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Censorship Science

Theologian Attempts Censorship After Losing Public Debate 943

Posted by Soulskill
from the evolved-sensibilities dept.
RockDoctor writes "Theologian John Haught publicly debated prominent evolutionary scientist and atheist Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky back in October. Before the debate, both parties agreed to the debate being video-taped. Coyne is of the opinion that he convincingly won the debate over Haught. But we'll never know, because Haught, with the assistance of staff at the University of Kentucky, who sponsored the debate, is banning publication of the video of the event. They are even refusing to release the half of the debate containing Coyne's comments and questions."
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Theologian Attempts Censorship After Losing Public Debate

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  • Suggestion (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:17AM (#37916556)
    I propose cruxifiction.
  • Streisand Effect (Score:5, Informative)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:17AM (#37916558)
    'Nuff said.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:25AM (#37916584)

      From the update to TFA:

      Anyway, Rabel has threatened legal action against me, so donâ(TM)t make it worse!

      So not only is the guy refusing to release the record, but he's now threatening legal action because people are calling him names and being mean.

      When your in a hole, rule #1 - stop digging.

      • by Spigot the Bear (2318678) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:34AM (#37916644)

        rule #1 - stop digging.

        Dig up, stupid!

      • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:02AM (#37917360) Journal

        >

        When your in a hole, rule #1 - stop digging.

        He subscribes to a different philosophy. "BE the hole!"

      • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:43AM (#37917574)

        As I noted on the web site, this is likely actionable by Coyne.

        He expended time and effort to prepare for and engage in the debate with a justified expectation of having the video posted. An agreement, with consideration given. Sounds actionable to me. Haught should be made to deliver on the agreement, or give compensation.

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          IANAL, but, the University owns the video, not Coyne and it is theirs to do with as they please. There was no agreement with the parties involved that they would have access to the video.

      • So not only is the guy refusing to release the record, but he's now threatening legal action because people are calling him names and being mean

        Jehova must be having an off day. Can you imagine Moses crying to the Pharaoh "Let my people free .... or I'll get my lawyer to bring an action"? Or Jesus saying "You have turned the holy temple into a den of thieves ... expect a writ soon.

        where is Haught's trust in the Lord?

        • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @09:13AM (#37919806)
          Even Jesus is quoted as telling his followers not to fight with non-believers. There are numerous scriptures that basically tell believers to abstain from defending God because God is more than capable of defending himself if He so chooses. Whenever I hear about a Christian trying to prove the Bible or God's existence I know immediately they are simply using the Bible as a weapon to force their ideals on others instead of a guidebook on how they should live. When that fails they quickly fall back to secular (non-religious) means to meet their goal. If he was really interested in proving God's existence he would try to act more like Him.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:30AM (#37920908)

            Even Jesus is quoted as telling his followers not to fight with non-believers. There are numerous scriptures that basically tell believers to abstain from defending God because God is more than capable of defending himself if He so chooses. Whenever I hear about a Christian trying to prove the Bible or God's existence I know immediately they are simply using the Bible as a weapon to force their ideals on others instead of a guidebook on how they should live. When that fails they quickly fall back to secular (non-religious) means to meet their goal. If he was really interested in proving God's existence he would try to act more like Him.

            Mistake: You did not capitalize the word "himself" when referring to God.
            Punishment: Eternal damnation.

            God's Grammar Police.

  • by makubesu (1910402) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:25AM (#37916582)
    ... wait a second, let me read the wikipedia article on this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Haught#cite_note-Haught-Coyne-7 [wikipedia.org]
    - Is an evolutionary creationist
    - Testified against ID in a court case
    What exactly were these guys debating about?
    p.s. anyone have a real source on this article?
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:44AM (#37916692) Homepage

    (Rimshot)

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:45AM (#37916696)

    There is evidence to support the idea that Paul invented the idea that 100% of all Humans go to Hell with the exception of those saved by Jesus as a way of breaking the original covenant with Abraham the Jews had. The idea is that Adam brought Sin into the world, and at that point all Humans were damned to Hell. Jews of Paul's time were rejecting Christianity, while the surrounding "Pagans" were adopting it. The Jews were a disliked class, so this little poison pill was a way of condemning the Jews.

    This also explains why there are Christian Creationists. For Christianity to be true, and the Jesus Crucifixion to have had any purpose, that particular story is the most important story after the story of Jesus. Without Creationism, Christianity collapses entirely because Yahweh has no original sin with Which to condemn us all to Hell from the start.

    Paul provided Christianity with the rope to hang itself. Because he created the clause in the Bible that requires the initial original sin of Adam to take place for any of this to mean anything. The Original sin of Adam is the PRIMARY reason for the Crucifixion in Jesus, ordinary Human failings are SECONDARY.

    I understand what Paul was trying to do, he was looking for a way to make the laws of the Torah invalid for salvation. He wanted to be able to go to the Jews of his time, and say "Yahweh doesn't care if you follow the laws of Moses any longer. You were bad followers so he no longer wants you because you have the audacity to reject the sacrifice of the savior. So, see you in Hell."

