Well, I'm sure regular readers of this blog can guess where I stand on that question, but let no one think that because the issue is raised in this blog that I somehow claim to have the final word, much less a proof of same. The reason I mention it is because I have been asked to moderate (whatever that entails, details are murky) the second phase of a symposium Apr. 19-20 sponsored by Fresno's New Covenant Church, the first phase of which is a free debate at CSU Fresno with the above as the resolution for discussion.

(Disclaimer: I am probably unworthy of this opportunity. The main reason I've been asked is that I happen to have some friends who are non-believers and active participants in this event, and who trust me to give them a fair shake. I'm going to try my best to give everyone a fair shake, and I hope that those who attend will comment on what transpires here. All comments and criticisms will be accepted and appreciated in the spirit given.)

Anyway, for more information on this event, which features the well-known Dinesh D'Sousa and Michael Schermer, please read my friend Mark's blog.


Ian said...

To me "does God exist?" is a trivial question. The question that people are really arguing about is "does God exist outside of human experiences of God?" And while that's an interesting question, it's about as answerable as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

Stan said...

D'Sousa v.s. Shermer... what a line up! Any chance of a transcript, or a tape, or a CD, or...?

Stan said...

ian said:
"To me "does God exist?" is a trivial question. The question that people are really arguing about is "does God exist outside of human experiences of God?"

I don't see that as the question. The existence of a deity is independent of what anyone thinks about him. If a deity exists, he might well also exist in other universes where there are no cogent beings to even recognize his existence(my own alternate theory of multiverses).

There is no reason that I can see to consider "human experiences of God" as the reality being addressed. In fact, human experiences of anything can easily be written off as hallucinations, no matter where you stand on the issue of the existence of a deity.

I suspect that Shermer will take a definite stand on the existence of God. He is a metaphysical Atheist of the most rigid kind.

Calladus said...


There will be a video, it will be available online free for downloading at some point. You'll be able to locate it from the CVAAS website when it becomes available.

Co-founder CVAAS

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Thanks for the comments, guys, especially Mark answering Stan's question. Since I'm just honored to serve, I'm unlikely to be able to tell you anything more about the event that can't be better gleaned either from Mark's blog or from the CVASS site.

Stan said...

Mark, Thanks for the reply. A download like that will keep these country phone lines nice and warm.

Ian said...

Stan said: The existence of a deity is independent of what anyone thinks about him.

That's an assumption, and you can't have a debate based on an assumption. You can debate the evidence behind that assumption, you can debate the interpretation of that evidence, but you can't debate an assumption.

You can talk about experiential evidence, but how do you separate your experience of God from the random firing of neurons? You can say that God is real because people are motivated to act by God...but putting a name to a motivator still doesn't say whether this motivator (which we call God) is something that exists outside of human experience or not.

Does God exist? Yes, by definition God exists, because we have experiences and actions we give that name to. That's a pretty short debate.

Does God exist outside of human experience? That's an interesting discussion, but I rather doubt it's one that it's possible to resolve by debate.

Stan said...

ian, I guess I see your point, but if that is all that exists, then it is not a deity, it is just as you say, random firing of neurons. Why would anyone debate that? We will see what it is that actually gets debated.

I still suspect that they, Shermer and D'Sousa, will discuss the existence of an external, universe creating, miracle creating deity, complete with omnipotence and all the other omni-stuff. And I think that Shermer will take your side, that actual living deity is just, as you say, an assumption based on stuff in the material brain. And d'Sousa will take the other side, which holds that the orderly universe indicates an omni-type deity.

Why do you say that by definition God exists? I seriously doubt that you will find anyone on either side that agrees with you there. On the Christian side, God is known through general and special revelation, not definition. On the Atheist side, there is no god, period. So why do you say that god exists by definition?

These are the things that make up a debate. And they do include the evidence requirements you write of, but they do not exclude the things you seem to believe to be excluded.

Maybe some more explanation from your side of the fence?