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[UPDATE JAN 7] Live Webcast - Does a Good God Exist? - Comments

zike's Avatar Comment 1 by zike

I missed the live broadcast, but I am surely not going to miss this. I am looking forward to hearing some good hitchslaps!

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 11:41:06 UTC | #551396

Noble Savage's Avatar Comment 2 by Noble Savage

Watched it last night on Youtube before the videos were removed. A great watch! Not because of Dumbski, of course, who was just reading his prepared statements straight off the cheat sheet, but rather because of Hitch who is in fine form here.

I must say he was looking better than I've seen him in a while.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:00:09 UTC | #551404

nickthelight's Avatar Comment 3 by nickthelight


"I am looking forward to hearing some good hitchslaps!"

There aren't any really. The audience is mainly children so he tones it down quite a bit. He still employs razor sharp logic though.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:15:44 UTC | #551415

Ranting Socrates's Avatar Comment 4 by Ranting Socrates

I’m just wondering if anyone thought that the interaction in part three at the very (very) end of the debate between the two debaters was just a tad bit akward?

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:13:08 UTC | #551437

Ranting Socrates's Avatar Comment 5 by Ranting Socrates

I also want to say one more thing: if you have no time to watch the entire debate- please watch Hitchens closing statement. It’s one of his best ever, and very moving (though some understanding of Dembski’s points need to be heard to understand it fully).

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:21:59 UTC | #551441

Chrisss212's Avatar Comment 6 by Chrisss212

Marvellous exchange at the question time. Beautiful closing Speech by Hitchens. He's the King of rhetoric.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:31:53 UTC | #551450

keith's Avatar Comment 7 by keith

Christopher Hitchens was brilliant, striking just the right tone for the audience. He has a way of making his views sound totally obvious to anyone with a little honesty. How does he make such a difficult task look so easy?

I would like to say that he wiped the floor with William Dembsky and from what I saw, he did. However, since I was unable to make myself watch more than just a few minutes of Dembsky's presentation, asserting that Hitchens won would not be completely honest of me. So I won't. But he did.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:36:55 UTC | #551454

managementboy's Avatar Comment 8 by managementboy

you can download the "raw" files here, if you want to watch them offline: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:09:38 UTC | #551466

Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 9 by Linda Ward

I hope that Hitchens is fine form for the upcoming meet in Toronto at the Munk Centre (U of T) on Friday night.

While many resort to calling outspoken Atheists 'militant' not one that I'm aware of is guilty of inspiring physical violence against others.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:10:31 UTC | #551467

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

Biblical Worldview Institute? Nothing sinister in that then.

Hitchens makes a warm and educational set of arguments, aimed at his audience while unfortunately, Dembski spends his time attacking Hitchens personally. Dembski also attacks Dawkins and yet again evolution rather than offering evidence for God. This is a hopeless argument and intellectually dishonourable. Dembski is a parasite, who uses science to attempt to argue against science. He uses scientific discoveries, and terminology when it suits him to argue against science he doesn't like.

Dembski does not argue for the indefensible, for both theism or for intelligent design, because neither position is rational, but spends his time attacking atheism instead, with the bizarre expectation that attacking atheism is somehow an argument for theism. His only defense of Intelligent Design is to create a strawman argument for it (he defends this strawman by a work of fiction by Carl Sagan), and bitterly explains how he is no longer taken seriously in academia. Of course, time is too short as to offer rational reasons for why God exists.

This is the first time I've heard Dembski in a debate, and he comes across as a bitter crank and numbskull. Clearly, you don't require a vast intellect to be a mathematician nowadays (as John Lennox is proof of that) nor require a vast intellect to be an academic philosopher, unless you expect you actually practice the profession past your doctorate or past teaching. Of course, Dembski and Lennox don't bother to introduce God in their fields of expertise, but rather go and attack natural sciences for their cause. And it's no surprise that both get burned and bitter from it.

I am particularly encouraged that the audience applauds Hitchens during his rebuttal, and I was happy that Hitchens points out that natural philosophy has a longer history than our modern conception of science and scientists, as well as predating Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Natural philosophy even predates Plato and Socrates, as Thales is credited with some of the first kinds of naturalist thinking, and of course the materialists Democritus and Leucippus, originators of atomic theory within ancient Greece. I love how Hitchens makes naturalistic arguments for why God doesn't exist, rather than sceptical arguments against belief in God. This firmly roots atheism within the naturalistic pragmatic worldview rather than a rather less defensible sceptical non-position.

