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Friday, November 19, 2010

Dembski-Hitchens Debate

Just a quick heads up to the atheist/Christian debaters out there. Last Thursday's debate between arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens (above) and William Dembski should be viewable online by Monday, November 22nd. Here is the link to the debate which was entitled Does a Good God Exist?. Did anyone have a chance to see the debate? I haven't heard anything about it yet. Anyone wishing to opine concerning their impressions toward it are welcome to leave their thoughts here.


Froggie said...

I watched the debate live from start to finish.

First, I was surprised that the debate was held at, and sponsored by Prestonwood Christian Academy- Plano, Texas.

It seems this is a fairly progressive Christian school and the debate was attended by the 7th through 12th grade. There are very few, if any, fundamentalist schools that would allow Hichins anywhere near their property.

The debate was moderated and conducted by the debators in a very professional, courteous, and cordial manner.

I will nt call a "winner," but it was interesting to note that in this setting, Hitch was loudly applauded on many of his points, albeit, Demski got the one loudest round of applause, which was predictable since the debate was in a Christian middle school.

The fact that Hitch was as well recieved as he was might lead some to conclude that he "won" the debate.

While Hitch focused on the pillars and axioms of science, Demski attacked Hitch's views from past speeches and articles. It was apparent that he had been keeping track of Hitch.

Hitch opened with exploring the difference between a Deistic vs Theistic worldview,
Deistic- Impersonal- Cannot be disproved-
Theist- Truth has been revealed- God internves/ has a plan for us- very hard (impossible) to "prove."

Demski did not challenge this, and in fact, later agreed that the pillar of his argument, Intelligent Design, said nothing about a biblical God.
Hitch went on in his opening remarks to make some most salient points and finally pointed out how theism and the bible is always interpreted by others who claim God talks to them.
Demski's opening remarks made some odd statements concerning the Existence of God.
He claimed "evidence" was not lacking-

He claimed that Darwinian evolution negates God as a source of humanity and that atheism = Darwinism.

He wrestled with the old worn out Junk DNA and
Cambrian Explosion arguments.

He then strangely stated that God may have used the evolutionary process to generate the complexity of life as we see it.

He then fell very flat when he tried to make a case for the Exodus myth, but provided no evidence for such. I didn't follow that very well. He lost me.

He then declared that as the saying, "Science advances- religion retreats" is not true, but again, his reasoning escaped me.


Hitch was quick to show that Demski erred in his proposition that Darwinism = atheism, because Atheism predated Darwin by millenium.

Demski made remarks about faith in God and the need for a God to have morals- the usual tripe.
Hitch made points about Religious have Restless need to prove their god scientifically-
Where is the need for faith if there is scientific evidence?

Hitch also pointed out that had humans not evolved ethics and morals we would prbably not have survived since cooperation is a very important survival trait.

The Q&A went well for both. I shan't spend any more time on this now.

Jquip said...

Froggie: Thanks for the time you took. Just to ensure I've got the right grounding could you one-line the JunkDNA and Precambrian argument?

JD Curtis said...

Dembski strikes me as somebody I would like to latch on to and pick his brains for an entire afternoon over coffee.

Meanwhile, Hitchens strikes me as someone with an extensive vocabulary who would be a blast at the all-night kegger.

I could be wrong, but that's just my impression.

Froggie said...

Jquip said...
Froggie: Thanks for the time you took. Just to ensure I've got the right grounding could you one-line the JunkDNA and Precambrian argument?


I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that without reviewing the video and don't have time now.
I think the video is up on YouTube now.

Jquip said...

Froggie: I'm not interested in the outcome of the argument; simply the the old worn out argument itself.

For the Cambrian (not pre, whoops) Explosion argument I assume this is the Dembski side of the fence agreeing with Darwin that this is disastrous to Darwin's argument.

For the Junk DNA argument I assume this is the notion that evolution would clip off "junk" segments rather than let them stand.

Do I have those correct or not?

The Catholic Apologist said...

From the review by "Froggie" it sounds like Demski got trounced.

Darwinism does not equal atheism, and Hitchens is correct. Catholics have no problem with Evolution. What Demski should have pointed out is something anyone with a basic theological education should know: Evolution deals with the development of matter, not the origin of matter. Evolution does not tell us from where matter came, or who created it, if anyone, only how it developed. Evolution is only a problem for Protestant fundamentalists who try to make Genesis into a Science textbook.

To debate evolution with an atheist therefore is a waste of time becasue it misses the point.

As for a "need" to prove "my God" scientifically Hitchens is wrong. Hitchens on that point fails to understand why Christians engage "proofs" for God in the first place. I have no need to prove God's existence. The only reason I engage such talk is when atheists either 1) ask me how God can be proven, or 2) attack the Catholic Faith.

Just like the atheist takes it for granted that God does NOT exist, I take it for granted that God DOES exist. We also must be careful when we use the word "proof." Belif in God's existence can be shown to be REASONABLE, but God's existence cannot be proven the way a scientific theory can be proven. Therefore Christians seek to show the resonableness of their belief first and foremost. They should not necessarily seek to PROVE it.

The Catholic Apologist said...


Why are you going this route- that is to say moderating comments?