List down in point form what were the 6 thesis they were debating. (4 points) Summarize in point form, not more than 2 lines, the 6 main points of your debater. (6 points)
In the debate, Brian Chang and Lee Tien Xiang chose to follow Professor John Lennox while on the other hand; Max Lim Tze Yang and Kwong Der Yaw chose to follow Professor Richard Dawkins.
Professor John Lennox
The first thesis: Religion teaches there is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.
Some faith are blind because they have no evidence, however, some faith is not blind because it is based on evidences such as experience, history and science.
Science is limited and there exists a danger in equating science with rationality because there is something other than science that is not necessarily irrational.
The second thesis: The real war is between rationalism and superstition.
Atheism undermines science because it attempts to seek rationality out of irrationality.
Theism states that science is possible because God is ultimately responsible for our mind.
The third thesis: Who designed the Designer?
God, who created everything, is not created, He is eternal.
Science always explains things in term of increasing complexity.
The fourth thesis: Christianity is dangerous.
People that do crimes in the name of Christ misinterpret his meanings because Christ does not allow his followers to use physical weapons.
Historical events showed that atheism is possible of causing violence.
The fifth thesis: No one needs God to be moral
Human beings are moral beings made in the image of God
If good and evil do not exist, then how is there any moral criteria to define them and how is it possible to know the evil of religion and good of atheism?
The sixth thesis: Christians claim about the person Jesus is not true. His alleged miracles violate the law of nature
Treating strangers as one of our own kind.
Miracles are not violation of the law of nature, because the law of nature describes what happens naturally.
2. Prof. Richard Dawkins
2.1The first thesis: Religion teaches there is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.
Dawkins said the beauty and the complexity of the world made us have a desire to worship it.
Science yields us from doing so because science seeks out details and answers.
2.2 The second thesis: The real war is between rationalism and superstition.
Evolution leads to atheism.
Dawkins disagrees with Non-Overlapping Magisterial (NOMA) which states religion and science do not overlap each other.
Science does impinge on religion.
Religion denies miracles as scientific fact and uses these miracles to persuade people to join the church.
2.3 The third thesis: Who designed the Designer?
Dawkins disagrees that the bible is great in predicting the big-bang because he says that it is a 50-50 chance.
He says we understand biology but not cosmology and he agrees that evolution of life follows the Darwinian Principle.
Although the anthropic principle with a multi-verse idea is not the best idea, yet it is a better explanation than what religion is trying to claim.
2.4 The fourth thesis: Christianity is dangerous.
Children were taught since young that faith is virtue and faith cannot be questioned but tip-toe away.
He says faith creates an environment for people to do unjustified actions and misleads them like the Muslim suicide bombers.
Instead, he recommends teaching scepticism where children learn how to decide by themselves.
2.5 The fifth thesis: No one needs God to be moral.
Moral is a universal agreement that defines what is wrong and right.
There is something in the air that defines what is right and wrong.
2.6 The sixth thesis: Christians claim about the person Jesus is not true. His alleged miracles violate the law of nature
Professor Richard Dawkins did not explain about this thesis but gave his time up in debating thesis five.
He denies that DNA knows or cares about morality.
He also said that although natural selection is an ugly process but it brings beautiful consequences, which is the creation of humans.
Write down 3 strengths and 2 weaknesses, overall, of your debater. (this can be either presentation or arguments) Support your arguments with statements from the debater and/or evidence from the video.(20 points)
Professor John Lennox
He gives a lot of examples to explain his theories or his concepts. He uses a lot of credible people to support his statements which mostly are Nobel Prize winners. While trying to explain that science cannot tell you whether it is morally right to do something or not. He said that according to the Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar has pointed out to us that we can easily see the limits of science as it cannot answer the elementary question of a child “Who am I?”, “What is the purpose of my existence?” and “Where am I going?”. Besides that, he also gave an example while trying to explain about simplicity and complexity in the third thesis. He gave an illustration about a Chinese archeologist where the archeologist claimed that the 2 scratches on the wall are human intelligence because it resembled a Chinese character. However, it is not really an explanation because the explanation is more complex than the thing they’re trying to explain. His illustration helped us to understand better the point that he was trying to get across.
He is very calm and collected throughout the debate. He did not flinch nor get frustrated while trying to get a point across. He merely smiled and slowly tried to convince Dawkins and the audience about his theories. During the second thesis, when it was Prof. John Lennox’s turn to speak he smiled and was very confident in his understanding. He agreed to certain points of Prof. Richard Dawkins which coincides with his believes. For example, during the first thesis when Prof. Richard Dawkins said that faith is blind and science is based on evidence, Prof. John Lennox agreed with the latter but disagreed with the former.
He is able to rebuttal Prof. Richard Dawkins’s points very well. Prof. John Lennox was very good at analyzing the situation critically and understood clearly what Prof. Richard Dawkins was trying to say. For example, Prof. Richard Dawkins said that faith is without evidence and because there is no evidence we call it faith. However, Prof. John Lennox said “I presume you have faith in your wife, do you have any evidence for that?” Prof. Richard Dawkins replied “yes plenty of evidence, I…” Prof. Richard Dawkins immediately contradicted his previous statement and was caught off guard by Prof. John Lennox. It was a smart move on Prof. John Lennox’s part.
One of the weaknesses of Prof. John Lennox is that he does not give further information about the things that he talks in the first thesis. He just assumes that everyone knows what he is talking about. For example, he claims, in the debate, that Christians sometimes feel guilty for the ‘God of the gap’ ideas and that science eventually opens up gaps and also closes gaps which are known as bad gaps. However, he just stops there and continues with other facts. He does not further explain why the gaps that science closed are bad gaps. If by assumption, there are gaps that are opened by science but eventually being closed by science when the technology advanced, does it means that they are bad gaps?
