Pray for me

In about an hour I’m strolling over to be sacrificed in this godawful debate.

It will be recorded, apparently. I’ll see what I can do to get a copy.

I dream of the day when these kinds of debates are banished to the domain of public arguments about whether Santa Claus is real.


  1. Louis says

    1) Enjoy yourself, PZ.

    2) Santa is real. Where do the presents come from?

    3) The answer to the question posed for this debate is “No”.

    4) If the don’t like 3), say “Okay then, which one?”


  2. Snarki, child of Loki says

    OF COURSE Santa is real!
    If you’re good, you get presents.

    If you’re really good, you get to BE Santa and give presents.

    Not sure why anyone would dispute this.

  3. macallan says

    Pray for me

    Alright, here it goes…

    Blood and souls for Arioch!

    May you be eaten first!

    … did it help?

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I’m late.
    How’s it going?
    WTF do you mean, “…whether Santa Claus is real…”?

  5. John Morales says

    chigau, a bit like John Lennon, PZ imagines.

    The day when the instantiation of some god-concept is seen about as relevant as that of Satan Claus.

    “the domain of public arguments about whether Satan Claus is real”

  6. StevoR says

    So, how did it go PZ?

    Well hopefully?

    I hope the recording is fair and complete and done by a neutral party or ideally multiple ones and not just the Christianists who can edit as they please and misrepresent as I gather happens.

    Looking forward to hearing & seeing it online if possible.

  7. says

    It went fairly well, I think, for this kind of debate. The audience seemed to have favored me, but I did have a home team advantage.
    I have an audio recording. I’ll try to post it tomorrow.

  8. wzrd1 says

    chrislawson @ 10, sorry about your sacrificed. Misheard the text to speech and preyed on the goat for PZ. Goat is tasty!*

    As for the Santa debate, I’ll happily take PZ up on that one. Just let me know a few months in advance, so that I can grow my beard. I’ll also show up wearing my Santa suit and will bring PZ his bag of coal – activated, if he so desires.
    I do love clean coal, which is why I like using it in filtration.

    *Really, it is, much like lamb, it’s also quite lean and flavorful.

  9. Rich Woods says

    @michaelvieths #13:

    Given people’s behaviour these last few years I think we should perhaps retire that simile.

  10. brightmoon says

    Y’all are funny ! Wzrd if you’re ever in NYC , check out Golden Crust . It’s a semi fast food chain that sells West Indian food . They sometimes have curried goat…. delicious mon!

  11. Jazzlet says

    wzrd1 @14 [of goat]

    *Really, it is, much like lamb, it’s also quite lean and flavorful.

    In other words it’s like hoggett or mutton, but with less fat, I agree :-)

  12. billseymour says

    Like michaelvieths @13, I also wondered about why PZ had agreed to a debate.  IIUC, debates are exercises in crafting arguments given conclusions.  That’s probably a useful skill if you’re a politician, a religious apologist, or a Supreme Court justice; but it doesn’t seem to be a skill that improves one’s chances of discovering what’s true.

  13. cheerfulcharlie says

    Over years I have argued these things on various blogs. Some people ask me why.
    1. For every arguer, there are the many lurkers. I know many truly wedged theists won’t change their minds, but with good arguments, you may convince some lurker.
    2. Over many years, i have heard self identified atheists admit that the many problems with theism convinced them to admit theism is not true. For some, it took years. A few good arguments are like seeds that will change some minds over time.
    3. Arguing with theists over time can give one valuable clues as to what are good arguments. And what theists think and say, rather than debating strawmen. Of course there are levels of theists from primitive fundamentalists to well read apologists who dive into convoluted metaphysics. That alone can be an education. Trotting out Plantinga, or Aquinas opens up new avenues of debunking theism. And teaching the controversy to the ever present lurkers.
    4. Due diligence. Am I sure I am right? If all one knows is bad evangelist and creationist nonsense, sophisticated theologians can be daunting. With experience, sophisticated theologians and their high falutin’ metaphysics simply opens up a larger attack surface. And fail.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ billseymour : Arguably, deates can help critical thinking in terms of analysing arguments and logic and pitting different arguments and scenarios against each other? As ways of thinking more critically about what you should believe and why?

