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Censorship Science

Theologian Attempts Censorship After Losing Public Debate 943

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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  • Streisand Effect (Score:5, Informative)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:17AM (#37916558)
    'Nuff said.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:25AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:13AM (#37916842)
    To be fair, Haught is not a creationist. As for how creationists can win debates, you have to remember that debates don't decide the truth. They decide who the better debater is. A commonly used creationist tactic is called the "Gish Gallop" named after the young-earth creationist Duane Gish. Basically the person using this dishonest debating tactic spews as much bullshit as they possibly can in the time allotted. Their opponent loses the argument by wading into the bullshit and attempting to correct the record. It's much easier to spew bullshit than it is to show how it is wrong, and the creationist ignores anything the scientist refutes and simply vomits forth another load of bullshit. The end result is the creationist gets to claim that the scientist hasn't managed to refute the bulk of the bullshit, and so the creationist wins. It's pretty effective, especially when used in conjunction with other tricks like picking the turf (churches and bible colleges), picking the moderator or at least making sure they're not a scientist, changing the topic of the debate immediately before the debate is to begin, busing in supporters, and above all else making the debate one where the creationist gets to go on the offensive without ever having to present, or much less defend, their views. Creationists tend to come from theology or legal backgrounds, areas where rhetoric and debating skills are central. Scientists are pretty much untrained in debate and rhetoric because for us it's all about the evidence. However if one were to hold a written debate where arguments can be read at leisure and picked apart at leisure, the creationists can only win if the pro-science side doesn't do their homework. Which is why you don't see creationists engaging in written debates past what you see on web forms and the like, and why they're pretty one-sided.
  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:13AM (#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 MysteriousPreacher ( 702266 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:19AM (#37916868) Journal

    Occam's razor is concerned with the simplest explanation in the sense of making the least number of assumptions. Introducing God in to an argument tends to require a great number of unevidenced assumptions. A man getting struck by lightning twice in a year is normally quite unlikely. A naturalistic explanation may appear complicated by comparison to invoking the wrath of an angry god, but the latter requires far more assumptions.

  • by pugugly ( 152978 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:58AM (#37917330)

    Simpler than that is that God created us both just before you posted that, memories in place.

    Simpler that *that* God created just me, and you don't even count, 10 seconds ago . . .


  • by Ragica ( 552891 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @05:59AM (#37917656) Homepage
    Here is a list of 500+ Atheist vs Christian debates [] 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 [], 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 [] 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 FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:13AM (#37917736) Homepage

    You seem to be presenting the "I don't believe either way" agnosticism. However, unless you believe in God, you are an atheist. Do you believe in God?

    I don't know whether there is a god or not, nor do I particularly care.

    On the other hand, an atheist believes that there is no god - again, I don't know whether there is a god or not, I don't particularly care either way, so I'm not an atheist.

    So you are a lazy, spineless pompous atheist. "I don't believe in God, but I don't care enough to actually say that because it would be takings sides in a battle I don't care to associate with."

    No, I don't hold a position at all on the existence/non-existence of a god. It is something I don't believe is knowable, and I have no faith either way.

    If you think that you determine people what they believe, even when you've never met that person, then that's up to you. Doesn't make your determination correct though.

  • by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @07:05AM (#37917996) Homepage

    > Weird, I see imaginary friend as the simpler explanation

    Not the same definition of "simpler". When discussing Occam's razor, "simpler" means "less things involved."

    For instance, sun rises, could be due to motion of the Earth, could be due to the rotation of the Earth due to a guy who throws thunderbolts and lives on a mountain in Greece.

    Occam's razor notes that the second of these two includes an extra factor that is not needed, and therefore is more likely to be wrong. Not wrong, but more likely. In the real world, "more likely" is a number very close to 100%

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @09:20AM (#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.

  • Released (Score:4, Informative)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @05:45PM (#37926132) Journal

    The videos have been released. []

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.