Analysis of Christopher Hitchen's argument against God

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by OPTIONAL777, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. In preparation for the upcoming debate between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens, I thought that I would go over his opening statement from a previous debate to see what we can expect from him. I used his opening speech from his debate with Frank Turek.

    Now the important thing to remember about a generic debate on whether GOD EXISTS is that there should be no mention of any particular God, such as the Christian God, and no mention of the history of any particular religion. All arguments that assume specific theological or moral doctrines or specific religious history are irrelevant to a debate on generic theism.

    The question to be debated is: does a God who created and designed the universe, who has all the traditional properties of God, such as omniscience, omnipotence, omni-benevolence, etc. exist? That is the question being debated in a “Does God Exist?” debate.

    Frank Turek’s case for theism:

    Frank Turek made 4 relevant arguments for theism, each of which alone would support his conclusion, that God exists:

    * the origin of time, space, matter and energy out of nothing
    * the fine-tuning of the physical constants to support the minimum requirements for life of any kind
    * the origin of the biological information in the first self-replicating organism
    * objective, prescriptive moral rules need to be grounded by the designer of the universe

    And he also listed 4 features of the universe that are more consistent with theism than atheism (= materialism).

    * non-material minds that allow rationality that would be impossible on materialism/determinism
    * the mathematical structure of the universe and its intelligibility to the scientific method
    * free will, which is required for moral responsibility and moral choices, requires a non-material mind/soul
    * our first person experience of consciousness is best explained by a non-material mind/soul

    Hitchens’ case against theism

    To counter, Hitchens has to argue against God using arguments in one of two forms:

    1. The concept of God is logically self-contradictory
    2. An objective feature of the world is inconsistent with the attributes of God

    The claim that God does not exist is a claim to know something about God, namely, that he does not exist. This claim requires the speaker to bear a burden of proof. In a debate on “Does God Exist?”, Hitchens must deny that God exists. Let me be clear: Hitchens must defeat the arguments for the claim that God exists, and then defend the claim that God does not exist, and support that claim using arguments and evidence.

    Hitchens makes 2 basic claims:

    * There are no good reasons to believe that theism is true
    * There are good reasons to believe atheism is true

    So far so good. But what are his good reasons for atheism?

    1. I personally don’t like Christianity, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: I personally don’t like Catholicism getting rid of limbo
    - Premise: I personally don’t like Hell
    - Premise: I personally don’t like some episodes in church history
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    2. The plurality of religions means that no religious claims can be correct, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: There are lots of religions
    - Premise: The religions all disagree in their truth claims about the external world
    - Conclusion: No religion’s claims can be correct, therefore God doesn’t exist
    3. I believe in one less God than you, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: You disbelieve in every God I do, except one
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    4. Religious people are stupid and evil, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: Religious people are ignorant
    - Premise: Religious people are fearful
    - Premise: Religious people are servile
    - Premise: Religious people are masochistic
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    5. Evolution explains how life progressed from single cell to today’s bio-diversity, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: Modern theists like Turek believe in Paley’s argument, and argued it in this debate
    - Premise: Paley’s argument was refuted by evolution
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    6. God wouldn’t have made the universe this way, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: If God exists, then he would have made the universe my way
    - Premise: The heat death of the universe wasn’t done my way
    - Premise: The extinction of species wasn’t done my way
    - Premise: The size of the universe wasn’t done my way
    - Premise: The amount of open space wasn’t done my way
    - Premise: The large number of stars wasn’t done my way
    - Premise: The age of the universe wasn’t done my way
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
     
  2. 7. Religion makes people do things that I don’t like, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: Some religions do suicide bombing
    - Premise: Some religions do child abuse
    - Premise: Some religions do genital mutilation
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    8. If you speak a sentence, I can repeat the same words as you said, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: Anything that you say is good, I can say is good too
    - Premise: Anything that you say is bad, I can say is bad too
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    9. Atheists are morally superior to religious people, therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: I act in a way that is consistent with my personal, arbitrary moral preferences
    - Premise: You don’t act in a way that is consistent with my personal, arbitrary moral preferences
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    10. If I believe in God, I would have to submit to an authority
    - Premise: If I believe in God, then I can’t do whatever I want
    - Premise: But I want to do whatever I want
    - Conclusion: God doesn’t exist
    11. I don’t like certain Christian doctrines, therefore arguments for God from science fail and therefore God doesn’t exist
    - Premise: I don’t like the atonement
    - Premise: I don’t like the virgin birth
    - Premise: I don’t like the incarnation
    - Premise: I don’t like original sin
    - Premise: I don’t like the resurrection
    - Conclusion: Arguments that are built on recent discoveries from the progress of science like the big bang, fine-tuning, origin of life, etc. are incorrect, and therefore God doesn’t exist

    General comments about Hitchens’ case:

    * The form of all of these arguments is logically invalid. The conclusions do not follow from the premises using the laws of logic, such as modus ponens and modus tollens.

