The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney had a shocker of a debate with the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He went as far as saying that the Biblical story of Adam and Eve is but a mere myth, a mythological account:
“It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world.”
When you make such admissions, you’re as good as done in debate. Australia… Australia… you’re dropping the ball down-under.
The headline in the Sydney Morning Herald says it all: Dawkins shades Pell in battle of belief:
In the great showdown between God and the godless, it was the silver-haired professional agnostic in the middle – calm throughout, pointed in his questions, and thankful that his warring guests were “not grunting” – who emerged victorious on the ABC’s Q&A last night.
Billed as a kind of final countdown, a day of reckoning for the chattering classes, the exchange was often not much better than a feral snarl-off. Pell ran circles around his own arguments (frequently of the how-many-angels-can-you-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin type)…
But as the exchange wore on and Dawkins sank into exasperation with the vapidity of some of the questions, Pell became more expansive. And the more liturgical rope he was allowed, the more thoroughly he hanged himself.
God picked the Jews to prove his existence, he said, even though they were just a bunch of shepherds and intellectually inferior to the Egyptians…
Pell’s argument during an exchange over evolution was downright baffling. He started by saying he “probably” accepts that humans descended from Neanderthals.
“Neanderthals?” piped up Dawkins, jumping disdainfully on the slip. “They were our cousins. We can’t be descended from our cousins.”
“These are extant cousins?” shot back Pell. “Where will I find a Neanderthal today if they’re our cousins?”
Dawkins: “They’re extinct.”
Pell: “Exactly. That’s my point.”
“Your point is that because they’re extant they can’t be our cousins?” Dawkins asked, by now incredulous.
“I’m not really much fussed,” said Pell.
“That’s clear,” said Dawkins…
If you missed it, ABC has it here.
You can download it in mp4 here.
You may also wish to visit Doubting Dawkins. A far better set of challenges to Richard Dawkins.