The debate: Bart Schols versus Younes Delefortrie

In the Belgian media, they kept talking about a debate between Bart Schols, a journalist who works for the Belgian media and Younes Delefortrie, a native Belgian convert to Islam. Younes is a sympathiser with what the other side calls “Islamic extremism” and what Younes says should be called “Islamic fundamentalism”.

The debate: live

Basic starting points are necessarily arbitrary. That is why they do not matter particularly much. Bart was implicitly positioned to defend western views, while Younes was going to defend Islam. I expected to see a great debate. One major characteristic of having a great debate with great debaters, is that swapping the sides around should work too: Bart defending Islam and Younes defending Western views. The effect of the debate would have been the same. Unfortunately, it was not such a great debate.

As you keep deriving new statements from your starting points you may soon hit a wall: you have run into a contradiction. In other words, there may very well be a lack of internal consistency in what you say. You can impossibly recover from a contradiction, because: ex falso quodlibet. If your reasoning contains a contradiction, you can derive all possible statements from your starting points, no matter how absurd.

I expected that Bart would let Younes freely phrase his basic starting points, and from there push him into deriving statements, until Younes would hit a contradiction. When listening to Younes, I quickly realized that Younes reasons in a very consistent way. His understanding of religion and theology are practically at the level of a religious scholar, the underlying basis of which is the Aristotelian non-contradiction policy. It would be hard to push Younes into claiming a contradiction.

But then again, instead of pushing Younes to make a strategic mistake, Bart did something that we can only consider to be childish. He basically started claiming that his starting points were better than Younes’ starting points. Worse, Bart started holding Younes against views that rest on his own starting points instead of the ones of Younes. If Bart does not understand that his approach violates every possible set of debating rules, he should look for another job.

In the end, what Younes and Bart believe, is immaterial. None of that matters in the least. What matters, is that Younes was highly consistent while Bart was simply childish. Therefore, the debate was won by Younes. This is most likely the reason why there was such an outcry in Belgium against this debate.


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I mostly work on an alternative bitcoin marketplace -and exchange applications. I am sometimes available for new commercial projects but rather unlikely right now.

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