Video: “Does God Exist?” Debate at Liberty University

Last Thursday, I debated Max Andrews at Liberty University on the question of whether or not God exists. I’ll probably have more commentary on the debate in coming weeks.

Check out the video below:

For a copy of my slides, click here.

21 Comments

  • April 3, 2013 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Why only one god. Why not many? I love how Christian automatically assume everyone believes in one god.

    • Dan Linford
      April 3, 2013 - 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Hehe, yes! Exactly. That’s one of the questions I posed at the beginning of my presentation. But I don’t think Max would have a response.

    • Iain Perkins
      April 8, 2013 - 5:56 am | Permalink

      Not dealing with many Gods is missed likely due to many Gods being an issue closer to the question of do Unicorns exist. This is a philosophical/ theological question to due with God, the abstract notion, not magical super creatures. Now I’m not suggesting that many Gods is not a question, but I am saying it’s an entirely different one.

      • Dan Linford
        April 8, 2013 - 11:32 am | Permalink

        Except that, to the atheist, the “many gods” issue and the “single God” issue are on a par; I really can’t see a difference between them, other than cultural prejudice.

        • Iain Perkins
          April 9, 2013 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

          This is largely because most Atheists don’t take God seriously, which is the only way many Gods and God can be conflated. Most ‘many Gods’ theologies tend to break down into an all-aspects-of-one-god concept, for example Hindu. Other many gods, such as Roman or Greek belief systems are primitive concepts not dealing with the concerns of proper theological debate. Unfortunately, Atheists (at one point myself included) tend to not discriminate.

          • Dan Linford
            April 9, 2013 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

            Well, that’s rather insulting, isn’t it? You’re commenting on the video of the debate I participating in on the topic of whether God exists and then claiming that I don’t take the concept of God seriously.

            I guess that my degree, the papers I’m writing, and this blog are all for nothing. Apparently, it’s all just a giant joke.

            Or maybe I take this way more seriously than you would like, but still don’t see why there should be a difference between monotheism and polytheism, other than that, historically, there was a push for theological sophistication in monotheism but not (in general) on polytheism. Though we could easily imagine that the Scholastics (for example) could have been polytheists instead of monotheists. In that case, polytheism would be theologically sophisticated and not monotheism.

  • April 5, 2013 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    God exists because human created it. How can humans deny their own creation. Just as we create a statue, painting, sculpture just we created god, gods since ancient days. But some weak minded think in a wrong way and worship their won creation

    • Dan Linford
      April 9, 2013 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Surely, you don’t mean for me to take this comment literally.

      But then I don’t understand what is that you’re saying.

  • April 6, 2013 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    For whatever reason (i’ve enabled JavaScript), i can’t watch the embedded video, so, in case anyone else has the same problem, the YouTube video is here.

  • Pingback: A Debate on God’s Existence at Liberty University

  • April 10, 2013 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Max conducts an interesting sleight of hand at the start of the Q&A: The existence of evil is evidence for the existence of God because the very notion of evil requires objective morality, which is presumed to require God. This conflates the state of things, which is what seemed to me to be at stake originally, with a specific interpretation of one word used to describe it; it then begs the question, since we presumably have no basis upon which to declare that evil exists in the first place except that provided by objective morality (i.e. God); and then ignores the baseline against which we are supposed to weigh this evidence to determine how it favors the existence (versus the nonexistence) of God. (It is nil, at best, since Dan’s worldview was completely compatible with the existence of evil.) In particular, Dan, congrats on making the distinction between “evil” and “capricious suffering”. That was delightful.

    Still, the distinction, like a lot of things argued by both you and Max, could have been made more accessible to the audience. Even as a grad student with plenty of reading in philosophy behind me, i had to pay close attention to see where you both were going. The terminology was frequently esoteric, and almost felt obfuscatory at times. I’d put most of my energy there in the future, since i get the impression that you won’t need to brush up much on the points themselves. :)

  • April 10, 2013 - 9:49 pm | Permalink

    And, for the love of God and if you have the power, please turn those awful smiley faces off….

  • otto oberman
    April 24, 2013 - 11:55 pm | Permalink

    The blonde girl was doing her best William Lane Craig impression… Sad that blond jokes are sometimes accurate… ditz!

