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Oct 23 2013

Rick Stedman, meet Barbara Streisand

Remember David Marshall? Christ the Tao? The last thread he commented in was this one, where he was his usual bumbling pretentious self, if you need a prod to the memory. He recently had a debate at Adventure Christian Church with Phil Zuckerman, the sociologist, and was creamed. The church then refused to release the video of the debate…until now.

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month our church hosted a debate featuring Dr. David Marshall speaking on Christianity and Dr. Phil Zuckerman, sharing his views on secular humanism.

The night was designed to provide a platform for each to debate their views on civil society. We hoped to encourage a sharing of thoughts and ideas between Christians, atheists and the surrounding community.

After the debate, I honestly thought the video posting was my choice to make, and I was floored to learn that our decision not to post it was considered by some as evidence of close-mindedness. I apologize for not posting this debate earlier, and now that we have clearly heard from both presenters, we are posting the debate.

I hope that the conversation about civility can continue and might return to the civil tone in which it began.

Shalom,

Pastor Rick Stedman

So he was surprised that people pressured him to release the video. How disingenuous, especially given that before he revealed it, he had posted several one-sided rebuttals. And now he has the gall to whine about ‘civility’! You gotta give it to get it, guy.

So here it is, the video Adventure Christian Church was embarrassed to show.

If he’d just quietly released it from the very beginning, probably no one would have noticed. I suppose we should thank Stedman for doing such a fabulous job advertising it.

40 comments

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  1. 1
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I’ll be watching it after work tonight. Can’t wait…

  2. 2
    Sven

    “I didn’t realize I’d be defending theocracy,” the guy says.

    Bad news, buddy: when your position is to make a particular religion the basis for government and/or society, that’s pretty much exactly what you’re defending.

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    I would be interested in seeing the one-sided rebuttals, to compare them with the actual “debate” (you cannot have a contest of wits with an unarmed opponent like David Marshall.)

  4. 4
    unbound

    I hope that the conversation about civility can continue and might return to the civil tone in which it began.

    Knowing enough about the background of the subject (the pastor promised to provide the video to public before the debate happened, then back-pedaled acknowledging that he was holding it back because the debate didn’t go the way he wanted it), the arrogance of this statement drives me nuts. Not only are many of them immoral, but they are disingenuous to boot.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    PZ:

    Remember David Marshall?

    Yes, I do. Eeeuwerbleargh. Now I have to get this sour taste out of my brain.

  6. 6
    Chengis Khan, The Cryofly

    What is this ‘civility’ and ‘civil tone’ thing that this pastor is taking of?
    Asking him to post the debate that Jesus lost is mean as per el pastor Rick, I suppose.
    Or did someone burn a bible or something?

  7. 7
    zibble

    4 minutes in, Marshall calls North Korea a “secular society”.

    Welp, this guy’s a dumbass.

  8. 8
    moarscienceplz

    Marshall cites Dan Brown as a character reference for Jesus! I next expect to hear that Jesus is alive and living in Boca Raton.

  9. 9
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Good grief that was awful. Marshall isn’t even interestingly wrong.

  10. 10
    Sastra

    The night was designed to provide a platform for each to debate their views on civil society. We hoped to encourage a sharing of thoughts and ideas between Christians, atheists and the surrounding community… I hope that the conversation about civility can continue and might return to the civil tone in which it began.

    Ah, I get it. Although it was a “debate” it was really more of a nonjudgmental “sharing of thoughts and ideas between Christians, atheists, and the surrounding community.” Nobody was trying to convince anyone to change their minds on anything. Oh, dear me, no. It was a conversation. A civil conversation. We all know how that goes:

    Marshall: “Here is what I believe ….”
    Zuckerman: “And I believe something different, like …
    All: “Isn’t that wonderful! I love the way we can share our views and have such a polite conversation without anyone telling anyone else they’re wrong! Let’s accept each other, just the way we are. ”

    It was a lovely evening, but no reason to post what everyone shared. It’s personal, after all. The atheists, though, predictably fail to accept the rules of civil society and used their own peculiar understanding of the term “debate.”

