This debate took place in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame. The topic was, “Is religion the problem?” Normally I would not post things on religions in general, as I believe all worldviews are false except Christianity. However, this is an interesting debate where Dinesh exposes Hitchen’s metaphysically grounded Darwinism.
Christopher Hitchens opening statement
1.The greatest obligation one can do at an university is to keep an open mind.
2.The only respectable intellectual position is one of doubt and skepticism. There is a lot that we do not know. We should
be wary of those who say that they know the answers through revelation and
3. Secular morality is superior to religious morality.
4. Religion is man-made and a product of an imperfectly involved primate species. Religion is man’s primitive attempt to understand the world around us. It is man’s first and most crude attempt to make sense of the world. The worst advice of all is to obey God in order to free oneself of dilemmas.
5. Religion condemns us as sinful, but says that we have a universe fine-tuned for us. Our solar system will be destroyed one day, and 99.8% of all species that have ever lived have become extinct. Three or four branches of homo sapiens are no longer with us, which shows that there is no design.
6. It is ridiculous to believe that God intervened two to three thousand years ago in the desert Arabia and Palestine, which is preposterous.
Dinesh D’Souza opening statement
1.Hitchens has not properly demonstrated that religion is the problem. Science has developed similar to religion, developing over time.
2.Dinesh will argue on the same grounds as Hitchens, using reason and skepticism. He will make an argue for the truth of religion, using the pressuppositional method. Scientists also use presuppositions when making hypotheses. For example, galaxies should be flying apart because there is not enough gravity, therefore scientists posit dark matter as a hypothesis.
3.Dinesh will see if God better explains the facts of life better than other theories. Evolution does not explain why or how life got here.The cell is like a digital computer, and could not have evolved because evolution requires the cell. Random molecules assembling the cell after a bolt of lightning struck a warm pond is preposterous. Richard Dawkins has no explanation except that maybe aliens brought it.
4.Evolution depends on a structured universe (a sun 8 light minutes away, constants of nature). Stephen Hawking says if you change the rate of expansion of the universe one part in a hundred thousand million millionth there would be no universe or life. The anthropic principle has put modern atheism on the complete defensive.
5.Evolution cannot explain the depths of human evil. Humans are far more evil than animals (no lion has ever tried to mass genocide antelopes). Evolution cannot account for why there is rationality or morality. Reciprocal advantage does not explain giving, sacrifice, love. Why self-sacrificially love if we are evolved primates programmed to reproduce. This is where reciprocal advantage fails. The simple facts of morality cannot be explained by evolution. We must weigh the atheist and theist
explanations when confronted with the facts of the fine-tuning the cell, fine-tuning of a universe, morality. Theism offers far better explanations.
6. If belief was a primitive construct, it would have ceased long ago. It is foolish to write off all the religious experiences people have today.
1.Dinesh would make a good Muslim.
2.Religion should be falsifiable if we are to test it. Religion is unfalsifiable, therefore making it a weak theory
3.Dinesh is taking a leap of faith by advocating intelligent design.
4. Why does Dinesh not use Scripture but reason, science, and philosophy?
5.He (Christopher) cannot disprove that God created the universe, but there is no sign of divine intervention.
6. Jesus was probably a mythical person. If Jesus had not resurrected, morality would be the same.
1.Hitchens has offered no rebuttals to the God explanation of the universe. He instead said that science is based off of verifiability, but not religion. This is false because the ancient Jews said that God created the universe out of nothing, which modern science has confirmed with the Big Bang.
2. The Bible said that the Jews would be regathered, which has come to pass (Israel).
3.Religion addresses different questions than scientific ones, such as Why are we here, Where are we going, What happens after we die. Science cannot answer these questions, but religion can.
4.Dinesh is using arguments from reason because of the secular setting.
Here are some interesting points from the Q&A session
1:04 Hitchens cannot adequatley answer life’s great questions, but gets mad when Dinesh answers them with theistic explanations.
1:10 Hitchens accuses Hitler of being a Christian, but Dinesh educates him on the truth. Explaining how Hitler hated Christians (see Hitler’s Table Talk) and used propaganda to gain support. A fantastic article on this subject written by D’Souza can be read here: http://townhall.com/columnists/dineshdsouza/2007/11/05/was_hitler_a_christian
1:17-20 Dinesh makes an excellent point regarding how even if we could produce a cell in a lab, it in no way follows that the complexity of a cell could be produced randomly in nature. This is important because it shows how life only comes from life. Scientists producing a cell in a controlled setting (in other words, designing one) only proves that the cell must have had a designer.
1:39-Hitchens advocates using the Socratic method, even if the answers we come to are uncomfortable. Well, considering the arguments for atheism are weak at best, and many atheists simply just reject God because they don’t want to be accountable, why not accept that God exists?
Below is the full debate as well as an excellent opening statement by Dinesh if you do not want to watch the whole thing. Enjoy.