  • May 8, 2013 - 1:28 am | Permalink

    Dan,

    Do you seriously think that I “wouldn’t be able” to answer the question about “why not many gods?” I find it quite interesting that you actually make that argument and think I wouldn’t have a response…

    http://sententias.org/2012/05/04/occams-razor-and-the-cosmological-argument/

    • Dan Linford
      May 8, 2013 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      I find it interesting that you took it upon yourself to mention this only now, quite a while after the debate. You certainly didn’t provide an answer to that question during the debate, nor do I think the kind of Occam’s Razor reply you’ve just linked to actually works.

      • June 9, 2013 - 10:25 am | Permalink

        I don’t follow your blog. Your stats are pretty low in traffic and alexa rankings. This venue isn’t a priority since not much goes on here. So, I don’t know what my timeframe of response has anything to do with it nor did you actually respond to anything in the argument. I guess that’s what I should expect after these last two debates…

        • June 9, 2013 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

          I assume that you are responding as Max. I find it absolutely incredible that you are even asking for a response to your arguments when, during the debate, you all but ignored every argument that I gave. I don’t see why I should take time out of my day to break down why all of the various things which go on at your blog fail. Frankly, that bores me.

  • November 9, 2013 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Dan, fellow atheist here.

    I think you kinda blew it in that debate especially during the cross examination part when Andrews asked you a bunch of questions. You have to be ready for the most common arguments and be prepared to refute them. so in a way you are there in the debate to show how the theist’s arguments are fallacious. You should have done your research on them, there are plenty of good counter arguments to these arguments.

    Sorry to say I’m disappointed.

    • Dan Linford
      November 9, 2013 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Sorry that I disappointed you! However:

      1. I did a tremendous amount of preparation. And I know the arguments well; surf around my site a little bit and I’m sure that you’ll see that.

      2. I think that I gave a more than adequate response to each of his questions. Is there some particular question that you think I blew it on?

      • November 11, 2013 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

        I’m just worried about those who represent atheism/naturalism publicly like you.

        1. If you are debating formally you should have your responses prepared on cards or memorized for those 4 arguments that theists almost always use (cosmological, fine-tuning, moral and ontological.) Whenever you debate a theist you’re almost always going to hear those arguments, so you must be prepared to answer them – just in case. You chose to dodge them and I think it made the audience think that atheists can’t answer these question. So if you have responses, great! Just have them memorized or summarized as best you can for a debate and USE THEM please.

        2. Well on morality, you could have pressed him hard on divine command theory, which is full of problems. For example, when he asked you if torturing people for fun is wrong, you could have asked him if it would be right – IF – god commanded it. And then you can mention god commands slavery, genocide, and and a host of other things. (You must also know the appropriate bible passages) Or you could have asked him WHY those things are wrong and if he points to the pain/suffering they cause then they’re wrong regardless if god exists.

        Also you could have put him in the hot seat by asking him if it is objectively right or wrong to kill homosexuals. The bible says its ok (Lev 20:13) and so you’d be forcing him to admit that it is ok because god says it. If he dodges and says its wrong, you can then call him out on it for avoiding the consequences of his own divine command theory, or even better you can pin him down on the Euthyphro Dilemma, in that killing homosexuals, adulterers, witches etc, would be right IF god commanded it – meaning morality would indeed be determined by god’s arbitrary commands. (Hint: there is no third option out of the ED, you should know a little ethics to call him out on that)

        Plus, FYI, The kalam cosmological argument (which Andrews didn’t technically use in the debate but still) undermines the moral argument by undermining free will; the ontological argument undermines the moral argument by assuming that there’s an objective standard of maximal greatness that exists independently of god, and the moral argument undermines the ontological argument by making it circular, in that god would turn out to be the standard by which god is being determined by. The cosmological contingency argument presupposes the principle of sufficient reason, which you could have called him out on. For example, you could have challenged him to logically prove there are no brute facts, which no one can do without presupposing the principle of sufficient reason.

        You could have pointed out some of these things and it really would have damaged Andrews because he’s a really weak debater – he has no presence and debates like a scared little geek who sits in the back of the class.

        Well that’s just what I can think of on the top of my head. I’m just trying to help you win. You can use my blog for other counter arguments if you are in need of them.Start here: http://www.atheismandthecity.com/p/blog-page.html

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