Rational Response Squad debate with Way of the Master

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On May 5, 2007, Rational Response Squad (RRS) co-founder Brian Sapient and member Kelly O'Connor participated in a live debate aired on Nightline with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron of Way of the Master. The topic for debate was the existence of god. Ray and Kirk claimed that they could prove the existence of their god scientifically without using the Bible or faith; however, Comfort then proceeded to refer to the Bible several times in his discussions. The debate on both sides covered several areas, such as religion, Pascal's wager, the cosmological argument, science, history, and questions regarding morality.

Contents

[edit] Intro

RRS Debate WOTM   RationalWiki Responses
Kirk Cameron introduced himself and Ray Comfort. He told the audience that they did not come as molecular biologists or rocket scientists, but as an author and an actor to prove two things
  • First, the existence of God can be proven 100 percent absolutely without the implication of faith.
  • Second, Kirk claiming to be a former atheist and evolutionist, wanted to show the audience that the lack of faith in God is not due to lack of evidence, but rather because of a theory Kirk says many scientists consider "a fairy tale for grown ups."
  First point: spoiler, this does not happen. During the debate, Kirk admits that his belief in the existence of the Christian God is based on faith. If they knew beforehand that they were going to use faith and the Bible going in, then they already knew they had no case to present.

Second point: if he was a former atheist and evolutionist, we would expect him to present both correctly, but as we will see in this entire debate, Kirk obviously shows he was neither.

Next, Brian Sapient introduced himself and Kelly, and explained how and why the Rational Response Squad was formed: to counter irrational claims around the earth. Brian reminded the audience that Kirk and Ray claimed that they could verify and prove the existence of God without using faith or the Bible. Brian said that since provided evidence for the existence of God will require a lot of time, Brian and Kelly would allow them plenty of time to present their case, and anything the rational Response Squad left unsaid could be found on their website.  

[edit] First Speaker: Ray Comfort

RRS Debate WOTM   RationalWiki Responses
Ray began his argument claiming the he believes god could be proven scientifically and does not require faith. He first defines science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"), which he pronounced "scientificus". Ray does not mention the scientific method or include how science works (through repeatable tests, predictions, peer-review, etc.) While claiming several fields of science can prove the existence of god, he stated that there are three irrefutable evidences for the existence of god.
  • Creation. Using a coca-cola can as an example, Ray "theorizes" the origin of the can came from billions of years ago, when there was an unexplainable massive explosion in space, and from it came a rock, and on the rock was a brown bubbling pool where after millions of years, aluminum came forth and formed around the pool, creating itself a tab on the top. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky and formed the words on the coca-cola can. Ray Comfort claims that if you find something that was created, there must be a creator. He claims that a building must have a builder and a painting must have a painter, even though you cannot see, touch, smell, hear, or taste him. This to Comfort is scientific proof of a creator and does not require faith to believe in a creator. According to Ray, all you need is eyes that can see and a brain that works. Ray asks himself "can we scientifically prove that a painting had a painter?" He replies if we put a dozen scientists in a room with a painting, they will all answer that it indeed had a painter. Ray includes nothing more. He then says the human body is a very complex machine and the eye is perfect so there must be a designer. He then addresses those who are not convinced by his arguments as people who put themselves on an "intellectual pedestal."
  Ray either simply does not understand the word "theory," or deliberately misleads the audience. His argument is of course a logical fallacy: anything that exists, simply because it exists, must have been deliberately created by an intelligent being for an intended purpose. By his logic, does lightning have a lightning maker? Do earthquakes have an earthquake maker? His argument also includes an argument from design fallacy. We see design and beauty in snowflakes and crystals, but we also know they form under natural causes without invoking the supernatural. What Ray is doing is comparing apples and oranges. For instance, anyone can get a typical shot glass and try to find a pebble that perfectly fits it entirely, and they all fail. However, pouring a liquid in it fits every time. What Ray is claiming is basically that liquid must be deliberately designed for the sole purpose to fit in a shot glass. But that argument is based on faulty logic because the two objects being compared (solids and liquids) have different critical properties. In this case, he is doing the equivalent of comparing solids and liquids fitting in a shot glass and then incorrectly stating that one was designed for the shot glass. What Comfort is doing is to compare certain objects that are known to have been manufactured (Coca-Cola cans) with objects that can evolve—that is, they reproduce and become varied through time—and drawing a bogus conclusion that life must be designed.

We can know that a building has a builder because we can see him, touch him, hear, or taste him (if you are willing to go that far). But if you could not do that, you can see building happening all the time around the world. Even if you could not do that, you can find the blueprints for such building, learn who the architect and builders are, when and how it was made, and such. As Brian will point out, we can actually test if a painting had a painter and we could verify who it is and how they did it, but we cannot do so with God. And that is where Ray fails, who claimed that he would be able to prove the existence of God scientifically. Also, Ray builds an absurd straw man of the Big Bang Theory, abiogenesis, and evolution and falsely thinks that disproving them makes creation win by default. He also tries to mock the intellect and present an ad hominem towards those who don't believe in God by implying that their eyes and brains must not be functional. He insults skeptics as putting themselves on a pedestal; basically Ray's arguments are so feeble that they are simply comical and do not require a lot of thought to see through them, and that is why Ray attacks the intellectual and tries to prevent the audience from thinking too deeply into things.

*Conscience. According to Ray, God put within each of us conscience when God made us in his image. This separates us from the other animals since we have the ability to know right from wrong. But, according to Ray, our conscience has "lost its life on the outside" and each of us are "self-admitted blaspheming, lying, thieving, adulterers at heart" and could only be restored by the Ten Commandments. He then goes on using his old tactic of "are you a good person?" In this speech, Ray very briefly tells the audience that he may sound preachy, but the gospel is the greatest evidence for God anyone could have.   This of course is based on ignorance of science (zoology, sociology, evolution). All societal species (including humans) have a sense of compassion and community amongst their kinsmen, friends and fellows which—in many species—leads to acts of devotion, defense, and even self-sacrifice on their behalf.
*Conversion According to Ray, if you believe in God and seek him out, you will find him. "That is the ultimate proof" -Ray Comfort.   What Comfort failed to understand was the same result can be achieved for those who seek out ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, or any deity "with their whole heart", meaning they have already assumed these things exist without question or prior evidence that they exist in the first place. Anyone who sets out to find something they believe in wholeheartedly is likely to find evidence which they think is convincing.
After presenting these three arguments, he then plays on people's fears. He claims that everyone will die, and we all want to be saved. Ray Comfort claims the Jesus died for our sins and will take our punishment from us if we repent. Ray claims God is merciful and will forgive our sins, but God is just and will only punish murderers, rapists, adulterers, pedophiles, fornicators, and blasphemers. Ray also quoted Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein as intelligent men who believed the existence of god is obvious.   If God is going to punish those people Ray listed, then the same should go for several biblical characters. Moses committed murder in Exodus 2:12, and was also also guilty of theft, arson, and genocide. Rapists get to keep the virgins they violate in Deuteronomy 22:28, and the victims must submit themselves to their violators. Ray has also opened a contradiction here, by stating that God will only punish those who do bad things—if so, that would seem to make faith in God unimportant to the state of one's afterlife, since one would be rewarded or punished for their behavior rather than their belief.

