Friday, April 3, 2009

Does God Exist? A Debate with Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig
April 4, 7:30 pm (PST) at Biola University, California
Moderated by Hugh Hewitt and hosted by Craig Hazen

42 comments:

  1. The debate of the century! The Giant of Christianity Vs. A Giant of Atheism. This promises to be the Best debate on the Topic. Who will win? Only God knows. [For right now]

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  3. This is Mariano from the Blogger blog Atheism is Dead where atheism is debated from every angle—wishing you Godspeed!

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  4. Fantastic! We cannot wait to watch it!

    Who will win Don? Surely there a reasonable prediction can be made on that one! We organised the debate between Dr Craig and Dr Cooke at Auckland University last year (video footage on our site) and predicted the results somewhat accurately then....

    Craig all the way!

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  5. It don't get any better then this.

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  6. I don't think this is a clash of the giants; Hitchens is not a giant of contemporary atheism although some of Craig's former debating partners have been.

    This will be a clash of popular journalistic atheism versus scholarly philosophical theism. If Hitchens is successful it will be due to his ability to work an audience rather than the quality of his arguments. If Craig is successful Hitchen's arguments will be completely decimated.

    I am looking forward to it, it will be interesting indeed to see the "new atheist" come up against someone who can reason.

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  7. Isn't an atheist or agnostic lacking humility, really claiming he has to be God to know if God exists because even if that person knew everything (all cause and effects) except for one small item, he would still hold out to use this as an excuse to reject God (for only God can know all things)?

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  8. Will we be able to hear it live?

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  9. I'm a big Craig fan! I love Reasonable Faith! I have never logged onto one of these. I'm excited for the debate, and hope to hear it live!

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  10. Don't forget: Bill was involved in a pre-debate panel discussion in Dallas, and you can get the audio right here on Apologetics 315:

    http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/04/does-god-of-christianity-exist-and-does.html

    Here's a summary of the arguments:

    Lee Strobel

    1. There are good arguments for the existence of God:

    * creation out of nothing (the big bang)
    * cosmic fine-tuning
    * biological information (DNA, etc.)
    * consciousness (intentionality)
    * free will
    * historicity of the resurrection

    2. Christianity makes a positive difference on people’s lives.

    Christopher Hitchens

    1. Christianity is not needed for personal morality or social cohesion.

    2. Christian stories are not unique, they are paralleled in other religious. Therefore, they are not historical, but invented.

    3. Christian leaders say and do things that are harmful, but also inconsistent with their stated beliefs.

    William Lane Craig

    1. There are good arguments for the existence of God:

    * the contingency argument
    * creation out of nothing
    * cosmic fine-tuning
    * the argument from objective moral values
    * the argument from objective moral duties
    * the ontological argument
    * historicity of the resurrection
    * religious experience (in the absence of any defeaters)

    James Denison

    1. It is not effective to argue against religion in general by citing the specific bad behaviors of certain religious people in a variety of religions.

    Doug Wilson

    1. Rational thought is not compatible with atheism, because atheism is committed to materialism. If human behavior are totally determined by chemical reactions, then it is not possible for humans to reason about the world.

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  11. If you really want to get ready for the debate, check out this analysis of the 11 arguments Hitchens made in his opening speech during his debate against Frank Turek:

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/analyzing-christopher-hitchens-case-against-god/

    This is basically a preview of Hitchens' opening speech.

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  12. Yes, it should really be a short fight that resoundingly ends in Dr. Craig's favor. Every philosophical argument hinges on two key assumptions:

    (1) The existence of rational thought / free thinking. If rational thought does not exist, then (as pointed out above) we cannot reason about the universe (whatever its ultimate nature). Apart from rational thought, distinctions like "intelligent vs. stupid", "wise vs. foolish", "sane vs. insane" and "rational vs. irrational" (not to mention "logical vs. illogical") all fall to dust. Apart from rational free thinking, philosophical arguments cannot have intellectual merit because there is no such thing as an intellect.

    (2) The existence of genuine moral truth. Apart from genuine moral truth, philosophical arguments have no moral value or merit. Apart from genuine morality, one cannot validly provide a reason why everyone "should" believe in one's world-view.

    It follows that if one's world-view cannot support both assumptions, then that world-view (a) lacks intellectual merit and/or (b) lacks moral merit. Of course, atheism is a failure on both counts (as noted by others). Atheism is in fact the most easy-to-dismiss faith on the planet. (Atheism only survives because atheists are good at playing offense, putting other people down, and avoiding scrutiny of their own religion.)

    It's easy to dismiss the compatibility of atheism and rational thought (per Doug Wilson's words). So technically, even if atheism is true, Hitchens has nothing truly rational, reasonable or intelligent to say. Even if atheism is true, there is no intellectual reason to be an atheist and no intellectual reason not to be religious.

