My debate with Randal Rauser is out!

My debate with Randal Rauser on the rationality of theism is now out. I’m curious to read other people’s commentary on the debate, and will hold off on saying much until other people can get a chance to comment. I will note, though, that the debate ended up containing an unusually thorough discussion of the claims of “consensus” one often hears in philosophy of religion.

  • MNb

    Will you tell us (me) when the scripts are out?

  • Sven2547

    I like this audio-exchange debate format. Instead of debating on a stage under a hot spotlight, give them time to carefully put together their thoughts and craft their arguments. I look forward to listening to the audio during my commute.

  • Cylon

    Oy. I couldn’t finish this debate. Rauser was just too pedantic. Complaining about using the “evil god” terminology when you had explicitly defined the term? Pathetic. And after that he didn’t even understand the point you were making with the example.

  • Mike M.


    Just in case you are not still following the comments on the RD blog and are interested in some thoughts from the theist perspective, take a look at comments #57 and #108.


    • GubbaBumpkin

      So I’m going to give a brief description of the free-will argument as it has been traditionally used in Christian theology…

      The term “free will” occurs nowhere in the Bible. Even if there was any merit to a free will defense in a philosophical argument about God, you would be unable to link this philosophical being with the Christian God.

      • Mike M.

        Neither does the term omnipotent

  • August Pamplona

    Randal shifted the debate immediately placing a very strong burden of proof on Chris. Randal was not arguing that belief in God is not irrational. He was seemingly arguing that Chris cannot prove that belief in God is not irrational (because somewhere, sometime someone might have rationally believed in God and Chris cannot prove that this person does not or did not exist –this seemed to involve a big emphasis on pointing out that a lot of God believers are very smart or even professional philosophers).

    Something which puzzled me was Randal’s evasiveness regarding the evil “God”. I was assuming all along that he was claiming that one could rationally believe in the evil “God” and that Chris simply wasn’t getting that point. Then at the end it seemed to me (it would be nice to have a script) as if he was denying the possibility of rationally believing in an evil “God”.

    There was a lot of stuff I did not like. I do think Chris could have (and should have) done better. I did not like the constant discussion about who believes what (specially regarding consensus, etc.) since I viewed it as an irrelevant distraction (rationality or the lack thereof is not contingent on popularity). There seemed to be a lot of proof by assertion on both sides (or at least that is how it seemed like to me and I am not going to listen to these 2 hours again –even if I speed it up a little).

  • Y. A. Warren

    Perhaps we as a world wide humanity should be defining all-ism instead the-ism.

  • L.Long

    Just finished listening to the debate and although I do not think Randal won, you did loose the debate as to the title ‘always irrational’ but not for any reason Randal gave. IF you are scientifically ignorant and weird things happen…..primitive desert goat herders in a storm and there is lightning everywhere – It may well be rational to believe in a gawd throwing his weight around.
    And once -like the Greeks- you start asking how-what-when-where-why then gawd slowing starts the downward slide to irrational.

    As to who won?? Can’t really say, I’m prejudice toward your side but Randal speaks very well and tended to pull me toward his way. You did very well intellectually but Randal had better emotional appeal.

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