Hello Adam;

Thank you for taking the time read this reply. I do so with the modest hope that this reply will be considered carefully.

In regards to your secondary claim about needing religion in the past….

As to whether or not we needed religion in the past… Evolutionary biologists have understand that there are a great many negative byproducts from necessary evolutionary traits. The notion that religion could be one of these byproducts is not only far from ludicrous from an evolutionary perspective, but posited by a great many evolutionists (Dawkins obviously among them). And while that would make it by far the largest and most ubiquitous such byproduct ever discovered, that does not preclude it from being one.

Further, let me suggest that there are two different kinds of claims one could make in a debate… The first are directly to the debate topic. These are claims that one makes and intends to support in the debate. Indeed, if one cannot support them, one should not be making them. Others statements are ancillary: filling out extra information, opinion, background information, so on and so forth, which are not offered for the truth of the claim, and do not necessarily need to be defended or even defensible.

I hope you agree that debates can have both those kinds of claims.

I hope you agree that saying “I believe we didn’t need religion in the past” is clearly in the second category, and was not offered to further my position (indeed, I forfeited the claim as a condition of the debate).

If you can accept those two propositions, let me suggest something else..

Assertion that secular societies have succeeded only by stripping away religion was also a statement in that second category. It was opinion, not being offered in service of the debate topic.

The full quote was:

“My belief is that whatever utility it has is outweighed by the significant havoc it wrecks on society, and in fact our improvements in the human race especially over the last couple hundred years are exclusively due to us removing religion from the public sphere”

This statement was in the same paragraph as the prior claim. It was also preceded with “My belief is”, as was the prior claim, and was never pressed into service in the debate for the truth of the claim.

Just as in the prior statement about never needing religion, this was a statement of belief, not of material fact for the debate. Further, it was never posited as an argument or pressed into service in any way.

By saying that I was actually making that argument in the debate, you are implying that I had a obligation to defend the position. By pointing out that I didn’t defend that position, you make it appear that I failed in that obligation.

Since this was neither an argument, nor an assertion of fact, but a claim to opinion, I do not see how the suggestion that I failed, in this debate, to properly defend it, can possibly be supported.

Indeed, if SJ had pressed me on my claim, I’d have been happy cede that it was false, for the sake of argument, just as I had done on the claim similar belief claim immediately prior.

While I know you are eager to discuss these opinions with me, since I did not actually attempt to argue them in the debate, refuting these positions without me being able to elucidate how and why I believe them, seems to me to amount to an armchair interview.

These are a few of the more significant objections I have to your video.

Thank you for your time.

 

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