The quotes provided by Ray are demonstrably false. He presented them in a way that was totally different from what the quotes were intending, a common creationist tactic known as quote mining. Ex. Einstein said "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If there is something in me which can be called religious then it is unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." Ray Comfort did admit that he has faith if he wants the creator to do something, such as award him or answer his prayers.

[edit] Second Speaker: Brian Sapient

Right off the bat, Brian explains that he did not come to the debate to share why he does not think god exists, but rather why he thinks Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron have failed to provide scientific evidence for the existence of god without evoking the bible. He points out that the Ten Commandments, which is found in the bible and was used as a tool for biblical preaching, is not a valid evidence for the existence of god. He responds to Ray's argument that a building requires a builder, but Ray forgets we can call the builder, check city permit records, etc. but we cannot call god or his 'universe factory.' We can call the painter, we can call the paint maker, etc. but Ray cannot take us to god's universe factory to watch creation happen.

Brian did not want to discuss the bible during this debate, but noted that Ray's point regarding god as merciful and just is incorrect, because the Blasphemy Challenge showed that some sins are unforgivable. However, if you are a rapist or pedophile in prison, you can be safe as long as you are a Christian and can go to Heaven.

Brian returns to Ray's points regarding everything must have a creator. If all things require a creator, then who created god? Brian informed the audience that Ray advocates pseudoscience such as intelligent design and points out that we see all sorts of things in nature that cannot be the result of intelligent design. One example is the human eye (which Ray thinks is perfect), which has a blind spot and sends images to our brains backwards. Other examples exist of parts of the human body that refute the claim the human body is intelligently designed. Brian ends his speech explaining that atheists are good people.

  Brian's point that Ray Comfort already lost the debate by including the Bible and faith is completely valid.

[edit] Third Speaker: Kelly O'Connor

Kelly began her speech by pointing out that the RRS representatives were there to show that Ray and Kirk could not prove their god scientifically. She stated that everyone is an atheist, including Ray and Kirk, with regards to Zeus, Apollo, Thor, or any of the other countless imaginary deities.

Her first rebuttal to Ray was that science is a method of testing explanations of the natural world. Science is open to all and science changes as new information and data is collected, unlike religious dogma that Ray and Kirk defend. There are two types of scientific observation: direct and indirect. Direct observation would be like a company trying to prove their product is better than some other. Indirect follows a line of thinking of "if X is true, then we would expect to find or not find the following in nature..." Intelligent Design is impossible to detect in the scientific method. Unless Ray can prove how his god created anything, then Ray's position is not backed up by science, but based on the god of the gaps fallacy. She notes that Ray's method of describing creation is deliberately made to support his particular god, when in fact the hypothetical creator is no more likely to be Yahweh than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ray's use of the cosmological argument fails because the universe is not finely tuned for life, we are adapted to it. Next she addressed Ray's point regarding the conscience. If we are all made with this built into us, why do we bother teach our children right from wrong? What about psychopaths? Did god forget to install a conscience in them?

 
She then addressed Ray's use of the Ten Commandments by claiming Ray was deliberately setting up a problem that only his god could fix. The next rebuttal was which version of the Ten Commandments was being used here? The ones in Exodus 20, Exodus 34, or Deuteronomy 5? Using the Ten Commandments alone does not provide proof of god anymore than the 5 Pillars of Islam proves Allah.

Kelly then claimed Ray's points regarding morality are obsolete. According to Ray, all we have to do is to have faith. Hitler, who was a Roman Catholic, can go to heaven because he believed in Jesus, but the six million Jews he murdered go to hell. Kelly reminded the audience that Ray uses guilt, dishonesty, and appeal to emotion to force them into a position where they need Ray's god.

  Unfortunately, this part of which is the correct interpretation of the 10 Commandments is never addressed by Ray or Kirk.

[edit] Fourth Speaker: Kirk Cameron

Kirk opens with that he understands how Brian and Kelly think because he used to be an atheist and he once blindly believed what his science teachers told him. He goes on telling the people of his past success as a film star and how good his life was. But what changed his views was that one day he would die and the thought of death motivated him to seek god. After he prayed, his life changed as he humbled himself to god. His heart changed and he read the bible and went back to church. Kirk said nothing about providing evidence for god; all he shared was how his life changed after seeking god and urged the audience to think about this issue on "where you will spend eternity."   Kirk's story that he was once an atheist is most likely fictional, especially when Kirk claims to know where Brian and Kelly are coming from and yet argue against straw man versions of their positions, and incorrectly claim that people like them take things on faith when, in fact, it is they who are using faith.

Additionally, nothing in this story provides any evidence whatsoever of a deity, rather it is a tale of personal change in thought based on faith. This happens all the time, in many different religions. One could easily argue for Allah or the Buddha on this basis, and even Kirk knows that personal stories of people turning to a particular faith does not provide evidence for that faith.

The point of his story, and presumably the argument he is trying to make, proceeds like this: if you just read the Bible, and let God into your life, then he will reveal himself to you and you will believe in him. This belief is of course subject to personal experience and cannot be substantiated without faith. Ray and Kirk constantly use the Bible to support their arguments.

Immediately Kirk Cameron contradicts himself when he says he "used to think just like they think" when he says only a few seconds later he "blindly believed what [his] science teachers told [him] in school because... they were a lot smarter than [he] was, so what they say must be true." One could easily argue that this is not how most atheists think. They accept an argument based on its merits, not on the credentials of its adherents. Kirk's initial belief in evolution and atheism was not based on any application of reason. However, most atheists and skeptics do not do this, or would not advocate it. They do not blindly accept authority figures. They instead want to examine claims and arguments and determine their beliefs for themselves. This is something Kirk did not do then or now, and so he was never "like" an atheist at all.

Kirk also admits that when he accepted evolution in his early years, he did so not because he agreed with the evidence. He never even looked at the evidence. He immediately makes an argument from authority in his introduction, saying he believed evolution because he was told to. This itself is revealing about his personal character and credulity. He then goes on to describe how he discovered and investigated the evidence against evolution. When he investigates this, where does he say he goes to get his facts? Not to his teachers. Not to his textbooks. Not to an encyclopedia, or a library, a college, or any other scientific guidance. No, he instead goes to the Bible. And that is where he says he has his "proof" for God.

So, just after claiming they can prove themselves without the Bible, what do they do? They use the Bible.

[edit] Questions

RRS Debate WOTM   RationalWiki Responses

After each side, the RRS and WOTM, gave their speeches and provided the audience with their arguments, it was time for them to answer questions.

[edit] 1st Question: WOTM

"could Ray and Kirk take us to, as RRS puts it, the 'universe factory' and who created god?"

Ray first responded about Kelly's remark about Jews not going to heaven, that the first Christians were Jews and the gospel is open to Jew and gentile. Ray finally answered the question (while completely ignoring to answer the 'universe factory' part to witness creation) that god is eternal and has no creator. God created time and is thus not subjected to it. The moderator responded that Ray made the proposal of the notion that a painting must have a painter and is now removing time from the equation to get out of the mess of figuring out who created the creator. Ray repeated that god exists outside of time and then when we die we will join him in eternity. Right now, according to Ray, we assume on faith that there is no beginning and end to space.


