Ruminations

Opinions, thoughts, & recommendations.

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Name: Dave Leigh
Location: Union, South Carolina, United States

I was born too young. And when I die, I'll still be too young.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is Christianity Good for the World?

An extremely interesting debate between Michael Shermer and Dinesh D’Souza.

Part 1: Monologues


Part 2: Dialog


For what it's worth, and for my own part, I think D'Souza "wins" the debate hands-down. D'Souza is the better speaker, more natural, and comes across as more reasonable. He's also more focused on the core aspect of the debate. He looks at the bigger picture of values that are central to all denominations of Christianity, and what the world would be like if the world didn't have those. He makes a compelling argument that -- even today -- those areas of the world that do not share those values are worse for it. He also makes the startling observation that -- for all the reputation of the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Salem witch-hunts -- less than 3,000 deaths worldwide in all of history can be directly attributed to persecutions perpetrated by Christians; vs. the hundreds of millions of deaths ordered by atheists such as Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, etc. Through examination, he shows that widely touted "religious" divisions (such as Northern Ireland) are for reasons other than religion.

Shermer doesn't tackle the central question at all, instead trying to divide Christianity into "good" Christians, "bad" Christians, nit-picking and cherry-picking, and spending an inordinate amount of time on the single subject of gay marriage. He continues to hold forth as examples the Inquisition and witch-hunts, which were already defused by D'Souza. He also tends to speak to points which are outside the common experience of the audience.

Left, Right & Center

Michael Shermer has posted a rather interesting take on Liberals, Conservatives, & Libertarians on his blog, called Left, Right & Center. I've weighed in several places in the comments, as "DangerMouse".

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!


Happy Independence Day, especially to those people who have fought and sacrificed for our freedoms (including my friends Bob Pierotti and Diane Arstein, who posed for this picture so many years ago).