Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Debate Between Paul Manata (Christian) vs. Dan Barker (Atheist)

This is one of my favorite debates between a Christian and an Atheist. That's because Paul Manata uses a presuppositional approach to apologetics and I hold to presuppositional apologetics. Also, because Dan Barker is one of my favorite atheistic debaters. I can identify with him since he was a charismatic Christian before his deconversion.

I've listened to many debates Dan Barker has participated in and this is the only time I think he lost the debate. Not only did he lose it, but he lost it badly. Paul Manata crushed Barker. In my opinion, the only weaknesses in Paul's arguments stemmed from his cessationism. Because of his cessationism, he denied that a cat could talk and proclaim to him a Gospel message [which is what Dan conveyed when he relayed what the cat allegedly spoke in Spanish]. This was something which Dan exploited and showed an inconsistency in Paul's belief system. On the one hand he's willing to believe that a donkey spoke to Balaam, yet denied that a cat could speak.

Additionally, Dan was wrong in saying that it's logically impossible for cats to ever speak, since given naturalistic atheism (which usually believes in macro-evolution), cats can evolve to speak, then evolve not to speak, then evolve to speak again, then evolve to fly, surf, dance and sing Karaoke <g>. Dan seemed to be confused about logical possibility/impossibility and physical possibility/impossibility, along with the difference between deductive arguments and inductive arguments.

Here's another link to the debate in 12 parts:

Here's another link to the debate in 8 parts:

Paul is one of the bloggers at Triablogue

Below is Paul Manata's first public debate against Derek Sansone. This debate occurred before  Manata's eventual conclusion that a strong Modal TAG has yet to be formulated. That's why the form of Manata's argument is different in the two debates.

DOES THE CHRISTIAN GOD EXIST? (Paul Manata vs Derek Sansone)

The classic debate between Greg Bahnsen (Christian) and Gordon Stein (atheist)
"The Great Debate: Does God Exist?," a formal debate between held at the University of California (Irvine) Feb. 11, 1985. 
Bahnsen applied Van Tillian presuppositionalism
(mp3 file here)        (transcript here


  1. I have enjoy the evolutionary explanation about how (given enought time) a cat, or snake, or a donkey can talk or think. And I would say more to others atheist that If there is not enought time for an snake or donkey to talk in less then 6000 years, well... if this universe popped into existence (or infinites multiveses, anyway) Why inside an special snake can pop a complete talk system, and 2 minutes later annihilate? Why not in the darwinian phantasy land?

    1. If I understand what you're saying, I agree. Given atheism, there's no reason to preclude the possibility of non-uniformitarianism. In other words, if atheism is true, then the laws of the universe (or universes given a multiverse) may not be fixed. Things may happen contingently and causelessly without rhyme or reason. Which means that if atheism is true, then it's logically possible for strange and freaky things to happen in the universe. In which case standard atheistic understandings of materialism where all things are governed by predictable laws might be wrong.