Science? God? Atheists vs. Christians in Intelligence Squared Debate

Looking back at the Intelligence Squared debate between Christians an Atheists with commentary by Baha’i Sci-fi writer Maya Bohnhoff.

Intelligence Squared, a non-profit organization that works to create an environment of reasoning and constructive discourse conducted a debate on the topic of “Science Refutes God.” The debate saw Michael Shermer and Lawrence Krauss arguing on the topic.

Science? God? Atheists vs. Christians in Intelligence Squared Debate[/tweetthis]

Krauss is a Professor of Physics at the Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of Origins Project at Arizona State University.

Shermer is a science writer and science historian. Shermer is credited with establishing the Skeptics Society and serving as the editor-in-chief for the society’s Skeptic magazine.

On the other side of the debate were Ian Hutchinson and Dinesh D’Souza. The former is a Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, while the latter is a conservative political commentator, former president for Manhattan’s King’s college, and the director of the film, 2016: Obama’s America.

Krauss began the debate by introducing his team as having “evidence, reason, logic, rationality, empirical methods” to carry out the debate, while he credited the opposing duo as being armed with “vague hopes and fears.”

Krauss went on to to state he forced his beliefs to adhere to the evidence of reality and added that this is what separated science from religion. He also spoke of how science made faith shakable and that he would be willing to throw out a belief the moment it was contradicted with evidence.

Shermer, a former evangelical, blamed believers as being affected by “confirmation bias,” in that, they would arrive at a conclusion based on irrational belief and then, when faced with fact, try justifying the fact using their belief.

On the other side, Dinesh spoke against the topic, citing that Christianity was in line with the Big Bang Theory , citing the biblical reference to the existence of nothingness before creation. He also called the theory of evolution as a theory focused on the “transition between life forms” rather than the creation of life itself.

Dinesh also went on to point out that evolution required the existence of a “fine-tuned universe.”

Hutchinson added to Dinesh’s points by stating Christianity provided a hospitable environment within which science could grow, thereby implying religion laid the foundation for scientific progress.

However, the religious side was not able to impress the audience with their arguments as the audience voted in favor of Krauss and Shermer. The atheist team won 50 percent of the votes, while the other side secured only 38 percent of the votes. 12 percent were left undecided.

Maya Bohnhoff of Baha’i Teachings, in her review of the debate, attributed the atheists’ victory to the other side’s narrow minded approach of only focusing on Christianity. She criticized the believers for sacrificing reason in pursuit of protecting their own faith.

The New York Times bestselling science fiction author also criticized Krauss’s reference to the parodical Flying Spaghetti Monster.


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