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Trinity College Dublin Debate on Evolution, Creation, & Materialism: October 16, 2008


Grad Memorial Building Trinity

On Thursday, 16 October 2008, the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College, Dublin — the world’s oldest debating society (founded 1684) — will sponsor a debate on evolution, creation, and materialism. The debate will occur at 7:30 pm in the Debating Room of the Graduates’ Memorial Building (that’s the building in the photograph above), just off the College’s Front Square.

The evening’s discussion will open with a paper read by Bob Bloomfield of the British Museum [scroll down in the link for Bloomfield’s biography and current work]. Responses will then follow from David Berlinski, Fellow at the Discovery Institute, Stephen Moore, of the Northern Ireland based Giants’ Causeway Creation Committee, and me. Opposing will be Christopher Stillman, Fellow Emeritus in Geology at Trinity College Dublin, Darren McCallig, the university’s Anglican Chaplain, and David Coquhoun of University College London.

Fine Irish beverages of various types to be consumed later, of course…

Lennox vs. Shermer - What a great example of a positive debate focused on issues rather than stereotypes! This is so refreshing after hearing uneducated debaters who know what they are talking about but have no idea how to convey it in an intelligent and respectful manner. (Of course, I’m referring to a few of my fellow college students, and sometimes, myself ;) I was intrigued and impressed by Lennox’s starting off point for his arguments. Shermer bases his arguments on determining God’s existence from reasoning, while Lennox works from the perspective that the evidence for God’s existence starts with God’s self-revelation to which human reasoning can respond to decide if it makes sense and corresponds with reality. Lennox makes an excellent point on the creation of God. He states that the universe is not self-explanatory, while Shermer asserts that the universe creates new smaller universes to perpetuate the cosmos or essentially “stay alive”. Yet, Shermer’s concept that the universe almost consciously perpetuates itself seems to support the “religious” aspects of Darwinian selection. I admired Lennox’s conclusion that for anyone to ever switch to his side of the debate it would be necessary to give up skepticism in order to know God closer than just from a distance. He does an amazing job of emphasizing that both sides of the debate agree that God can never be fully known through reason alone, and thus, the only way for someone to truly know God is real is to experience His divine revelation. I was intrigued during the question and answer portion to hear how Shermer describes that Atheism is, simply, nothing. Based on Lennox’s logic, Atheism brings a comfort, just like religion brings comfort. It carries a whole set of positive entailments and a negative belief in God. Lennox also points out that Shermer’s positive philosophy is either Naturalism or Materialism. Yet, I was confused by Shermer’s answer and explanation of how Atheism is a nothing. Perhaps someone could explain it in plain terms so I might better understand his argument? azapril
Very nice debate. Lennox did great (owned Shermer as obviously expected). Another link here: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/radio/radio.htm Also searching for Lennox vs Stenger. If anyone has a link please post it :D MaxAug
Paul, if you have time check out this Podcast. "The Great Debate. Does God Exist" John Lennox vs Michael Shermer August 2008 Sydney Australia Download here. http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=280786104 idnet.com.au
Looks like one of the opposing team might have brought himself up to speed by immersing himself in PZ's frickin'-and-a-frackin' blog: Intelligent design is, of course, nothing more nor less than a thoroughly dishonest attempt by right wing fundamentalists to disobey the US constitution which says that religion must not be taught in schools .. Since many people in the USA seem to believe this gobbledygook, perhaps there is a case for discussing it as part of social studies. But it has nothing to do with science or reason, so there can be no justification for teaching it "alongside" evolution. I don't know whether the teaching of homeopathy and crystal healing are yet compulsory in Kansas, but if so, perhaps that would be a suitable place to slot in another dishonest myth. - David Coquhoun steveO
Very nice. Does anyone know if a transcipt or video will be made available? Also, Mr. Berlinski will be in Texas on November 7th at TCU for a debate with Lawrence Krauss, Denis Alexander, and Bradley Monton. Upright BiPed

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