The Cleveland Plain Dealer had an article promoting my debate with Joe Puckett tomorrow (Saturday) at 6:00 pm at the Northwest Church of Christ located at 3904 38th Street NW in Canton, Ohio. It appeared on their website yesterday and in the print edition today. I have no idea if the local TV news stations will now pick it up and cover the event.
I hope that this publicity will help generate more interest and a larger crowd. It is always nice to speak to a large audience. The church apparently holds about 800 people, which is a lot. I think the church is affiliated with the same denomination as Joe and is in the same geographic area as his is, so that may help to draw in home team fans. There are a fair amount of freethinker groups in this area so skeptics should also be fairly well represented though I expect they will be vastly outnumbered by religious people.
That does not bother me. In fact, I enjoy speaking to audiences who disagree with me because it makes for a more lively Q/A period. I hope there will be lots of believers because those are the people I am trying to reach. It is not that I expect to win them over by the power of my eloquent arguments! Actor Hugh Laurie, as the star of House, said, “Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people” and he was right.
What I hope to do is plant the seeds of reason and doubt in the minds of believers and hope that they germinate and flower over time. That is how minds change on issues that have deep emotional roots. Once the soil has been prepared in this way, there may be a triggering event that makes it seem like a sudden conversion but you can be assured that it was a long time coming.