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