William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens

I think the following snippet of a debate from Craig & Hitchens is very telling. It becomes more striking when one is familiar with the level of arguments presented by each man earlier in the debate, but this should suffice to show the nature of the mens’ arguments. Here is the rebuttal period from a debate where Craig attempts to build a logical case, and Hitchens attempts to build some sort of inferential one or some sort of guilt by association. He does not attempt to prove much of anything logically. Hitchens presents what are common atheist positions, which are not much more than “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

But what is most striking is that Hitchens seems to be unfamiliar with Craig’s first question. Craig asks Hitchens to distinguish between broad categories of atheism and agnosticism, and Hitchens seems as if he has not been faced with the question before. Further, Hitchens appears to change his position right before our eyes, moving from one position to the other.

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Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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7 Responses to William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens

  1. The Thinker says:

    Howdy,

    The problem with Craig is that he tries to trick Hitchens by using a wrong definition of atheism. When he asks, “Are you an atheist that asserts the proposition that god does not exist, or do you simply withhold belief in god in the way the agnostic does?” he’s conflating atheism with strong atheism. Atheism is lacking a belief in god. That’s it. Just like theism is having a belief in god. I would never say that theists must assert god exists. If that were the standard, there’d be a lot less theists! So the problem is Craig’s incorrect definition of atheism, not Hitchens’ answer.

  2. The Thinker says:

    Hitchens primary argument is to say that the haphazard cruelty of evolution makes it impossible to accept the belief in a traditional omni-god who is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving. When you look at the full picture of evolution and you consider the 3.5 billion years during which this unfolding drama played out, when there were millions and millions of species that evolved only to be snuffed out and pushed into evolutionary dead ends, and during which time there was at least 5 mass extinctions in which some 70-95 percent of all the living species on earth at that time went extinct, We’re being asked by theists to believe that this was all part of a divine creator’s plan who was sitting back and taking pleasure in watching millions of species (whose evolution he allegedly guided) get wiped out one after the other, and then starting all over again, and then wiped them out again and repeated this process over and over, until finally getting around to evolving human beings – which we’re told was the whole purpose of this cruel and clumsy process.

    And Hitchens argues, we’re to believe that an all-knowing and all-loving deity also made it so that as this evolutionary process played out, consciousness would arise so that these miserable animals would become aware of their pain and suffering that god was causing? Just think about our hominid ancestors, who for about 6 million years consciously suffered and died from diseases, floods, droughts, famines, predators, and themselves, for absolutely no logically necessary reason before human beings even evolved. You would predict such a grim scenario under naturalism, but you certainly wouldn’t under the “all-loving” watchful eye of a theistic god. This is perhaps one reason why so many theists today still reject evolution.

    And so Hitchens argues informally: An all-loving deity is logically incompatible with gratuitous conscious suffering. Given our evolutionary past and the suffering it required, god would have to be either incompetent, indifferent or intentionally cruel.

    • humblesmith says:

      First, your argument here hinges on acceptance of an extremely broad projection of evolution which is not proven. Second, it seems to say that unless God is the way I want Him to be, He does not exist. Third, it ignores the fact that if there is evil as you claim, there must be a transcendent standard of good and evil, and materialism is refuted. In other words, claiming “evil exists, therefore God doesn’t” is ultimately self refuting. I’ve done posts in this with some detail:?search under morality.

      My experience with Hitchens is that he is much better at rhetoric than logical conclusions.

      • The Thinker says:

        1, This is the mainstream view of evolution and geology accepted by virtually the entire scientific community, and it is backed up with tremendous evidence. If you’re still holding onto creationism, then your religion is utterly false.
        2. It has nothing to do with my opinion. Given evolution, any creator is either incompetent, indifferent or intentionally cruel. There is no logical way out of it.
        3. Evil has nothing to do with transcendence. The moral argument can be easily refuted by the euthyphro dilemma and other arguments. If you want to debate this. let me know.

        • humblesmith says:

          As for there being “virtually the entire scientific community” agreeing on darwinian evolution, presented in such a mass scale as your earlier claim, I beg to differ, since the facts say otherwise. See here: https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/dissent-from-darwin/ As of four years ago, the list had over 800 names; I’ve not counted them recently. I would also submit, admitedly as a layman, the works of Stephen Meyer and recent works by Michael Behe, the latter of which seems to have begun efforts to quantifiably measure the limits of evolution’s capabilities. Regardless of what one thinks of Meyer and Behe, the list of dissenters is a brute fact.
          The moral argument has a foundation in the mere existence of good and evil. One cannot continue to claim the existence of evil, as you have done repeatedly (the latest was “cruel”), without there being a standard of good and evil that goes beyond chemistry and physics. See the following:
          https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/does-the-existence-of-moral-evil-prove-or-disprove-god/
          https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/problem-of-evil/
          https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/atheists-morality-again/
          As for euthyphro, the dilemma has been successfully split for some time now, with the heart of it being the simplicity of God. I suppose I need a post on this; stay tuned. Regardless, euthryphro does not refute the is/ought divide, which is one of the pillars of the moral argument. If objective moral evil exists, then good and evil exists independent of our perception of it, materialism is refuted, and moral lawgiver is necessary. I’ve done posts on this in the past, but not recently. Perhaps it is time for another.

          • The Thinker says:

            As for there being “virtually the entire scientific community” agreeing on darwinian evolution, presented in such a mass scale as your earlier claim, I beg to differ, since the facts say otherwise. See here: https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/dissent-from-darwin/ As of four years ago, the list had over 800 names

            Ha ha. Oh come on. Have you ever heard of Project Steve? NCSE’s “Project Steve” is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of “scientists who doubt evolution” or “scientists who dissent from Darwinism.” They have a list of over 1300 scientists just named Steve who accept evolution. So 800 dissenters is a drop in the bucket, you know what percentage of scientists that is? Less than 1 %.

            One cannot continue to claim the existence of evil, as you have done repeatedly (the latest was “cruel”), without there being a standard of good and evil that goes beyond chemistry and physics.

            Can you define “evil” for me please?

            As for euthyphro, the dilemma has been successfully split for some time now, with the heart of it being the simplicity of God.

            No it hasn’t. If you want to debate the moral argument, just let me know. It’s one of the easiest arguments to refute. Instead of posting on this, why don’t we debate it and you can use your response and mine as the material for the post itself? It will allow you to have a real atheist’s views be seen instead of your silly parodies.

            If objective moral evil exists, then good and evil exists independent of our perception of it, materialism is refuted, and moral lawgiver is necessary.

            That makes absolutely no logical sense. I seriously want to debate you on this. What do you say?

          • humblesmith says:

            With the failure to respond to what I’ve already posted, there is really not much more reason to continue.

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