Tech help needed to resist theist bias: someone help this guy convert the Plantinga/Dennett debate to a workable format!

There was apparently a debate between Alvin Plantinga (the leading philosophical defender of the philosophical and scientific — sorta — credentials of religion) and Daniel Dennett at the APA recently. Unfortunately, there seems to be only one account of the debate online, and it is extraordinarily biased. It’s nothing but a bunch of praise for Plantinga and heaping of scorn on Dennett that barely even refers to what Dennett actually says, just characterizes it (“insult”), a bunch of drivel about David and Goliath, about Dennett’s personal appeal, etc.

Someone has come forward with a recording of the debate. Unfortunately, he has it in some kind of useless 1gb raw format (as a wav file perhaps?) with ipod noise. I’m not sure how to fix those things, but some reader of this blog certainly is. His comment is here. Go talk to him. Help him get this recording online. An honest account of that debate needs to appear. (H/T Strange Doctrines.)

EDIT: Someone has come forward, the guy who has custody of the recording tells me that help is no longer needed and it will be posted soon.

(Also, bizarrely, one of the comments suggests that global justice is “less tolerant” of christian idiocy than metaphysics and epistemology. Yeah, that’s right. Most of the global justice scholars that I know don’t bother spending any of their time worrying about global poverty, starvation, and war — they think it’s much more important to spend that valuable time getting christians fired from things. Nagel’s defense of ID, for example, was so implausible because he didn’t really believe it: it was just a smoke screen so that christians would reveal themselves to him. He’s already passed their names onto the Global Justice Conspiracy for the Oppressing of the Godly.)


2 Responses to “Tech help needed to resist theist bias: someone help this guy convert the Plantinga/Dennett debate to a workable format!”

  1. Matt Says:

    well, I couldn’t read all of that because it was quite bad. (I don’t think it’s the author’s Christianity that threatens his future in philosophy, at least not as such.) It’s full of silly little bits, but the one that stuck out in particular for me was this:

    “It is perhaps the first time in centuries that Christians have been such a high concentration of professional philosophers.”

    What a strange thing to say. I don’t know what the percentage of Christians there was, but let’s suppose it was 2/3. Probably it wasn’t, but let’s say so. Let’s take “centuries” to mean at least 200 years. Is it plausible that, since 1809, this was the highest concentration of Christians among a group of professional philosophers? I rather seriously doubt it. Recall that Oxford and Cambridge required people to swear to be Christians to hold any post at them well into the last half of the 1800’s, and that similar rules applied in Germany. Even now, a fairly larger percentage of philosophers are Christians. So, even on the most plausible interpretation, this claims is deeply implausible. That author doesn’t much hesitate with it, though. This leads me to suspect that he has a bit of a persecution complex and a poor grasp on reality.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    Yeah. This is the sort of situation that tempts one to engage in speculation about the sources of the author’s persecution complex. Like, perhaps people do treat him badly because, well, he thinks that lines like “[i]t is clear that this is a man with serious character defects” constitute argument. I can see how that sort of approach to “reasoning” would not fly well in a philosophy department.

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