Hitchens makes a reference to a book "Digging Up History" which unfortunately I cannot find. He may have meant "Digging Up Biblical History" by J.Garrow Duncan, however if anyone can correctly give the reference, I would appreciate it.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:16:22 UTC | #551469

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 11 by phasmagigas

ugh, dembskis first few minutes of speedy reading are grating: something like 'atheists need a creation story, so evolution has to be true for them' (and this somehow is an argument for god?)he then reels off various biological functions and therefore god exists?? hes merely bamboozeling the kids with biology and having them nod in agreement with him that its all so complex that there just has to be a creator.

As for his cambrian explosion argument, i dont know about the precursors of the various forms in the fossil record but I do know that a paucity of prior fossils doesnt automatically mean that god made brachiopods and primitive chordates.

im hoping he presents his argument for god rather than show where redundancy assumed in an organ has been shown to be overstated, that is NOT evidence for a designer.

seems that dembski is now a biblical creationist? as he now seems to be discounting evolution. his argument is the same as ever, its complex therefore designed, theres nothing else you can add to that argument unless you can somehow show where a supernatural agent begins and cuts off its work, something that is impossible to know despite the pretentions otherwise by dembski, priests and popes.

I note how dembski creepily likes to attack (and thats how its presented) by the word 'atheist' and yet hitch refers to collins as a great christian, dembski really is a little weasle. there are genuinely wholehearted christians out there, dembski isnt one of them.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:17:40 UTC | #551470

smegely's Avatar Comment 12 by smegely

While many resort to calling outspoken Atheists 'militant' not one that I'm aware of is guilty of inspiring physical violence against others.

Umm, didn't Hitch argue in favour of the Iraq war? And isn't war physical violence against others?

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:21:07 UTC | #551473

Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 13 by Linda Ward

Did I hear correctly that Dembski actually said that dinosaurs popped up on the planet fully formed? How positively Flintstones documentary-ish!

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:38:33 UTC | #551481

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 14 by phasmagigas

quote dembski:

'hitchens is obsessed with the eyes, the same eyes that allowed him to read and educate himself as an atheist'

just wow...

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:39:17 UTC | #551482

Anvil's Avatar Comment 15 by Anvil

Christ, Dembski is boring! The bit about god's goodness and evil had me stabbing myself in the face repeatedly! By the time he got to the bit where he informed us that his Dad "...was a biologist who taught evolution..." I'd held back on pressing the on switch on the blender containing my bollocks in the vain hope that the following sentence: "...and his favourite quote was..." would conclude with the words: " son is a twat of the first order!" Sadly, I now have no balls.


Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:39:32 UTC | #551484

TheCroatianGuy's Avatar Comment 16 by TheCroatianGuy

hmmm Those vids(on their site) are just loading indefinitely, and the links for download that managementboy put up are painfully slooow... Can someone youtube this, please?

p.s. Anvil: loled :)

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 14:42:31 UTC | #551486

Philster61's Avatar Comment 17 by Philster61

I hope Hitch is winning the fight against his cancer. He looks a little frail here. But his mind is as razor sharp as always.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 15:14:15 UTC | #551497

TangoHotel's Avatar Comment 18 by TangoHotel

I hope I'm not running afoul of copyright restrictions, but I've taken the liberty of transcribing CH's closing remarks. They were completely off the cuff, but so powerful they should be framed and presented to every child before they finish grade school. Enjoy:

"Why wouldn't you want to meet Shakespeare (in heaven), for example? I don't know if you think, that when you die you can be corporeally reassembled, and have conversations with authors from previous epochs. It's not necessary that you believe that in Christian theology, and I have to say it sounds like a complete fairly tail to me. The only reason I want to meet Shakespeare, or might even want to, is because I can meet him anytime, because he is immortal in the works he's left behind. If you've read those, meeting the author would most certainly be a disappointment. But when Socrates was sentenced to death, for his philosophical investigations and his blasphemy for challenging the Gods of the city and he accepted his death. He did say “well, if we're lucky perhaps I'll be able to hold a conversation with other great thinkers and philosophers and doubters too”, in other words that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble and what is pure and what is true can always go on. Why is that important, why would I like to do that? Because that is the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don't know, but I do know that it is the conversation I want to have while I am still alive. Which means that for me, the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don't know anything like enough yet. That I haven't understood enough, that I can't know enough, that I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn't have it any other way. And I urge you to look at those of you that tell you (at your age) that that you are dead until you believe as they do. (What a terrible thing to be telling to children.) And that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don't think of that as a gift, think of it as a poison chalice. Push it aside no matter how tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way."

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 15:24:07 UTC | #551502

some asshole's Avatar Comment 19 by some asshole

Dembski: Atheists have no choice but to be evolutionists.

Hitchens: No they don't. Atheism predates evolution.

Dembski: Uh... Wuh... Well yeah, I guess, but Atheists don't believe in god, so they must believe in evolution.

