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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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  • by makubesu ( 1910402 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:25AM (#37916582)
    ... wait a second, let me read the wikipedia article on this guy []
    - 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:27AM (#37916598)

    The point of public debate is to sway those (perhaps few) in the audience who are undecided on the matter being debated; to inform in a dramatic manner; and to raise the profile of an issue that the debaters and venue consider important.

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

  • Nah... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by onezeta ( 2484494 ) <apo1lnest AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @02:54AM (#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.
  • Re:Streisand Effect (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @03:31AM (#37916912)
    Streisand effect indeed. Like most things that go on in Kentucky I had no idea about this until I saw it on /.

    Unlike most things that go on in Kentucky, I may actually care about this.
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @04:27AM (#37917176)

    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 @05:20AM (#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 The Creator ( 4611 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:23AM (#37917798) Homepage Journal

    When true scientists are asked about God the answer tends to be: I don't know, there is no evidence one way or the other.

    A "true" scientist would of course answer that the God hypothesis is []

    From where did you get this notion that a scientist would answer with that abomination that you suggested?

  • by Fished ( 574624 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yrogihpma'> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:30AM (#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 marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:30AM (#37917832) Homepage Journal

    facts are facts, science is compatible with whatever is transcendent by definition of both science and transcendent, since the object they talk about is exactly complementary.

    Even if science can come up with models of an eternal universe with no prime cause, it makes an assumption when it says: a transcendent plane is unneeded therefore it's not there.
    Proof: f(t)=t is a one-celled eternal universe where the state of the cell is known for all values of real number t which we can call the time line of such universe. Being always defined, there can't be a prime cause for it, it would have to occur at minus infinite which doesn't belong to t
    Yet, there is a transcendent plane which created this abstraction, which is our universe. QED.

    If a theologist cannot explain that (in his own way of course), the fact that he refused to release a video is not the biggest problem. If a science guy or whoever did basic math cannot understand that, we have an even bigger problem.

    Everybody is entitled to think that they don't BELIEVE in any transcendent stuff, that's what science guys and atheist can rightfully say. And censorship aka occultism, doesn't respect âoeNeither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven".

  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @06:37AM (#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 ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:13AM (#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 Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @12:13PM (#37921496)

    Here's [] an example of exactly that, a debate involving Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry. (Or rather, the link is to the results of the debate tracked by the audience responding to a question via ballot before and after the debate to reflect their opinion and whether it has changed.) Watch the whole debate, it's worth it and heavily mirrored on YouTube.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @01:55PM (#37923066)

    Slashdot never disappoints: Apparently noone here has, nor intends to read the article.

    If you did, you would see that (as one might have expected) there was more to the story than Coyne gave. You can read Haught's response here []. Additionally, he has posted the video, after recieving some apparently quite nasty emails (way to show them how reasonable athiesm is, by personally attacking people with hatemail!)

    The issues seemed to be as follows:

    • 1) There was never an agreement to post the video, and Coyne does not argue this. Courts of law often are recorded too, but that does not mean the videos will see the light of day. Coyne, however, went on to state that there was an implied agreement to release the video. Thats his complaint-- that he assumed the video would be released. Guess he was wrong.
    • 2) Haught indicates that the format was supposed to be two sides presenting their cases. Coyne decided to start attacking Haught's views (which was not part of the plan, says Haught), quoting from his books, and according to Haught resorting to ad hominems-- none of which, aside from potential logical problems, were part of the agreed upon format. Hence why Coyne remarks that

      Haught didn’t seem to have prepared for the debate, merely rolling out his tired old trope .... I prepared pretty thoroughly, reading half a dozen of Haught’s books

      -- It was because (if Haught is correct) that the format WAS to present what your views were.

    • 3) Haught also claims that the conclusion to Coyne's talk, rather than being a summary of what he had said, was a tirade about how Catholicism is the cause of all evil in the world. Myself, I dont find that to really be "debate material"; you can get into an endless debate about which religion or ideology causes the worst evil, but its not really germane in the setting they were in.

    Personally, having read Coyne's initial post, he comes off as rather unpleasant-- despite no agreement in place, and no reasonable cause to think the video would be posted or recorded for anything other than archival purposes, he refuses to take no for an answer and stirs up his readers to send hatemail to two professors at a university. He continues to pester them for quite some time, and doesnt even mention on the initial post that the video is being released-- its a separate blog entry, but is easily missed if you arent browsing his entries, and means that people will likely continue attacking Haught because they do not realize that the "issue" is over. He also comes off as quite "humble", declaring himself the victor, and saying "if I were in his situation, _I_ wouldnt have acted badly".

    And then what is slashdot's response? To take Coyne at his word and declare him the victor-- despite noone having seen the video. Claiming that censorship is being attempted-- despite no agreement to post the video. Claiming the video isnt being released-- even though it has since been OK'd. Its almost like the editors WANT to stir up a flamewar for no reason.

    Well, at least I know that Slashdot will stay classy, read the articles, and make relevant comments, rather than mindlessly bashing how stupid and ignorant Haught must be. Way to keep that standard high.

    Disclaimer-- I probably disagree with about 80% of what Haught believes.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson