TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
“Intelligence Squared Debates”
I was channel surfing on both a Saturday night and the next Sunday morning and listened to this public television aired debate twice…the first time to absorb the event, the second time to document any bias it presented to public television viewers. The debate, held at New York University, was essentially the “last straw” that finally convinced me to expand my efforts to end federal funding of the NEA. To view the debate, use the following link:
The postulate to be debated was “The world would be better off without religion” which was the first clue to its unbalanced production. The question that came immediately to my mind was “Why not postulate that “The world is better off because of religion” which would begin the debate on an affirmative, if optimistic, postulate. The answer, of course, is that it would put the two “Atheist” panelists immediately on the defensive, while providing a leg up for the “Catholic turned Evangelical” and the “Jewish Rabbi” on the opposing side.
On several occasions throughout the debate, the moderator, an employee of a major network, revealed his bias toward the atheist presenters…the most dramatic example arising when he at first refused to allow a response concerning a question from the audience. After being booed for attempting to stifle the response, he asked for a show of hands from those in the audience who would like to hear a response; then directed an abbreviated response.
The method of determination of the winning debaters was equally slanted toward the atheists, as follows.
Before the debate, the audience was asked if they were “For”, “Against”, or “Undecided” concerning the debate postulate. The result was 52% For, 26% Against, and 22% Undecided. The audience was told that the scoring and selection of the winning side would be based on their answers to the same question at the conclusion of the debate. This 2-1 bias in the makeup of the audience was also very evident in the slanted audience responses to arguments of both sides participating in the debate. And where, but on a university campus, would one find an audience initially biased 2:1 in support of the postulate that “The world would be better off without religion”?
Were the scoring to be accomplished on a purely mathematically fair basis, the skewed number of persons in the audience favoring the postulate would be neutralized by weighing the results. To accomplish this end, the “For” responses would have been weighted by dividing by two. This would make the initial vote 26% For, 26% Against, and 22% undecided, a fair initial adjustment of the obviously biased audience that essentially throws out 26% of the audience in the name of fairness.
After the debate was conducted with a biased moderator, an initially and continually biased audience, and a rigged mathematical model for scoring, the question was posed to the audience once again and the result was 59% For, 31% Against, and 10% Undecided.
Employing the same weighting method of dividing the “For” responses by 2, the final result would have been 29.5% For, 31% Against, and 10% Undecided, essentially a win for the side arguing against the postulate. Put another way, the increase in “For” was 7 added to 52 or 13% greater, and the increase in “Against” was 5 added to 31 or 19% greater, so the “Against” argument was more persuasive (13% < 19%).
But no… such weighting to achieve a fair method of scoring was not performed. Instead, the seven percent of converts from “For” to “Against” were directly compared to the five percent of converts from “Against” to “For” with the “For” side declared the winners.
The most revealing argument from the atheists was their condescending view of goat herders who lived 3,000 years ago, whose beliefs and superstitions, atheists claim, provided the roots, the origins, of the religious outlook of the world. This argument revealed their over-inflated sense of self, an immature demeaning of others to bolster one’s own ego. This is in stark contrast to my personal view that even when man was very unaware of what was occurring beyond his own small world, he possessed “intuition” and a keen thirst for knowledge and truth. I believe it was that same intuition and thirst for the truth that allowed him to imagine…thus the term “imagination”. I believe that the goat herders were exhibiting the ability of man to consider the possibility of something “bigger than themselves”, and THAT is called “religion”. Even agnostics have been open minded enough to at least CONSIDER that possibility.
The most compelling argument presented by the two believers was the obvious irony that the vast majority of the top 200 minds (who I call “imagineers”) of the last several hundred years were also religious. So scientific advancement seems NOT to have been stifled by religion… and the best minds seem to have been well nourished by a healthy sense of something “bigger than themselves”.
The best laugh of the debates came after the Rabbi’s observation that we already have an example of what a society looks like when religion is absent…it’s called Hollywood.
The best lesson I learned from the debate was a reference to the fact that of the roughly 1700 serious conflicts documented by history, only 7% were originated by religion. This refuted what atheist friends have told me for decades; that religion is the origin of most, if not all, wars. In the future, I will be taking what any of my friends tell me with a grain of salt.
The rigged nature of this debate would not have disturbed me as much without the knowledge that my own tax dollars partially supported the hoax! So, in the future, I will redouble my efforts to end any and all federal funding of the NEA.