Craig Biddle, executive director of Prometheus Foundation, recently sat down with Dennis Prager at his home for a Fireside Chat about religion, Objectivism, and American values.
To date, the video has been viewed by more than 870,000 people (680,000 on YouTube alone) and is in the top four most viewed Fireside Chats ever. It is also the longest (1 hour, 20 minutes) and has the most comments (1,400), many of which are positive toward Craig, Dennis, Ayn Rand, and Objectivism. This is wonderful.
It was a fascinating discussion ranging from the natures of existence, consciousness, and free will to the proper criteria for judging people, including parents and America’s founders. As you would expect, Craig and Dennis agreed and disagreed on many ideas. But the discussion was cordial and benevolent.
Dennis asked tough questions. Craig named the fundamentals from an Objectivist perspective and held them up in contrast to the religious perspective. Dennis gave Craig time to make his points, occasionally expressing disagreement but never hostility. Likewise, Craig was relaxed and patient, he listened attentively, heard Dennis out, and replied in kind. It was a respectful exchange of ideas. And it’s a model for how Objectivists should interact with others when we have shared values but also differences.
Check out the video below and share it.
8 thoughts on “Craig Biddle and Dennis Prager Discuss Ayn Rand and God”
I very much enjoyed the flavor of Craig’s fireside chat with Dennis Prager. It does seem to be a dying art – engaging in positive, creative ways with others who disagree. Each one of us has a different perspective. No need to make disagreements disagreeable…, and especially when it comes to believe systems (religion, politics, philosophies, etc.).
There is an inclination to be drowned in emotions and tribal defensiveness. So ‘discussions’ turn into fight and flight hormonal stuff.
Patrick, I enjoyed your post a great deal. Particularly the phrase: “No need to make disagreements disagreeable”. Unfortunately, that’s what some Objectivists do.
Patrick didn’t mention Objectivists being disagreeable,
Craig’s way of discussing the issues with Prather was superb – reasonable with clear explanations.
Craig and Dennis were excellent in the lost art of rhetoric. The response shows how desperately people want to see ideas explored by articulate and intelligent thinkers who can hear and comment on the other persons ideas. It was what Hannah Arendt called “political space” created by two skilled people and celebrated by the rest of us.
Now there’s a new PragerU video “Understanding Ayn Rand” hosted by Gloria Alvarez as well, which has almost 50,000 view just hours after being posted.
Nicely conducted conversation. Such bad thinking from Prager.
Dennis Prager: “The number of evidence arguments [for the existence of an intelligent creator] is just enormous—the complexity of the eye, the complexity of the liver and pancreas…”
These are great arguments *against* an intelligent creator. Introducing an intelligent creator only makes the situation harder to explain because now we have to explain how something more complex than a pancreas or a liver could just exist.
Dennis Prager: “Science will never answer why anything exists [and] it’s not religion’s province to answer how.”
If religion can answer the why questions, I would like to know his answer to the question, “Why does God exist?”. I have asked many religious people and they have never been able to answer it, while claiming religion answers the “why” questions. They normally don’t admit it, but evade and answer a different question.
I have not listened to the video yet but you may be interested to see this video by Gloria Alvarez, ‘Understanding Ayn Rand’. The link to it came to me in an e-mail from Prager University.