TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

DEBATE: Dinesh D’Souza vs. Andrew Bernstein—Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind?

Is Christianity the source of important truths, moral law, and man’s rights and thus profoundly good for mankind—or is it antithetical to all such values and thus profoundly bad? Christian conservative Dinesh D’Souza will argue that Christianity is good; Objectivist atheist Andrew Bernstein will argue the alternative.

When: February 8, 2013, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: Hogg Auditorium, University of Texas–Austin

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the D’Souza-Bernstein Debate Page. To spread the word about the event, use our PDF Flier and link to the event page and Facebook page.

Brought to you by The Objective Standard and UT Objectivism Society

Posted in: Announcements

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Gary Menard

    Please tell me this will be live streamed!!!!!!

  • Matthew Moore

    Gary, it will be. Just click on the link to the debate page.

  • Anonymous

    This ought to be good. The New Atheists are never very good at debating the pious. I believe Objectivism has the weapons–the basics of reason–to do the job. One technical problem is that the pious can pump out a large stream of sleazy intellectual gimmicks in just a few minutes, much more than can be refuted in the same time.

  • Joseph Kellard

    This is great news! I can’t wait to watch Dr. Bernstein philosophically destroy D’Souza, who defends religion in part on Kantian grounds and thus is an enabler to a philosophy that is destroying the world.

  • Rick Moncada

    Dinesh is pretty good when it comes to debating…. new atheists. He will be destroyed by an Objectivist…. or maybe just really confused. I hope he does his research, this could be a weird debate if he doesn’t. His debates with new atheists are generally a who’s more altruistic match…

  • Anonymous

    Here is a YouTube link to a debate between D’Souza and Christopher Hitchens. I think that one can safely begin at 9:30 into the video where, after the introductions, Hitchens takes the first 15min. In the tedious introductions, I noted that Hitchens is described as a Marxist. I had thought that, in his later years, he was not, but he doesn’t protest the introducer’s claim. The debate itself is fairly short, running from 9:30 to 52:30. The rest of the time is Q&A.

    Note D’Souza’s implicit assumption that God actually can be an explanation. I don’t believe this because there is no way to trace effects to God. I don’t see how an arbitrary assertion of something that can do anything actually can explain anything. And, to get a true explanation, the cause needs to be actually found. Anyway, here we can see the importance of epistemological basics. D’Souza uses the “god of the gaps” thinking style over and over again.

    Link: The God Debate: Hitchens vs. D’Souza

  • Anonymous

    I see from the debate page mentioned, that Bernstein is writing a book titled “Religion vs. Man.”

    IMO, in the last 50 years, religion in the U.S. has only gotten worse with the madness reaching higher than ever in our political life. The conservatives’ concerted effort to overturn the separation of church and state is surely an attack on one of the pillars of the American system. The “7 mountains” movement aims to dominate all aspects of American life.

    It was left to the New Atheism to combat religion, and, although the New Atheism has been far more effective than I thought possible (for example, there is now an organization to aid newly atheist preachers to transition to secular life), I don’t believe it has the philosophical horsepower to derail religion. The first book from Objectivism directly attacking religion is long overdue and very welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Ironically the evidence from the social sciences suggests that a population’s belief in god doesn’t depend on philosophy at all. Instead it depends on the degree of a society’s “existential security.” Religious belief has imploded in many developed democratic countries with adequate social provisions against life’s adversities, for example universal health care, and that this loss of belief has happened spontaneously and without central planning to bring it about, unlike the case in communist regimes which stomped on religious belief.

    Yeah, I know, Objectivists argue that the state shouldn’t provide those services. That doesn’t change the fact that the phenomenon exists. Refer, for example, to psychologist Nigel Barber’s ebook, Why Atheism Will Replace Religion: The triumph of earthly pleasures over pie in the sky, available on Amazon. Also look up the research on Gregory S. Paul’s website about the science of religion.

    After discovering how religious belief apparently works, I have to admit to feeling a bit let down. For generations our deep thinkers have argued that our yearning for god somehow ennobles us, shows the tragedy & frustrated grandeur of the human condition and so forth, yet we’ve discovered that we can make that yearning go away by spending tax money on a some social programs.

  • Martin Lundqvist

    Taxes and welfare doesn’t make religion go away, it justs shifts from worship of God to worship of the Collective and the State.
    None of them is more rational than the other.