My Thoughts on the Civility Pledge

HamiltonBurrDuel

My Patheos colleague Dan Fincke has proposed a civility pledge for people engaged in public discussion. I think his motivations are good, and most of the pledge is fine. I completely agree with his points about using specific charges rather than abusive epithets, about recognizing that members of marginalized groups may have experiences which I lack, and about refraining from slurs based on ethnicity, gender or sexuality. I also particularly like his point about the difference between safe … [Read more...]

The Twitter Report: Could It Be… Satan?

In my early days of blogging, I would have exhaustive debates, sometimes lasting for weeks, with believers who came across one of my websites and posed a challenge to me. But although it was fun in its time, I've wearied of it, and with occasional rare exceptions, I don't argue with theists over e-mail anymore. I've rehearsed those arguments so many times, and they're usually so well coached in the corresponding apologetics, that it often seems less like a real debate and more like two actors … [Read more...]

Intelligence Squared: Would the World Be Better Without Religion?

On Tuesday night, I attended a debate at NYU's Skirball Center that was part of the Intelligence Squared debate series, "Resolved: The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion". Supporting the atheist side were Matthew Chapman and A.C. Grayling, while Dinesh D'Souza and David Wolpe were arguing on behalf of religion. You can read the NYT's recap here, or watch the video. I was furiously scribbling notes throughout the debate, so these are my thoughts on how it went down. (My wife Elizabeth … [Read more...]

Creationist Target Practice

Yesterday, someone calling himself Rev. Skeens posted the following comment. I rejected it since it had no perceptible connection to the post it was submitted under, but then I had second thoughts. Granted that this is beginner-level stuff and hardly challenging, but it's been a while since we honed our debating skills on an actual creationist around here, so I thought it might be entertaining to throw it out there and use it for target practice. Who wants to have a go? Secular archeologist's … [Read more...]

My Notes on the Ideological Turing Test

Following up my post analyzing the results of Unequally Yoked's ideological Turing test, this one lists how I voted on each of the atheist candidates. I took notes as I was going through them, trying to flag what stood out to me as evidence of genuineness or fakery. As you can see, some of my criteria turned out to work, some of them didn't. #1 This person had an excellent answer for the first question, discussing how science has consistently been a superior method of illuminating the truth … [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Ideological Turing Test

The ideological Turing test that was running at Unequally Yoked has concluded, and if you're like me, you couldn't wait to find out how we did. Well, the results are in: here's the answer key (some real surprises there!), and here's how the voting shook out for the atheist round and for the Christian round. Read those first, and then come back for my thoughts on the outcome. First of all, I want to thank Leah for running this contest, and I especially want to commend her Christian participants. … [Read more...]

Cast Your Ballots Now!

I wrote last month about the ideological Turing test going on at Unequally Yoked, and the first round of voting is now beginning. Leah has posted 15 sets of answers to a standard set of questions, some of them written by genuine atheists, some written by Christians pretending to be atheists. Do you think you can tell the real atheists apart from the frauds? If you're up for the challenge, go check the answers out, apply your very best skepticism, and then cast your vote. The polls are only open … [Read more...]

Take the Ideological Turing Test

My guest blogger alumnus, Leah of Unequally Yoked, has proposed a very interesting challenge for Christians and atheists alike which she calls the "ideological Turing test": One of the greatest gifts of my time at Yale has been living, writing, and arguing in a community of smart people with whom I fiercely disagree... The imitation test has helped me make sure I really understood what I was rejecting and, in the end, embracing. Unless your enemies are purposefully contrarian... there is … [Read more...]

You Call That Religion?

This is a guest post by Leah of Unequally Yoked. Adam is on vacation. Spoiler Alert: the post below discusses the final number of the musical The Book of Mormon. The Associated Press, in a review titled "Zany Musical 'The Book of Mormon' Will Convert You" said despite the sacrilege you might expect from a show imagined by the creators of South Park, the production was ultimately "pro-religion."  Or, more precisely: Ultimately, believe it or not, this is a pro-religion musical, or at least a … [Read more...]

The Mormon Test

This is a guest post by Leah of Unequally Yoked.  Adam is on vacation. When in argument with Christians, it can be hard to find a good way to explain why you doubt their precepts.  John Loftus has a good idea with his Outsider's Test for Faith, but most Christians believe that their faith can pass the test; it's hard to show them how their faith looks if you haven't been steeped in it. Sometimes I've tried comparing and contrasting with other, conflicting denominations and asking why I … [Read more...]


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