  The Qu'ran is just as open to Jews and gentiles, but the point is with the Bible it does not matter if the first Christians were Jews, they all did something other Jews did not: accept Christ as their savior. That simple fact is what Ray's God determines what gets a person a ticket to Heaven or Hell. Kelly's point still stands, that God would have sent 6 million Jews to Hell for simply not accepting Christ.
"you may be a Hindu if you were born in India. Is your god a projection of your culture?"

Ray claimed that being a Christian is not a cultural thing, being Christian is being converted by god himself. The moderator repeated the question of whether the concept of god a cultural thing, as shown by different concepts existing among various cultures. Kirk responded that "projecting your own concept of god and making it a reality in your mind is a delusion, and that is an illusion called idolatry - creating a false god." Kirk explains the 'one true god' reveals himself through creation, the conscious, through the scriptures, and through the person of Jesus Christ.

  Ironically, Kirk accuses other theists of "projection" and "idolatry" when that is exactly what he and Ray Comfort do with their god. Furthermore, Ray and Kirk believe that their God is the one true God, but so did many other religions throughout history and in the present. Why should we accept what he says and believe that this God is the right one this time?

[edit] RRS Responds

Brian responds by pointing out that many people in the audience or people they may know has had an experience with ghosts. Experience alone does not make it true. Brian pointed out there could be an invisible gnome on his shoulder and he believes it is true, but it is not true to reality. He claimed that personal experience has no bearing on the debate; for example Brian and Kelly were both at one time Christians but they are not going to bother the audience with stories of their past.

In response to Ray's argument about "Who created God?" Brian says not even Ray believes it. Ray's argument goes, "everything needs a creator except for this one magical thing at the beginning that does not need a creator." Brian, going back to using science, explains that there is a testable law of thermodynamics that says matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. Since matter and energy make up the universe, they have always existed and do not require a creator. What Ray is doing is using an argument from ignorance that he does not know what created the universe so he makes up a god to explain it all. Brian then introduces Occam's Razor that explains the most simple position is the most plausible, and the simplest answer is there is no god.

  Despite Brian's point that Ray's logic fails when he [Ray] says that everything needs a creator but then introduces something that does not have a creator, Ray Comfort continues to use the argument "creation requires a creator" as amongst his primary "evidence" for God.

Ray attacks his opponents saying that they accept their facts and make their own assumptions about the world based on what he calls "faith," when what he really means is evidence. But he, of course, also assumes on faith that there is a beginning at all. Indeed, they say that the universe requires a creator because it cannot have an infinite regress, but if their god is infinite, why can't the universe be infinite too? No response from them on this.

[edit] WOTM Responds

Neither Ray Comfort nor Kirk Cameron had anything to respond to Brian. In a low voice Kirk said "I think the people could figure it out." Indeed they did, they figured out that Ray and Kirk are wrong. The moderator then tells WOTM that Brian has argued that WOTM has brought forth a philosophy that breaks down when you are talking about god. After a pause, Kirk responded to Brian by saying that if you go back in time, you would need to ask who created the universe. Brian responded "Nothing." Kelly then pointed out "If god can be infinite, why can't the universe be infinite?" Kirk responded to Kelly, "Well, we believe god is infinite and dwells in eternity and he has revealed the fact that he has created the universe." Brian pushed Kelly's question again upon to Kirk, while Kelly added "and you [WOTM] were supposed to provide scientific proof for your beliefs, but we have not seen a shred of it." The discussion ended there and the moderator turned to RRS to provide them with the next question.   This was perhaps the key moment in the entire debate. Kelly's point is that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron were meant to provide evidence for their god, but as it turns out, the evidence for God is simply all based on belief and faith. And if Ray and Kirk knew that going in (as they very likely did) then they knew they had no case whatsoever.

[edit] 2nd Question: RRS

"If there is no god, is everything permitted? What response would an atheist provide if the stronger let the weaker die off and what reason would an atheist have to say it is wrong?"

Kelly touched back on an earlier point she made on the development of morality, that we all depend on each other to survive and we look out for one another. This has an evolutionary advantage if we helped and supported each other insuring our survival. The moderator asked "Whose morality do you use?" Kelly responded that atheism is not total moral relativism. Brian took over saying we are a society that set up rules and laws to help each other and punish criminals. These laws do not come from the bible; in fact the bible took laws that society had grown to understand are necessary for survival. The evidence for this is supported by anthropology.

  Religions repeatably share that their faith system offers excellent moral standards. Christianity and other monotheistic religions often say that morality derives from their religion, and this is the only basis for morality. Imagine someone said to you that English provided the only basis for grammar. After you overcame your shock, you would respond that English is certainly not the only language with a grammar. You would add that grammar is not limited to language understood broadly as rules for combination and transformation, many phenomena have a grammar, from sports to baking. Nor is grammar the sole or essential component of language: language also includes sound systems, vocabularies, genres, and styles of speech. And you would remind the speaker that grammar does not depend on human language at all: some nonhuman species, including chimps and parrots, can produce grammatical—that is, orderly and rule-comforming—short sentences. Ultimately, you would want to explain that English does not “provide a basis” for grammar at all but rather represents one particular instance of grammar. English grammar is definitely not the only grammar in the world and even more definitely not the “real” grammar.

[edit] Question 2 addressed to WOTM

Right off the bat, both Ray and Kirk said there is no basis for morality if there is no god and you can do whatever you want and go unpunished. Brian responds "That is what Christianity tells us, you can do what you wish, but if you believe in Jesus you will be fine." RRS points out that the Bible says that all believers will be forgiven and go to Heaven, even if they murder and do evil things. WOTM denied that, claiming anyone doing just that is a religious hypocrite. After RRS pressured the question "Does the Bible say that if you ask for forgiveness god will give it to you" Ray Comfort admitted that was true, making RRS state "then how can you say they are being hypocrites if you do not know if their repentance has been genuine or not? That is just an easy way out: you can do anything you want in Christianity and just get away with it." Both Ray and Kirk hesitated and did not respond, their silence was a sign of agreement. After a while, the moderator broke the silence and moved on to the next question.   Some Christians claim that if the monotheistic god doesn't exist, then everything is permitted. In fact, if we accept the Bible, far too much is permitted. The Bible tells us that Yahweh not only permitted but endorsed rape, slavery, killing of babies and children, familial cannibalism, and mass murder. The Bible is a highly inconsistent guide to morality; those who say they get their morality from it do so selectively.

[edit] 3rd Question: WOTM

"[addressing Kirk], Victor Stenger in his book God: The Failed Hypothesis says that 'evolution by natural selection is accepted as an observed fact by the great majority of biologists and scientists and related fields and is utilized in every modern field of science including medicine.' How do you account for the fact that evolution is now the dominant philosophical understanding for so many of the sciences?"

