David Marshall debates Barry Duke

Back in late October, author David Marshall was kind enough to do a correspondence interview with us while he was on a research and speaking tour of Britain. One of his interview segments was on the topic of "The New Atheism" (in relation to a book he published last year on the topic).

As it happens, during his trip he was invited to debate Barry Duke (editor of The Freethinker, the world's oldest continuous sceptical publication) on Premier Radio in London, moderated by host Justin Brierly. (Premier Radio is a popular Christian station in Britain.) David thought the interview went pretty well, and appreciated the civil and lively discussion.

I haven't gotten around to listening to it myself--this is kind of a standing reminder to myself that I want to do so {g}--but interested readers can beat me to it, if you haven't done so already, by following this link and scrolling down to "The New Atheism". Be aware that the link is currently at the bottom of the list, and will probably move to page two once Justin posts up a new show podcast.

Try to keep comments on topic to the interview, please; I'm sure we'll have more posts in the future where NA methodology and content can be generally debated (just as we've had in the past).


Peter said…
Direct download of the Unbelievable? 3 Nov 2007 The "New Atheism" for you MP3 player (26.6MB).
Peter said…
The interview was slight boring (sorry). The host was fair to both sides, but he did not push to too controversial topics as the show was for the general audience. Morality discussion in the end was the best part, but the host was too nice to the atheist. He should have grilled him more. Guests were too nice to each other to provide additional entertainment value.

I was initially a bit disappointed to the interviewer quality when he stated that he has not research if Darwin become a Christian on his death bed, but decided to play a tape someone claiming that it happen. What ever happened to Darwin, it would have only taken two minutes for the host to check his facts. It looks like to him promoting Christianity is more important than finding the facts. (I never understood why Christians insist on Darwin's conversion).
Jason Pratt said…
Thanks for the direct download link, btw, Peter! (I'll let David know there's a more direct link, too.)

I agree about trying to play the Darwin conversion card, btw.

Steven Carr said…
When I was on Premier Christian Radio, debating the Resurrection, I was very impressed with the fairness of the host , Justin Brierley
Steven Carr said…
By the way, the Freethinker is more of a comic than a serious magazine.

At least in my opinion.
Jason Pratt said…
I've gathered from David that Justin tries to run more of a position-discussion (where each side presents positions on questions) rather than moderating a duel per se. That probably helps keep down the temptation to jump in on one or the other side of the duel. David seemed pleased that Justin treated Barry fairly. I don't know David's opinion on the Darwin conversion question.

(Though I might once I listen to the debate. {g} I probably won't get a chance to do so until Sunday afternoon, though: I still have a submittal to get out this week, plus some quotes, plus helping with the year-end accounting, plus my first book signing Saturday afternoon. {s!} Oh and editing the next HSIBAS entry for tomorrow. So, I'm understandably curious to read pre-reports.)

Jason Pratt said…
Incidentally, anyone listening to the debate who wants to skip ahead to the actual debate (it's a radio show so there's some ad space, promos, and followup from the previous week's show), it starts at 12:13 on the recording counter.

Jason Pratt said…
Ooookey-doke, just got through listening to the second half this morning (managed to listen to the first half Thursday).

{{Morality discussion in the end was the best part, but the host was too nice to the atheist. He should have grilled him more.}}

I think Justin gave Barry several good opportunities to explain his moral foundation. Admittedly he could have pressed harder when Barry seemed to be deferring the actual question, but that would have run against the eirenic goal of the show, I think. (Plus, live interviews are notoriously difficult to get one's head together for. I'd be willing to bet Barry put up a print defense subsequently in TFT. {s} He sounded more nervous about being on air than David, too. That can make for problems.)

{{Guests were too nice to each other to provide additional entertainment value.}}

Meh, we get enough fang-out duels already. Admittedly those have their own entertainment value (and can even have positive contributional value), but personally I was glad for the lack of hostility on either side.

{{I was initially a bit disappointed to the interviewer quality when he stated that he has not research if Darwin become a Christian on his death bed, but decided to play a tape someone claiming that it happen.}}

I'll have to suppose that that was in the recap portion from a previous show, which I skipped. I don't recall hearing it in the actual debate, and I called myself listening pretty closely, though during the second half I was often in another room listening at a distance while doing upkeep/repair work on some system software. (I wondered if it was going to come up when Barry tried to insist that Hitler was a believing Christian, going mainly by evidence from Hitler's propaganda tome Mein Kampf... {wry g} But as far as I can tell, it never did.)

Justin shouldn't have allowed the deathbed legend to play unopposed in the recap portion either (perhaps; depends on whether he's in the habit of airing phone-comments in regard to previous shows regardless of content on either side.) But if he did, he could have done so as a producer catering to a scheduled format, not as a commentator or analyst.

(Note: if it wasn't in the recap portion, let me know; I was curious how it would factor into the actual debate, but if it was there all I can say is that I missed it completely somehow. A time cue will be fine for locating it.)

Anyway. For those who haven't listened yet, the debate is largely about relative social utility between the two beliefs.

Anonymous said…
In March David Marshall and I will be debating. At least it's in the works.

Stay tuned.
Peter said…
Darwin's deathbed legend was on the 4min mark. It did not affect the discussion, just gave me an impression the host did not do his homework.
Jason Pratt said…
'kay, good; thanks for the followup, Peter. Listeners might otherwise skip past it following my earlier cue, but now they know where they can find it.

Landon said…
I thought David Marshall did well in this interview/discussion. He has an ability to clearly explain his points when he's speaking, and that's something to appreciate. (I have mixed feelings about his writing, as sometimes he seems to write clearly and sometimes he strains his metaphors.) Overall, good interview, though I hope he goes up against some better opponents in future radio shows.

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