Commentary on a debate between a believer
and an atheist titled: Does God exist?
A. Muhammad

Ref: "Does God exist?"
A debate between William Lane Craig (Believer) and Christopher Hitchens (Atheist), Biola University, California, USA - 4th April 2009
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tYm41hb48o

This paper is written as a commentary on the mentioned debate and specifically in reply to a number of claims made by Mr. Christopher Hitchens during the debate.
The reader can watch the debate on the link above so as to be acquainted with the arguments and counter arguments in this paper.
Before addressing the various claims, it must be said that Mr. Hitchens is indeed a master orator and can be very convincing to many viewers. Many may well be impressed by his debating skills. However, it is hoped that the more analytical may assess his rhetoric by means of the validity of its content and not by means of the eloquence it is delivered in.

1-
In his opening 20-minute presentation, Mr. Hitchens said:
"We are not designed as creatures, but we evolved by a combination of Random Mutation and Natural Selection into the species we are today."
Before commenting on this statement, it is necessary to point out that even if we were to endorse the view that the human being was subject to evolution throughout his history, this should not in any way negate the fact that the human body, with all its complex bodily functions, is indeed structured upon a very meticulous design.
Perhaps the incentive behind the statement "We are not designed as creatures" was to avoid the logical conclusion that whenever there is a design, there must be a designer?

2-
Let us for a moment consider various objects such as: a computer, a wristwatch, a TV set, a mobile phone, a CD Player, a motor car, and so on.
Considering that the earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, which is considered by the Evolutionists to be ample time for Random Mutation and Natural Selection to produce a creature as complex as the human being, the question that begs an answer is:

Why has Random Mutation and Natural Selection, throughout the 4.5 billion years, on their own and without human assistance/intelligence, never produced less complex items such as a computer, a wristwatch or a TV set? If all that is needed is a long enough stretch of time, then Random Mutation and Natural Selection is able to produce any object/creature randomly, then why have none of these relatively simple items (compared to the human body) never sprung into existence by random?

One reply that has been offered by some Evolutionists is that such objects did not spring into existence previously because there was never a need for them.
This reply does not stack up simply because the processes of Random Mutation and Natural Selection state that mutation happens by random and not because of need.

As for the issue of 'need', a legitimate question would be:
Before the creation of the human being, who exactly or what had a need for a human being?
The inevitable answer to the above question is that none of these objects (computer, etc) sprung into existence on their own because there was no intelligent designer who came along, decided that there was a 'need' for such objects, then proceeded to produce them according to an intelligent design.
If random was the sole force, then all such items should have also sprung into existence without the need for an intelligent designer.

Other Evolutionists who deny creation reply to the same question by stating that
Random Mutation and Natural Selection come into action only in connection with living creatures and not with non-living objects (computer, TV, etc). If that is the case, then they need to explain how did inanimate objects, such as mountains for example, come into existence?

Natural Selection (NS) is the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.
Can it be said that mountains were better adapted to their environment and thus they survived and produced offspring?
Or did such inanimate objects come into existence through other forces than Natural Selection and Random Mutation?

3-
As mentioned, Natural Selection (NS) is the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.
Natural Selection may therefore justify evolution; however, it does not answer the question of where has the original organisms come from (before they produced offspring).
The premise of having organisms better adapted surviving and producing offspring implies the prior existence of such organisms.
What brought them into existence in the first place? Random Mutation and Natural Selection may justify evolution, but they do not answer the question of the initial creation.

4-
The claim that Random Mutation and Natural Selection were responsible for producing the highly complex human being whom we are today raises another question:
Why has these same two forces not continued this evolution and betterment so that in time a human being would have evolved who does not have defects, and ultimately, who does not die? Why were these two forces not able to better the human being so that none of his body organs age with time and become dysfunctional?
Surely the process of Random Mutation should have got there in time and produced a faultless human being who is, if not immortal, then at least faultless? After all, the concept of random and probability states that, given sufficient time, all results are achievable!
What about illnesses that have accompanied the human being for hundreds and even thousands of years, why do they still exist?
Why has Natural Selection stood still and unable to produce a better offspring?
Clearly, there are limitations on what Random Mutation and Natural Selection can do, and what they cannot do? Who is responsible for placing these limitations that cannot be overridden?

The answer of course is that the existence of the highly complex human being is based on a specific design that incorporates a number of deliberate inherent limitations. These limitations, programmed into the DNA of the human being and every living creature, can never be revoked. New drugs may save some from some illnesses and teeth implants may replace rotten ones, but Natural Selection will never overcome the design limitations.
Alterations in an existing model should be, after all, of a simpler nature than the process of bringing the model into existence. Nevertheless, Random Mutation and Natural Selection stand powerless in the face of the mentioned preset limitations. Ultimately, who has set these limitations that cannot be overstepped?

