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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chesterton Debate Series: Is There a God?

The Centre for Inquiry Canada is promoting an upcoming debate between Justin Trottier and Philip Cleevely on the topic "Is There a God."

We know the answer but it still promises to be a fun evening. All the cool people will be there. I'm going to be there too. Email me if you want to join us for dinner before the event. I'll invite some of the cool people like Veronica Abbass and Kevin Smith.


At the first event of the series, Fr. Philip Cleevely (Catholic priest and philosophy professor) and Justin Trottier (founder of the Centre for Inquiry Canada) will argue the question, "Is There a God?" The debate will be moderated by Stephen LeDrew (host/commentator of CP24).

Date: Friday, February 7 from 7:00-9:30pm

Venue: Isabel Bader Theatre (Victoria University)
              93 Charles Street West, Toronto

Registration: Limited seating. Tickets cost $10. Click here to register.


Fr. Philip Cleevely, C.O. was born in England in 1966. Educated in English Literature and Philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge Universities (UK) and in Toronto, he joined the Catholic Church in 1989. For years later, he entered a religious community in Birmingham, England called the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Following theological studies in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in 2001. At the beginning of 2011, he transferred permanently to the Oratory community in Toronto, where he teaches Philosophy and Theology at St Philip’s Seminary.

Justin Trottier is Founder and Ambassador for the Centre for Inquiry Canada, an educational charitable organization advancing science and secularism. He is a board member of the Canadian Secular Alliance and a regular spokesperson on church-state separation, skeptical inquiry and fundamental freedoms. He hosts Think Again! TV, appears regularly on the John Oakley Show’s Culture War on AM640 Toronto radio and the Conspiracy Show on Vision TV, and publishes on the National Post’s religion blog. He ran as a candidate in the 2011 Ontario provincial election. With a passion for science education, Justin also hosts The Star Spot, a space sciences themed podcast and radio show

After the event, all of our atheist, freethinking, and skeptical members, guests and friends are invited to join us at:
Gabby’s Bar & Grill
192 Bloor Street West
ON M5S 1T8
Keep the discussion going on our Facebook Page.


  1. Larry,

    Don't you think debates like that are pointless... ? Both sides have no proof whatsoever to back up their claims....

    The only problem is for atheo-scientific side, which claims to relay on evidence.

    Let's break it up:

    1. People who believe in God or ID "believe" that material universe and life had be have been created. They do not BELIEVE they are products of random accidents.

    This could be debatable if:

    2. Atheists who admire science claim that material world, universe and life came about by chance. This is not a scientific fact. It is a story invented to by probably science to fill the gap that exists in the scientific thinking. How could any rationally thinking scientist accept a story, that has no scientific backing. How? Unless one or more have a lot of faith, this claim can't be scientific.

    However, is this issue about science?

    I personally don't think so.....

    To me, it is about what one wants to believe and will do anything to make his or her believe at least to look true....

    1. I certainly agree with you that the people advocating the existence of god(s) have "no proof whatsoever to back up their claim." They also have no evidence, and they certainly don't have extraordinary evidence.

      In most cases, that would be the end of it and the claim would be dismissed. Most rational people would move on once they realized that the claim was vacuous.

      But somehow religion persists in spite of the fact that it can't be defended. That's why it's useful from time to time to have these debates. It helps to educate the people who are being duped into thinking that there's proof of god(s).

      No atheist will change their mind after the debate but there's a good chance that some believers will start questioning their faith. That's a good thing.

      In fact, at some point soon I think the church is going to realize that these debates are.not helpful and should be banned.

    2. There is neither EVIDENCE at all that God doesn't exist nor that life originated by on its own.... so what kind of evidence makes you in agreement with me...?

      Its not wishful thinking is it....?��

  2. What kind of evidence for God's existence would you be interested in....?

    On the other hand, what kind of evidence does science possess that it makes you so certain that God doesn't exist...?

    There is got to be more to it than your plain refusal of accepting many things in nature, that point to ID or at least a source of unimaginable and intelligent energy...