    Rude, just rude.

  11. 11
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    and I was floored to learn that our decision not to post it was considered by some as evidence of close-mindedness

    And it’s closed-mindedness. the state of having a mind which is closed, not one which is close. Fucking adjectives, how do they work?
    </pedantry>

  12. 12
    Kevin Schelley

    Wow, Marshall seems to have a really hard time comprehending what Zuckerman was saying. How did he get that Zuckerman was saying that Marshall was supporting Gnosticism and Theocracy? I mean doctrinally Marshall probably does support those things, as those are the logical conclusions of a society built on Christianity, or any other of the Abrahamic religions. My guess is that it’s his own insecurity causing him to bring up those two terms that Zuckerman never came close to mentioning on his own.

  13. 13
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    It seemed to me as if Marshall was working to a pre-prepared script of what he thought Zuckerman would say. Kind of like a politician twisting questions so as to get their prepared statement across.

  14. 14
    David Marjanović

    PZ, I don’t know what her parents were thinking*, but Streisand is Barbra. Like bar + bra.

    * Trying to reduce the number of open syllables?

    Fucking adjectives, how do they work?

    Well, [dm] is a pretty rare consonant cluster in English, so it’s not surprising that some can’t believe it exists at all.

  15. 15
    Mike Today

    I like how on their page they made three responses to ya know set the facts straight.

    How disingenuous.

    The first response talks about how the treaty of Paris and another treaty had an acknowledgement of the trinity. Ye ignores that fact that it appears in all the treaty’s that GB signed at that time and only appears in 3 out of 25 treaty’s that the US signed with foreign nations.

    Haven’t even looked at the other 2 responses I’m sure there talking points are just as well researched.

  16. 16
    unbound

    Wow. No wonder he wanted to bury the video. Not only was his arguments completely obliterated, he looked completely clueless as to what was going on as well as looking like nothing more than an attack dog.

  17. 17
    Suido

    Urgh. Marshall says he doesn’t want to defend theocracy, then answers a question with authoritarianism, claiming humans need Jesus to show us how to live.

  18. 18
    tacitus

    Given that the debate video wasn’t released at the time, it’s testament to the power of Zuckerman’s arguments that the church pastors felt it necessary to post videos attempting to rebut his points.

  19. 19
    left0ver1under

    Not to nitpick, but doesn’t a “rebuttal” require hearing the original statement that was rebutted? Marshall’s “rebuttals” would be better characterized as misrepresentations and misreporting.

  20. 20
    anteprepro

    Heh. They even called it “The Great Debate”. Three videos of Pastors talking about issues brought up in “The Great Debate”, posted a week ago. The smarmy “I honestly thought the video posting was my choice to make” shtick is fucking hilarious! A real knee-slapper. Great to hear that David Marshall is still doing what David Marshall does best: pretending to be a scholar and embarrassing the people he claims to be defending.

  21. 21
    tacitus

    The first response talks about how the treaty of Paris and another treaty had an acknowledgement of the trinity. Ye ignores that fact that it appears in all the treaty’s that GB signed at that time and only appears in 3 out of 25 treaty’s that the US signed with foreign nations.

    The problem with the Treaty of Tripoli argument is that it can be dismissed as politics as usual — i.e. the US Congress went along with the wording because it was what they needed to seal the deal they wanted.

    The stronger argument is in the lack of any reference to God or Jesus in the Constitution. There was simply no need for the Founders to do this (and some lobbied against it, I believe) and it was an extremely significant departure from the religious norms of the times.

  22. 22
    left0ver1under

    On his stie, Marshall makes the feeble claim about “having no influence in posting the video”.

    “No influence” means he never asked the church to post it, and never will.

    Marshall also makes the pathetic claim that, “I have the facts, I’m just not a debater”. Horsefeathers. Facts are what make a debate, and he didn’t have any. Even his own side admits he went in unarmed – he brought a rubber knife to a gunfight.

