassingly naive, or guilty of blatant intellectual dishonesty. I know which one my money is on.

Rhiannon, I agree that Harries is better, but his points are so gaseous, I do not see how they advance the debate.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 05:39:00 UTC | #418753

Akaei's Avatar Comment 28 by Akaei

Charles Moore starting at 24:48 ~ “It’s part of our opponents’ fundamentalist position that they don’t really distinguish between fundamentalism and other forms of religious belief.

Is that true? I don't think that's entirely true. I'm sure I've heard and read Richard regarding various practices and degrees of intractability with equally varied degrees of disdain.
Just as followers of bin Laden will say that all infidels are damned,

Regardless of what bin Laden’s followers do say, this is an unveiled attempt by Moore at suggesting guilt by association.
so these hyper-atheists say that all religion is equally contemptible.

I take "hyper-atheists" to mean "militant atheists" unless it is possible to believe less than none. If lies are contemptible and all religions are equally credible then this may be a stance worth adopting. It should be pointed out that while he’s saying at this point that he’s comparing religions he wants the audience to draw on the seeds he has just planted referring to the practices of fundamentalism and bin Laden’s followers. Very shrewd and more than a little deceptive. He should be a tabloid editor.
It seems to me that’s like saying fascists and liberals are really(?misheard) the same because both of them believe in politics.”

If fascists and liberals both believe in politics then they are in that sense the same. If religions all rely on flimsy-at-best evidence to proclaim supernatural influence then, in that sense, all religions are the same. The doctrines and practices of each deserve equal respect and consideration, which is to say: none.

Sadly, Moore may have won some points here. On the surface it is an evocative and intuitive comparison that may appeal to the non-critical. It falls apart under any hint of skepticism but the audience had little time to consider what was being said. Happily, he probably lost points for boring his audience long past his allotted time (and warnings.)

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 05:56:00 UTC | #418758

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 29 by Jesus86

I'm (only a bit) surprised that there is no thread on this scientifically plugged-in website - or at least this part of the website - discussing the hacking of the Climate Reasearch Unit at East Anglia, and the implications of what has been revealed for the widespread faith in AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

O ye of tremendous faith! Is this the way science is supposed to be done these days?

"Hide the decline"!

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 06:38:00 UTC | #418768