    1. "What kind of evidence for God's existence would you be interested in....?"

      A method that would make it possible for a human being to distinguish between a God that's really God and a being that's merely so powerful it can persuade any other being that it's God by passing any test any other being can devise.

      I await your response with great interest.

    2. Hugh Ross wrote:

      "... Dark energy is best described as the self-stretching property of the cosmic surface, along which all matter, energy, space, and time are constrained. Dark energy is the most significant factor governing the rate at which the universe expands. If the universe expands either too rapidly or too slowly at different epochs throughout cosmic history, the stars and planets essential for life will either never form or form at the wrong times for life to exist. In fact, if dark energy were changed by as little as one part in 10 120, the universe would be unable to support life. This level of fine-tuning design for life to be possible exceeds the best examples of human fine-tuning design (telescope Hubble) by much more than a factor of a quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion times."

      1. What is the obvious, logical and best explanation for fine-tuning of the expansion of the universe?

      2. What is the source of dark energy?

    3. Jem,

      I assume, you are talking about a scientific method...?

      Reportedly, astronomer Allan Sandbag said:

      “Science cannot answer the deepest questions. As soon as you ask why is there something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science."

      So, a method, especially scientific one, has gone out of the window....

    4. "I assume, you are talking about a scientific method...?

      Reportedly, astron- "

      Let me stop you there. You can use any method you like.

      Mregnor rules apply. You get three chances to answer the question, rather than change the subject or waffle.

      That was strike one.

      Any method for telling 'real God' from 'persuasive fraud'. And ... over to you.

    5. Quest writes:

      Hugh Ross wrote:

      That must be a typo. Obviously, you meant to say:

      Hugh Ross, the creationist half-wit, wrote:

      BTW, Quest, how's "LouiseG" doing these days?

    6. Reportedly, astronomer Allan Sandbag said...

      Misreportedly. It's Allan Sandage. And he had far more interesting things to say as an astronomer than as a born-again Christian.

    7. Luteshit,

      I guess the easiest why of getting rid of the problem for an atheist is to eliminate it rather than dealing with it...? Psychotherapy does not apply...

      If you were a real psychiatrist, ( I personally have a very, very high respect for real/true psychiatrists as my family has been faced with numerous mental health issues) you probably would have some kind of inside into the mind game being played on this blog.... have no clue...So, to me, (not really knowing about the mental health issue much) you are another idiot who wants to be someone he can't be in real life....Pathetic....

    8. Jem,

      You scare me... You totally sound like Larry...when he is pissed off...I will know that for sure tomorrow...What's your point....? You want faith to defined by scientific method.....? One of us lost his mind.. Are you sure its not you...???

    9. "You scare me... You totally sound like Larry...when he is pissed off...I will know that for sure tomorrow...What's your point....? You want faith to defined by scientific method.....? One of us lost his mind.. Are you sure its not you...???"


      Strike two.

      Last chance.

    10. "What's your point....? You want faith to defined by scientific method.....?"

      My point is, as Aquinas said, as any honest theologian admits, is that it's not just that there *are* no proofs of God, it's that there *can't* be. Only faith can get you there.

      The entity you worship as God might exist. That is possible. There is no way for you to know whether it's God or not. It might be deluded, it might be malevolent. There is no way for you to know.

    11. You can strike your ass... I don't even read your shit... Don't you get it? If God/ID wanted us to know he exists, he would not have developed faith... You look at it creation from a prospective of a moron.... Yeah... I can't prove it now that a doghouse could have assembled by itself...but if I wait long enough, or find new laws.... who knows...The problem is with 'ifs"

      I don't give a s...t about your pathetic strikes...

    12. Jem,
      Why can't you, an intelligent being, recreate something that came about by accident? You have 100000000 strikes hihihhi

    13. Ah, yes. The old "No intelligent being can create life, therefore life is only created by intelligent beings" argument.

      "And you wonder why they're called IDiots?"

    14. "You can strike your ass... I don't even read your shit... Don't you get it?"

