GCU Dancer on the Midway
Paul Wright's blog
I'm on ur radio, debunking yr religion 
9th Sep 2006, 11:16 pm
god has taken our heroes
Premier Christian Radio have put up the audio of the Unbelievable discussion programme I was on. You can download the MP3 from archive.org.

Here's my director's commentary track (except I wasn't a director, but you get the idea).

The first phone-in question from Steven Carr is a hard one for Christians. In Matthew's gospel, Jesus talks of God being like a shepherd who seeks each lost sheep. Steven said "a good shepherd is not one who says 'I have given the lost sheep enough evidence to find its way home'", provoking laughter in the studio because we all realised how Steven had struck home, I think. Some people (St Paul, for example) seem to get dramatic experiences, whereas some don't. This is inconsistent with a God who we're told seeks out everyone. The usual Christian defence is to say that God cannot over-ride our free-will and make us believe (C.S. Lewis says "he cannot rape; he must woo"). But God wasn't so concerned with St Paul's free-will and autonomy that he could not knock him off his horse on the way to Damascus, yet St Paul's sort of experience is rare.

Marvin's call was interesting, and all of us in the studio regretted that we didn't get the chance to discuss all his points. His first point was that to accept the existence of evil one has to accept the existence of God who creates good and evil. I didn't really follow that argument. The existence of evil seems to be merely a matter of people doing stuff I consider bad, and I don't need to suppose that God made them do it. It's possible he was arguing that without God we have no moral basis to call something evil, something which I've touched on before.

Marvin mentioned Anselm's Ontological Argument, but Paul Clarke agreed that he'd concede that one.

Marvin's second point was that we accept the truth of other classical writings, so why not the Bible? This argument fails because we're not asked to live according to the teaching of those other classical writings. Something which we're told to base our lives on should be held to a higher standard. But there are already many excellent arguments against Biblical inerrancy, so I'm not going to rehearse them all again here, but I will talk about the specific example I mentioned.

I don't think that Paul Clarke's response to my killer argument against inerrancy holds up. To say that the "we" of St Paul's "we who are still alive" in 1 Thess 4 could encompass later Christians presupposes that St Paul knew he was writing to such people. My understanding of inerrancy was always that it did not and should not require such an assumption. At the Square Church they taught that the beginning of biblical interpretation was to work out what a passage meant to those who originally heard it (in this case, the people in Thessalonica, as is clear from 1 Thess 5:27). The method of interpretation where you read something like an epistle as if it's personally addressed to you was right out, in fact.

Secondly, Paul Clarke's defence of the inerrancy of 1 Corinthians 7 relies on some ambiguity about what the "present crisis" (verse 26) is. Paul Clarke suggested its a some local trouble affecting the Corinthian Christians. But St Paul himself spells this out in verses 29-31, ending with "for this world in its present form is passing away". Something more than local trouble is being spoken of.

As I said to triphicus, it's perfectly acceptable to concede the point (as she sort of does) but then look for what a Christian might take from that passage anyway (in this case, that the glories of this world are fleeting, and that Jesus could be back at any time so Christians should look busy). But to maintain that this sort of interpretation is what Paul actually meant to say in the first place, as Paul Clarke seemed to, seems like making work for yourself. It's only the extra-Biblical assumption of inerrancy that requires evangelicals to go through these contortions when faced with texts like these. Removing that assumption cuts the knot. I'm reminded of the Washington Post's description of Bart Erhman's tortured paper defending some passage in Mark, and of the revelation Ehrman had when his tutor wrote a note in the margin saying "Maybe Mark just made a mistake".

I stumbled a bit when I mentioned Occam's Razor because Paul Clarke rightly jumped on the fact that in some sense God's miraculous healing of someone's fibroids is a simpler explanation than them getting better naturally by some unknown mechanism. Edited to add: what I should have said was that this sense of simple isn't the one Occam's Razor applies to.

scribb1e points out that this doesn't address those people who pray and don't get better. She also says that unexpected stuff does happen in medicine but it's not proof of anything very much more than the ignorance of doctors. If a Christian gets ill they will almost certainly pray about it, and some of the people who pray will get better (along with some of those who don't). You can't say it wasn't God's doing, but you have to wonder about his inconsistency. Edited to add: scribb1e elaborates in this comment.

nlj21 kindly batted off a question to both the Paul's in the studio. Paul Clarke was right in saying that the fact that some people leave Christianity doesn't prove it's wrong, but it does make you wonder about CICCU and similar organisations, doesn't it? cathedral_life's comments on this discussion (where she signs herself as "AR") seem apposite.

