The Raving Theist

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February 21, 2006 | 4 Comments

Throwing Down the Gauntlet:

The God Squad Challenged to Debate by the CFI Community of Long Island

Gerry Dantone, Austin Dacey, and the Center for Inquiry Long Island Community are formally issuing a challenge to the “God Squad” authors Rabbi Marc Gellman and Father Tom Hartman to debate the following: Is God necessary for morality? The challenge comes after numerous syndicated God Squad columns have been published nationwide that contend that without God there is no reason to be moral, or worse, that go beyond theological arguments to intentionally defame and denigrate non-believers. Rather than rioting over these insults, or demanding that their freedom of speech be curtailed, most humanists would prefer to rationally debate the merits of their accusations.

* * *

We encourage supporters of the Center for Inquiry to do the following:

1) Write to Newsday ( the Flagship newspaper that carries the God Squad’s bigoted column, and ask them to allow alternate points of view in their newspaper that would provide a reasoned response to the God Squad.

2) Write to the God Squad’s syndicator Tribune Media (, or their website, ( asking them to distribute rational advice on religion.

3) Write to the God Squad themselves (; or email them to: urging them to accept the debate challenge.

Full press release here.

I doubt the Squad will accept. They’ve got a nationally syndicated column and a TV show through which to spread their message unopposed, so there’s upside to opening themselves up to a debate. The risk of a disaster would be high in view of their inability to maintain consistency in the claims they make from week to week and even sentence to sentence. They would also be subject to a divide and conquer strategy, insofar as they belong to two different religions whose truth claims contradict each other.

But you can read a transcript of the famous radio debate between Bertrand Russell and Jesuit Priest Frederick C. Copleston here. Other great atheist/theist debates, together with reviews of the debates, can be found here and here.


4 Responses to “Debatable”

  1. DannyNoonan
    February 21st, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

    Did you ever see the Allen Keyes/Alan Dershowitz debate on CSPAN a few years back? Pretty awesome.

  2. William
    February 22nd, 2006 @ 12:51 am

    I agree they will be unlikely to do it, but we should keep up the preasure for equal access. I think our voices are muted because traditional media is scared to show it.

  3. Jeff Guinn
    February 22nd, 2006 @ 6:27 am

    This is pretty extensive discussion of how baseless religionist claims God is essential to morality really are.

    There is no wriggling off the horns of the Euthryphro dilemma.

  4. Mijae
    February 23rd, 2006 @ 5:53 am

    It would be more fun to make them debate each other, of course. But if this actually worked, I’d be pretty pleased.

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