It's nearly impossible to have a rational discussion with an atheist, let alone a group of them.
Yes, but to be fair, one could apply that comment to almost any group of people who hold a view passionately. I'm a computer science guy, and I could say the same thing about people who advocate a particular programming language or text editor. The only thing that I will say about atheists is that they tend to assume that they are above such emotive behaviour. Mind you, that's probably true of people who think that the "vi" editor is better than "emacs", or vice versa, so maybe it's not a distinction after all. Maybe I should be singling out and commending some religious folks for not
presuming to be specially rational.
Martin, in his response to your last post, once again, moved the goal post, after the fact, by claiming that the real central issue was all about whether or not the soul exists.
True, but I'm willing to accommodate a certain amount of goal-post-moving, and I've replied to that post, pointing out that I've already addressed the issue he's raised. There's a practical trade-off to consider here: on the one hand, you only become aware of the key issues in an argument as you explore the argument. In my case, for example, there's a lot of difference between the first and last drafts of my PhD thesis, partly because I changed my views as to what was and wasn't important based on feedback and my own additional consideration of the issues.
On the other hand, there does come a point where one concludes that the movement of the goal posts indicates rationalisation, meaning that persuasive arguments are just causing perpetual motion rather than bringing the parties closer to agreement. I'm still prepared to think that this debate might be productive, however.
While I'm at it, I have to say that Martin, unlike his readership, has been civil and respectful.
That's one of the reasons I'm still prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in relation to the movement of the goalposts. It's hard for a debate to remain productive when one party believes that the other is simply stupid. So long as the participants retain a civil and somewhat charitable attitude, the debate probably hasn't degenerated to that level.