[smack forehead now]

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:08:48 UTC | #551519

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 20 by rod-the-farmer

Watched the entire thing. Excellent, and I recommend it highly. I thought the moderator was very good, and I am impressed at his seemingly even-handed approach to a debate that would certainly rile some of this flock. It was also apparent that a lot of Dembski points were targeted at the parents of the students, rather than at the students themsleves. Fair enough, too bad we cannot be the fly on the wall of those discussions once the students got home and talked about the debate with their parents.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:18:51 UTC | #551526

bstevens84's Avatar Comment 21 by bstevens84

(Re: Hitchens closing statement) I think the only author I wouldn't be disappointed to meet 'after life' would be Hitchens himself :)

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:22:44 UTC | #551529

some asshole's Avatar Comment 22 by some asshole

Comment 14 by Anvil : Christ, Dembski is boring!

It really drove me nuts how Dembski kept reading everything. I can see having an outline of your thoughts, but don't read every word. It's not story time!

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:32:33 UTC | #551535

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 23 by SomersetJohn this video for support of my argument

Dumbski......goddidit this book for evidence


Mon, 22 Nov 2010 17:05:42 UTC | #551547

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 24 by JumpinJackFlash

Damn video formatting takes too long for it to load.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 17:32:57 UTC | #551563

Ryou Concord's Avatar Comment 25 by Ryou Concord

Dembski was an awful speaker. He invoked the use of a lot of terminology that an audience of that age simply wouldn't get. He read from a pre-made lecture about how Hitchens is wrong about everything instead of attacking the actual argument. Not one point Dembski made was remotely compelling and I feel sorry for anyone in the audience who had to struggle with his carelessness as a speaker to come to reach that same conclusion.

Hitchens on the other hand presented his material very well, he delivered his arguments in a concise way that was easy for his audience to grasp. He had an outline, I presume, because his eyes would occasionally flick down to glance at his paper. Probably made notes during Dembski's monotonous lecture, too. I'm disappointed he didn't unleash some more furious arguments in favour of a masochistic God, especially when Dembski droned on about the importance of Jesus' sacrifice...but I have to congratulate Hitchens for tailoring his points on-the-fly for his audience, as he always does (and as any decent debater should).

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:12:45 UTC | #551581

TheCroatianGuy's Avatar Comment 26 by TheCroatianGuy

Ok, seriously, can someone who has downloaded the debate, put it up on youtube please??

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:41:49 UTC | #551596

chrisr's Avatar Comment 27 by chrisr

The site is down!

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:44:39 UTC | #551598

TMichelle's Avatar Comment 28 by TMichelle

Dembski is very hard to listen to, I'm currently on part 3/3 (the question period, and now the host is unavailable) and so far I haven't heard a coherent argument from him, it's all circular reasoning and outright misinformation and ignorance. He throws out a lot of confusing words and sentences and perhaps hopes that we will just assume that he is smarter than us and knows better.

Hitchens is being "nicer" to his religion than I have seen him (or his contemporaries). I appreciate this approach. Just as atheists aren't convinced when theists tell us we are going to burn in hell for all eternity, theists don't like it when we call them stupid or deluded.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:51:23 UTC | #551601

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 29 by justinesaracen

It's a shame there is no way of knowing the effect Hitchens had on the students. Does anyone know their age? College age, I should think.
I would love to have stood outside that auditorium and asked the students as they came out, "are your views any different now from what they were when you came in?"

Still, so many believers stay that way because they never meet anyone who can articulate the nonsense of their beliefs. And few people can articulate that as well as Hitchens. It was a very masterfully presented, non-threatening, crystalline argument; surely there must have been some in that audience who went away scratching their heads, and beginning to question.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:52:21 UTC | #551602

Thylacinidae's Avatar Comment 30 by Thylacinidae

I find Dembski's arguments to be almost incomprehensible simply because he did not remain on topic long enough to even remotely support them; jumping from point to point like a hummingbird on crack. His hesitation and the frequency he lost his train of thought really ruined his ability to accomplish even the smallest part of his task. Gave me a headache in the same way someone unable to properly shift gears in a automobile makes me motion sick. The impression I had of his arguments was a floundering swimmer flailing about: A lot of noise, a lot of water moving about, no headway made towards his points. I found him rather boring and it was a chore to listen to him speak, I cant imagine how short the attention span of someone half my age would be listening to him.

I have always found Hitchens to be an excellent debater. He homes in on his target and does not dally about with wasted words or hesitation. He made and defended his points exceedingly well, and (even more appropriately) did so in a manner intended for the youngest of the audience. I also appreciate how he enhanced his argument with mention of outside sources but that they were not the center point of his argument.

Actually rather annoyed as the website went down before I had a chance to listen to the 3rd part.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 18:55:07 UTC | #551603