Kirk responded that the reason he thinks that many people do not believe in the existence of god is because of evolution and evolution is assumed to be a fact. Kirk then tries to explain the theory of evolution (the following is in his own descriptive words), "We start with nothing, there is an explosion, and that produces everything over billions and billions of years -birds, the trees, the flowers, the moon, the sun, the stars, elephants, human beings - everything we got and this happened by random chance (natural selection) over billions of years. Charles Darwin said that in order for his theory to be true, there must be millions of in-between stages, transitional forms, in the fossil record. And within a few hundred years if we don't find those transitional forms then his theory should be discarded. Well, more than a hundred years has gone by and those missing links, those transitional forms, those in-between stages, are still missing." He goes on to talk about several fossil that have been shown to be hoaxes that 'fooled' the scientific community, such as Archaeoraptor. Kirk then admitted that Microevolution is a fact, which he calls "adaptations within a species," that "dogs produce dogs and horses produce horses." Kirk says that Microevolution is "totally different than from man evolving from an entirely different species. Science has never found a genuine transitional form of animal that is one kind of animal crossing over into another kind either living or in the fossil record." Kirk says there should be billions of transitional fossils, and then presents to the audience what he claims scientists has been looking for many years, and presented a painting of a half duck, half crocodile and calls it the "Crocoduck." Brian, in a low voice, calls Kirk a "numb nut." Kirk goes on to show more pictures of half animals, such as the "BullFrog" and "SheepDog." Kirk then goes on to address the platypus, a mammal with a bill like a duck, and claims that is exactly how God made it and it is not the result of evolution. "Nature is absolute proof that everything brings forth something of its own kind." He then claims the famous Archeopteryx is "fully bird." He finishes saying their website "Intelligent Design v. Evolution.com" offers $10,000 to anyone who could show a genuine transitional form, and ends his speech with a few mined quotes.

  Evolution is not an assumed fact, it is a fact. We can observe and test evolution, speciation and macroevolution. Gravity is not an assumed fact, it is a fact.

Kirk purposely straw-mans evolution with cosmology and abiogenesis, which Brian later points out. Evolution is not random; it is selective, which is the opposite of random. Darwin did not say that just fossils will provide proof for his theory; however over the years we have found many fossils (more than Darwin could ever hope for). Archeopteryx is not a full bird.[1] As for Archaeoraptor, only a handful of scientists ever saw Archaeoraptor, but every one who did noted that it was composite piece, and the artistic amateurs who paid for the fossil were repeatedly warned that some parts of it might not even belong to the whole. The popular press preemptively scooped the story prior to peer review, where it was instantly exposed as a fake by multiple experts, and each submission to scientific journals was immediately rejected. Archaeoraptor therefore fooled no one in the scientific community. The irony there is that the tail of the alleged Archaeoraptor turned out to belong to the as-yet-undiscovered Microraptor, a four-winged and apparently gliding feathered dinosaur which turned out to be even more compelling proof of avian evolution from dinosaurs than Archaeopteryx was in Darwin’s day. The scientific process of peer review seeks out and exposes fraud by design.  But antievolutionist arguments are withheld from peer review because they are driven entirely by frauds including misstatements, out-of-context quote-mining, and contrived or distorted falsehoods, and terms erroneously redefined into instigative reactionary nonsense unintelligible as anything other than propaganda.  In short, if creationists knew how to expose a fraud, they wouldn’t be creationists anymore.

Kirk never defines what "kind" means, making it difficult for Brian or Kelly to respond to it. Finally, the prize offering is a fraud. The challenge is to find a "living" transitional fossil. This makes the whole contest impossible and completely dishonest (it's like asking to present your great-great-great-great-great-great.....great grandfather was still alive). Also, the email is programmed to bounce all incoming emails. On their website, there is a list of arguments FOR and AGAINST evolution. (The arguments FOR evolution are really arguments AGAINST evolution.) It also includes pictures of the Bible, cash, and a half-duck half-dog. In summary, their $10,000 challenge is just a marketing scheme.

[edit] RRS Responds

Brian explained that every living thing in the fossil record is transitional, and those who do not understand this show a huge ignorance of evolution. Brian mentions Australopithecus africanus and that life is constantly evolving. Brian offered to pay Ray and Kirk to go to a museum, to show that scientists have found thousands of transitional fossils that can be dated accurately. Brian explains to Kirk that he shows no understanding of evolution, especially when he opened his speech with "We start with nothing" and "life forms itself, that these fields of science, cosmology and abiogenesis, have nothing to do with evolution." Brian points out to Kirk regarding Archaeoraptor that science is a self correcting system and scientists learn from their mistakes. Kirk interrupts to say that "they were wrong, now you have to scrap the theory and come up with the next one." Brian remarked that one false fossil out of the thousands upon thousands of others does not refute the theory overall. Brian then explains Microevolution and Macroevolution by using the metaphor "how do you walk a mile without taking one step at a time? Microevolution is each step, Macroevolution is at the end of the mile." Ray and Kirk stayed silent, seemingly stunned by this. The moderator turned the attention to Kirk, who responded "As far as I understand from the research I have done, [pause] any fossil you find in your museum is a fully formed creature. There is no half-way between one animal and half-way between another animal that you can observe to be so." Kirk then says Brian is assuming that evolution is happening and presupposes that we are transitional forms constantly changing. Kirk goes on to say that we have never observed one "kind" of animal form into another, Brian responded "because that is not how evolution works." Ignoring Brian, Kirk says no one has ever seen Macroevolution happen. Kelly quickly points out the reason why Kirk is not seeing the missing link he wants to see is because "mutations must necessarily be small enough to allow for the survival and reproduction of that creature. You are not going to find a half-duck, half-crocodile because what would that mate with? That wouldn't make any evolutionary advantage, but even if there were no fossils, no transitional forms, evolution is still soundly supported by biology, genetic information, cosmological information, and all of the fields of science unanimously agree and support it." Before moving onto the next question, the moderator allowed Kirk to respond. Kirk ignores Kelly's point, uses the Watchmaker argument, and claims our DNA is filled with information that can only point to an intelligent designer and not be an "accident." He goes on to mention that Charles Darwin did not know how complex the cell was, and then adds "if you do the research, you will find any self-respecting biologist will tell you no one has a clue how the human body can possibly build itself by an accidental process."   Brian did a great job of countering Kirk's claim, and would have done more if the moderator had not given Kirk the spotlight for too long.

When Kirk said "As far as I understand from the research I have done...", that would actually be none at all. All Kirk has done is ignore the evidence in favor of superstitious beliefs. Fossils are not full-formed animals; Kelly is right when she points out that Kirk does not want to see the real evidence. When Kirk demands to see a half-this half-that, it only shows a deeper lack of understanding of evolution. Example, asking to see a half-man half-ape is like asking for a half-duck half-bird, or where is the half-way point between Los Angeles and California? As for Kirk's last attempt, of course you will not find a biologist who will say that it all happened by accident, because evolution is not random or an accident. The presence of junk DNA shows that it is not the product of an intelligent designer. Any arrangement implies information; the information is how the arrangement is described. If a new arrangement occurs, whether spontaneously or from the outside, new information is assembled in the process. Even if the arrangement consists of shattering a glass into tiny pieces, that means assembling new information.

[edit] 4th Question: RRS

"if you want evidence, what about the life, the birth, the death, and some would argue the resurrection of Christ himself"

Knowing they were about to push a hot button, Kelly responded that there is no historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ.

