Thursday, July 05, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

From the Internet Infidels:

On Sunday, July 1st, Internet Infidels released the first installment of a series of debates called The Great Debate: God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence. It aims to bring together nine distinguished philosophers in a series of four debates, each with a different focus on evidence for and against naturalism and theism.

You can view the first installment, a series of exchanges between physicalist Andrew Melnyk and dualists Stuart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro on "Mind and Will," here:

This is the "live" table of contents for the entire series of debates, giving you a general idea of what's planned for the forthcoming installments. The remaining installments will be released about every two months after the release of the first, i.e., September 1, November 1, and January 1.

In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you would assist me by linking to the Great Debate Project website itself (my first preference) or, if it is easier for you, by "tagging" the Secular Outpost entry, from your own blog or website, as soon as possible:

If you want to write up your own entry for your own blog or website, alternative descriptions of the project are given on the Secular Web's July 1, 2007 What's New entry and Naturalism subject index, respectively:

The reason that I say "as soon as possible" is because we only have a window of about one month from the initial announcement to solicit thoughtful questions meant for the contributors in this first debate. This first installment, as well as those to come, represents a unique opportunity for *anyone* to pose questions directly to the contributors. I would be happy if the readers of your blog, or you yourself, "interrogated" the contributors for this collection.

The Q&A sessions offer a rare opportunity to bring the concerns of average readers into the debate, concerns that are no doubt all-too-easily overlooked in the debates themselves given the necessarily narrow focus of the contributors on select topics. Personally, I often find myself disappointed by the fact that, on certain topics, philosophers often seem to talk about the same things--typically issues that have become the standard "problems" in the field--to the exclusion of virtually everything else. Thus I view bringing in questions from "average readers" as an important aspect of this project--potentially even more important than the papers themselves.

Although this project was funded and is hosted by Internet Infidels, it should be of interest to both naturalists and theists, as the agnostic editor Paul Draper has brought a sense of objectivity and balance in his choice of topics and contributors. Additionally, we hope to challenge the theistic *and* naturalistic contributors with an equal number of tough questions from readers.

So any assistance you can offer in promoting this series of debates as widely as possible would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, KA

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