As you’re all sick of hearing about, I went to the Dinesh D’Souza vs John W. Loftus debate last night in Champaign, IL at Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois.
In all fairness, I was preoccupied with shooting the event, so I can’t relay a lot of great information regarding the exact bullet points on either side. Once the video is uploaded to YouTube or wherever, you can judge for yourselves what you think of the debate.
I will say this, with all due respect to Loftus and the fact that his voice was shot from a cold and his sinuses sounded like they were clogged tight, we atheists were trounced by D’Souza. I left with my head down and tail between my legs.
I would have to say that if I were on the fence, and I didn’t check D’Souza’s “facts”, I would drift toward the Christian camp. I’m not saying as an atheist I would be swayed by D’Souza. I’m saying as a non-commited member of society, given the two sides, Christianity stole the show for sure.
I’m also saying that if I were a Christian, I would go download D’Souza debates and memorize his points. Honestly, he puts a profoundly more intelligent face on Christianity than many men or women I have seen before him.
Did you hear that Christian readers? I am giving your team accolades. I’m not knocking faith. I’m praising one of your own! You better fucking take note, Messrs and Mrss McGrumblepantaloonyballs!
The format of the debate was 15 minute openings, followed by five minute rebuttals, five minute cross examines, five minute closers and 40 minutes of Q&A.
I don’t remember much of what was said on any side. What I admired about D’Souza was how clear and concise he was. He has his debate down to an art. Yet he comes across as likable, and he can throw a jab or two (actually harsher than some of the stuff I’ve thrown at the Pullman WA WAs), and his jerkiness seems almost forgivable.
It’s really important that I make this clear. What made D’Souza look good was that he accepts current methods of science and thought. He doesn’t fight science, he has embraced it and integrated it into his debate tactics. He accepts the big bang theory, but with a Christian twist. He accepts the theory of evolution, but with a Christian twist. He gave himself to connect with the crowd, because he doesn’t stubbornly attach himself to literalism for argument’s sake. He has taken what science has proven true, and shows how it fits within the Christian framework. He doesn’t gag when he says these things. He could be quite convincing.
On the other hand, American Christians dig themselves into the pits of stupidity by maintaining their silly attachment to creationism.
Follow this guy’s example, Christians. He could really show you guys a thing or two if you want to be take seriously on debating intelligently.
Criticisms I have for Loftus … ask and you may receive.
Perhaps Loftus wasn’t as prepared as he should have been. I wasn’t made to like him, which means the crowd wouldn’t have favored him either. It’s not always about popularity, but you at least have to appeal to the crowd’s sensibilities and access a little of their compassion or they’re never going to side with you on anything.
Also, he should have been more forthright to ask the crowd for agreement. He could have engaged them more, as if to figuratively take their hands and help through through a process of thought. As it was, D’Souza made a point to do this frequently. He didn’t beg the audience to agree with him. But he did invite them about three times to consider his view.
Maybe it was his cold, but I would say that I had a hard time following his vocal pattern. I found myself tuning out. I need a certain amount of vocal rhythm or I’m a mind drifter.
Criticisms for D’Souza
If you say it with confidence, it doesn’t make it true. EVERYONE should know this. This is D’Souza’s M.O. And he does it well.
There were a few times in which he made outright false statements, like an erroneous one to Dawkins and his “Expelled” interview. He said Dawkins said that aliens may have seeded life. He didn’t quite say that aliens did it, he was agreeing with a hypothetical statement.
Or with Stephen Hawking’s writings about the big bang and the probabilities leaning toward belief in god. If the probabilities are so high in favor of a “god” then why wouldn’t Hawking himself believe in god? If it’s that obvious, then Hawking would surely have to believe in god too. But he doesn’t. Only a Christian could take an atheist’s research and turn it into something religious.
These were some initial thoughts I had to the debate. I plan on writing a little more about it.
I also wanted to address the conversation I had with a this guy named Wesley Huff that I met after the debate.
More to come. I have a long night of work ahead of me.