See Historicity of Jesus

The audience both cheered and grunted at Kelly's approach, and even the moderator was uneasy. Kelly went on to say that 1st century Palestine is a well-recorded era with dozens of historians who kept accurate and detailed records, but never mention Jesus anywhere. This is strange, because Jesus supposedly entered the Temple in Jerusalem on Passover and started a riot, and yet was not mentioned one time. None of the contemporary historians mention Jesus until many many years after his death. Ray interrupts and says "That is not true, Josephus spoke of Jesus." Brian tries to explain that was actually a forgery and not contemporary[1], but Ray ignores them and goes on, saying "you have so much faith in history books. You quote history books like they are gospel and yet you ignore the gospel record." Kelly asks Ray, "Do you believe in George Washington?" Ray does not answer the question and continues on, "whenever you quote history books it shows you have blind faith in the words of man. We have the words of the living god in the Bible, the Bible is essentially in itself the words of God just by open study,... you can just open the Bible and read it; it is self-provable; it's axiomatic; it's full of prophecies that are coming true in our day and age; it is the world's greatest bestseller of all time; it speaks of existence before it happens - read the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21; look at the scientific facts in the Bible, it says in Job the Earth hangs upon nothing when science believed that it sat on the back of two gigantic tortoises. It not only speaks of the Earth free floating in space, but it speaks of other scientific facts, like in Isaiah about the world being spherical. Just take the time to read it, it's self-provable, and is God's word [ignoring Brian and Kelly's remark that they have read it]."

  Here Ray shows his desperate attempt to rescue his faith from the facts by trying to equate the evidence against his religion to faith. Instead of arguing with evidence, which he didn't appear to have, he goes on a non sequitur about how his sacred book is fascinating. He calls it axiomatic, but any decent reader will quickly find out this is false. Go to this link, Science Confirms the Bible, to see that Ray's absurd claim that science can be found in the Bible is false. Prophecies are weak forms of arguments. Ray has no hesitation in doubting the prophecies of Islam, but what Ray tries to provide above are things that are inevitable (such as wars, earthquakes, and famines). Ray says ancient scientists believed the earth was flat; ignoring the appeal to anonymous authority, this is completely not true and Comfort is trying to rewrite history. He also neglects to mention how it was scientists who discovered the earth's true form, thereby debunking the biblical literalism that suggests a flat earth. Ultimately, Ray failed to prove his point when he said that the Bible is the word of God when throughout this entire debate both Ray and Kirk failed to provide a shred of evidence for a creator.

Ray showed real irony in stating "yet you ignore the gospel record." What in the gospel record is actually true? The Gospel record was wrong about the Roman census, Herod never slaughtered thousands of infants, Nazareth does not appear until the 4th century, there was never a mass resurrection of people who walked in the streets of Jerusalem, etc.

[edit] Questions from the audience. WOTM

"if god is the creator of all things, seen and unseen, then is evil also his creation?"

Ray responds by saying darkness is the absence of light, and says evil is the absence of good. He then admits "Yeah, God created all things, but you cannot attribute the character of god as evil because there is such a thing as evil." When asked why not, he responds god is righteous and perfect.

  If God is righteous and perfect, then why evil? If a god is perfect, why bother making anything at all?

[edit] Question from the audience. RRS

"Brian, you stated 'you dont have to be religious or have a religion to be good, but looking at the test tube of history, if we want to look at atheistic nations, we have some experiments of communism and we find from communist nations that they killed off approximately one million of their own people. Is this a good example of atheists being good?"

Brian answers that these actions are not being done in the name of atheism. He then adds that about 90% of the people in Sweden do not believe in a god and are very peaceful, then Kelly added that the United States is among the most religious country in the world, and yet has the highest records of violence. Kelly then responds that there has never been an example when a nation has been completely independent from religion; communism is not the appropriate analogy because it is a form of state worship. There might not be a religious god, but the god of communism is the state.

  Brian and Kelly are correct in their statements, but there is more that should need explaining. Communism does have a history of death attached to it (in fairness, so do other systems), but death in communism happens both in the secular and religious sense. For instance, Ray Comfort believes the Bible to be the whole inherent word of the Almighty infallible omniscient God, but the Bible does contain communism within its pages. For instance, communism is found practiced in the book of Acts (Acts 2 and Acts 4) which led to the death of a couple who refused to hand over their property. Also, Jesus emphasized doing all that you can to help the poor — even to the point of him recommending that a rich man sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor if he really wishes to get into heaven. It is no wonder, then, that any number of Christian groups have adopted ways of living which, while explicitly based upon biblical stories, are also expressions of communist ideals. Such groups include the Shakers, Mormons, Hutterites and more.

The point is, communism - both secular and religious - can lead to the death of some or many. However, if Christians wish to use the deaths committed in Soviet Russia as evidence against atheism, they must admit that their own Bible condones communism (which also leads to the killing of people). Since many Christians, like Ray Comfort, like to brag that science and many things came from or were inspired by the Bible, they must also admit that the idea of communism arose from their holy text long before Karl Marx's time.

[edit] Question from the audience. WOTM

"In response to the cultural context comment they made about your religion depending upon on your cultural context, you said the gospel reaches everywhere. I want to know about the people who lived in the native America before Columbus, people who were aboriginals before the Dutch discovered Australia, people in sub-Sahara Africa before Christian missionaries reached there, people in present day Saudi Arabia who are forbidden on the penalty of death of speaking to a Christian or even having a Christian cross, how do they or how did they receive the word of Jesus?"

Ray responses that God will not judge people for not hearing the gospel. God will judge people for murder, rape, cannibalism, lying and stealing - that is what sin is. But Jesus is the only savior, which is why missionaries stretch so far to preach the gospel. Kirk then adds that the early christians were persecuted for their faith, yet they still spread their message, demonstrating love for humanity.

  So what about those who did such acts thousands of years before Christ? Are they doomed? What about those who God specifically demanded to kill, rape, and steal from (like God ordering the Israelites to slay the Canaanites)? Ray does not dare mention how the missionaries stretch across the world and how they spread the gospel. Missionaries in India, Africa and South America have murdered many innocent people, stolen, bribed, threatened, raped, and indoctrinated local non-Christians.[2]

As for Kirk's remark that the early Christians were persecuted for their faith, he lacks evidence.[3]

[edit] Question from the audience. RRS

"What if you're wrong and God does exist?"

RRS explained that this is called Pascal's Wager. Kelly stated she would rather go to hell than worship a "megalo-tyrant."

 

[edit] Question from the audience. WOTM

"You claimed that the human body as perfect (eyes, nose, etc.) as proof of a creator, then how do you explain cancer?"

Ray began his answer with human suffering, but the lady called out to Ray to address cancer. Ray says he never used the words perfect creation, and goes on to say the Bible says we live in a fallen creation and suffering is all around us, but the lady calls back that Ray is not addressing cancer. When Ray fails to start his response regarding cancer, the audience shows disappointment. Ray continues on explaining god in the beginning created everything perfect, no suffering, no cancer, no death, etc. until we have sinned.

  Ray contradicted himself when he said he never used "perfect creation" and then goes on to say God created everything perfect. Comfort says there was no death, but how can that be? Some animals have a special diet and can only eat other animals. How about shark babies who must eat their fellow sibling embryos to survive while in their mother's womb? Why do humans have an immune system? If there was no suffering, why would our bodies need defenses from external forces? Also, Genesis 1:29 says God gave us food that we shall eat like meat. If Adam and Eve ate meat, they can only acquire it by killing other animals. Genesis also says we could eat from the trees, which would require the consumption of living cellular things. In summary, Ray Comfort is dead wrong; suffering existed throughout human and earth's history.

