Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You Tubing on Tuesdays

I can't believe that March is half over and this is my first blog entry since November of the previous year! It is so hard to keep updating with new material. Oh well, perhaps I'll do better for the remainder of the year.

While totally ignoring my text blog, for the last several months, I've been very busy on my video blog which is on You Tube. There I go by the moniker "evangelical1" because "evangelical" was already taken. That last symbol is a one, not an elle. a elle one.

I've really enjoyed being part of the You Tube community and hope to continue in the future. I haven't been very active for the last week or two, though. This is because my computer more or less died. While my friend, who is going to college for that sort of thing, is trying to fix it, I've been reduced to using a public computer and, there is no webcam or microphone here.

At any rate, once I get home internet access up and running again I plan to co-ordinate some of the stuff from the vlog with my Blogspot account. So be watching for that in another week or two.

And, there is actually a vibrant community on You Tube, of amateur philosophers who debate back and forth the question of God's existence-or lack thereof--or relevance vs irrelevance thereof. We even use formal deductive arguments at times. Its quite fun and stimulating.

Recently there has been an interesting exchange. The two leading Christian apologists on You Tube (together with a Muslim proselyte who is quite sound in his philosophical acumen) joined forces on a project on the presumption of atheism. Together, the triad has come to be known as "The Rational Dawn". I'm not quite sure how this name originated but I think it was derogatory. In phase one they merely explained that atheists can't get away with the old "We don't really believe anything so the burden of proof is on you Christians" trick any longer. Atheists are making a positive truth claim and so bear the burden of proof for their own contentions just like everyone else. Then in phase two, Rational Dawn was to simply sit back and listen to the best skeptical You Tubers had to offer. Most of the response videos I watched, arguing on behalf of positive atheism were really disappointing. I don't know how people can actually believe this stuff. The arguments against the existence of God I find normally only serve to establish what they are trying to deny. The arguments for atheism are so bad that the case for faith in God is even stronger.

At any rate, half way through, three pagans conspired to short-circuit the project. They formed a triad called "Rational Tuesday Afternoons." Their own stated purpose was to catalogue all the atheological arguments they could get their hands on. In the process they turned up their noses at Rational Dawn and said they would just ignore them. Its not totally clear to me, but I believe Rational Dawn discussed the presumption of atheism project with those who would later become Rational Tuesday Afternoons. They mutually agreed, I think, to have a civil and intelligent discussion which would be enlightening to all viewers whether they believe in God or not at the beginning of the project, and whether anyones mind is changed at the end.

I'm not sure how the catalogue project is going. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Having a readily available reference, or catalogue, on You Tube of positive atheism would be a valuable service to the world. However, the back-stabbing/mocking genesis of the Rational Tuesdays project was not the way to go about it.

About the only argument that I've seen so far (but I haven't been looking so there could be others) is by a young man who's handle is "Urbanelf". He calls this "The Forbidden Argument." The argument is manifestly unsound because it realise on the mistaken assumption that Muslims and Christians follow the same God. Urbanelf himself has since admitted, though I think for a different reason, that the forbidden argument as originally stated is unsound.

My own take on the original project, that of Rational Dawn, is that it was a success. I don't mean that it was successful in getting atheists to defend their position, though many thoughtful skeptics tried to do just that. Rather, it brought to the fore a confirmation of what I've strongly suspected all along. Namely that professing atheists are either unable or unwilling to defend themselves intellectually. This is not a universal statement, for, as I've said, many atheists did offer arguments and even Rational Tuesdays and co at least made the claim they would offer evidence of their position. Still, it seems that a large percentage of squeaky wheels who claim that they are so rational and the Christians and other theists have made a blind leap into irrational faith have been shown to really be full of hot air. To be honest, it seems atheism is rather presumptuous after all.