I've gotten a lot of feedback on the Dutko debate and seriously have not had one negative review. I can't say this with regards to all of my radio call in efforts, so it would appear that it went well for me. And that's the way I feel about it. I'm getting compliments even from Christians. In fact from every Christian I've talked with. My atheist friends of course also thought it went well for me. So I'm glad to hear this.
My first thought about it though is I'm once again impressed with Bob Dutko. He probably was expecting a novice. What he got was a person that does debate a lot, has experience in debating apologists on the air, and also listens to his show often enough to know the arguments going in. Despite that I was never able to really put him too much on the defensive. Clearly Bob is a skilled individual.
But I have a lot to learn still. Here is what I've learned about Bob. There's a sense where I don't think he's really hearing what I'm saying. Now, the atheists reading are saying to themselves "well duh". But what I suspect is that it's really quite a bit more enmeshed in Bob's brain than I realized, kind of like a cognitive dissonance thing. He really doesn't hear me.
So for instance notice how frequently he claims I believe something came from nothing. My 4 or 5 direct assertions to the contrary just didn't seem to matter.
That's the obvious one, but others weren't clear to me until after the debate and things were pointed out to me by commenter Jason. Take for instance my discussion about the ancient Hindu told by his priest that the earth sits on the turtle. If he doesn't have a complete theory of gravity worked out does this mean he's obligated to accept turtles? Bob's response is "Whatever you want to call it, whether turtles or Zeus or Flying Spaghetti Monster, it's all the same thing. It's pointing to spiritual realities."
I was just kind of lost with this response. It doesn't seem relevant. Why is he responding this way? What he's doing is responding to a different argument. When someone talks about the FSM and basically says that a given argument proves FSM Bob has reasoned that this is nothing more that attributing divine properties to the FSM and altering the name from Yahweh to the FSM. So he's saying who cares? Whatever you call it you're conceding spiritual realities.
But that's not my argument. My argument is that in the past you've replaced what turned out to be natural causes with spiritual causes and you were mistaken. We don't know with regards to the origin of the universe, but your argument looks to be a repetition of this error, so it's rational to reject your argument. This has nothing to do with me renaming God with a silly sounding name, like calling God a fairy or leprechaun. He's funneling my argument into a category that makes him more comfortable rather than dealing with it.
The same thing happened with regards to the subject of the Sphinx. This Sphinx is complex and must be designed, so why shouldn't we assume that the human body, which is more complex, is also designed. My response is that I agree. This is intuitive and rational. But the beauty of science is that it can overturn an intuitive truth. Look at relativity. This is what Darwin did.
Bob responded and said I'd made 2 errors. The first (though it was a blizzard of words he used to make this point) is that I'm assuming evolution is the default position even though the human body is even more complex.
I actually said when he moved to my supposed second error "I'm not sure what the first error was." He repeated it and I was still lost. Because it's not a response to my argument. The reality is I directly conceded and agreed with his so called criticism. I told him that evolution is counter intuitive and it is rational to think the human body is designed as a default position. It's only with the overwhelming scientific evidence that the default position was overturned. I could have added that the same was true of flat earth-ism or geocentrism. These are default positions. The earth looks flat from where I'm standing. Turns out we need to reject what might seem intuitive because of the science.
So what Bob is doing is basically responding to me as if I made the argument he expects me to make and perhaps the argument he typically hears. Maybe atheists typically just imply that evolution is not counter intuitive. We should expect human organs to arise by natural means. That's what Bob typically hears so he simply pretends that this is what I said. He responds like an automaton. What I say doesn't actually matter. The response is mechanical and is the same no matter what.
Live and learn. You have to know your opponents arguments well enough to know the ways in which he will attempt to mis-characterize what you say. It's confusing because it can be entirely disconnected from your own words. I have to try and be ready for that.