[edit] Question from the audience. RRS

"If god is the ultimate being, can it just be said that you're projecting yourself as god?"

Brian adds a quick remark from an earlier question he felt was cut short. He quotes from Sam Harris's book A letter to a Christian Nation pg. 43

"Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom are among the least religious socities on earth. According to the United Nations Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality."

In reference to America, he adds:

"the United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious adherence; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality."

and Brian quickly adds that there is a lot more.

 
After applause from the audience, Kirk claims those quotes from Sam Harris are interesting, but they do not prove god does not exist.   They are not supposed to; in fact, Kirk's remark seems to be attempting to distract the audience from the fact that Kirk and Ray were supposed to be proving God's existence with science and were failing to do so.

[edit] Closing remarks

RRS Debate WOTM   RationalWiki Responses

All four debaters were given the opportunity to present closing remarks.

[edit] Ray Comfort

Ray uses an analogy with a television box. His analogy is set up as follows: Imagine if a man, who lived a hundred years ago, was transported into your living room. He looks over to the corner and says, "What's this box." You tell him it is a television set. The man taps on it and says, "What does it do?" You tell him a guy comes on and reads the news. The man asks, "How does he get into the box?" You tell him he is not in the box, but the man asks "Is he in the box or is he not?" You tell him his 'image' is in the box, a television signal is sent through the air until it gets to the house where there is a satellite disk and it goes through a cable and into the television set and the image of the man manifests in the box. The man taps the television and says, "What are you talking about? You are saying some invisible news reader flows through the air, floats over to your house to the disk, through the cable and into the box. Do you think I am a fool?" You tell him to push the power switch and see it happen.
"We are saying the living god who you cannot see will manifest himself to you if you push the button. That is all you have to do. There is a challenge, push the button, it's called repentance and faith. Be honest, realize you have sinned against god, understand the Commandments, to have an everlasting life. Push the button, that is all you have to do, is to repent and trust in the savior, and God will manifest himself to you. He will change your heart and make you love that which is right and that is a miracle when it happens to you. Perhaps you have an alternative motive, it is not that you can't find God, it is that you won't find God, you don't want to -as the Bible says." -Ray Comfort's last speech


  Notice in his whole closing statement he did not even try to provide any more evidence, when he says that all fields of science can prove God exists, but rather plays on the audience's fears and appeals to emotion. What Ray is presenting is no different than what a Muslim or Hindu can ask, and says the reason for failure to find God is our own fault. The purpose of the debate was for Ray, not the audience, to prove the existence of God. Ray fails to show any proof that God is around and will manifest in our minds.

The brain is capable of creating many experiences that seem real. These experiences can be activated and occur naturally without the interference of the supernatural. Stimulating the amygdala and hippocampus of the limbic system produces feelings of intense meaningfulness, of depersonalization, connection with God, of cosmic connectedness, out-of-body experiences,a feeling of not being of this world, deja vu, jamais vu, and hallucinations. These have been studied many times, including Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, DMT, and more that produce intense religious experiences.

[edit] Brian Sapient

Brian started affirming what WOTM said that religion is a force for good, if you take out the murder, mass genocide committed by God as recorded in the Bible, religious wars, burning of witches at the stake, Ted Haggard, shooting of abortion doctors, the Bible's promotion of slavery, pedophile priests, Christian serial killers going wild, the church's systematic oppression of women and minorities, diversion of protection against STDs and the spread of AIDS in third-world countries, creative and inconsistent interpretations of 'Thou Shall Not Kill'... take it all out (and much more left unmentioned) and religion can be a force for good.

Brian remarks on Ray saying God gave us all a conscience by asking if God forgot to give a conscience to Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, the Popes who have the blood of millions on their hands, and Osama Bin Laden? And speaking of Bin Laden, Brian asked the audience if they knew what the definition of a terrorist is? Some definitions say terrorists use violence, but it can also be the threat of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a religious goal. This is exactly what Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, and WOTM do when they push the fear of God and hell onto nonbelievers. What can be more terroristic than "believe this or burn for eternity"? The answer is nothing. Brian says he does not fault Ray and Kirk and understands their motives are driven by the fear of hell.

Brian ends his speech by saying enough is enough and calling out for all rational people to unite and help others abandon the fear that has been brainwashed into them from birth. Brian claimed that we as a society have failed our children by teaching them to be illogical, and promised all those who have fallen victim to religious teachings that they can lead a much better life if they abandon their religion and faith.

 

[edit] Kirk Cameron

Kirk claims that they often receive emails from atheists calling WOTM a bunch of idiots. So Kirk goes down a list of famous people who were brilliant but also believe in God: Albert Einstein, Galileo, [the audience moans and boos Kirk], Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, and Copernicus. Kirk says these guy were not stupid. Kirk says when it comes to intelligence, creationism has got it in spades - both the science and logic is good.

Kirk says they are not saying all atheists are not intelligent - for example, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are intelligent - but he says "if someone insists there is no god when creation clearly demonstrates there is a creator, the problem is not a rational one, it is moral one. The problem is that you can't find God, it is that you won't find God." Kirk then quotes Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion,

He said, "Even if there is no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories."

Kirk says, based on this quote, that Dawkins is being unscientific and demonstrating blind faith. Kirk says that if you believe that there is a God then you put yourself under his authority, and that is what atheists do not want: someone telling them what they can or cannot do. Kirk says they do not want to be accountable for their actions of violating God's rules, so they ignore the evidence for God and pick out the little ones that support their view. How does Kirk know this? Because, he claims, that is exactly what he used to think as an atheist.

Kirk ends his speech urging the audience to seek god and he will reveal himself to you, through creation, through your conscience, and through the gospel.


  The quote provided by Kirk is from Richard Dawkins's classic book The Blind Watchmaker. Kirk deliberately quote mined Dawkins, here is the full quote,
“Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (pg. 287)

The bit highlighted in bold is the part quoted by Kirk. The omission of the first sentence significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying: the original version of the quote indicates that Darwin's theory would be preferable to all others, even without any evidence, because other theories cannot explain all "aspects of life;" whereas without the first sentence, the quote endorses Darwin's theory above all others without giving any reason, and thus does not contradict Kirk's false claim that Dawkins takes Darwin on faith.

[edit] Kelly O'Connor

Kelly first points out the obvious fact of the debate: Ray and Kirk had failed to present one piece of evidence for the existence of God at all. [The audience cheers] Kelly points out the irony that the worst charge the WOTM could level against RRS is that atheists use faith to support their worldview, which is demonstrably false. But why, says Kelly, is it not okay to point out to WOTM that their position is entirely based on faith? Kelly points out to the audience the fallacious tactics of WOTM, such as appeal to authority (claiming all these smart people believed in God when RRS did not ever claim that there are no intelligent people who believe in God), appeal to emotion, playing on people's fear of death and Hell, etc.

Kelly points out WOTM do not allow their rational mind to investigate their beliefs in their "God Box." Before ending her speech, she hammers the fact that no evidence was brought forth once for the existence of God, that instead all they got was a series of fallacies and appeals to emotion and fear of punishment, death, and Hell to make them believe in their God. Kelly apologizes that was all that was presented for the debate for being such a disappointment.

