Monday, October 01, 2007

Debate Videos

Not only is my TV appearance on PAX now available on DVD (or so I'm told), but so are the two grandest debates I've participated in. Of the latter, the first, "Licona vs. Carrier: On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ," which took place before an audience of half a thousand at UCLA, has long been available but went out of stock for quite a while. It is now back in stock and will probably remain so. It can now be purchased via CreateSpace (but profits still go to the Secular Web and, indirectly, to me). It's probably the best debate on the resurrection you will ever see. Licona holds up his end as well as anyone in the Christian apologetics community, and I present more material than you're likely to hear in any other debate. But like all serious debates it is long and dry.

Even longer and duller is "Does God Not Exist?" which was a team debate, three-to-four hours long, before an audience of a thousand (mostly Muslims) in Dearborn, Michigan, with Dan Barker and myself on the affirmative, and Muslim scholar Hassanain Rajabali and ambiguous cosmological creationist Michael Corey on the (double) negative. I say this is "dull" only because for most people it is. There isn't really any way to make this debate stuff exciting and serious at the same time. But if you can endure it, it is a pretty good debate, though there were aspects of it that pissed me off, as you will learn from my post-debate commentary
: "The Big Debate: Comments on the Barker-Carrier vs. Corey-Rajabali Team Debate" (2004). Well, now you can see the entire debate yourself. A fairly decent DVD version is available for purchase through informal channels, while a very poor quality version is available for free on YouTube: broken up as Part I and Part II.

Most of you already know I appear in the movie The God Who Wasn't There, the DVD of which has an extended portion of my original interview in the special features. But not many of you know I debated William Lane Craig on national television. This was on Lee Strobel's now-defunct show Faith Under Fire, which used to air on the PAX network. I debated Craig by satellite feed for ten minutes or so. I taped two or three other episodes for this show, debating other guests on other topics, but those never aired.

Many have asked me where they can get a copy of my TV debate with Craig. Well, I now have an answer: you can't. It's (sort of) available on DVD as part of a Christian "teach-by-tape" curriculum (so to speak). Bits of my episode appear on Faith Under Fire 1: Faith & Jesus. It's hardly worth watching, since almost nothing of any real significance can be said in ten minutes even in the original broadcast, but worse than that, this DVD version cuts more than half the aired debate away, shows segments out of order, and concludes with a newly added segment in which Strobel lists a bunch of unrebutted arguments in favor of the resurrection not raised by Craig. This is the only occasion Craig has ever interacted with me in public (we've briefly corresponded in private on several occasions), so it's a shame the original video has essentially been destroyed.


The Uncredible Hallq said...

I'm curious as to your general impression of Craig. I've listened to a number of his debates, and the persona he puts on for those seems to me to be very well constructed but very fake. Any clue what's underneath it?

Richard Carrier said...

No clue. But I have gotten the same impression you have.

secular mike said...


I watched your debate with Dan Barker vs. Hassanain and Michael (I didn't find it dull at all), and of course I had to read your follow-up. I truly sympathise with your frustrations, it also made me furious to watch these people (i) manipulate the crowd by calling you liars, (ii) relying on faulty logic, and (iii) not addressing the issues of Popper's theorems, rather turning it into some vague nonsense about pages in a book, or not being able to disprove yourself... (which somehow still satisfied the crowd!), and so forth.

I am about to enter a similar debate in Perth, Australia. I'm not sure if you're aware but there seems to be a rising religious-right movement in Australia, no doubt heavily influenced by the US. I am debating a university Christian group on the topic of religion being unnecessary (and potentially harmful) for morality. Your field of expertise, I understand! It is not a high profile event, mainly just a promotion for the Secular Party of Australia, pertinent for next month’s election.

Well, keep up the good work, I should hit the books (namely yours!).

Kind regards,
Michael Tan

Ben said...

Your debate with WLC on Faith Under Fire is now up on YouTube.

Luke said...

I think your debate with Licona is maybe my favorite atheist vs. theist debate ever.

Rick Yentzer said...

I've seen the Faith under Fire segment and while I would certainly like to hear all of your side, as I've heard WLC on several other debates, I don't see that you brought anything other than subjective opinion which proved meaningless.

Richard Carrier said...

Don't forget that's an edit of a longer debate. You only got to see the highlights chosen by the video's editors (and if you only saw the DVD version, then you saw a heavily biased edit--but the TV version was balanced). For a much more detailed and in-depth defense of my argument in that debate, see the Carrier-Licona Debate and the Carrier-O'Connell Debate.

Brian said...

MP3 Audio of the Craig/Carrier debate can be found here at Apologetics 315.