Saturday, November 20, 2010

God's Quality Control 2.1

Here I discuss my thoughts on the debate entitled, "Does A Good God Exist?" between Christopher Hitchens and William Dembski on November 18, 2010, in Plano, Texas. In this clip I'll cover Hitchens' opening remarks.

Hitchens opens with a quick description of deism, suggesting that it's impossible to disprove the existence of a deistic deity. He moves on to theism, tailoring the idea somewhat to his audience without going all the way to the god of the bible, then mentions three ways in which believers usually try to demonstrate the existence of such a god.

<Clip 01 - 12:19 - 12:35 Monotheism>
<Clip 01 - 12:44 - 12:47 Proof 1>
<Clip 01 - 12:53 - 12:59 Proofs 2 & 3>

He explains his objections to the use of the cosmos as evidence for this god.

<Clip 01 - 13.50 - 14.08 - We're on a dust speck>
<Clip 01 - 14.10 - 14.20 - Nova>
<Clip 02 - 00.12 - 00.17 - Flying apart>
<Clip 02 - 00.20 - 00.33 - Finger of god>
<Clip 02 - 00.43 - 00.52 - No benign god>

I can hear Jesusianismists everywhere protesting that the destructive theme of the universe wasn't there before the fall, or that Yahweh created the universe with the intention of letting it destroy itself because we are the reason for the universe and it won't matter after our story is finished. But to make such claims is to jump the gun and to assume that a good god exists, that said good god is Yahweh. We can't make any such assumptions at this point in the discussion.

His objections to the use of human history as evidence for a good god are based on the holocaust performed by the Nazis in the 20th century. I can hear Jesusianismists complaining about this one also, saying that all of that dreadful suffering is a part of Yahweh's plan. Having once been a Jesusianismist, I can see what they're saying, but it comes from a terribly dark place in the human psyche: it is possible for Yahweh both to love you, and allow you to suffer abominably, even eternally, and indeed Yahweh loves the overwhelming majority of humanity in just this manner. Being now anti-Yahweh, I can understand what a dark place that is. I can see that this is a treacherous, evil corruption of the word "love".

Hitchens' objections to the use of the human body as evidence for a good god (or more specifically, as evidence for special creation) touch on our genetic proximity to other primates and various clear signs in our physiology that we are just another species of mammal. He makes one minor mistake that I wouldn't even mention, except that Dembski brings it up later.

<Clip 02 - 06.03 - 06.09 - Appendix>

He concludes his actual opening argumentation by pointing out that 99.8% of all forms of life that have ever existed on earth are now extinct, and at one point in prehistory humans almost went extinct also, our total population dropping to some 3000 or less.

<Clip 02 - 07.37 - 07.45 - No design>

He talks for a few minutes longer on his reasons for moral objection to the idea of a god like the one in the bible, but he doesn't actually provide any further arguments against the three ideas he presented at the beginning of his remarks. So far I have no complaints about Hitchens' presentation, except perhaps that I'm still not entirely clear on what he intended to answer in his second point, the one about the holocaust. As a lover of humanity, I agree that all that suffering is an argument against the existence of a loving god. What I'm not clear on is exactly what argument he is trying to debunk, how Jesusianismists use human history as evidence for the existence of their god. If you guys get it, let me know. I have been known to miss the obvious.

That's part II(b). Thanks for watching.

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