    The moral question usually takes some more wrangling. Atheist's often cite Euthypro's dilemma in an attempt to weed God out of moral discussions. However, the underlying question is Socrates' famous inquiry, "What is holiness / piety / goodness?" Euthypro's dilemma only posits two possible answers to Socrates' question (arbitrary Divine commands vs. objective moral truth outside of God). If it's (a) arbitrary Divine commands, then moral truth could change if God woke up on the wrong side of bed. So the atheist usually tries to push for option (b), since that eliminates the need for God. But if morality is outside of God, Socrates' question stands: what is goodness? Atheists never actually answer that question. They call God an ad hoc explanation for morality and then put forward absurd theories like collective human opinions / solidarity (which is really just atheistic polytheism) and "whatever's good for evolution" (as if the nonsentient Blind Watchmaker really cares about overevolved blobs of meaningless garbage on a worthless planet in the atheistic cosmos).

    However, there is a third option: that God's nature itself is goodness; truth is a Person, which is just what I John 1:5 contends and Jesus contended when He told Pilate, "I am truth." The "God's nature = goodness" argument effectively solves both halves of the equation in Euthypro's dilemma and God's nature is also the only valid answer for Socrates. So for moral truth to exist, God must exist.

    And even if atheism is true, Hitchens can provide no genuine moral reason for people to feel obligated to be an atheist. It's not as if the Blind Watchmaker gets upset at religious people ...

    Also, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this one:

    Atheists have retreated to saying that "God probably does not exist" because (as some others have pointed out) cannot absolutely prove that God does not exist. To back up their claims, they cite the fact that they also can't prove that fairies, unicorns, gnomes and ghosts don't exist. So obviously God is just a fairy tale.

    But lately, because evolution has been proved to be nearly statistically impossible (to put it mildly), many atheists now believe that there must be infinite universes that have existed for infinite time. Therefore, given infinite universes and infinite time, even the most improbable events will eventually occur. This stance is now the only way to statistically justify an assumption of naturalism.

    But notice the humorous irony ...

    If there are infinite universes spread out over infinite time, then why not believe in unicorns, fairies, griffins, gnomes and dragons?

    A unicorn is just a horse that randomly evolved a horn on its head. A fairie is a small primate with opposable thumbs and latent bird DNA that allows some of them to fly (maybe one of the females really likes teeth). There are much stranger creatures than unicorns on earth that allegedly randomly evolved, so why not believe in unicorns?

    Atheists also claim that miracles are not possible, hence the Bible must be false, etc. But again, given infinite universes and time, why not believe in miracles?

    Mary would have just been a woman with a random asexual mutation and a Y-chromosome in an ovary, which allowed her to have a virgin birth of a son. Statistically likely? No, but with infinite universes and time, even the most unlikely events will finally occur.

    So even if atheism is true, there's no reason not to believe in 100% of the Biblical miracles.

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  14. Looking forward to this debate!

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  15. I have been studying the Philosophy of Religion in my Philosophy paper at My University. Dr William Lane Craig was invited to my University by the head of the Philosophy department. My understanding is that he did very well, and the lecturers spoke very well of him who were from the Philosophy department.

    I actually met Dr William Lane Craig when he visted my town, and l found him an exceptional and very nice guy.

    Dr William Lane Craig's arguments have been used in my class.

    I have seen the Arguments from Atheism, and read some of the Aruguments from Evil against the existence of God. They truly do not make sense at all.

    My full support is behind Dr William Lane Craig.

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  16. Anxiously awaiting audio. This will be a good one.

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  18. An atheist will accept nothing as proof for God's existence and parlor tricks, of course, don't count. But a Christian will accept nothing as proof for God's non-existence because you can't prove something happens all by itself in nature or disprove the exponential progression of conscience. So what then? It all hinges on the resurrection. If no naturalistic explanation fits the data for the resurrection claim, then Jesus is God. A Christian will accept Jesus is not God if a naturalistic explanation can be put forward that fits the data, but an atheist will not accept the proof Jesus is God if they can't find a naturalistic explanation for the resurrection data accepted by skeptical scholars. But Hitchens said the golden rule is to treat others as he would like to be treated, yet he has a double standard. So here is an example of Hitches breaking his own moral values showing that objective moral values don't exist in atheism, since objective moral values don't exist without God.

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  19. I am also looking forward to the debate... every debate with Christopher Hitchens is humorous. He is a great debater, even if some of his arguments are actually incorrect. (Yep, I know what I said - a debate isn't always won by the one holding the facts. Style, it is all about style)

    My only worry is that William Lane Craig (WLC) is too nice a chap for Hitchens and Christopher will ‘hold back’ and it will not be as funny.

    I can tip how the debate will go though - WLC will say that Hitchens has not proven God doesn't exist, only that he doesn't like Him if He did.

    Thing is, it is for WLC to provide evidence for his God - the 'facts of Jesus resurrection' is a well worn one and would not hold up in any court of law in the US.

    Still… roll on.