  23. 23
    rogerfirth

    That was no Great Debate. It was a Gangbanging of the Cripples.

  24. 24
    lpetrich

    What a big heaping pile of bull feces David Marshall’s claims were. Let’s see.

    * Charity. I will half-concede that, though the ancient Roman authorities had a sort of welfare system.

    * Feminism (Jesus was the first feminist). Where were his female disciples? The most I’ve seen is Mary Magdalene, and that’s in some Gospels that didn’t make the canonical cut. There were feminists before him, like Plato, who claimed that women could be as good as men as leaders of his Republic.

    * Human rights. ???

    * Science. Pagan Greeks and Romans did it MUCH MUCH better than Christians for the next thousand years. It took rediscovering the works of those pagan proto-scientists to get them going again, and even then, it was a rocky road.

    * Education. Scribal schools go back to ancient Sumer, and the names of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum are still often used for educational institutions.

    * Healer (Jesus was the first healer and the Red Cross symbol is a cross). Simple forms of medicine are MUCH older than him — even older than our species (zoopharmacognosy). Temples of the Greek god Asclepius had numerous cure testimonials written on them — abundant “hard” evidence.

    On the other side, Phil Zuckerman seemed to concede too much to David Marshall. He wanted to show that he could do better, and he decided to start with his opponent’s best claims. But at the end, he noted that northern European nations and US “blue states” do remarkably well despite being relatively low in religion.

  25. 25
    David Marjanović

    That was no Great Debate. It was a

    *flinch*

    * Education. Scribal schools go back to ancient Sumer

    “History begins at Sumer”.

    * Healer (Jesus was the first healer and the Red Cross symbol is a cross).

    Oh, the bliss that is ignorance. The Red Cross has a white background. That’s deliberate: the whole thing is an inversion of the Swiss flag, a red square with a white cross on it. Henri Dunant was Swiss.

  26. 26
    numerobis

    The swiss flag has a cross on it because of Christianity, so the link is not entirely false. I don’t see how it proves anything interesting about anything but history though.

  27. 27
    davidmarshall

    Yes, I was fumbling and inarticulate during stretches of this debate. When it comes to style, Phil clearly had the better of the evening. Apparently stage debates are not my forte. PZ should have accepted my challenge to debate when he had the chance, and picked up a win, at least in the style department.

    But I also offered copious and strong evidence, citing eminent mostly non-Christian scholars, to support my position, that Christianity provides a better foundation for civil society than Secular Humanism. Good guy that he is, Phil did not debunk my arguments, and does not even claim to have done so. I’ll be posting a transcript of the debate on my website, analyzing some key claims in more detail, and responding to serious challenges — not that I expect many from these quarters.

    Ipetrich: Let’s start with you, since you’re the only one here who actually tries, flailingly, to argue. But you misunderstand my premises. I did not then, and never have, claimed that there was no charity or science or kindness to women outside of Christian tradition — heck, I cited your man Richard Carrier on the partially theistic roots of ancient Greek science. (Which he admits died out a century and a half BEFORE Christians took over the empire.) And while Phil credits “love your neighbor as yourself” to secular human society in general, in China, which he mentioned, yeah there was a lot of talk about love, but the most famous proponent of universal love was Mozi, who said, in essence, “God (Tian) loves humanity, so we should love one another.” Not a perfect illustration of the power of Secular Humanism.

    But it feels strange to talk about love and kindness in these premises, like swearing loudly in a public library. Go ahead, PZ, unleash the wrath, you’re such a wonderful illustration of the civility that Secular Humanism can bring the world, I’m sure you’ll prove Phil’s point by the sheer force of your gentle, guileless good charms.

  28. 28
    chigau (違う)

    davidmarshall
    Do you really think the use of the word “god” in 4th century BCE China means the Abrahamic monogod?

  29. 29
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    davidmarshall

    Yes, I was fumbling and inarticulate during stretches of this debate.