 

[edit] Conclusion of the Debate

A Christan pastor neatly sums the debate up: "In a debate during which one has committed not to use faith or the Bible to scientifically prove the existence of God, and then two of your three debate points (creation, conscience and personal conversion) depend solely on faith and the Bible, then you automatically lose. In fact, during his first response Sapient pointed out that Cameron and Comfort had already lost and everyone should just go home, and he was actually right."[2]

TV and film critic Troy Patterson quoted on the debate [3] (emphasis added):

"In Cameron's introductory remarks at the debate—which can be seen at something like its full and numbing length at abcnews.go.com—he coolly claimed that "the existence of God can be proven 100 percent, absolutely without the use of faith." First, I grew excited at this promise, then began to wonder why no theologian, philosopher, or sitcom star in recorded history had done it before—Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Tina Yothers, whoever—and realized I was in for a letdown. Comfort's cadences were not even those of a preacher but of an infomercial host, and the God Squad had but three arguments on behalf of the big guy: All things have makers; the human conscience is evidence of a higher moral power; if you read the Gospel, then Christ will be revealed to you. For reasons too stupid to type, this was not an airtight case, and the atheists made quick work of it in tones of juvenile sarcasm."

When Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron challenged Rational Response Squad members Brian Sapient and Kelly O'Connor, they promised to scientifically prove the existence of God without evoking the Bible or faith. Of course, that did not happen. The main reason is that religious beliefs are based on faith in lieu of proof and regardless of evidence. Throughout this debate, Comfort and Cameron had no evidence. All they presented were fallacious absurdities of science, the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and evolution, as if criticizing one side would make creationism win by default.

When their claims did not hold up to scrutiny (much of the alleged evidence they declared to be “irrefutable” had already been refuted thousands of times) they resorted to their usual staple of mined quotations appealing to authority with irrelevant comments made by folks who often meant the very opposite of what these two implied. When this failed, they appealed to the audience's emotions with sermons and pleas to their fears and ignorance. Without providing any evidence for Comfort's god in particular, he implicitly admitted that his god could only be indicated if one was already determined to believe in it regardless of evidence, and the only claim to it they had depended on religious references which they had earlier promised they would neither need nor use. If they knew this going in, then their whole premise was phony, because they also knew they didn’t have any evidence—much less proof—and would have to rely entirely on assertions of faith and their reverence of scripture.

Comfort insulted fellow believers by assuming that, if there is a god, then his religion and absurdly narrow interpretation of it was the only acceptable option, a notion his cohort unwittingly described as idolatry. Cameron insulted the rest of the audience by pretending to have once thought as rationalists do, a lie he himself also accidentally exposed when he then accused rationalism of being a belief based on faith.

Addressing the topic of evolution, Kirk and Ray clearly displayed their lack of understanding. They attacked the fossil record, while providing a few hoaxes and claiming that intermediate fossils are lacking, and said that thus the entire theory should be discarded. Kirk Cameron claims to have done his research into the subject, but clearly he has not done the research for ERVs, atavisms, transitional forms, physiological, anatomical, and molecular vestiges, ontogeny and developmental biology, protein functional redundancy, convergent phenotypes, mobile genes, observed speciation, or the myriad methods of dating geologic stratigraphy, nor any twin-nested hierarchy of phylogenetic clades. Each of these has been repeatedly peer reviewed and tested by many scientists in many disciplines around the world. The evidence of evolution, and even the event of evolution itself—the proof of it—are both directly observable, testable, and demonstrably factual.

As for the missing transitional fossils, they are not missing and have not been for a long time; Kirk Cameron flat out lied to the audience. We have found so many fossils, much more than Darwin ever hoped for. While we do have thousands, possibly more, the reason we do not see "billions" as Kirk says is because fossilization is rare and we are lucky to have the fossils we have, since most animals decompose completely, or are eaten with their parts separated, and erosion destroys many fossils. Kirk then tried to confuse the audience with absurd pictures of bizarre animals like the Crocoduck, claiming this is what scientists have been looking for for many years. In fact, no scientists are looking for these creatures, since their existence would be impossible. Kirk is simply straw-manning evolution to make his position more credible. What they ignore (either deliberately or not) is that Darwin already explained why we should not expect to find anything like this in the fossil record. We are not looking for the transition of two modern species, but a very slow change over many generations. This, of course, cannot be observed in a single lifetime but is observable in the fossil record and in DNA studies.

Kirk then repeatedly states that no one has ever observed evolution happening, another lie. Speciation (Macroevolution) has been observed and documented hundreds of times both in the lab and in nature. But what we have never seen is special creation, a fully formed creature springing into existence out of nothing, which is precisely what Ray and Kirk are defending. Kirk and Ray go on to say that it is not speciation they are looking for, but a change in "kinds". But no one has ever been able to say exactly what a "kind" is, or what a change of "kinds" would entail. When questioned in other speeches or debates, young-earth creationists like Ray and Kirk have been known to change their definition of "kind" based on what best fits their argument at the time. So, it can be assumed that "kind" has no scientific meaning at all, and is merely a rhetorical diversion meant to confuse the audience about the topic at hand.

Brian Sapient and Kelly O'Connor were the only ones remaining scientific and rational in the entire debate. When making the case against Jesus, Ray Comfort quickly jumped to absurd baseless accusations that Brian and Kelly had 'blind faith' in history books to throw off the audience. What Ray does not want the audience to hear is that Brian and Kelly's points were valid and only further supported the claim that Ray and Kirk's entire position is not based on evidence, which flies in the face of Ray Comfort's opening position of being able to provide evidence without invoking faith.

Brian Sapient made a response video to the debate[4]. In it, he brought forth many valid points.

  • In an email sent to Brian Sapient, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron said that they would be able to prove the existence of god absolutely, scientifically, without using the Bible or faith. And yet, in their opening speech during the debate, Ray and Kirk said only they would not use faith, but did not mention the Bible.
  • The moderator, Martin Bashier, probably knew full well that Brian and Kelly won the debate. Martin knew the debate was to see if Ray and Kirk could prove the existence of god scientifically without using faith or the Bible. But from the moment Ray used the Bible in his opening speech and arguments, the moderator let it slide throughout the entire debate. At the end of the debate, Martin says that it is hard to determine who won the debate, but the victor of this debate is obvious: The Rational Response Squad. Martin was completely aware of the purpose of the debate and was included in the phone call exchange between RRS and WOTM, and knows full well that Brian and Kelly won the debate. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron clearly failed to stick to the terms of the debate; they even failed to stick to their own stated position. Ray and Kirk lost not because they are poor debaters, but because they never made an attempt to follow the rules of this debate.
  • Brian points out the WOTM uploaded material that was copyrighted by ABC and cut out bits that were damaging to WOTM. WOTM promised to send Brian and the RRS the master footage of the debate, since it brought in a six-man crew with high-tech gear to record the debate. WOTM never sent it to RRS but instead uploaded it to YouTube with bits cut off.

[edit] Post debate chat with Todd Friel

RRS Debate WOTM   RationalWiki Responses
Todd Friel is the host of Wretched Radio, which was once "Way of the Master Radio." Way of the Master posted a short video on YouTube of a short chat between Brian Sapient and Todd Friel[4]. Although the entire debate is not shown, it is difficult to know what happened and what was said beforehand.

