My favourite part of the "Atheism is the new fundamentalism" debate

If you haven't watched the debate, it is available here in a series of Youtube videos. Speaking for the motion was Richard Harries and Charles Moore, against it, A.C. Grayling and Richard Dawkins.

The two speaking for the motion were quite useless, while Grayling and Dawkins were eloquent, amusing and on point. At one stage I wondered to myself whether this could possibly be real, are intelligent, grown men seriously discussing invisible gods, or had I fallen down the rabbit hole?

Anyway, here is my favourite part, transcribed by pnrj (I assume) and posted here.

Moore: "Is it fundamentalist to say there is no God? Did you notice that atheist bus campaign that they had? On the side it said, 'There's probably no God.' And the reason they said that, I think, is they realize they're in a bit of a muddle about this, because they could only truthfully say according to their own position that there's probably no God, because if they said, 'There is no God', they would be making a a statement of faith, and of course they feel that they musn't do that. So they're actually in a bit of a muddle about what it is they're talking about."

Moderator: "Richard is not in a muddle!"

Dawkins: "What could be more fundamentalist than saying 'There's definitely no God'? We demonstrated our lack of fundamentalism by saying the proper scientific thing: 'There's probably no God'."

Moderator: "So, does that mean there may be a God, logically?"

Dawkins: "There may be a leprechaun!"

Harries: "You can't let Richard get away with that! That's a ridiculous remark! No! That is a ridiculous remark! You cannot confuse the God of classical theism which has animated the whole of Western philosophy with a leprechaun, and I'm surprised at you!"

Moderator: "Anthony says you can!"

Grayling: "Firstly, with great respect to Charles Moore, he was rather confused about the atheist bus campaign. We did want to say 'There is no God' on the bus, and at the time the Advertisers and Standards Committee required us to insert a 'probably' there despite the fact that the very many theist adverts on buses say things like 'Jesus saves' and so on entirely unequivocally. But allow me to point out something about Richard's remark about the leprechaun, which does remind me of the old Irish lady who was asked if she believed in leprechauns and said, 'I do not, but they're there anyway'; and I have to remind Richard Harries that he is an atheist and would be quite unequivocal about the gods of Olympus, Aphrodite, Ares, and the rest, and the Norse Gods—"

Moderator: "And people who didn't believe that were called atheists, weren't they?"

Grayling: "They were indeed."

Moderator: "This is a debate! So I'm going to ask Anthony if he saw a leprechaun, what would you then say?"

Grayling: "Well, I would try to imitate an Irish accent and say, 'Hello!'"


That was just hilarious.

Views: 90

Comment by Matt on December 16, 2009 at 8:24pm
Personally I feel Richard's humor comes more from the angered response of the believers.


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