Naturally, it was no contest. There's no way a couple of fundamentalist Christians were going to best the Rational Response Squad on an ABC Nightline face-off over scientific evidence for the existence of God.
(These are the guys who talked me into condemning myself to hell for a free DVD.)
I haven't watched all of the video of the debate, You Tube'd versions of which are available at BSAlert.com. But I've seen enough to agree with the proposition that "the match was a slaughter and Ray and…Kirk [the Christians]...were left bleeding and wounded."
Ray and Kirk weren't supposed to use the Bible to prove that the Bible is true. They claimed they'd provide scientific evidence for the existence of God (the Christian God, I assume).
So I watch the (privately filmed) video of the debate on the Rational Responder web site. And I see one of the true believers, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, holding up a image of the "Mona Lisa," claiming that wherever there is a painting there must be a painter.
Huh? That's the proof? Dude, that's so lame.
Like Sapient, one of the Rational Responders, said, with a painting you can see the canvas, the paints, the brush strokes. You can also meet painters of paintings, take photographs of them at work, talk with them about their artistry.
The universe exists. Existence exists. This doesn't mean that there was a creator of creation. Or that this Master Painter is a personalized being, rather than a universal power.
Sapient asked what the creator of God is. Good question. If an answer were to be attempted, a follow-up would be forthcoming: What created the creator of God?
I've little doubt that a few decades, or centuries, or millennia from now (sooner the better), debates like this one will be viewed as curious relics from pre-scientific times when humans held exceedingly curious notions about the cosmos.
As Christopher Hitchens puts it in his book, "God is Not Great":
One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody – not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms – had the smallest idea what was going on.
It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs).
Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think – though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one – that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.
Until people see the light of reality, instead of the darkness of religion, it's incumbent that those of us on the less shadowy side of the divide challenge those who would keep us mired in superstition, irrationality, and addiction to blind faith.
Courtesy of BSAlert, this YouTube video shows a woman confronting the fundamentalist Christians at the Nightline debate (which was held in a Manhattan Baptist church, not exactly neutral ground).
I love how she refuses to let the believers get away with not answering her question. She notes that they'd just praised how God so wonderfully created the human eye, nose, mouth and such. The woman asks, "What about cancer? How is this part of a perfect creation?"
Excellent question. Which the Christians are utterly unable to answer, except by meandering into some blather about suffering being part of God's plan, and how the Bible tells us that we started off perfect and then fell from grace.
She shakes her head, looks understandably irked, then rises to interrupt the blather and ask her question again. Beautiful. I sorely wish she could be at every press conference President Bush holds. They'd sure be a lot more interesting (and informative) if she was there.