I just finished watching this debate live online, and it was a lot of fun!
I had a bit of a hard time following the actual debate because I was also reading the #iq2atheism Twitter feed at the same time, but I’m going to post my brief take on the debate now, and when the recording of the debate is posted I’ll try to go into more detail. (follow me on Twitter @EnlightningLinZ)
The motion was “Atheism is the New Fundamentalism”.
Arguing for the motion: Richard Harries (former bishop of Oxford), and Charles Moore (former editor of the Daily Telegraph)
Arguing against: Professors Richard Dawkins and A C Grayling
The arguments for the motion were pathetic. They didn’t even argue for the motion. They didn’t define fundamentalism, nor did they provide examples to show why they think atheists are fundamentalists. Instead, it was just a run of ad hom attacks against Dawkins and atheists in general, as well as several uses of Godwin’s Law.
Grayling was a teddy bear, whose main point was that he was also a-pixie and a-father Christmas, but only needs to speak on his a-theism because of the influence of religion in the world. How is that fundamentalist?
Dawkins was, unless I missed it, the only one to actually define “fundamentalism”, and with his definition alone destroyed the motion. I can’t remember exactly what the definition he used was at this point (should have taken notes!), but I’ll be sure to talk about that in my follow-up post on the debate.
Dawkins made his case very effectively, but there were a couple of moments that stood out in the twitter feed.
One was his quoting of Vic Stenger: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”
The second was his response to the question “Are you saying that there may be a God?”…
Dawkins: “There may be a leprechaun.” Which prompted me to do this…