Does God Exist? Debate Summary of William Lane Craig vs. Klemens Kappel

Summary of Craig’s and Kappel‘s opening speeches and their first rebuttals.

There were more than 600 people(majority of them were theist of 15-30 years) present at the debate. Those who came late could not get in. Yesterday’s debate was at Indre Mission, Rømersgade 17, 1362 Copenhagen K from 19:00 – 22:00.

I would describe Kappel as a friendly atheist who is definitely not a new atheist. He did not offer any ad hominen or ridicules. He was honest and had a typical Danish humor.

Craig opened the debate by offering Leibnizian cosmological argument, Teleological argument, Kalam cosmological argument and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Kappel opened by defining God, atheism, and atheist. Atheism, Kappel said, is the view that God does not exit. An atheist is a person who believes that God does not exit. (Sorry I was not quick to write his definition of God: the debate will be available in YouTube for free soon)

Kappel admitted that it is not easy to come up with evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist. People don’t believe God exist because of the same reason they don’t believe Thor (Danish god) exist. The reason some believe in God is because they are born in environment that believes in God.(Comment: Genetic Fallacy)

Kappel’s reasons for not believing in God is that we ought to treat God Hypothesis as an alternative hypothesis to much of what we take for ourselves to know from science and common sense about the would.

We are entitled, said Kappel, to ignore such alternative hypotheses as the God Hypothesis and the purported evidence that support it. (Comment: He did not give reasons why)

Kappel said “you cannot prove that God exist or God doesn’t exit”. We can just treat “God Hypothesis” as “Thor Hypothesis” because the supporting evidence is weak. He offered a Magical Mythological star that doesn’t exist, The Magical explanatory star and ontological Necessary star that leave no physical trace, not subject to physical laws of nature and no evidence as illustrations.

We should not take them[the Hypotheses] seriously because the standard and methods of science determine what exists in the world and what doesn’t. We should give special priority to empirical observation.

Craig’s rebuttal: Kappel did not give justification for holding his position. Craig pointed out the genetic fallacy and show that giving the “star” attributes of God just doesn’t work. Craig added the Moral argument.

Kappel’s rebuttal: “What is the aim of this debated” wondered Kappel, since the Danish’s norm is that religious beliefs are private. “Why is it important to prove God?” He continued to wonder. “It is not important to their[Danish] lives”.

Kappel continued, “We know God does not exit”. We don’t have to prove that God doesn’t exist. He then admitted. “ I have not presented any argument that God does not exit”. Kappel said “ [Craig’s arguments] are fine arguments but all the premises are controversial. He said some think moral values are objective, but some think they are not. Even though things in the universe has explanation of their existence, it’s still in dispute whether the universe itself has an explanation (Comment: Taxicab fallacy)

It was interesting debate, though I hoped Kappel would have dealt with Craig’s argument. I will let you know when the debate is available on YouTube.

[Update: Its now available Copenhagen’s Debate ]

My best friend Pierce Peter has also reviewed the debate in his blog: FactorySense

You Better Run Prof. Richard Dawkins

A popular new atheist, Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, refused to stand trial, to debate  defending the truthfulness of his own book at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre on Tuesday 26th October, with one of the best and leading Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig.

Richard Dawkins

Prof. Dawkins maintained his head in the rabbit hole, saying :

“I have no intention of assisting Craig in his relentless drive for self-promotion”

Is this true? Craig has debated with the best thinkers including late Antony Flew, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Lewis Wolpert, A.C. Grayling, Bart Ehrman, Paul Kurtz, Walter Sinnott Armstrong, Victor Stegner, Lawrence Krauss, among the few. How then is Dawkins thinking Craig is driven for self-promotion?

I think the reason behind Prof. Dawkins’s refusal to debate with Craig, is the truth of  Sam Harris’ saying in his opening speech , 7th April 2011 “Is the Foundation of Morality Natural or Supernatural? or Does Good Come from God?” debate with William Lane Craig:

[William Lane Craig is]“the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”

The Telegraph headline, by Tim Ross, reads Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God: Ross, Telegraph’s religious affairs editor writes:

William Lane Craig

Some of Prof Dawkins’s contemporaries are not impressed. Dr Daniel Came, a philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist, from Worcester College, Oxford, wrote to him urging him to reconsider his refusal to debate the existence of God with Prof Craig.

In a letter to Prof Dawkins, Dr Came said: “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.

“I notice that, by contrast, you are happy to discuss theological matters with television and radio presenters and other intellectual heavyweights like Pastor Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Keenan Roberts of the Colorado Hell House.”

Is Richard Dawkins ,one of Sam Harris’ fellow atheists who Craig seems to have put the fear of God into? I wonder, I wonder.

Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part II

Edited: Matthew Flannagan

In my last post, Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I, I sketched Tooley’s distinction between a deontological and an axiological argument from evil and argued that Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on controversial ethical claims that are likely to be rejected by many theists. I outlined Tooley’s deontological version and explored the moral assumptions it is based on and Plantinga’s criticism of these.

Continue reading

Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I

Edited: Matthew Flannagan

This two-part series criticises the deontological argument from evil proposed by Micheal Tooley in The Knowledge of God, the print debate between him and Alvin Plantinga.1 My critique proceeds in four parts. Initially I will sketch Tooley’s distinction between a deontological and an axiological argument from evil and will argue that Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on “controversial ethical claims;”2 claims that are “likely to be rejected by many theists.”3 Then I will outline Tooley’s deontological version and focus on the moral assumptions upon which it is based and Plantinga’s criticism of these. This will conclude Part I of the series. Continue reading