    Scientifically there are at least a couple of debates that were memorable and some have argued (huh, meta) were turning points notably ones involving evolution and galaxies eg the Great Debate over the nature of spiral nebulae – as they were then called between Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis. See :

    Plus the Huxley–Wilberforce debate or the Wilberforce–Huxley debate which wikipedia notes is actually, well, :

    ..although this description is somewhat misleading. It was not a formal debate between the two, but rather it was an animated discussion after the presentation of a paper by John William Draper of New York University, on the intellectual development of Europe with relation to Darwin’s theory (one of a number of scientific papers presented during the week as part of the British Association’s annual meeting).[2] Although Huxley and Wilberforce were not the only participants in the discussion, they were reported to be the two dominant parties.

    Source :

  15. says

    I’m reminded of a ridiculous Chick Track that tells of a boy who became a serial killer, and subsequently a death row inmate, the moment he was told by a group of children that Santa Claus didn’t exist as if this is made up as an example of people becoming serial killers the moment they were told that Jesus or Allah or any form of embraced deity didn’t exist.

  16. wzrd1 says

    Owosso Harpist @ 24, I’m reminded of a preacher I was subjected to (was in a shelter, where attendance to several preaching sessions per day was mandatory or one was ejected). He went on in odd ways, getting history so wrong as to finally reach the point where I referred to him as “Fractured Fairy Tales”. Others referred to him in worse terms.
    We were reliably informed by him that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK because religion was removed from the schools. A simple look at the timelines involved the use of a time machine to make it work.
    He also claimed that initial immigration to the US was due to our modern freedoms, again requiring a time machine, as those freedoms he was quoting didn’t exist at the times he was invoking.
    Dude didn’t suffer from cognitive disconnect, as that would require cognition being connected and functioning in the first place.
    It was, to a variable extent, a common theme in many speakers there, where simply inventing shit out of whole cloth to root a thesis was the norm. In another case, a minister, who was found of wearing garb that affiliated him with the military, he being proud of his participation in the first Gulf War as a chaplain, claimed Canada was suppressing religion by stealing a church. The fact of the matter was that one church literally tried to steal a church from another church group that was trying to sell said church building. The courts simply didn’t allow that attempted theft of real estate. When challenged, he dismissed that with a “So what? What do you want me to do?”, essentially admitting he was aware that he was bald faced lying.
    He received something unexpected, me thundering, in full preacher mode projection, “Do better! You should never lie in one’s god’s name, for then you prove that you are working for the other guy”. Yeah, I use their own weapons against them.
    The room the discussion occurred in being a chapel, suffice it to say, the group’s attention was rapt and he wasn’t a speaker for a few months.

    I’m nicer to Jehovah Witnesses, for I’ll speak religion with them whenever they made the mistake of knocking on my door. The attrition was horrific for them, for soon, elders would knock, eventually their much sparser numbers would actively avoid my property. All, largely by guiding them to use that which they’ve been taught to no longer use, their own intelligence and minds. Not arguing loudly, simply pointing out inconsistencies and outright contradictions in their own doctrine with their own doctrine’s documentation.
    Blowing many out of the water by reminding them, Jesus wasn’t the originator of “Love thy neighbor as oneself”, that was in Leviticus 19:18. And presented a case of Jesus being a follower of Essene beliefs, basically commune living, peacenicks, essentially the hippies of their era.
    Which builds a case against a singular Jesus, rather than a group of groups, as nothing in humanity is monolithic.
    Well, save the Monolith and that’s buried on the moon… ;)

  17. Doc Bill says

    Of course Santa is real, and I be he!

    Decades of egg nog and Christmas cookies gone to waist.

  18. robro says

    wzrd1 @ #26

    Blowing many out of the water by reminding them, Jesus wasn’t the originator of “Love thy neighbor as oneself”, that was in Leviticus 19:18. And presented a case of Jesus being a follower of Essene beliefs, basically commune living, peacenicks, essentially the hippies of their era.

    From what I read some years ago, there isn’t any more known about the Essenes than Jesus so that describing them as “peaceniks” or “hippies” or asserting that any of the Jesuses was a member of the club is a bit iffy…notwithstanding Barbara Thiering’s claims. But, I would love to learn more if there’s something concrete.

  19. cheerfulcharlie says

    We do have written documents from the Essenes. Basic rules for Essenes in their communities, and some theological works. The Essenes for example believed in predestination.

Leave a Reply