5- Mr. Hitchens goes on after that to present a number of accusations against the validity of the Biblical text from a scientific perspective. He refers to how the Bible got it wrong about cosmology, the age of the universe and other matters.
None of these arguments merit a reply in this paper since this paper is only concerned with the subject of the debate: Does God exist? This paper is not concerned with the defence of the Biblical content.

6-
Like all atheists, Mr. Hitchens endorses evolution and rejects creation.
The question that Mr. Hitchens, as well as all atheists, are never able to answer is:
How can anything evolve unless it is first created?
In replying, most atheists state that the physical matter in the universe was not created, but that it had always existed. In other words, they state that the past is infinite. By giving such an answer, they believe that they by-passed the issue of creation.
Unfortunately for them, modern scientific knowledge has confirmed, with concrete scientific evidence, that the universe had a definite beginning in what is called the Big Bang. The Big Bang theory states that some 13.7 billion years ago all physical matter, space and time, came into existence from an infinitely small singularity, and that nothing existed before this singularity.
The event of the Big Bang is not a mere interpretation or hypothesis. It has been confirmed primarily by means of the following:

1- The discovery of the expanding universe in the 1920's meant that if we were to go back in time the universe would progressively get smaller and smaller, until such a time when it would have been infinitely small.
2- The discovery of the background radiation in 1965 by two American astronomers, then later by COBE (Cosmic background explorer satellite) proved beyond any doubt the validity of the event of the Big Bang.

The suggestion of an infinite past where everything always existed is no longer a scientific option. This theory, called the 'Static Universe' theory was the accepted theory in the earlier and middle centuries but was totally dismantled by the mentioned cosmological discoveries, starting with Edwin Hubble's discoveries in the 1920's.

Some Evolutionists do not deny the Big Bang; however, they consider it a chain in a cycle of numerous parallel universes coming into being then dying out. They think this has left them off the hook, but in reality, this suggestion only deviates the issue and not resolve it since the same question remains, which is: How did the very first universe in the cycle come into being?

Ultimately, the question of how anything can evolve unless it is first created remains a valid question that has never been answered by Evolutionists.
It must be said here that both Evolutionists and Creationists got it wrong when they proclaimed that they were right and the other camp to be wrong.
In reality, they are both right. Creation and Evolution both exist, and not one or the other.
All matter was created, then after its creation it went through countless processes of evolution.

7-
Mr. Hitchens then proceeds with his arguments and poses the following question:
"If there is a Supreme Designer, why does so much in the universe go to waste? On a human level, why do our teeth rot and fall out? Why are we born with an appendix that we do not need?"
Mr. Hitchens goes on to mention the numerous disasters that happen to the human being from birth until his death. By referring to disasters such as famine, war, sickness and natural disasters, he deduces that if there was a Creator, then he is a very cruel, capricious and an incompetent one.
By saying that, and without realising it, Mr. Hitchens was in fact digging holes in his own claim that Random Mutation and Natural Selection are the forces responsible for all that is around us. (For the details of this matter, please see point 4 above).
By employing the subject of adversity and disasters to imply incompetence may be a justified interpretation on the surface, however, this interpretation totally dismisses an alternative valid explanation for the natural disasters that happen in the world.

Disasters that befall man are two types:
1- Disasters caused by man himself, such as wars, famines (when there is so much food), violence, crime and so on.
2- Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, disease and so on.
All disasters (type 1) which are brought about by man on himself are man's own fault, and so they lie outside the question of a Creator's incompetence.
Natural disasters may seem incompetence to some, and thus a reason to deny the existence of a Creator. However, if these disasters are a deliberate component of the design of the Creator, then the question of incompetence would no longer be applicable.
The existence of natural disasters, and the question of why things happen in ways that we cannot justify is a matter that lies outside the subject of "Is there a God?". These questions have their rational answers that are closely connected to other questions, such as: Why we are here? What is expected of us during our life on earth?
The issues that some see as defects in the creation are only defects by their own assessment. Their assessment invariably fails to consider the bigger picture.

Suffice to say that the second interpretation presented above (deliberate component of the design) negates the claim that disasters automatically mean incompetence and therefore no Creator.

8-
If we leave aside the bigger picture behind the creation of the universe and all that is in it, and instead look at our own human level, many examples can be cited that demonstrate that deliberate defects in a produced item are not necessarily the result of incompetence, nor can it be used to deduce that there was no designer behind the item produced.

Producers of various items, such as computers, mobile phones, etc. will often produce a model that deliberately has one or two defects. They do so with the clear intention that in a couple of years they will produce a newer model that eliminates such defects. The newer model will still have other defects of its own which in turn would again be eliminated in future models. Through such deliberate tactics, the producers of such items can achieve continuous sales for future years.

Can we use this example to claim that the defects in such computers and mobile phones are a sign of incompetence, and therefore these defects also prove that there was no designer who produced such items? And if there was no intelligent designer behind the production of such items, can we then add that the computer on my desk and the mobile phone in my pocket merely existed through
Random Mutation and Natural Selection?

