Monday, April 06, 2009

Five Against One

It's sounds so unfair. Four Christians against one lone atheist. If you add in the moderator it's five against one.

But the atheist is Christopher Hitchens so they didn't have a chance.1

Next time they should try half a dozen Christians—and they should look for ones that are smart.2

Christian Book Expo 2009

1. Actually, if you watch the "debate" you'll realize that Hitchens didn't need to do or say anything. Every single one of their arguments for the existence of God has been refuted dozens of times. It's like a kindergarten class in Christian apologetics. Most of the time I wish Hitchens had kept his mouth shut.

2. Assuming that ....

[Hat Tip: Friendly Atheist]


  1. Doesn't matter how many there are. It will always come down to one thing... guilt. How dare atheists not have a god telling them what their morals are. How dare they!

  2. Actually it's even worse than that. It's more like... how dare atheists have any morals at all! How dare they!

  3. Let me put it another way just to be clear. They always try to make atheists feel ashamed for having morals. Guilt and shame. That's the best they got going for them since they don't have any actual, uhhhhhhhh, you know, good evidence.

  4. In Craig's closing comments (just after enumerating a list of already debunked arguments for theism) he mentioned the then upcoming debate between he and Hitchens at Biola University, I checked it out briefly and found this commentary from one of the audience members. Clearly "winning" a debate and being right are very different matters, however as far as informing the audience goes, I'm curious: What do folks think Hutchins could have done better in this debate?

  5. I'm curious: What do folks think Hutchins could have done better in this debate?

    Not bothering to get in it in the first place. On paper, these debates look like the right thing to do, but I think we are given their side a level of credibility by even bothering to have these debates. And do you think anyone who watches these debates may actually change their mind? Those "middle of the road" people who could be swayed by intelligent debate are probably not even at these events.

    My $0.02

  6. Chris Hitchens said many things, one of which sums up the four talking heads' vacuity very well - incoherence. That's all.


  7. The problem of evil or suffering has never been satisfactorily countered by any apologetic reply since the dawn of man.

    And in this debate, you can see that even the believers on the panel are troubled by this, and by the insufficiency of their own rationalizations.

    This is the point at which the subject is always changed. However, it should be the point at which the absurdity of the Christian deity is hammered unmercifully, and not allowed to enter the comfortable compartment of unconfronted contradiction.

  8. gnigerbaker says,

    However, it should be the point at which the absurdity of the Christian deity is hammered unmercifully, and not allowed to enter the comfortable compartment of unconfronted contradiction.

    I don't give a damn about the problem of evil. It only exists if there is a God, and there isn't.

    I think it's a mistake to get drawn into these discussions. The only question worth debating is whether there's any evidence for the existence of supernatural beings in the first place.

    Who cares what properties those imaginary beings might have? And who cares what kinds of problems the Christian delusions are creating?

    You can't "hammer" Christians about this without accepting their premise; namely, that a kind. loving God exists.

  9. ^ reductio ad absurdium is a completely valid way of disproving a statement :)

  10. Devin it doesn't work so well for imaginary beings that can have whatever properties the imaginers want them to have. People will just make up whatever they feel like.

    It kind of works like this:

    1. Problem encountered.
    2. Make up stuff to fix problem, whatever it takes.
    3. So long as being still exists, then problem solved.
    4. If being does not exist, go back to step one and try harder.

    You'll notice that the priority up there is keeping the being existing. The priority is not having evidence for existence of said being. They call it "faith", and they're dern proud for calling it that.

  11. I think these sorts of debates are worthy. However they need more structure in the way of presenting the topics before hand. While Hitchens did a fine job, he failed in two areas, one was trivial, one was significant.

    The trivial was his response to a question regarding a perception of a fine-tuned universe and existence of complex life - asked as a question from ignorance. Hitchens responded by inferring by analogy the inefficiency of the lack of abundance of life given the size of the universe and the solar system's eventual destruction.

    While that's a fine ancillary point, it probably went right over the heads of this audience. A better answer would have been that it's not so fine-tuned along with the fact that we are merely a product of its present tuning. Changing those variables that allows life on earth doesn't negate another type of evolving universe filled with life, perhaps even more life than we can now observe.

    The more significant mistake was not attacking them on a supposedly all-knowing/all-powerful God who Christians claim is our loving father even though he establishes ground rules that will guarantee the bulk of humanity eternal punishment after this finite life for merely failing to submit to an irrational proposition lacking evidence. While Hitchens got a question about the "way, truth, life, no man cometh to the father but my me" opportunity, he never really expounded enough to drive home the level of evil necessary to create life for the explicit purpose of eventually torturing most of it for all eternity.

    Stroebel's a bigger liar and con man than I ever imagined - and more stupid though not approaching Ray Comfort stupid.

  12. RE: Paul Hurtado

    Thanks for the link, it has an agreeable tone and level of civility to it, so I've jumped into the discussion over there (which I hope will be fruitful).