I hope I gave a reasonable answer to nlj21's question to me, although I'm sure he'll be along to disagree.

I loved the question about "a god that suits your lifestyle", because lifestyle is a Christian code-word for "having sex in a way we don't like".

I was expecting someone to try the No True Scotsman argument about me leaving Christianity ("no True Christian leaves Christianity") so Narna came up trumps and I delivered my prepared answer. Go me.

I found Paul Clarke's summing up quite affecting, because it was clear that he genuinely was concerned about my welfare. In the end, though, as I said, you can only follow the truth as best you can.
Comments 
10th Sep 2006, 11:22 am (UTC)
Following up the post on the subject of the miraculous healing of the lady with uterine fibroids:

Suppose Smaxo Glith Klein want to release a new drug, x. You take it once a day and twice on Sundays and it has miraculous healing powers in this life, PLUS it offers eternal life after death. So what evidence is there for this drug? Well, we have a big book all about it written by Smaxo Glith Klein employees, and we have an email from someone who says it cured her uterine fibroids.

An email from someone saying that x cured her uterine fibroids is anecdotal evidence - see the excellent wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence). "Researchers may use anecdotal evidence for suggesting new hypotheses, but never as supporting evidence." "Anecdotal evidence cannot be distinguished from placebo effects." You couldn't market a drug on this basis, although it might be worth setting up a few trials to investigate it.

There are four groups of people to consider:
- those who pray and are healed
- those who pray and are not healed
- those who don't pray and are healed
- those who don't pray and are not healed

All 4 groups have representatives. We can't deduce anything from a single example without investigating more closely.

As an (anecdotal) example of the 3rd group, consider Stephen Hawking. He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which is usually rapidly progressive and fatal within 5-10 years. However, he has lived with the disease for over 40 years so far. This is very surprising from a medical point of view. Doctors say that Hawking has a 'rare, slowly progressive form of MND', which is the medical way of saying 'goodness, we have no idea why that happened'.

As far as I know, Hawking is not a Christian. If he had been, then he would surely have prayed for a cure, and the 'result' would have been hailed as a miracle. A Christian might still interpret Hawking's amazing survival as a miracle. Perhaps his (then) wife Jane, a Christian, prayed for him, so God healed him, or maybe God just decided (because he's kind, loving, etc) to heal him anyway. Or maybe ALL healing, whether expected or unexpected, is a gift from God.

In other words, people with different world-views interpret the same evidence in different ways.

Faced with the paradox:

- I believe y is impossible
- Evidence shows that y happened
- AArgh! contradiction!

people resolve the problem in different ways. Some common ways are:

1) God can do impossible things, therefore God did it.

or

2) Check the evidence - maybe it was faulty and y didn't happen after all.

3) If the evidence is reliable: Oh well, I was wrong, it wasn't impossible after all.

Personally, I tend to choose 2 or 3 as being the simplest explanation.


10th Sep 2006, 02:51 pm (UTC)
On a related note, I am always wary of the term "anecdotal evidence". This phrase is usually used, in my experience, as an excuse to dismiss certain information as irrelevant, usually by someone who would not like the conclusions supported by that information. However, regardless of any dictionary definitions, the "anecdotal" label tends to be used to describe two very different things, depending on context: either a "sample of one" ("Well, in my case, this happened...") or information from an "indirect source" ("I once heard of a guy who...").

The second class tend to be unsubstantiated, and of course we must be wary of giving any weight to unsubstantiated hypotheticals. However, it is all too easy to generalise and write off any "anecdotal evidence" in this way. I find the argument that a sample of one is not completely representative and therefore irrelevant to be unsound. By that logic, since any sample that is not the entire population is unrepresentative to some extent, any incomplete sample is irrelevant. The difference is quantitative, not qualitative. Similarly, only in the world of scientific conceits do we believe that perfect studies with ideal control groups exist.

Newspapers often quote survey results with sample sizes of just over 1,000 members of the public. This is not a coincidence; it gives us a certain percentage level of statistical reliability, and by convention we accept that level. However, that level has no special mathematical properties. It is only a convention, and all such statistical tests ultimately come down to getting one answer or the other based on an arbitrary number. Consultants are, of course, very good at picking that number to get answers their clients will like!

