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Ep. 282 Scoring the Debate Over God Between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens, Part 1

In 2009 the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig debated Christopher Hitchens on the existence of God. In this episode Bob evaluates the 20-minute opening statement from Craig.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Tyler Folger on 07/24/2023 at 1:17 PM

    In response to the comment that atheists are incapable of seeing the evidence for god all around them, I see this tendency a lot among close-minded skeptics – not just atheists, but defenders of various scientific orthodoxies as well. I’ve noticed A LOT that they’ll say things like “there’s no evidence for x,” when actually there’s lots of evidence for x; they just decided the evidence wasn’t conclusive. I think what happens is that they look at one piece of evidence at a time, and if that 1 piece of evidence does not conclusively prove the claim they’re resisting, in their mind, they’ve debunked it and can set aside. They completely lose sight of the totality of the evidence.

    So for normal people, if you identify a suspect who has means, motive, and opportunity, we would say there’s strong evidence against them. But the pseudo-skeptic says “just because a person has the means, doesn’t mean they did it! And just because they have a motive doesn’t mean they did it! And just because they had the opportunity, doesn’t mean they did it! So as you can see, I’ve shown you have 0 evidence against this person!”

    • Dave H on 07/25/2023 at 8:19 PM

      “There’s no evidence for x” is almost always shorthand for “there’s no GOOD evidence for x.” By engaging in semantics like you are, you are evading the actual point.

      Is a book written about Harry Potter or Jesus evidence for the idea that Harry Potter or Jesus is real? Well, kinda. But is it GOOD evidence? No.

      • Tyler Folger on 08/18/2023 at 2:12 PM

        Why is it important whether the evidence is “good” or “bad?” It all goes onto the pile regardless of how much explanatory work any particular piece of evidence does. Taken individually, means, motive, and opportunity are not especially “good” evidence either, but it’s the pile of evidence that matters. If you dismiss each individual piece, because it’s small, you’re going to miss the entire puzzle. It’s true that the more evidence your case requires, the more points of failure there are, but that’s no reason to throw out the whole enterprise. Taking your example of a book written about Jesus. It may not be “good” evidence, but it’s something, and there’s no real risk that it’s not true so it deserves to be added to the pile.

        • Dave H on 09/05/2023 at 1:21 PM

          That is absolutely not how it works and I hope you never get jury duty. Prosecutors regularly bring in piles and piles of garbage evidence in the hopes that somebody somehow thinks that the more there is, the more likely guilt must be. And this is why thousands of innocents rot in prison.

          Bad evidence does not go onto the pile at all. 100 pieces of bad evidence do not equal 1 good piece of evidence.

  2. Dave H on 07/25/2023 at 8:23 PM

    While Hitchens rarely came prepared for a debate, his tactic of re-framing the “default stance” always seemed to catch Christian apologists off guard. For thousands of years, theism has been considered the default simply out of tradition and nothing else. Then along comes Hitchens who says “Uhh no. The default is atheism because none of this stuff is self-evident. I don’t have to prove anything. YOU prove all this nonsense.” He was definitely weak when somebody came back with some particular argument or other because he never bothered to study any of those arguments, but usually that first blow was big enough, and witty enough, to carry the debate.

    Somebody like George Smith as you mentioned would have been a better option for a more intellectual debate, but then we wouldn’t have that classic Hitchens mic drop moment.

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