So it’s official: Dan Dennett has agreed to do a debate when he’s at Claremont this coming Tuesday, February 16, from 2-3pm. It will take place in Albrecht Auditorium, at 10th St. and Dartmouth Ave. on the campus of Claremont Graduate University. Should be a good audience…
I saw a student flyer that began “Okay, so a New Atheist and a Christian Theologian walk into a bar…”
This will be an open-ended conversation. The flyer says simply “Science, Philosophy, Theism.” Here’s a face-to-face meeting of a Christian philosopher and theologian, one who endorses evolution and works extensively on science-religion isses, with the leading philosopher among the New Atheists — one who proudly describes himself as “one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.” We’ll take on the question: is there any real (argumentative) common ground between our two positions?
What do you think will happen? Will we really connect as philosophers? Will we even be able to formulate arguments that the other can respond to? Or will it just be two ships passing in the night, shooting rhetorical salvos in each other’s direction as they steam in their different directions? In his post on Richard Dawkins’ website, Dan responded to my talk on theology and evolution at the Cambridge Darwin Festival by simply concluding, “in short Clayton is an atheist who won’t admit it.” When we meet this week in Claremont, will we get any further in exploring forms of theism that are not anti-philosophical and anti-scientific?
If all goes well, we will be able to post the videotape of the meeting, so that you can decide for yourself what actually happened … and what is its significance. Place your bets in advance, though: what do you expect?