Thus while we may reasonably choose to give more weight to formally-structured, well-controlled studies with higher levels of statistical reliability, we should not entirely discount verifiable information just because it comes from smaller samples, particularly if that's all we have available. Even a single verifiable counter-example, anecdotal as it may be, is enough to support scribb1e's third point: if you thought something was impossible, but it definitely happened at least once, then it can be at most "highly unlikely", not "impossible". (Obviously you still need enough control information that it's reasonable to consider the counter-example verified.)

Always remember, statistics is little more than the study of quantifying faith.
10th Sep 2006, 07:30 pm (UTC)
I have found that 100%* of people disagree with your reasoning.



* sample size 1
10th Sep 2006, 08:36 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Sure, and right now that's not terribly convincing, because obviously at least one person aparently agrees with it, too. Of course, if 10 people came along and all of them disagreed with me, I might start to question the merit of my argument. If 100 came along and all of them disagreed, I'd have serious doubts. How many does it take before I should start assuming I've made a mistake and question the assumptions underlying the argument in my previous post?

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm well aware that my argument here is like asking when you stopped beating your wife. Also, as far as I know you don't know me, so I'll just tell you that I'm a mathematician by trade and have heard all the usual logical and statistical fallacies, and I am of course playing devil's advocate a bit in this discussion. That said, I do maintain that a lot of people place too much faith (no pun intended) in academic statistical methods without really thinking about what they represent and whether the underlying assumptions are valid. At the same time, those same people are often too willing to discard potentially useful evidence just because it doesn't fall into their neat mathematical/scientific method framework, by assigning it the label "anecdotal". In real life, things are rarely so black and white.
10th Sep 2006, 12:38 pm (UTC)
Although I advised you not to go on this programme, my advice was wrong. The show as a whole was really cool, and you yourself did a great job. Kudos.

I was amazed by some of the people who phoned in and talked in such personal, passionate terms about their own faith. That's something that I find inspiring even if their logic is fairly hopeless. The fact that these people have strong faith is not a reason for me to believe the same things they believe, but I do admire them.

I drew the impression that Christianity is making two basically contradictory claims: as monotheists, they hold that God is absolute, and also that anyone who keeps their eyes open can know God and come to faith. At the same time, the faith that they are hoping people will attain is a very specific faith which makes very particular claims about the nature and actions of God. So if someone experiences a strong personal revelation, it's very easy to question, as you did, why that experience should point to the Christian God as opposed to any other supernatural being that any other religions might postulate. On the other hand, the most important "evidence" for the specific Christian claims is that people do have these experiences of the Divine.

I think this ties into the problem of starting from a position of faith. I thought the person who asked you what it would take to convince you had a pretty unanswerable point. If you are absolutely determined in your atheism, then you could always point to another explanation for any miraculous or revelatory incident. (I would on the whole call myself a theist, but personally, if I started hearing voices or seeing impossible occurrences, I'd see a psychiatrist.) Of course, hypothetically an all-powerful God could alter your mind so that you ceased to be determined in your atheism, but I can see why people might worry about free will in that case.

Conversely, all the people who told you to read the Bible have no real case. Because if you don't believe you have no reason in the first place to read the Bible or take it seriously when you do read it! I think Pascal was partly right when he suggested that it is possible to take on a mental and spiritual discipline and train yourself to have faith even if you don't at the start of the process. But I think he, like many other Christians, had little basis for arguing that this self-training process was worth doing. If you think Christianity is wrong in the first place, there is no value at all in trying to convince yourself that Christianity is right!
10th Sep 2006, 11:39 pm (UTC)
The fact that these people have strong faith is not a reason for me to believe the same things they believe, but I do admire them.

I find I do admire them in some way, but when I think about it, I'm not sure why, given that I think they're wrong and illogical. I suppose I like to see people who have thought about this stuff at all, even if they reach a different conclusion from my own.

If you are absolutely determined in your atheism, then you could always point to another explanation for any miraculous or revelatory incident.

Yes. However, if enough things which you can't explain within your current model start happening, you'd hopefully become aware of the mental kludges you were having to put in to patch up the old system, and you'd eventually get a paradigm shift. robhu is right to say, as he does elsewhere in these comments, that no single thing would be convincing.