    FTFY

    But I also offered copious and strong evidence

    No, what you mostly did was “[name of good thing] [word-salad] and I think the Gospels support me.”

    Seriously, I’m not even critiquing what you said. I’m pointing out that you said very little at all, and backed up none of your assertions with evidence.

  30. 30
    Rutee Katreya

    And while Phil credits “love your neighbor as yourself” to secular human society in general, in China, which he mentioned, yeah there was a lot of talk about love, but the most famous proponent of universal love was Mozi, who said, in essence, “God (Tian) loves humanity, so we should love one another.” Not a perfect illustration of the power of Secular Humanism.

    Your argument for Christianity is the founder of Mohism, which predates Christianity by centuries (And was also not even a little bit monotheist)? And that argument centers on claiming the word that means “The Heavens” is to mean “The Christian God”? You are one slimy little appropriating fuck. And The Heavens weren’t like Christianity’s Heaven, in case you get any more bright ideas.

    Also, I don’t care about ‘civility’. I care about treating people well. Those are not even remotely th e same thing.

  31. 31
    Lofty

    Civility is the burkah of rational debate.

  32. 32
    Rutee Katreya

    Looking back on this to see if the jackass responded, I iwll say this: If Phil Plait is using ancient China as evidence of secular humanism, he is dead fucking wrong. IT’s true that Confucius did propogate something that is kinda similar to the concept of ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, that’s both a gross exaggeration of Confucian niceness (It’s usually called The Silver Rule because it’s less nice than Jesus’, but also considerably less presumptious and self-centered), and it’s ridiculous to consider confucianism either secular or humanist. It was less religious than its counterparts, but the only one of its counterparts that could legitimately be called secular was Legalism (which isn’t great for us at all). The rest were all understood against the backdrop of Chinese beliefs in divinities. Heck, so was Legalism, outside the minds of most philosophers. Confucianism doesn’t directly deal in what divinities did, but it doesn’t think those divinities didn’t happen, it just doesn’t consider them central to determining morality. And many Confucians ultimately considered the relationship between the heavens and earth to just be another form of Father/Son morality anyway. Oh, and seriously, Confucianism wasn’t humanist, at all. If I were to say someone was, it actually would be the mohists. None of which makes them a good argument for Jesus Fucking Christ.

    Seriously, marshall? Tian as God? Are you fucking clueless? Even fucking google translate knows better than you.

  33. 33
    lpetrich

    davidmarshall #27:

    I did not then, and never have, claimed that there was no charity or science or kindness to women outside of Christian tradition.

    How convenient.

    Some more details.

    Our practice of medicine has *much* more in common with Hippocrates’s rationalistic medicine than Jesus Christ’s exorcisms, magical spit therapy, and faith healing. Yes, Jesus Christ had been an exorcist. Hippocrates proposed materialistic causes and cures of many diseases, and while he often got the details wrong, the corrections have been equally materialistic.

    Feminism is more than “kindness to women”. It’s support of women fully participating in society with all the rights and privileges that men have. That’s why I asked about female disciples. When pagan religions have had priestesses, you know that there is something wrong somewhere.

    As to science, the Xian churches had a thousand years to restart it in which they totally failed to do so. The Byzantine Empire was stable and prosperous and rich enough to build lots of fancy buildings and fight off lots of enemies, much like the early Roman Empire, but it never got a scientific revolution.

    It’s true that at least some Greco-Roman proto-scientists believed in a god of sorts, but it was a deistic sort of god that they believed in, one who was understood through reason rather than revelation or the worship of sacred books. They also often believed that the Universe was eternal, notably Aristotle and the Stoics. Aristotle’s God was a prime mover, and the Stoic God was the soul of the Universe.

    Richard Carrier also considers the fall of Greco-Roman science and the rise of Xianity side effects of the crisis of the 3rd century, strife and civil wars and galloping inflation caused by debasing the coinage. He noted that Neoplatonism became popular about then, a philosophy that involved mysticism and revelation. Xianity was not very different.

