Originally Posted by Jul 2 2005, 07:56 PM
article prompted me to finally get round to summing up an idea I’ve been working on regarding debating. (I really
recommend reading the article) This is the first draft; I post it here as the subject matter is dealt with frequently on this section. If successful I’ll put it up on other forums.
A freethought manifesto.
Many veteran debaters will have noticed that theists never have a case, just fallacies, half truths and lies. Given the presupposition that theism, (particularly xtianity) is a lie, then this is what we’d expect. (And can be said to be evidence that it’s false). It’s often frustrating to deal with apologists, creationists and fundies with no sense of decency, honesty (intellectual or otherwise) or logic. They are often immature mentally and behave like tantruming children, irrational and subjective when it fails to go their way.
As far as I’m concerned, this endless cycle of unacknowledged victories is more likely to wear us down than them. They have an endless supply of ill-educated and close minded ranters, debating them is bad enough but the amount of education needed to correct the lies they’ve been fed is exhausting. How many times have we repeated ourselves? Once we’ve made it clear and succeed with that person, at least so they’ll stop using that argument, there’s another one fresh from tektonics.org to swagger and spew garbage at us. Unless the damage to their reason is so bad, (as with the four-point-perfect-proof guy) that they carry on regardless.
Those who fill their heads never tell them the whole truth or that sceptics and atheists have already killed their nonsence thousands of times over, how can they? It’s all they’ve got. For e.g. carefully showing why the Testimonium Flavius, or the 2nd law of thermodynamics fails to support their position, only to have to go through it again when the next xtian shows up. Utterly oblivious not only to our prior destruction of all they have to say but even that there’s any controversy or room for doubt as to their “proofs”. They often expect us to cave in at the first post. We can’t reach them in their cocoons during the conditioning phase and by the time they come our way the damage has been done.
Surely by now we’ve successfully dealt with every single argument many times over? I think it’s about time we who can see the pattern, and know just how bad the xtian debating standard is acknowledge not only how easy it is to refute everything they say, especially for those who’ve done it more than once, but how reason and facts are simply never on their side.
If xtians could be aware of the score, and how hopeless their case is, if they knew simply what arguments have been definitively eliminated they’ll have nothing to say to us, we could win each time without any exchange. This may not be possible, but what we can to is declare a provisional victory, on the basis that all known apologetic tactics have failed and given the power of reason it looks certain all in the future will be just as swiftly defeated. Not only will this declaration frustrate them, and hopefully make them search through past battles to see the cause of our position but it will make debating so much simpler.
This is how we do it, we begin by addressing the audience, whoever they are, and state that we have won. We have nothing more to prove regarding our own position. All we need to do it show why our opponents lost by taking everything they say, and dissecting it, clinically showing all fallacies, and falsehoods to the audience. Our opponents are irreverent, they are either unaware of our victory or in denial over it. This may seen arrogant but there is good reason to think this can already be said to be the case.
It won’t be a debate any more, but a calm educational demonstration of why they lost, and why the very nature of their beliefs makes legitimate argument impossible. They loose automatically by having the position they do, one that can only be defended by fallacies and falsehood. (It’s not like we’re short of evidence for this). Think of it as a boost to morale.
What would also help is a reference archive, easy to access of not only the flaws rendering all xtian discourse pointless, (fallacies etc) but a database of past arguments, carefully indexed by type, from C.S. Lewis’s “trilemma” to Justin Martyrs “the devil did it” defence of xtian plagerism. All that Lee Strobel, Hovind or Josh McDowell have offered, why we don’t just disagree with these arguments but can logical prove them conclusively invalid. We need to put our foot down and demand as a parent to a child that this is the reality, they can either play by the rules or shut up. Their arrogance, complacency and smugness is utterly unjustified, they have no case, its time we told them that.
It’ll be up to the xtians to either try something else or try to refute our conclusions without adding to the fallacies and falsehoods. These attempts of course will be carefully dissected. I know it sounds like hard work but we’re not getting anywere the usual way. We deserve this new approach, the integrity, honesty and hard work of the freethinking world has too long gone un-appreciated, even by other freethinkers. We have already passed all religions on the road to truth and they will never catch up.
Again, there is not one apologist arguments that has not been refuted, am I the only one who feels confident enough to say this?
The dishonesty and illogical reputation of xtians defenders is proverbial, we are not obligated to treat them as if this is a level playing field. It’s like playing a complex game of chess with someone who constantly cheats in a way un-perceivable to the audience or judges. We need to step outside the arena and offer explanatory commentaries, explaining what’s really going on.
The mythical nature of Jesus can be said to be opinion, the nature of ethics or the responsiblity for xtianity’s crimes is still open to debate, but one thing is fact, beyond all doubt. Xtians are wrong. We have made our case, it stands unrefuted, maybe not in their own minds but as far as logic and empirical fact is concerned. There’s is in tatters from the very way it was contrusted. This may not prove them wrong but by any objective standard we won the debate. Even mythicism can be said to be (in a scientific sense) the leading theory. It is the xtian's turn to offer a new argument, instead of offering the same dead claims. Some logic would be nice, or fallacy-free premises. Until they do its just the same old thing and we already knows how it ends.
This may seem harsh to those “liberal” xtians who aren’t out to prove a lie, and with them dialogue is sometimes still possible. But those literalists, inerrantists or fans of Gastrich or Strobel’s “reasoning” need to be made aware, with as little effort on our part as possible that their opinions are not respected, as they are by definition false. Like a quack scientist who keeps offering the same debunked and disproven theory over and over again, they are just wasting our time. (It will, like pseudo-science still work on the un-educated, but like creationists leaders they’ll stay clear of those that know better) We need to spread the word that they have lost, and why. Sooner or later they’ll realise the nonsense that works on them only works on them. Maybe they’ll come to understand why they’ve failed, and start to think. There will still be pushers of fallacial lies, those apologists who can’t break free or who on some level know it’s a lie, but they can be shown as the frauds they are quite easily.
Both sides think their right but only one has proven it beyond a reasonable doubt already. Time our attitude reflected that.