I think Pascal was partly right when he suggested that it is possible to take on a mental and spiritual discipline and train yourself to have faith even if you don't at the start of the process. But I think he, like many other Christians, had little basis for arguing that this self-training process was worth doing.

Yep, what gjm11 speaks of as the theological virtue of faith in his deconversion essay. I think it's a good idea not to move either way on the existence of God in a rush, which seems to me to be what Gareth's process of considering stuff was about. But you can reach the stage when that discipline is nonsensical, and that that point it's time to call it a day.
10th Sep 2006, 07:01 pm (UTC)
God wasn't so concerned with St Paul's free-will and autonomy that he could not knock him off his horse on the way to Damascus

Ah, but God knew that Paul wanted it really. They all want it. All of the time.
10th Sep 2006, 07:28 pm (UTC)
God is not SSC and therefore not a Twue Dominate.
10th Sep 2006, 08:07 pm (UTC)
But God wasn't so concerned with St Paul's free-will and autonomy that he could not knock him off his horse on the way to Damascus, yet St Paul's sort of experience is rare.
I find the argument that God does not make himself more obvious because it would conflict with our free will to choose him to be highly fishy. I have found Christians that make this argument think that we already have so much evidence that it is plain to us that God exists, and that by not becoming Christians we are choosing to reject God rather than choosing not to follow someone we don't think exists.

I suspect you and I would agree that in our experience the evidence for God's existence is quite poor, and we would expect God to be much easier to find if he does indeed exist.

There are more sane Christians though who would argue that God does not make his existence clear to everyone, only a few. This seems more reasonable to me - it allows some to have had this revelation while others of us are left in the cold.

It was interesting listening to Paul asking you what evidence you would find convincing. The question suggests there is a checklist of things that would need to be fulfilled for one to believe. It doesn't work like that though does it? What happens is you get a variety of evidence that increases the confidence you have that a certain thing is true. Your comment that whatever the appropriate level of proof is for you - God would know it (and presumably then provide it), was insightful.

As you know I've had various 'supernatural' experiences in my life - they are highly convincing at the time when they occur but not so good as time goes on. I would hope though that God would not rely on magical tricks to persuade us, but rather that the evidence would already be there and be plain all around us all the time.

I don't think that Paul Clarke's response to my killer argument against inerrancy holds up. To say that the "we" of St Paul's "we who are still alive" in 1 Thess 4 could encompass later Christians presupposes that St Paul knew he was writing to such people.
Have you considered holding a more extended debate with Paul? I doubt he has the time (or perhaps the inclination) for such a debate, but I would personally find such a debate / discussion helpful. I've emailed St. Helens with the link to this page in the hope that he might appear and say interesting things.

I stumbled a bit when I mentioned Occam's Razor because Paul Clarke rightly jumped on the fact that in some sense God's miraculous healing of someone's fibroids is a simpler explanation than them getting better naturally by some unknown mechanism.
I've always wondered about this. Is God a simpler explanation for anything? If not then why not? If it's because it leads to more questions... well isn't that true of any answer? Surely its turtles all the way down?

Paul Clarke was right in saying that the fact that some people leave Christianity doesn't prove it's wrong, but it does make you wonder about CICCU and similar organisations, doesn't it?
Does it? I don't see how this makes one wonder at all.

I loved the question about "a god that suits your lifestyle", because lifestyle is a Christian code-word for "having sex in a way we don't like".
LOL - that is so true. When I stopped being a Christian I spoke to my old church leader who at the time I still respected greatly. He kept asking me if I had stopped being a Christian because I wanted a different lifestyle. I told him repeatedly that I quite liked the Christian lifestyle but he was entirely unconvinced. This has been the kind of reaction I've had with a number of my Christian friends which has led to me thinking that they must be brainwashed (in the sense that they have lost their ability to rationally listen to and evaluate what they are being told).

I found Paul Clarke's summing up quite affecting...
Do you think he sincerely cared? Maybe he did, I don't know - I've met a number of St. Helens type people (9:38 web) and I would err on the side of saying they're terribly well trained at what they're doing rather than that it comes from an actual concern for the person.
10th Sep 2006, 09:46 pm (UTC)
There are more sane Christians though who would argue that God does not make his existence clear to everyone, only a few. This seems more reasonable to me - it allows some to have had this revelation while others of us are left in the cold.

Indeed. Although it'd then be fair to ask why some are left in the cold if God wants everyone to believe. I can see how a Calvinist might cope with that, but other sorts of Christian might have a problem.