      I get it. You asked a question, I answered. You demonstrated, as was your only move, that you have no actual argument, only insults and an attempt to change the subject.

      You don't need 'faith' in evolution, you don't need to invoke magical substances or entities that are impossible to detect but which handily do whatever it is you need them to do in your current argument, even if it contradicts what they did in your last argument. All you need is everyday chemicals, simple processes and plenty of time.

  3. Larry obviously will not provide an answer as to what kind of evidence would satisfy him as to the existence of God or Intelligent Designer, because it is obvious to me that no matter how strong and obvious the evidence it wouldn't satisfy him and people of his sort....

    God/ID could've left his signature in DNA "Made by God" or something of that sort, but would such evidence convince people who don't want to believe....? I doubt that very much....

    1. The Projection is strong with this one.

    2. I'll be most happy to respond to Quest's query. One thing that would cause me to consier a case for the existence of god would be scientific evidence that the Sun stood still in the sky for a day, as claimed in the Book of Joshua. Currently, there is no mention of such an event in the writings of other civilizations concurrent with the time of Joshua. One would think that such an extraordinary event would be noted by writers in those other civilizations. Since such an event, if it actually physically occurred, would violate the laws of physics, there would have to be intervention by some sort of deity to suspend those laws.

    3. God/ID could've left his signature in DNA "Made by God" or something of that sort...

      Yes, god is always hidden amongst the mysteries of the universe but for some reason his secret signature is only ever figured out by people doing science and not theology.
      But I guess his signature may not be so secret, judging from all those people on their knees in the thrall of personal relationships with this nebulous, pan-universal humanoid.

  4. Piotr and someone who pretends to be a psychiatrist,

    If I quoted these very same facts from a paper written by an approved and refined atheist by the gang on this blog, then, and only then those facts would have merit? Why don't just say, that you don't what to hear them...? I would be easier for you and for me..... wouldn't it...?

    All I have written are facts... You don't like them....but...that is not really my problem....don't you think...?

    1. We don't ever get to see you quote any facts. "Life can't originate spontaneously", "Life shows evidence of design" and "The Universe is extremely fine-tuned to make intelligent life possible" are not facts.

    2. 'We don't ever get to see you quote any facts. "Life can't originate spontaneously", "Life shows evidence of design" and "The Universe is extremely fine-tuned to make intelligent life possible" are not facts.'

      It's also an interesting set of claims, because they all, in different ways, are clearly reactions to the scientific worldview, they're not propositions from some other realm of knowledge.

      'Life shows evidence of design' is a discredited scientific theory, but also one rooted in the idea that if God existed, he'd be some kind of engineer or maker of elaborate clockwork. It's also a claim that's testable by looking at the material world.

      'Life can't originate spontaneously' - this is a classic case of 'god of the gaps'. Science has ideas about exactly how life could have developed, but no firm opinion. I suspect the answer will come when we can define 'life', define 'originate' and define 'spontaneously' better than philosophers can.

      The 'fine tuning' argument, like the dark matter one is just cargo cult thinking. Scientists worked out, entirely without help from religion or philosophers, that if some of the starting conditions of the universe were slightly different, the universe would be completely different. Theists jump on this, despite the fact that it presupposes exactly the bottom-up, godless, multiple choice universe they reject.

      These 'objections' just show how parasitic the theist arguments are.

    3. I have said it before. I will state is again. I'm not a creationist.... I'm an agnostic, like Larry, Dawkins, and most of so-called atheists are.....

      There is no way of convincing anyone, one way or another, if he or she made up their mind and don't want to. I kind of think its fine...actually....

      If there is a God, He could very well be the powerful mind behind the creation of universe. I hope one day, I will understand His purpose for creating it..... For now, since the universe is expanding, if there is a' created purpose" to our lives, it may be, that we will pursue our discovery of life and universe into eternity... Otherwise, what is the purpose of our debate...? To win it...? For what...? According to most of you, we are debating without any purpose.... because there is no purpose in the debate itself....