The second weakness of Prof. John Lennox is that he put himself in a contradictory state during his debate with Prof. Richard Dawkins in the fourth thesis: Christianity is dangerous. Prof. Richard Dawkins says that he could not imagine not believing in Zeus or God will be leading one to do bad things. On the other hand, when it is Prof. John Lennox’s turn, he refuses to refute back and says that Zeus and all these things are non-existence entities. So, he implies that Zues and all the gods do not exist? It is in fact true that Zeus is god for the Greeks as well as God is the god for Christians. Prof. John Lennox says while arguing in the third thesis that God is not created, He is eternal. He indicates that God is not being created and does exist! Thus, does God exist or not?
Professor Richard Dawkins
In the debate, Professor Richard Dawkins manage to present his arguments in a very convincing form. In my opinion, he performed remarkably well when stating that humans have the desire to worship something when they admire the beauty of the nature. Humans tend to attribute the desire to worship to a maker and a creator. However, he explains, science now offers a better reasoning how things work but religion act as a barricade. We now understand how life came into being. Scientific enterprise is actively seeking out answers so that we can work to eliminate that ignorance. When a new problem arises, science causes us to work on the problem but religion says God did it so there is not a need to solve the problem. In other words religion gives us a rather false and easy answer to the way things work.
The second strength found lies at the fourth thesis whereby Professor Richard focuses primarily on children and religion. He explained that by teaching children faith is virtue, is just like telling them that they do not have to justify their actions and they use their faith as a shelter. Children are often described as raw or without enough life experience. If the children take their faith blindly and do evil deeds such as blow some things up, the effects are rather devastating. In today’s world, most parents treat their children as something that couldn’t be bought by money. Therefore Professor Richard Dawkins did the right move by focusing on children where the crowd mainly consists of parents or soon to be parents.
Professor Richard made a point when he explained the fifth thesis. It is very catchy when he said that someone is moral or being good because that person is afraid of god or want to suck-up to god. This is not a good reason or a noble reason to be good. He continued by saying that those whom based their morals on holy books such as Quran or Bible, their morals are likely to be hideous. As an evolutionist, he defines moral as a something which is not constant and it is changing as time passes from era to era. Meanwhile the scripts of the holy books don’t change. In the early of colonial era, discrimination of blacks and women is moral. However in the 21st century, those behaviours are not moral. This is very true as there are now laws which prevent such behaviours and protect people from discrimination, for example under ISA (Internal Security Act).
One of the weaknesses of Professor Richard Dawkins is that he doesn’t have strong evidence or reason to back up his stand although he sounds convincing when delivering his viewpoints. In other words, he is lack of solid information. For instance when explaining his stand in the fourth, he said faith is an evil weapon for people to practice unjustified actions. His view of saying faith is evil was actually a biased point. Even though faith can mislead people, but it also motivated people in doing great deeds. He did not give his reason or evidence in a broad outlook. He had only the Darwinian Theory to back him up throughout the debate but the theory was yet to be proven too.
Other than that, there is conflict in Dawkins’ believes too. He said religious people have faith in God but atheists also have faith in science. If faith was superstition as he said, then isn’t atheism superstitious too? As he said during the debate, scientists are never certain, everything is probable. If science is 99.99% certain, God might just be the 0.01% that we didn’t know. No one knows what lies beneath the 0.01% as everything is probable. Thus, the point that Dawkins say scientific thinking is the correct way of thinking isn’t very much convincing as he can’t explain the conflict of his believes.
Debate with your classmate regarding who you think won the argument and why? (20 points) (Can be a tie or if neither of you can agree who won, state why you couldn’t agree.)
We all agreed that Professor Lennox won in the God Delusion debate. As compared to Dawkins, Lennox was a better debater as he is better in critical analysis. Prof. Lennox perfectly understand Dawkins’ viewpoint because he did thorough researches on them. When Prof. Dawkins questioned his point of view, he countered back with strong and convincing evidence. He did not stutter and sway away when refuting like what Dawkins did in the first view point. Lennox always clarifies his standings or explanations by quoting from credible sources such as Nobel Prize winners and give examples from normal daily life. This clearly shows that his points were not only of his own but he also shares the same views with many of those intellectual minds. He even countered Dawkins by quoting from Dawkins’ own book. Lennox did not reason his viewpoint by presumptions but he did logically reason some facts from daily life. A good debater will not sway when being questioned and will counter back to defend his or her viewpoints. Therefore, Lennox appeared to be a better debater than Dawkins.
In the first part of the debate, Dawkins claimed that faith is blind, science is evidence based. Eventually, Lennox agreed that science is evidence based, but he disagreed that faith is blind. He claimed that faith is not blind because it is based on evidence like history, experience and science. While debating for the first thesis, Lennox asked “Do you have faith in your wife? Any evidences for it?” Dawkins answersed”Yes, I have plenty of evidences. Iâ€¦.” At this point, Lennox had successfully made a strong point by making Dawkins contradict his own words. In the fourth thesis, Dawkins said that rational people will do bad stuffs because of faith. However, Lennox said that atheism is also a kind of faith. They believe in Darwin and his evolutionary theory which is also evidence based. By this, Dawkins could not rebuttal anything about it and move on to the other thesis.
We also think that Lennox won this debate because Richard Dawkins did not present his points clearly which leaves Lennox plenty of chances to counter his arguments. Metaphorically speaking it’s just like closing a metal door which has holes enough for bullets to pass through. For example in the third thesis where professor Lennox said that” â€¦because you leave yourself wide open to the chargeâ€¦furthermore you are arguing God is a delusion” and the