Featured Post: Coming out in the LDS Church


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PZ Myers vs. David Marshall

David Marshall,
author of Christ the Tao
David Marshall, author of the blog, Christ the Tao, has issued a challenge to PZ Myers. David would like to debate with PZ Myers as to whether Christianity has liberated, or oppressed, women throughout history. David would take the position that Christianity has liberated women, while PZ Myers would obviously be of the opinion that it has been a source of oppression. On his own blog, PZ Myers has expressed his opinion on this topic before:

"Whenever I hear that tripe about the beneficial effects of religion on human cultural evolution, it’s useful to note that the world’s dominant faiths all hardcode directly into their core beliefs the idea that women are unclean, inferior, weak, and responsible for the failings of mankind…that even their omnipotent, all-loving god regards women as lesser creatures not fit to be intermediaries with him, and that their cosmic fate is to be subservient slaves to men, just as men are to be subservient slaves to capital-H Him. 
David Sloan Wilson can argue all he wants that religion helped promote group survival in our evolutionary history, or that his group selectionist models somehow explain its origins, but it doesn’t matter. Here and now, everywhere, those with eyes to see can see for themselves that religion has for thousands of years perpetuated the oppression of half our species. Half of the great minds our peoples have produced have lived and died unknown and forgotten, their educations neglected, their lives spent doing laundry and other menial tasks for men — their merits unrecognized and buried under lies promulgated by religion, in cultures soaked in the destructive myths of faith which codify misogyny and give it a godly blessing. 
Isn’t that reason enough to tear down the cathedrals — that with this one far-reaching, difficult change to our cultures, we double human potential?"

PZ Myers
It will be interesting to see what response, if any, come from Myers. Myers, a paragon of reason and rationality, never seems terribly interested in earnest discussion on his blog, Pharyngula. His tactics seem more along the lines of ridicule, ad hominem attacks, and trolling until the dissenter gives up and leaves. Because of this, I'm not sure the debate will even happen.


Anonymous said...

Maybe David Marshall should be looking to debate a historian, not a biologist. Perhaps if he were looking to discuss something along the lines of cephalopodian evolution or the intelligence of cuttlefish, PZ would be an expert in the field.

Instead, Marshall wants to debate someone of PZ's stature and influence to raise his own. Besides - typical debates really suck as engines of discussion - a time limit makes the Christian tactic of the Gish Gallop difficult to deal with, as the Christian can tell 30 lies in two minutes, while it takes at least several minutes to describe why each lie is a lie, and to refute it.

Cristofer Urlaub said...

You're spewing a lot of typical rhetoric (typical enough that I think I can name your sources, such as Dawkins' article, Why I Won't Debate Creationists, where he accuses creationists of using debates as a means to gain credibility), but I can tell you didn't even read Marshall's post, or if you did, you're letting your biases keep you from understanding what's most likely going on.

I'm not sure I agree that Marshall would be better off debating with a historian, only because it depends on what his ultimate goal is. You seem to understand this, too, because you think he is just trying to raise his own stock rather than truly get at the heart of the matter. Either way, I think the debate is valid because even though he is not a historian, he is quite knowledgeable in the topic in question. You're using a weird sort of Reverse Courtier's Reply. If he's knowledgeable enough to have and publicly share an opinion, then you should be able to examine his position.

But I'm also not sure I agree that Marshall's goal is publicity. Mostly because PZ Myers “stature and influence” isn't all that great. But also, as I read his post, I notice he references a bad experience he had on PZ's blog and the post had an overall sarcastic, irreverent tone (such as referring to PZ Myers as Dr. Octopus without the metal arms). I think a more likely motivation is bitterness or revenge. He knows PZ Myers is passionate about a particular topic which he (Marshall) is also knowledgeable in, so he wants to make him look silly in public. This is likely why he also offered to debate on PZ Myers own site (which means No time limit. No Gish Gallop).

On a side note, I'm not sure the Gish Gallop is a “Christian tactic.” I agree that most Christians jave some odd ideas, to put it tactfully, but I think it's mostly just a William Lane Craig Tactic. I'm not sure that it's in wide enough use among Christian apologists to be called a “christian tactic.”

Post a Comment

Is there something here you like (or dislike)? Let me know! Your opinion matters!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...