The chat begins with Brian asking Todd how much does Todd hate Sapient? Todd replies he does not hate Brian at all. This is curious for Brian, because Todd constantly talks badly about Brian on his show and make up stories about Brian such as he hates Jesus, but Brian does not even believe Jesus existed. Therefore it is difficult to hate something you do not think is real. Brian asks Todd if he hates the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Todd says he is an agnostic when it comes to the FSM. Todd asks Brian if he hates the idea of Jesus, Brian says no. Todd asks if Brian hates Christianity? Brian says no, but Todd quickly asks "then why do this?" Brian responds that people believe in something that is not true and it actually affects everyone else. Todd points that nobody is hurting Brian specifically, and it does not make sense that Brian would be fighting against something he does not hate. Brian asks Todd if Todd does what he does to try and help humanity? Todd says it is part of it, and Brian points out "it is not just about you. If it was just about you then it would be all selfishness." Todd asks Sapient if the reason he is doing what he does people people suffer under the persecution of Christianity? Brian answers yes. Todd asks for an example. Brian begins to list several of them, beginning with Christianity crusading to take away a women's rights to have an abortion -especially when it could save their lives, but before Brian could list any more (he was about to mention something about children in school) Todd interrupts him. Todd asks Brian to name one person who died because they were not able to get a late term abortion. Brian did not know any on the top of his head, but was confident many examples existed. Todd declares "there is not one doctor who has ever said 'it is medically necessary to have a late term abortion.' Not one." Brian says he is not talking about late-term abortions, he is talking about abortions all together. Todd challenges Brian to name any women who have died under the Bush administration's policies that women are not allowed to have an abortion. Brian challenges Todd and the viewers to research it and Brian is very confident that many hits will pop up. When Todd notes that Brian has not made a single mention of a women, Brian says that is not his claim. Brian's claim that rights were being taken away and Todd is distorting what Brian originally said and straw-manning it. Todd says many people have different opinions of women having a right to abortion, but Brian asks Todd if they think women should have the right to an abortion if it would save their life? Todd does not answer the question, instead he responds that we do not have an example of such a thing ever happening. Before Brian could ask again, Todd asks Brian if he knew how many back-alley abortions occurred before Roe v. Wade? Brian is not sure, but asks Todd if he knows how many people die from back-alley abortions in Mexico. Todd does not respond, instead he moves the goal posts to talk about the core of the issue: the child. Brian asks Todd if he cares about unborn life rather than living life? Todd says he cares about both. Todd notes that 4,000 babies get aborted every day and 37 women died from back-alley abortions prior in that year. Sapient asks Todd "so you do not think we should have the ability for a woman to save her life if she is pregnant and it will save her life?" Todd says, "that has never been an issue in this country. Ever." Brian repeats the question, specifically asking Todd if he thinks if a women's life is in jeopardy because of her pregnancy that she should have an abortion because it will save her life. Todd responds that a doctor should make every effort to save both lives, and in the process in so doing the child is lost, then we weep over them. Brian asks Todd if he thinks laws should be created so that the woman would die and the baby would die? Todd's first response is "I do not even know what that means?" Brian says that laws are being passed that do just this, taking away a womens right to an abortion when it could save their lives. Then a bystander speaks up that thee chat is getting off-topic. From there, Brian is already done with the chat, tells Todd to continue talking smack about Brian. Brian says he will continue to expose Friel as the lying fraud that he is. Todd repeats his question to Brian if he hates Jesus, but Brian tells Todd that he is a fraud and a liar and walks away. The bystander tells Todd to accept the answer that Brian gave earlier, which was Brian does not hate Jesus. At that point, the video clip ends.

  Brian is justified in what he does in confronting Christianity. If it is not clear to Todd why Brian and many others is active against Christianity, then he has blinded himself to the horrors of his own religion. The reasons for being active against Christianity are numerous. Brian is right in stating that reproductive rights are being stripped, but so are many other rights. Todd stated that Christianity is not affecting Brian Sapient personally, but in fact it actually is. In several states, atheists like Sapient are not allowed to hold public office unless they believe in God. So right here, Brian's rights are being directly limited by Christianity. But even if they were not, any ethical person should be against a religion that endorses as much harm as Christianity. Hate does not drive people to be against something like Christianity, but strong forces like reason, compassion and justice does. Christianity causes mass family destruction and burning of people as witches in Africa, condemns millions to die of AIDS every year, suppressing and distorting science, and list goes on and on. Before moving on to the chat about abortion, it must be noted first that Todd Friel believes that the people who died on September 11 deserved death, otherwise God (being omnipotent) would have saved them. If Todd believes God has the ability to save people (such as on 9/11) then God chooses not to save those who perish in miscarriages (which there are three to four times more miscarriages per abortion every year, so God is not pro-life). If Todd wanted an example when a abortion saving a mother's life, all he would have to do is spend a short time doing actual research. Here is one of the many example: Sister Margaret McBride, who is described as "saintly" "courageous" and a "moral conscience of St. Joseph." She was a senior administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. One year, a 27-year old mother of four came in 11 weeks pregnant and seriously ill. Doctors and experts said if her pregnancy were not terminated, she would likely die taking her unborn child with her. The Hospital stated: "In this tragic case of treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11 week pregnancy. Sister McBride supported that statement and many medical ethicists said it was the right call, such as Prof. Art Caplan. However, the bishop in Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted did not agree, in fact he stated he would have let the mother die. He later announced that Sister McBride was excommunicated, although she still works at the hospital just in a different position.

A similar example occurred in Brazil. A girl that was 9 years old was frequently abused by her stepfather since she was 6. When she got pregnant of twins at 9, her health was at serious risk. Under Brazilian law, pregnancies that are a result of rape or that put the mother's life at risk have the right to be aborted. Since the girl fitted both terms, the medics did exactly that. However, the catholic archbishop of Olinda, don José Cardoso Sobrinho, fiercely opposed the abortion. After the procedure happened and the girl aborted, the archbishop quickly sent an excommunication note of "all those involved in the procedure, except the child". [5] It's also important to note that a lawyer of the church, Márcio Miranda, denounced the girl's mother for homicide, since she consented to her daughter aborting (she was on the 15th week of gestation). Yes, a lawyer of the church wanted the mom of a girl that was abused to be jailed for homicide because she consented to her daughter aborting. [6] You know who was never excommunicated? Adolf Hitler (also many many pedophile priests). There are many examples of late term abortions saving the mother[5], even though it may not be common it does not overrule the fact that it does happen and women should have the right to protect themselves. Todd is simply demonstrably incorrect when he made the absolute statements that never once in this country has these things happened. Apparently they have. Clearly Todd has never head of an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy occurring outside the uterus, for which the only treatments presently available involve abortion of the pregnancy, and which would in most cases (for obvious reasons) be fatal if left untreated. Todd is either mistaken or ignorant, but more likely willfully ignorant. Why? Todd mentioned that there have been only 37 deaths due to back-alley abortions prior to Roe v Wade. A simply Google search reveals that Todd is consistently giving false information. In 1965 'at least 193 women died from illegal abortions - and that is just in 1965!

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/archaeopteryx/info.html
  2. http://www.christianaggression.org/tactics.php
  3. http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/persecutions.html#persecution
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVd-VdSewWo
  5. http://www.womensenews.org/story/campaign-trail/041028/late-term-abortion-saved-these-womens-lives
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