I've been watching the special Q&A program with Richard Dawkins and George Pell. I'm not actually going to say much about it, at least tonight. I could debate Pell's points, but it's not as if any of them were terribly new to me (nor were the points made by Richard Dawkins or by the audience). The only thing that surprised me was how strongly Pell claimed that religious belief is not necessary for spiritual salvation, and that even atheists are likely to go to heaven if they have been honest about it. That's a far more liberal position on that particular point than I would have expected him to take.
I don't think either of them was as sharp as might have been hoped - Dawkins said that he was jet-lagged, and he did actually seem tired and a bit prickly, though he was engaging whenever he was able to get on a roll in explaining something.
Pell was often maundering when confronted with difficult questions, e.g. about his climate change scepticism, and about the Problem of Evil. As to the former, it was (slightly) interesting that he strongly denied being influenced on climate change by any non-accommodationism from scientists like Dawkins (Chris Mooney please take note). It seemed to be more based on his intuitions about how the weather is always changing or some such thing. On the latter, he twisted away from the question pretty quickly after admitting the difficulty in giving a satisfying answer.
But Pell did do a good job of seeming calm, indeed almost placid, throughout, with just a couple of debating points that he'd obviously prepared. He probably did himself some damage when he tried to explain transubstantiation in terms of medieval metaphysics, so that was a good debating point for Dawkins to use. He also shot himself in the foot a couple of times with highly unscientific claims about evolution.
Both panelists got a lot of applause from the studio audience, but there were no real fireworks.