    Specific comments about each argument:

    * Argument 1 tries to disprove God by arguing from Hitchens’ personal preferences about specific Christian doctrines. Christian doctrines are irrelevant to a debate about generic theism. And there is no reason why God should be bound by the personal, subjective preferences of one man. In fact, the concept of God entails that his unchanging nature is the standard of good and evil. So, this argument doesn’t disprove God, it’s just a statement of personal, subjective preference.
    * Argument 2: Just because there are different truth claims made by different groups, doesn’t mean no one is correct. Mormons believe that matter existed eternally, and Jews believe it was created out of nothing. The big bang theory shows that the Mormons are wrong and the Jews are right.
    * Argument 3: First of all, the debate is a about a generic Creator and Designer, not any particular religious conception of God. So the argument is irrelevant. Moreover, Christians reject Zeus, for example, because Zeus is supposed to exist in time and space, and therefore could not be the cause of the beginning of time and space.
    * Argument 4: This is just the ad hominem fallacy. Hitchens is attacking the character of the theist, but that doesn’t show theism is false.
    * Argument 5: This argument can be granted for the sake of argument, even though it’s debatable. The point is that it is irrelevant, since it doesn’t refute any of Turek’s actual scientific arguments like the big bang, the fine-tuning of the physical constants, the origin of information in the simplest living cell.
    * Argument 6: Again, there is no reason to think that God should be bound by Hitchens’ personal opinion of how God should operate.
    * Argument 7: This is the ad hominem fallacy again. The good behavior of religious believers is not a premise in any of Turek’s FOUR arguments for theism. Therefore, Hitchens’ point is irrelevant to the debate.
    * Argument 8: The fact that the atheist can parrot moral claims is not the issue. Being able to speak English words is not what grounds objective, prescriptive morality. The issue is the ontology of moral rules, the requirement of free will in order to have moral responsibility and moral choices, ultimate significance of moral actions, and the rationality of self-sacrificial moral actions.
    * Argument 9: This is just the ad hominem fallacy again.
    * Argument 10: This is not argument so much as it reveals that the real reason Hitchens is an atheist is emotional. One might even say infantile.
    * Argument 11: Again, these specific Christian doctrines are irrelevant to a debate about generic theism. And Hitchen’s subjective, personal preferences about Christian doctrine certainly do not undermine the objective scientific support for the premises in Turek’s 3 scientific arguments.

    So, in short, Hitchens lost the debate. A talking parakeet who could only say the 3 premises of the Kalam argument over and over, in a squeaky high-pitched voice, would have defeated him. Atheists and agnostics can do a lot better. That is, if the purpose of the debate is to win and not to just hurl insults at people on the other side.

    Worst. Debater. Ever.

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/analyzing-christopher-hitchens-case-against-god/
     
  3. Atheists have no real argument. The math is not there for a universe to just pop up this way thru an infinite set of iterative refinements. Any mathematician will tell u this. But we must be patient with them. The Father of Lies has many resources at his disposal.
     
  4. Hello

    Hello

    +1

    I never get into any of these religious arguments cause im not religious, but to believe this entire universe came from something smaller than the head of a pin is assinine in my opinion.

    There is something bigger than us that we cannot even comprehend....
     
  5. stu

    stu

    translation:
    "I've decided there is no math for a universe to pop up, therefore God did it.
    I don’t want to understand or believe anything else so I’ll be condescendingly dismissive of anyone who says otherwise."

    -1
     
  6. stu

    stu

    You can't comprehend something, therefore you comprehend something else you can't comprehend !?
     
  7. Hello

    Hello

    One thing i can comprehend without asking any questions is the simple fact that you are a complete horse's ass.

    That is undeniable.

    In otherwords if Jesus did exist its a goddamn miracle that he created something as repulsive as you.
     
  8. Too bad you cannot be intellectually honest and just admit that you do not know if God exists or not and leave it at that.
     
  9. Pekelo

    Pekelo

    The theist side should use the Bill O'Reily argument, it is unrefutable:

    "The tide comes in, the tide goes out. The Sun comes up, the Sun goes down. Never a misscommunication. The Eart has a Moon, how did it get there??"
     
  10. your just pissed because he owns you :D
     
    #10     Feb 11, 2011