Then read two other student paper and write comments each paper based on my paper(50-100words
each comments) P.S the paper about https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FofDChlSILU Review the notes
that you took as you watched the debate, and write up a review: what did you learn about effective
debating and persuasion by watching the debate? What what do you think makes for effective
persuasion? What arguments did you find very compelling and what arguments did you find less
effective, and explain why. Were there some arguments that changed your mind or view of this complex
issue? Why or why not.
Student 1 paper
Before watching the debate between Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig based on the existence
of God the ideas I had on the topic were merely supported through the knowledge my parents and
religious experience classes have provided. I was brought up attending church and religious classes on
Wednesdays and Sundays; although my parents are passionate about religion they always allowed for
me to form my own assumption on the subject matter. Personally as a young adult I found the
attendance of mass to improve my behavior and also outlook on life. However, as I grew older naturally
my day-to-day schedule became more occupied, reducing the amount of religious practice. Due to the
inconsistency in my religious practice I was allowed to investigate if I truly believed in all I was hearing. I
began to be very skeptical of its credibility. Most often in discussion I’d ask my parents sensitive
question which would only make them angry or aviod the topic completely. While watching the
discussion I was able to see that perhaps being questionable of Gods existence is not necessarily bad
thing. I’m not necessarily saying I do not believe in the existence of a greater being but I can now allow
myself to put more thought into the matter after listening to the argument proposed by Craig. After
watching the debate and analyzing the tactics utilized I found that by breaking down main points into
categories and providing valid examples for each proved to be a successful persuasion technique. I
believe Hitchens argument and use of the academic principles such as : astronomy and astrophysics was
interesting but do not believe it helped his argument. I also found clever how Craig completely flipped
the concept of morality that Hitchens mentioned. Craig talks on about free will and the catholic view of
morality, he states that the Catholics may say "of course you have free will the boss insists upon
it…degrades the freedom". I think he is correct in this statement, it’s not necessarily a freedom if
someone demands it of you…Another interesting note to mention is how each of these speakers
introduces their arguments from the start. Hitchens begins by stating how Craig disdains religion and
how there is no way to prove atheism is true but there are many arguments to prove theism is true. By
stating that Craig disdains religion, he is openly making a stab at his opponents claims without any
regard for his argument because at that point Craig has not yet spoken. This tactic is not the most
intelligent approach. He also makes claims that atheism cannot be proven, but as Craig later states
atheism should not need to be proven because it is not a belief but rather an opinion against another
belief. When Craig makes his opening statements he begins by addressing the discrepancies of religion
within all types of religions, he doesn’t only make a direct attack against his opponent or the
opponents specific religion. Hitchens mentions many times that he is open-minded about the matter but
does not show that through his responses and questions. However, Craig clearly addresses his open-
mindedness through the remarks he makes and you can almost visually see him weighing the information
being provided to him by Hitchens. All in all another great documentary that has allowed for me to
further my suspicions regarding Gods existence.
Student 2 paper
Before I write a sort of "review" on the debate, I’d like to point out one peculiar thing I
noticed. Because of my own beliefs, I had a much harder time keeping my composure during the thiestic
arguments than the athiestic.
As far as the debate goes, both men spoke exceptionally well for their respective belief, but their
methods varied and, I believe, caused one to be more successful than the other.
The manner in which Craig presents his arguments is set in a way where each individual word must be
refuted, but he makes the deathly mistake of assumptions and implications, and then points to
"evidence" which can not be scientifically analyzed and confirmed, despite all the reassuring
he did. In a sense, Craig used a bait-and-switch argumentive method, supporting one loose claim with
another of similarly questionable nature. I find this extremely ineffective in making an argument and
causing persuasion, as I think only someone without sound reasoning would acceptsuch statements as
fact at face value.
Hitchens, on the other hand, I believe was very successful in his argument and appealing in his persuasion
towards athiesm. Because he was second to present his argument, he was given the upper hand, in that
Craig had made his statements loosely worded and with too much assumption. What made Hitchens so
successful was his ability to systematically and logically present cases and hard evidence to refute the
points Craig had made, then go the extra mile by providing the reasoning as to WHY people believe what
had been stated by his counterpart.
As much as I enjoyed Hitchens arguments to Craig, I was not particularly swayed any more in my beliefs
and opinions than I had been before this debate. I believe this stems from growing up in a place as
diverse as New York, being exposed to anything and everything to develop my own set of beliefs and
opinions, loosely based off what I was taught by my parents at a young age. There are many religions,
but only one truth, and no one knows that truth, so the best thing anyone can ever do is come to their
own conclusion, and not try and shove it down anothers throat.
"Example of comment" – i can see where your coming from with one speaker was stronger
then the other, both speakers had different arguments, but at the end of the day i felt that they
handled the debate well. they spoke well, and also seemed to be confident in their argument as well
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