Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tipping The Scales

On Friday the 26th of February (2010), Sean McDowell debated James Corbett on the question of what best explains moral values. I would like to offer a few observations concerning this debate.

First, it was clear that McDowell won the debate. Though I'm partial, if you listen the to debate I believe any objective person would say the same thing. Here is the reason why. McDowell clearly offered reasons why moral values exist. Corbett, on the other hand, offered very little if any evidence to support his arguments. Secondly, Corbett's game plan seemed simple; play the straw man game. In logic, the straw man is, "When one person distorts the arguments of another and then proceeds to critique that misrepresentation."[1] Thirdly, it was clear from the outset that McDowell was better prepared and gave more thorough answers than Corbett. Lastly, debates are for the purpose of presenting evidence to persuade, and McDowell's arguments clearly met this objective, while Corbett was random in giving no support to his so-called arguments.

One of the other aspects of the debate that I noticed is that Corbett was constantly mischaracterizing Sean's position by saying that McDowell is certain in his beliefs. This certainty that Corbett incorrectly labeled McDowell with was confusing, as a debate is formed in order to hear both sides of the issue, in order to inform the audience of the positions supported/rejected by the debaters. Individuals engage in debates, so they can present their positions. Sean stated that he was not certain, but his presentation was made for the purpose to persuade others that his view was the most logical. James made little effort to present a coherent case as to why morals exist without the existence of God, and therefore, lost badly in my opinion.

[1] Samples, Kenneth, A World of Difference, p. 66-67

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