Friday, May 12, 2006

Results for Carrier-Wanchick Debate

The judges' final assessments of the Carrier-Wanchick debate are finally available.

Debates are interesting beasts. In this case, the restrictions on the length of each entry led especially on Carrier's part to a rather dense presentation as he sought to include as many arguments as possible. I found Carrier's Athestic Cosmological Argument and Argument from Nonlocality unconvincing; he would have done better to drop them and use his word budget elsewhere. Generally I agreed most closely with Jeffrey Jay Lowder's evaluation, including his comments about the difference between his scores according to the rules of the debate vs. his assessment as a philosopher. My impression of the debate as whole was that neither participant was particularly persuasive, though for different reasons. Carrier was aiming to win the debate according to the rules of the debate and sacrificed his usual clarity in the process; according to comments he made at IIDB, this was intentional. Wanchick, on the other hand, had weaker arguments but wrote a bit more accessibly.

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