Debate Q/A videos are up

Thanks to Mark Tiborsky of the Cleveland Freethinkers, the Q/A portion of my debate last Saturday with Joe Puckett has been posted. I find the Q/A parts the most interesting because I enjoy dialogue more than giving speeches because you often address specific points.

The creators of the videos were hampered by not getting a direct sound feed from the microphones but had to pick it up from the air which is the reason for the slightly inferior quality.

Part 1:

Part 2:


  1. Neil H says

    For anyone who has not read that book the pastor made several references to ‘Is god a moral monster?’ the short version of the first few chapters is ‘Yes, but might makes right and divine command theory, so he gets a free pass’. I got bored and have not actually finished it yet so there may be some good arguments towards the end. Also I would have called him on his 3rd answer to the Euthephro dilemma being a restatement of the because god said so answer, but someone will always have a couple of complaints so good work.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Wow Mano, you did almost 2 hours of Q & A after the debate proper? That’s dedication, man!

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Sheesh! Was the audience recruited from a tuberculosis ward? So much coughing!

  4. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Plantinga. I hate that guy, and his argument. It only makes sense if you are ignorant of everything of computation theory and information theory. Plantinga basic argument is:

    I don’t see why evolution should select a rational brain over a brain which holds beliefs which are mostly false, but produce good fitness through a Rube Goldberg -esque interaction of the beliefs.

    And once you rephrase Plantinga’s argument like that, and once you have a basic knowledge of computation theory and evolutionary theory, his position becomes ridiculous.

    Let me give one of his actual example (paraphrased) just to strike home how ridiculous Plantinga’s position is:

    It would be evolutionarily favored to hold the following beliefs / values / qualities in conjunction: 1- I want to be eaten by a tiger. 2- Every time I see a tiger, I believe that it does not want to eat me. 3- Every time I see a tiger, I am reminded that I want to be eaten by a tiger, am disappointed that this tiger will not eat me, so I run away to find another tiger that will eat me. After about 30 seconds, I will forget that I want to be eaten by a tiger, so I can return to finding food and otherwise taking care of myself.

    Replies to Plantinga:

    1- If you compare a (mostly) rational brain and a Rube Goldberg brain that perform similarly well in a particular environment, the rational brain is going to have less moving parts, and thus it’s evolutionarily favored. 2- We can see how a rational brain can arrive from a process of gradual changes. It’s implausible that a series of gradual changes, each evolutionarily favored or neutral, could arrive at a Rube Goldberg brain – it’s irreducibly complex. 3- The rational brain will much more quickly adapt to changing environments. Any species or family of species that went down the Rube Goldberg route will quickly become extinct as soon as there is the slightest environment change, whereas the rational brain can quickly adjust and survive.

    It’s one of those rare times that I can actually say: “Wait. I’m a professional. I have a degree in this.”

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I never understood how anyone could say with a straight face that god preventing evil is incompatible with free will. Do these people not want us to have police? That’s their argument – that the more effective police we have, the less free will we have. It’s obscene.

    There is far more to life than choosing whether to do evil or do good. Music, arts, exploration, learning, relationships, etc.

    PS: Also good counterargument: Is there free will in heaven? Is there evil in heaven? Is heaven a better place than Earth? I’ve heard many say that heaven is “perfect”, which implies it has free will and there is no evil. But, didn’t you just say that those two things are impossible? And if those things are possible in heaven, why not make Earth more like that?

    I didn’t watch the full debate yet, but it seems his shtick is that Earth is some sort of necessarily soul forming to be ready for heaven or some shit. To anyone who has the audacity to say that, I inform them of that poor woman who was kept in her basement for 20 years and raped daily by her father. Then I ask that person to look at me straight in the face and say that her suffering was necessary in order to “form her soul” and “give her experience”, and that there was not some better plan which didn’t involve her being chained in a dungeon and raped every day for a decade. If someone can say that in seriousness, then I call them a miserable excuse of a human being and end the conversation.

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