Have you considered holding a more extended debate with Paul? I doubt he has the time (or perhaps the inclination) for such a debate, but I would personally find such a debate / discussion helpful. I've emailed St. Helens with the link to this page in the hope that he might appear and say interesting things.

I'm not sure what the forum for such a debate would be. Paul did say that he doesn't really get into discussions on the Internet as he'd never get anything else done otherwise. I'd certainly continue the discussion if the option were available, because it was fun, but I wasn't under the illusion that we were convincing anyone of anything much :-)

Is God a simpler explanation for anything? If not then why not? If it's because it leads to more questions... well isn't that true of any answer? Surely its turtles all the way down?

I think I should have put more emphasis on what else you can explain and what else you can predict. Saying "God did it" is a sort of non-answer since it doesn't tell you much about the world. It's like the classic "energy makes it go" line that Feynman so disliked.

Does it? I don't see how this makes one wonder at all.

It doesn't make me wonder because I've already advanced my theory of how CICCU graduates are hoisted by their own rationalist petard. But if I were CICCU, I might wonder. Although Paul Clarke provides the standard explanation in quoting the Parable of the Sower.

This has been the kind of reaction I've had with a number of my Christian friends which has led to me thinking that they must be brainwashed (in the sense that they have lost their ability to rationally listen to and evaluate what they are being told).

You might find it helpful to say "well, that might be what you'd do if the restraints of Christianity were lifted, but..." :-)

Do you think he sincerely cared?

Yes. He was a very personable chap. Undoubtedly, if you're selecting someone to go into universities and tell the non-Christians they deserve eternal conscious torment when they die, you'd probably pick someone personable and good at public speaking to do it, but I don't think that means he's insincere. That said, it's always worth noticing the tricks that evangelical Christians have adopted from other salesmen. I mentioned the always be closing thing in relation to the callers when Steven Carr appeared on the programme, for example.
11th Sep 2006, 12:56 pm (UTC)
Although it'd then be fair to ask why some are left in the cold if God wants everyone to believe.
If God wants A and God is omnipotent does that mean that A must occur? If God is bound by logical limitations it might be that God wants A and B but both cannot be achieved absolutely so God picks B and some of A. In other words maybe God wants everyone to believe but there are other factors, e.g. perhaps (as someone once suggested to me) God wants (nay deserves?) to be glorified and he is glorified when people are punished for their sin. If God wants redemption and punishment he can punish most and save a few.

I'd certainly continue the discussion if the option were available, because it was fun, but I wasn't under the illusion that we were convincing anyone of anything much :-)
Well I was finding it convincing. I wouldn't say I've closed and sealed the door on even Evangelical Christianity but there is a dearth of intelligent argument on the subject. There are pat answers on both sides for most things but it doesn't go much beyond that. Steven Carr has some interesting debates on his website, but I would appreciate more, and (for my own benefit) ones focussed on Evangelicalism.

Saying "God did it" is a sort of non-answer since it doesn't tell you much about the world
I like what you're saying, and after all who can disagree with Mr Feynman? I wonder though when we finish opening all the Babushka dolls in physics will we end up with a similar answer?

I think I should have put more emphasis on what else you can explain and what else you can predict.
There is some degree of predictability in Christianity. I don't think we get the outcomes that it might predict, but that's a different issue ;-)

You might find it helpful to say "well, that might be what you'd do if the restraints of Christianity were lifted, but..." :-)
That's *such* a good idea!!

... I don't think that means he's insincere.
It was unfair of me to suggest that he was, you will have a much better picture of his sincerity than me. I've known many Evangelicals who think they sincerely care about the person when I know deep down they don't, they really care about telling people that they're naughty sinners and are going to hell but somehow they've managed to persuade themselves that the two are the same. There are also Evangelicals who don't really care about whether people are going to roast in hell for eternity or not - they are aware that they only really care about telling people the gospel, but that's more honest - what they really want to do is glorify God by telling people the gospel. I think that's fair enough - but I suspect that is what the majority of the UCCF types are like though.
11th Sep 2006, 12:07 pm (UTC)

I find the argument that God does not make himself more obvious because it would conflict with our free will to choose him to be highly fishy.

Fishy indeed, given that he's supposedly done just that within the last couple of millenia. I suspect that if someone started performing the same kind of flashy miracles described in the gospels[1] today then (after, granted an initial period of skepticism) I imagine that many atheists would start to rethink.

