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The God Debate

I can't hear this without sound on my computer, but it looks like a great debate. The name seems a bit presumptive.



Having not yet watched it I should say one concern I have about Dinesh is that his insistence on shouting makes him very difficult to listen to. Hopefully he won't be doing that here.

He can't possibly do it for a full hour and 48 minutes can he?

My concern with Dinesh is that he has a such a mediocre mind. He is a vivid demonstration of just how mediocre you can be and still be part of a "think-tank".

hitchens is far from being in top form here... he can do, and often has done, much better. he even sounded a tad drunk to me (?). but more importantly, he did not hit his opponent's major points, even though the flaws in his arguments are well known and often heard in these debates.

finally both speakers' misquoting of cosmology and physics was painful.

einstein predicted a solar eclipse? really. i imagine he's talking about eddington's 1919 observation, during an eclipse, of gravitational bending of light from a distant star.

-- oskar

I'm not a fan of Hitchens, but I though his opening comment was brilliant.


I can't believe that, in the 21st century, a creationists will still claim evolution means sophisticated organisms suddenly coming together by pure chance (like a tornado randomly blowing some scrap metal around and assembling an airplane, or whatever analogy D'Souza recited). With a straight face. Not while addressing a church group, but at a debate. To me, that counts as a forfeit. How do they expect people to take them seriously when they obviously don't even take themselves seriously?

Dinesh D'Souza: "95 people know this guy named Bill, 3 guys don't know Bill, and the other 2 say 'there is no Bill'".

To complete the analogy: You interview the 95 people that "know" Bill and ask each to tell you about Bill. One tells you that Bill's name is really Bob and that he has a son, another that Bill's name is really George and that he has no son, and still another that Bill is not a person at all, but the name of a tribe of people named Bill, and so on, and so on.

D'Souza, through his analogy, provides an illustration of why you should never concede to him (or anyone) the point that "God" is a unifying concept. "God" as a unifying concept only exists in the abstract. In practice, as soon as a someone asserts without proof that "God" has acted in the world in some measurable way, there can no longer be a unifying notion of "God". There truly is no "God". At best there is the god of the Bible, the god of the Quran, the god of the Torah, the god of the Hindi, and so on, and so on.

D'Souza wins points with lazy-minds by presenting arguments that sound reasonable. Trying to pull apart all the logical fallacies and bad assumptions of his arguments may be too time consuming within a debate, but that route is not necessary. Almost all his arguments rely entirely on this one self-evidently false assertion about a unifying concept of "God". His counterpart in a debate need only focus on that one point.

The question: "can you be moral without 'God'?" is an example. An answer should not even be attempted without first asking: "is it Vishnu that you cannot be moral without, or Jehova?" ... and by doing so, I think you make the absurdity of the question plain.

The notion that there is single all powerful "law-giver" is irreconcilable with the fact that there does not exist in the world an authoritative set of laws. At best, even if you recklessly assume that Christianity (Mormon, Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, for starters) represents a unified position on a set of laws from a "Law-giver", only 30% of the world is Christian (and how many of those 30% labeled "Christian" are merely culturally Christian?). If in fact there is a well intentioned "Law-giver", based on the overwhelming evidence, we must at very least agree that either "He" is a woefully inept communicator.

I've got to believe that in the audience at Notre Dame there are a dozen Catholic theologians who are embarrassed that D'Souza is representing the God squad. It isn't as if I'd find them to ultimately be any more convincing, but at least you wouldn't be rolling your eyes as what twits they are.

Wow! I attended a debate between these two at CU Boulder last year. D'Souza did much better at the debate in Boulder than he did at Notre Dame. (Or maybe I've just learned more so his poor arguments seem even less legitimate...)

Hitchens was given softballs to hit and didn't even swing. DD brings up the legitimacy of Leviticus and Hitchens avoids what that implies? Stoning gay people is God's unquestionable will?

There are tons of examples in nature that show 'evil' or cruelty. Dolphins & cats for example. You may posit that it is an exaggeration of certain hunting instincts and that all characteristics in an animal appear in various strengths. you may also posit that it WORKS. How many children have cruel and evil rulers sired? Their genes are still around. The purpose of a harem was not sex, but children. The rules of China had hundreds to thousands of children.

Heaven and Hell? Methods of control, where an unquestionable ruler (pope) has the keys to your future and can excommunicate you if you don't tell a priest all your secrets.

Softballs man.

And D.D. you don’t know how it happened.. so.. "the man in the sky did it". Go back a thousand years and that man in the sky did all these other things too, plagues, famine, and STILL they say he did earthquakes.

Life may be very rare, but if you look at the Hubble ultra deep field image, you can see 3,000 galaxies. Hawking speculates that there are 3,000,000 to 30,000,000 galaxies. To assume that life popped up only once in all that space is arrogant indeed.


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