  34. 34
    davidmarshall

    Daz: That is complete nonsense. Read the transcript, if I was speaking too quickly.

    Chigau: Of course. And so do the communists who put together modern Chinese-English dictionaries, the Kang Xi Emperor, Sun Yat-sen, Lin Yutang, James Legge, and whole bunch of other well-informed people.

    Rutee: OK, since you don’t care about civility, let me try to put it in a way you will understand. Your head is up your ass. Your second post concedes exactly what I was saying about Zuckerman’s argument — that the “Silver Rule” in late Zhou China was no expression of secular values at all.

    And I don’t care what “Google Translator” says. What kind of an argument is that? That’s worse than looking in a modern dictionary. Little clue about scholarship: start with primary sources, in classical Chinese. Begin with the 5 Classics, then the 4 Books, then interact with what top scholars say about the term, what it meant in Shang oracle bones, etc, and how the term evolved up to the Han. Then come talk with me about what the word “Tian” means. Oh, and go take a shower, first.

  35. 35
    davidmarshall

    Ipetrich: It’s not just convenient, it’s the truth. I was writing publicly and enthusiastically about the contributions of Chinese culture as early as 1996, and then about non-Christian traditions in general in 2000. That’s my record, which Phil was not apparently aware of.

    What Jesus did, with medicine, is inspire the practice of healing around the world. Read Stark’s The Rise of Christianity, for the impact of his example on the Roman world. Even the Dalai Lama was struck by what Christians of all denominations — as he recognized — were doing in India.

    Feminism is complex — I have a whole series on “How Jesus Liberate Women,” which may turn into a book. But my argument in this debate cited a UN study of the status of women in 99 countries around the world. That’s correlation, which is about all you can say in a minute. That and the Hu Shi quote.

    Sure, theism is not a sufficient cause of science, but I don’t claim it is. Certainly, other factors also contributed to European science . . . Oxford historian of science Allan Chapman has some interesting thoughts on this.

    In practice, the Stoic God was often far more personal than the Stoics claimed in theory. Read Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus, or Discourses of Epictetus.

    Carrier works hard to find some way of blaming Christianity for the puttering out of science in the ancient world, and fails. His frustration seems palpable. But there are far more eminent historians of religion that one should read first.

  36. 36
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    davidmarshall #34

    Please read for comprehension.

    You cited no ethical or moral position which could only be derived from religious, let alone Christian, precepts. If your claim is that godliness is needed to form a good society, show me such ideas, explain why they are needed in order to form a good society, and explain how they cannot be derived from a humanist position.

    And this, to Rutee:

    Oh, and go take a shower, first.

    What the fuck?

  37. 37
    Weedless Monkey

    davidmarshall

    Oh, and go take a shower, first.

    Less prude righteousness, more facts, please.

  38. 38
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wow, David Marshall, that was the worst case of cherry picking that I’ve seen in a long while.
    How about all those wars, massacres, torture, murder, genocide commited in the name of christianity? The antisemitic laws that were part of Europe for centuries and that set the basis for fascism? The misogyny that led to the witch hunts?
    And since those are easy questions to avoid:
    What religion did the racists who shouted abuse at the little girl belong to?

  39. 39
    PZ Myers

    Wait. This is David Marshall in #27.

    But it feels strange to talk about love and kindness in these premises, like swearing loudly in a public library. Go ahead, PZ, unleash the wrath, you’re such a wonderful illustration of the civility that Secular Humanism can bring the world, I’m sure you’ll prove Phil’s point by the sheer force of your gentle, guileless good charms.

    And this is David Marshall in #34.

    Your head is up your ass.

    Hmm.

  40. 40
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I love the fact that Dave is disgusted by Rutee’s use of a word describing love-making (least, that’s what I assume the shower instruction referred to), yet at the same time he’s happy to describe a person as having their head in their rectum.

    Dunno about anyone else, but I know which image I find the most disturbing.

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