    We know the world is not 6000 years old, we know that the Genesis myths were allegory because those desert nomads didn't know how the world began, Paul hedged the entire religion on the foundation of that myth.

    So in conclusion, Christianity is the cult of Paul. This only applies to Christianity. But it is the critical fault in Christianity that disproves it. Thats why creationists cling tp the creation myth more than any other myth in the Bible. It's the corner stone that collapses the whole religion.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:13AM (#37916844)
      You are pretty uninformed regarding Christianity. Christianity has a wide range of opinions and only a very small minority are of the earth is 6,000 years old persuasion. Many are quite comfortable with the idea that the universe and earth are billions of years old. As a matter of fact a priest from one of these larger groups introduced the big bang theory to the world of science. They also quite comfortable that the bible often speaks in metaphors that are not to be taken literally, that an all knowing God can only communicate to man using concepts that man is capable of understanding.
      • by otopico (32364) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:51AM (#37917292)

        The problem is that they claim their book is the word of their god. If they can discard parts as allegory, but others as truth, then how do they decide? At whom's whim does the decision rest?

        That people need to create new explanations for why the Bible says something that they decided it doesn't mean to say anymore makes me think that the book wasn't right in the first place and people are desperate to keep it relevant. If 'god' didn't want people to think the world was 6,000 years old, why say it was in the book? Seems like 'a long long time ago' would have conveyed the same idea, but prevented people that believe the book to be true from running around with obviously flawed information. Even George Lucas figured out it was easier to be vague, one would think the creator of all things would at least be at that level. That some are 'quite comfortable' with their ever changing assumptions regarding the content of their book doesn't make them enlightened, it makes them look like they would rather change the entire meaning of the book rather than admit it might not be true.

        Making one's faith fit science seems to be a lesser evil that forcing the science to the faith, but in the end you are still forcing something to be 'true' when an entirely different conclusion could reached by throwing away the requirement that the answer hold to a bronze age religion.

  • Nah... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by onezeta (2484494) <<apo1lnest> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:54AM (#37916746)
    They're using this 'ban' for people to become curious and demand to see the video. And both he and Coyne will have lots of money.
  • Attempts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) * on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:58AM (#37916770)

    Sounds like he succeeded. Didn't publish a video is not merely an 'attempt'. Now then... you can call it an 'attempt' as soon as we see the content available despite their efforts.

    Actually it sounds like the University itself is responsible for the censorship... specifically Mr. Rabel, and I would say based on the article... it sounds like the uni is a biased venue that would choose to publish or not publish based on who won. Shame shame.

    The participant decided he didn't want it published after the fact, but since he had already granted his permission, the ball rests totally in the uni's court....

  • by recrudescence (1383489) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:05AM (#37917068)

    That somehow one party legitimately won a debate of factual, unemotive series of arguments, over his opponent, is a pretty big assumption here. There's many other reasons why the poor fool may have decided to censor it - blatant ad hominem attacks that would get the guy in trouble with friends / family / job being the first that comes to my mind. (And no, you don't have to be 'guilty' for such attacks to work)

    Seriously, when was the last time you watched a debate, and it was a civil exchange of factual, unemotive, sincere argumentation? Richard Dawkins, for instance, who is by now a champion of atheism, and has absolutely no need to do so, *still* resorts almost continuously to ad hominem attacks in his debates; the man does his homework (and rather seems to enjoy it, in fact). And I'd expect most people in debates with a known opponent would too, since the point of a debate is usually 'to *win' the debate, and not to obtain a mutually improved selection of arguments, (where no winner exists as such).

    In fact, I'd say the fact that the slashdot response to this has been so stereotypical -- a witchhunt, and very quick to label this guy as a religious nut with dangerous delusions and now a sore loser --, rather justifies his decision, even at the risk of a Streisand Effect (which his opponent was very quick to pursue).

    • by mykos (1627575) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:24AM (#37917152)
      If he'd just let this public debate be viewed by the public, we wouldn't have to assume anything. We could make our own conclusions. If he's going to great lengths to hide it, we're going to assume the worst. It's a pretty big leap of logic to assume that everything was all unicorns and flowerbeds when he's flipping out about it like he is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chrisq (894406)

        If he's going to great lengths to hide it, we're going to assume the worst.

        I reckon he let slip that his expressed belief in creationism was just cover for his membership of the Church of Satan and his practice of gay paedophilia.

    • by cryptoluddite (658517) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:20AM (#37917444)

      Richard Dawkins, for instance, who is by now a champion of atheism, and has absolutely no need to do so, *still* resorts almost continuously to ad hominem attacks in his debates; the man does his homework

      If the opponent is basing their argument on their own self, like saying "god spoke to me" or "I know this is true" (ie trust me) or using the respect of their office then it isn't ad hominem to attack their person -- they opened the door by using themselves as their argument. Unfortunately there aren't very many compelling arguments for religion that don't boil down to 'trust me' or 'god spoke to me', but it isn't Dawkin at fault.