    Lee

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  20. "A Christian will accept Jesus is not God if a naturalistic explanation can be put forward that fits the data,"

    Erm... doesn't the Christian need to first show that it actually happened? You know, data that it happened?

    I do not need to prove that unicorns are not blue as well do I?

    Lee

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  21. We MUST pray hard about this debate.
    The situation is becoming dire and we need a clear victory which will be very hard against a withering rhetorician such Hitchens. WLC will need more than the best arguments here.

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  22. Listen to Craig's debate against Eddie Tabash. It will probably be much like this one.

    We're used to hearing Craig in a battle of logic, data, intellectual discussion, etc., not in a battle against rhetoric and arguments you'd only here at places like freeratio.org or random atheist/Christian conversations on a college campus.

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  23. CD...
    Well said. Prayer is the weapon of choice here.

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  24. Yes, B.J., I agree. Hitchens will "win" the debate so long as he is emotional and outrageous engough.

    Perhaps he will use the argument from "vulgar language" or the argument from "I knew a hypocritical Christians once" or the argument from "I want to have sex and my parents say I can't" or the well-known argument from witty put-downs about your mother's weight.

    Devastating stuff. And very convincing to freethought types, as opposed to, say, scientific evidence or valid syllogisms with sound premises.

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  25. If Craig doesn't wipe the floor with Hitchens i will be in shock. Craig was aggressive when he debated Richard Carrier so i don't think he's scared to go after Hitchens if he should get out of line.

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  26. Looking forward to the debate. I've been following WLC's debates for some time. I hope Hitchens is up to the task. He'd better be.

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  27. Yes, Craig was delightfully aggressive with Carrier, but not right away, which I think is the best approach.

    Craig was serious for his opening speech, and his first rebuttal. But then in his second rebuttal and his concluding speech, he absolutely UNLOADED on Carrier in a devastating, but still appealing, way. Not mean, just effective.

    Audio of the Carrier/Craig debate is here at Apologetics 315:

    http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/03/richard-carrier-vs-william-lane-craig.html

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  28. I won't be staying up all night here in the UK to listen as I wouldn't be fit for church in the morning, but look forward to catching it via apologetics 315!

    For those interested in an in-depth interview with Craig visit my show with him at http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={C1F284FC-7410-4ECA-AC4B-31C89A2866F7}

    get the podcast at http://ondemand.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/AudioFeed.aspx

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  29. I pray Craig/moderator is able to corral Hitchens in if there's interchange allowed - I've not seen the format of the debate. Will Hitchen's filibuster..? How many red herrings can you count..? Will rhetoric/style win over substance..? Oh the questions...

    Would love to be there but can't wait 'til this is available for download/purchase...

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  30. This seems just as big as the Craig/Flew debate and since I wasn't around during that time I'm very excited for tonight. God Bless you Dr. Craig and I'll be praying for you and the audience in attendance.

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  31. CD wrote:
    We MUST pray hard about this debate.


    This made me smile...

    Lee

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  32. Justin Brierley wrote:

    For those interested in an in-depth interview with Craig visit my show with him

    Hello Justin,

    Just to say – I found your show the other week via Apologetics 315 and I really enjoy it.

    A little bias towards the Christian, but hey – it is a Christian show. It is good to hear a discussion between believer and non-believer.

    Keep up the good work (I suppose, I’m not on the same team as you but you understand I hope)

    Lee

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  33. Lee said:


    Thing is, it is for WLC to provide evidence for his God - the 'facts of Jesus resurrection' is a well worn one and would not hold up in any court of law in the US.

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    Yep, that is what Simon Greenleaf once said, and he set to prove it, and it proved him wrong. It's unfortunate that you would use the court of law in the US today, as it is corrupt beyond all recognition. Please come with better approach.

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  34. Hi Slabbie,

    It's unfortunate that you would use the court of law in the US today, as it is corrupt beyond all recognition. Please come with better approach.

    OK - how about the UK courts :-)

    You missed my point though... and I have to go out now.

    Lee

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  35. Should be interesting. Unfortunately, new atheist types tend to hold rhetoric and sarcasm at a higher level than sound logical arguments and data, when they're arguments start to fail.

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  36. Hey all,

    I enjoyed Craig against Carrier. :-) It is great to see someone stand up and call a spade a spade.

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  37. I'm so going to have watch the Craig/Carrier debate. Carrier himself said he lost but that he didn't expect to win going in anyway. His excuse is that defeating an assertion takes longer than presenting it and both sides had equal time. *rolls eyes*

    It doesn't help that his rep that he's apparenlty mentoring Rook Hawkins.

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  38. In the Dallas forum, which Craig and Hitchens attended, Hitchens could not answer the arguments that both Craig and Lee Strobel put forth.

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  39. I'm an athiest and I expect that Hitchen's will lose. Fine by me, can't stand Hitchens. Even though I don't agree with Craig's position, I know that he is a superior debater. I'm just looking forward to Hitchen's getting beat. Hope it's up on Youtube sometime, can't afford the $98 bucks.

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