[1] or perhaps those attributed to the saints, but they could more easily be dismissed as pious frauds, if necessary in order to maintain an argument about the invisibility of the Christian god.

11th Sep 2006, 12:58 pm (UTC)
I have heard Christians argue that the reason we don't get all the miracles and signs today is because we have the complete Bible. In some sense the miracles and signs were just boosters until we have all of God's word.
13th Sep 2006, 11:06 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Well, I'd hate to disappoint by not being along to disagree.

But first, I'll start on a positive note by saying I do agree with you in thinking that the people who wrote the Bible genuinely believed that the things they wrote happened!

Unfortunately, the rest of your answer I pretty much disagree with. In your response you discount the biblcal record because there are other religious books which say other things. I think by saying this there are two arguements you could be making:

1) You could be making a kind of relativistic arguement by saying that because people disagree about what is true we can't know what is true. But I think you are aware of the problems of relativism, and don't embrace it, so I don't think this is the sort of arguement you would defend.

2) You could be suggesting there is a some sort of religious delusion, common to the authors of the Bible and other religious texts. And this causes them to write things they believe to be true, but are actually false. I think this is probably, the more likely thing you were getting at, but if this is the case, I think you have to make the effort to explain this common religious delusion.

3) Of course, you could be making another point! If so, please explain (more fully!) why you think the existence of other religious texts helps you assess the veracity of the Bible.

Personally, I think you have to look at each religious writing invididually, and identify for each what you think the source of falsehood is. So for example, I think you have to explain how Luke, if he was not lying, could think that he was reporting what he had learned after careful investigation of eyewitness accounts, but could have got it very wrong.
14th Sep 2006, 05:33 pm (UTC) - Paul Clarke and sceptics dissing evidence
Paul Clarke maintained that sceptics would disregard any evidence. He asked if you believed everything you saw on TV or in a magic show, and would dismiss any evidence God gave you.

Of course, if I found the autograph copies of the Gospels in my bedroom this morning, I would hardly dismiss the millions of pounds I would get by selling them. How would I disregard that?

But what evidence would I reject?

Suppose I had a dream where God told me to eat some food. Paul Clarke would maintain that I would dismiss that as just a dream.

And I probably would just dismiss it as just a dream.

Now suppose my friend Peter had a dream where God told him to eat some food. I'm sure Paul Clarke would scoff that sceptics would dismiss that as just a dream and not evidence at all.

But surely I would be right to dismiss it as just a dream. If I believed dreams, I would be a lunatic.

There are many accounts of dreams in the Bible. Could Paul Clarke explain consistently why they should not just be dismissed as dreams?

Will Paul Clarke accept just anything as evidence for God - even dreams?
28th Jun 2009, 09:40 am (UTC) - Re: Paul Clarke and sceptics dissing evidence
Anonymous
Concerning any evidence that a god may have given me.

If I were to think like that, if I were to start quoting the same kind of evidence that Christians have quoted to me so many times, I would have to deduce that Krishna was very much working to convince me of his divinity.

All well and good, but where does that place me with respect to Christianity? Some turn around an immediately say "Oh, that's a demon misleading you" - but then surely the same can be said back to them. Some may say "God was working around you, an alternate route Christianity via Hinduism" but that sounds so unlike what most Christians believe.

Whatever way you look at it, it makes these kind of evidence/experience arguments very weak. What can we trust? Maybe there are some fuzzy things we can take from it, but not the detail that the religious want.
4th Sep 2007, 09:05 pm (UTC)
As a diversion - sorry, but that's the way I am - this is the kind of thing I needed to occupy my mind through an aggravating afternoon - I listened to that broadcast of Unbelievable. You acquitted yourself very well. I wish that all dialogue across the line of belief could be conducted in such a civil manner.
9th Sep 2007, 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Civility was certainly one of my goals, and I'd resolved not to lose my temper even if my opponent was a complete nutter (which Paul Clarke wasn't, of course). Before I went on the programme, I listened to an earlier one where they'd had a creationist and someone else debating, and the non-creationist was losing it when confronted with the insanity. It was understandable, but it just made him sound shrill.
14th Apr 2009, 10:02 am (UTC)
Rather late to the party, but got here following links. As you may already have read, the lady down the street is a witch; she did it is always the simplest explanation...
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