    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @05:37AM (#37917864)

      Richard Dawkins, for instance, who is by now a champion of atheism, and has absolutely no need to do so, *still* resorts almost continuously to ad hominem attacks in his debates

      Each time I see one of these debates he seems to have extraordinary amounts of patience with his opponents. What are you referring to, really? Or do mean something like calling someone deluded when they claim that god spoke to them? That seems fair - even if you share their belief you'd have to acknowledge that this can only be viewed as a delusion by someone who doesn't.

  • by Ragica (552891) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:59AM (#37917656) Homepage
    Here is a list of 500+ Atheist vs Christian debates [commonsenseatheism.com] if anyone is feeling they are missing out on this one. And you might find it interesting to note that actually, though the list is posted on an Atheist site, the Christian side "wins" most of these debates. The reason isn't necessarily that they Christian side is right, but that the Christian side generally has the better public debating skills: they dominate and frame the questions.

    In fact there's a bit of an obsession out in Atheist-land at beating one guy: William Lane Craig [commonsenseatheism.com], who is considered technically by many to be the top Christian debater... and arguably has never "lost" (sorry I really have to put that last word in quotes), as the linked Atheist site describes, despite going up against some serious popular intellectual heavyweights such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Famously, Dawkins recently backed out of a debate with him.

    It's worth noting here, for anyone interested, this blog [blogspot.com] which does a pretty nice job of reviewing and rating many of these debates from an Agnostic perspective.

    These debates generally are not specifically on evolution, but virtually all of them include it to greater and lesser degrees.

    • by Tom (822) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @08:20AM (#37919018) Homepage Journal

      the Christian side "wins" most of these debates. The reason isn't necessarily that they Christian side is right, but that the Christian side generally has the better public debating skills: they dominate and frame the questions.

      Not surprising. I know a couple people (remotely, friends of friends) who studied Theology - the amount of rhetorical and dialectical training that future priests receive has no competition. The only people who can hold a candle to them are those who either have a natural talent or have received special training. And by that I don't mean a week, you'd need a lot more than that, these guys receive years of training in writing their speeches and winning discussions.

      • The only way one can chalk these up as "wins" is if one accepts sophism and paramount to being accurate. The problem is that most people can't tell the difference between science and sophism, which certainly gives the sophist the leg up.

  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail. ... m minus language> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @05:30AM (#37917830)

    Disclaimer: I am a theologian. Or, at least, I have a Ph.D. in New Testament and was an ordained minister and pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention (although I no longer affiliate with them.) I don't know John Haught, nor have I read any of his books that I can recall, because at this point the whole evolution debate bores me.

    I would suggest two alternative possibilities to the "theologian lost and was scared" rationale.

    The first may simply be that he said something that, upon reflection, he wished he hadn't, thought was poorly phrased, or otherwise didn't want getting out there. Theologians, particularly Catholic theologians, are in an odd position. Their personal and private opinion may not always line up with the official position of the church. For a Catholic theologian, and particularly an American Catholic theologian, this is quite common when looking at social issues -- divorce and remarriage, women in ministry, etc. However, if they explicitly, publicly state that they don't agree with the teaching of the church, they can sometimes lose their jobs and/or the ability to publish with Catholic publishers and/or permission to publish (if they're a priest or other clergy.) I'm just speculating here, but it may well be the cause that John Haught said something under pressure that didn't accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and now he doesn't want it getting outthere.

    Alternatively... reading this guy's blog, frankly he strikes me as more than a little childish (like most militant atheists -- the more militant, the more childish.) As a publishing theologian, your stock in trade is your reputation for sustained, reasoned discourse on theological topics. You don't advance that reputation by slapping at gnats. This is, incidentally, why things like the Davinci Code tend to get ignored -- not because they're credible, but precisely because they're too absured to bother with.

  • by pugugly (152978) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:34AM (#37920962)

    The long and the short of it is why should anyone trust this person as a moderator.

    Jerry Coyne and John Haught agreed to debate on the basis of a set of rules.

    Only the height of dishonesty would enable John Haught to claim that when he agreed to the debate being recorded he was not agreeing to the record being made public - a sophistry that would not be recognized even in contract law where sophistry is expected. The "Meeting of the Minds" was clear, that John Haught entered into it with no intent of being held to it equally clear.

    John Haught, merely by attempting this, establishes himself as dishonest.

    But that Dr. Rabel, acting as a supposedly neutral moderator, vacated the pre-existing agreement arbitrarily based on this kind of weak argument is the real dishonesty - Jerry Coyne entered into an agreement based on a degree of trust that the agreement would be enforced regardless of the outcome. He spent time preparing for the debate, and Dr. Rabel threw out the agreed upon conditions based on a line of argument that would get any 5 year old spanked.

    Dishonesty and prevarication in no way means John Haught is not someone to debate - Jerry Coyne is a big boy and can look out for himself, so long as the rules are enforced.
    As a moderator however, Dr. Rabel should be blacklisted. He cannot be trusted to enforce the rules impartially, or indeed at all.

    Pug

  • Released (Score:4, Informative)

    by mugnyte (203225) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:45PM (#37926132) Journal

    The videos have been released.
    http://vimeo.com/31505142 [vimeo.com]

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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