Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dutko Debate

Here's the audio. Without having listened to it yet I thought it went great. Bob surprised me in that he was totally warm and cordial both on the air and off. An overall pleasant and fun conversation. No knockout punches on either side in my opinion, but you be the judge. I'll probably have more to say later.


ufactor said...

Congrats on your on the air showing with Bob. I always enjoy listening to, and learn more from actual dialogs instead of showmanship or trying to destroy the other person.

Unknown said...

Good work, Jon. I thought you represented our side really well. It was clear how much of what Dutko believes is supernatural fluff, but what is surprising is that he doesn't appear to be scientifically illiterate. Just a smooth operator that creates substance.

DagoodS said...

Downloaded to iPod, and have only listened ½ way. My impressions so far:

1. I commend you on keeping your composure. I doubt I could have, hearing Dutko say, “You believe something came from nothing” one more time. I probably would have exploded; screaming, “NO, you incompetent fabricator—I said we don’t know where something came from!” (Indeed, I did scream such a thing and I am sure drivers near me thought I was yelling at some poor recipient on a hands-free phone!)

2. I often play a game in these debates. After the theist makes a proclamation, I turn off the iPod and state out loud how I would respond. Good training for generating quick responses in a spontaneous situation. I was quite pleased with how often our responses aligned. I said Planck time, turned the iPod back on…then you did too.

In fact, at one point we had the conversation (paraphrased):

Dutko: The scientists postulate the big bang because they want to eliminate God—
Me: Jon just said Hugh Ross!
Jon: [same time] Hugh Ross.

Jinx... you owe me a Coke.

3. Your response on abiogenesis was one of the funniest things I have heard in these debates. Dutko was SO far out of his league here—clearly flummoxed by the response. Clearly didn’t have a clue as to the terms you were using. He wanted to bring back the Miller-Urey experiment because it is the only thing he knows.

Apparently he wanted you to replicate the process, “Here is a rock. Out pops a chicken.” Kept saying, “how is that life?”

4. Dutko was extremely loose on definitions. He demanded “life”—I would like to have heard how he defines life. (You touched on this with viruses.) He didn’t understand what the term “law” means in science. (It is descriptive; not prescriptive. In other words, “Laws of Physics” describe our universe within certain parameters. They are NOT laws where the Physics Police pull you over for violating the Law of Physics. Once certain parameters are met…i.e. Planck time…the laws no longer “work” in that they no longer can describe the situation.)

By the way, you handled the size of the singularity well, saying it didn’t matter whether it was a grapefruit or a sun or whatever…but in case any lurker is interested as to why the size was so small, it has to do with moving backward in time, and the density of the universe at 1 planck time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with physicists trying to diminish the size to make it look “easier” to come from nothing. Dutko was way off base there, and either doesn’t have a clue regarding big bang cosmology OR is deliberately misleading why scientists say that.

Dutko also equivocated the word “faith” when comparing a theist’s faith to a rationalized trust based upon past experience and evidence. I liked the statement, “scientists bat .1000 whereas theists bat 0.”

“Atheists HATE when I use the word faith…” No—we point out your equivocating the term.

There were so many things Dutko said that were incorrect, (“before the big bang”)—it would be impossible to point out the many errors within the time allotted.

I will listen to the rest later. (Is Dutko a YEC? Does he disagree with big bang cosmology?)

Jon said...

Thanks guys for your comments. DagoodS, yes Bob is a YEC and rejects big bang cosmology. In addition to Hugh Ross I could have mentioned WL Craig, who was on Bob's show just last week. Nobody is bigger in to the big bang than Craig.

I wonder if Bob would know an astrophysicist Christian or otherwise that rejects big bang cosmology. I've never heard of one. I should have asked that.

Stu said...

It's amazing to me how Christians think atheists believe that "something came from nothing," yet they believe that exact same thing of God himself! (And the information he is supposed to possess.) He takes you to task for violating the laws of physics, yet claims that his god does exactly that -- that "he" exists outside of those laws! I'm reminded of the verse about before removing the splinter from your brother's eye, you must remove the board from your own! Well done, Jon. Hope to see U at the meet-up!

DagoodS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DagoodS said...

I’ve now listened to the rest…

Interestingly, at this point our answers diverged. More a matter of style than substance. I would have approached Dutko’s heart “miracle” differently. Understand I am probably more familiar than you with picking apart stories through questions. Plus, at this point I was so irritated with Dutko I wouldn’t hesitate to call him a liar—better that you acted with restraint.

My one criticism (c’mon—you didn’t think you would get away unscathed, did you? *grin*) was when you brought up ESP. I realized what you were getting at, but regret giving Dutko the material. I would bet you lunch, dinner and breakfast in the future we will hear from him, “I brought up my heart miracle story, and the only possible solution the atheist could give, other than God, was that my wife cured me by ESP! Ha ha ha ha…” Watch—it’s coming.

Finally, I became exasperated over Dutko saying, “Which claim is more logical?” I know this is a nitpick; I even understand he meant “Which claim is more probable?” But it was similar to hearing “irregardless.” I know what the person means; my ears cringe when I hear the word.

“Logical” is a rare word that has no qualifies. Like “unique.” Something is either unique, or it is not. It cannot be “more unique” or “very unique” or “less unique.” It is or it is not. Same way with logical—a claim either conforms to logic or it does not. It cannot be “slightly logical” or “more logical” or “mostly logical.” It is or is not.

Overall, I think you did a great job!

ufactor said...


I find your binary attribution of logic rather strange and highly illogical. ;-)