I finally got around to watch the Cardinal Pell/Richard Dawkins debate which is about an hour long.
Quite an interesting debate that was fairly civil. I already knew Cardinal Pell was one sharp cookie, though did not know about his sense of humor and wit. I also knew Richard Dawkins was not a serious philosophical student and he proved it here in spades. He also seemed to be quite humorless and multiple times had to ask why people were laughing. I guess he got the selfish gene, but not the humor one. I did find Dawkins to be rather charming.
Though like many debates no doubt atheists will think Dawkins got the upper hand and other will think the same of Cardinal Pell. It was not a perfect debate performance by Cardinal Pell, but it was pretty excellent – though he went off point a couple of times in reply. Once when the Cardinal was talking about Darwin and his theism, Dawkins called him a liar and the Cardinal replied citing the page number in Darwin’s autobiography. There were other exchanges like that.
Dawkins referred to “Lawrence Krauss’ book A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.” a couple of times – a book the Cardinal had also read. It is a rather a shell-game of a book where nothing is really something – but a much simpler state. The Cardinal brought up the critical review of the book from what should have been the sympathetic New York Times.
My opinion of Dawkins is that he is really unequipped for such debates. His understanding of Christian theology is totally undeveloped and distorted as if it was frozen at a grade school level. That understanding opposing arguments is not a worthwhile use of his time and thus he would jump in with painfully silly questions for the Cardinal. For example when the Cardinal explained the creation account and it’s literary form. That a truth was being told in poetical form, not in modern historical writing. But Dawkins oblivious to the the Cardinal was saying, responded by asking that since Adam and Eve were not real than where did original sin come from?. I felt embarrassed for Dawkins at this point. As Mark Shea sometimes says “Scratch an Atheist, find a Fundamentalist”.
In a related post Marc at Bad Catholic in his post ReligiON, ReligiOFF wrote in part “It hurts to even mutter the heresy, but Science didn’t spring forth from Richard Dawkins’ ass.” His post is quite brilliant, especially characterizing the atheist culture at Reddit.