The reader is naturally requested to exercise discretion in differentiating between the motives behind the intentional defects of a producer of a mobile phone, and the intentional depreciation and waste incorporated in the creation of the Designer and Creator of the Universe and all that is in it.
The above example of intentional defects in the production of a consumer product (e.g. mobile phone) was only cited to prove the point that the existence of defects don't necessarily negate the existence of a designer and creator of the item.

9-
Much of the effort that follows from Mr. Hitchens is concerned primarily with attacks on Christianity rather than addressing the question of the debate which is "Does God exist"?
As a result, none of these attacks merit a reply here since they are a deviation from the question of the debate.

10-
Mr. Hitchens lack of convincing scientific arguments finds him again and again deviating from the subject of the debate, which is: Does God exist? He starts speaking of morality and says that no one can prove that a believer in a god has a better or more recommendable moral code than one who is an atheist. He challenges:
"Can you name for me an ethical/moral action, or an ethical/moral statement said or done by a believer that I couldn't state or do?"
He continues to state that a person of faith does not have a moral advantage over an atheist.
He then states that the opposite is true, that the most hideous immoral acts are done in the name of religion, such as genital mutilation and suicide bombing.
Besides the fact that such acts are a product of human ignorance, and a result of deliberate manipulations of the Scriptures, it can be said yet again that such arguments are a deviation from the question of the debate. Surely, the question of God's existence is totally independent of the fact that some people take part in such hideous acts in the name of religion.
It becomes clear at this stage that Mr Hitchens resorts to such references in a clear attempt to incite the audience against religion and those who call themselves religious.
The wiser listener in the audience would have been aware that the question of the existence of God cannot be decided by referring to immoral acts done by some human beings, albeit in the name of religion.

11-
Mr. Hitchens, increasingly becoming detached from the subject of the debate, continues in his attempts to alienate the audience from the subject of religion. This time he does so by posing the question of free will. He claims that if one follows certain religions, and he quotes Islam, that one would have no free will, for it is only "As Allah wishes," while as if one is an atheist, one can have free will and do as one pleases! For obvious reasons, he never mentioned that free will can also lead to anarchy and immorality.
Nothing really to say in reply to such tactics that once again stem from an ignorance of the message of the Scriptures, be it the Quran or the Bible.
Once again, the subject of this paper is only if God exists and not a defence of any one religion or another. It was only necessary to mention the above to demonstrate the tactics employed by Mr. Hitchens to distract the audience from the subject of the debate.

12-
At one stage, Mr. Hitchens, probably realising that his flogging of the same subject of religion has gone a bit overboard, says:
"This is not, strictly speaking, the subject of our debate this evening, I know!"
This prompts the question of why did he indulge in such distractions if he knew that they are not the subject of the debate? There can only be one answer: it is to seek the audience's resentment of religion, knowing that if he succeeds in doing so, a natural outcome would be for the audience to reject the idea of 'a god', the source of religion.

13-
Mr. Hitchens speaks of the ultimate fate of the universe and all who are in it, that all are destined to be annihilated when all stars are extinguished and whatever life on the planets revolving around them will be exterminated. He adds that if there was a god then all the universe is created in vain and without any purpose.
The short-sightedness of this line of thought, which is promoted by atheists, is that it is based on the belief that this life on earth is the only life there is. If that was the case, then indeed, the creation of the universe would be futile and in vain. In contrast, the believers in God, whatever religion they follow, believe that the human is more than flesh and blood, and that there is a spirit/soul that resides within the physical body. This soul does not die when the physical body dies but continues to God's Kingdom. As a result, the annihilation of the physical universe is not the end of the road, it is merely an end of a stage.

14-
In the closing stages of the debate, Mr. Hitchens goes on again about how all religions of the world are man-made and are false. He states that because all religions are man-made there are so many religions in the world.
"Religion is the outcome of unresolved contradictions in the material world."
He also adds that because religions are man-made, they have all been such a disappointment to all of us!
These attempts once again aim to seek the antagonism of the audience against religion, while dodging the subject of the debate. The objective is clearly to influence the audience in the hope that the resentment of religion will lead the audience to also reject the existence of God.

It can also be said that by making such claims, Mr. Hitchens has failed to distinguish between two issues:
1- The application of a religion by its followers.
2- The law contained in the Scripture.

The application of any religion is influenced by culture, tradition and human innovation, and therefore is ever changing and subjective.
As for the law contained in the Scripture, it is not linked to any one culture or traditions. The moral code and law of God contained in the Scriptures is therefore absolute and objective.

CONCLUSION

The outcome that can be derived from the contribution of Mr. Hitchens to the debate is that his arguments were notably deficient of scientific merit. His arguments were mostly subjective and suggestive rather than being intellectually and scientifically conclusive.

A critical analysis of his arguments exposes his deliberate tactics to promote antagonism against religion by referring to the minorities who abuse religion and commit all kinds of crimes and atrocities in the name of religion. This tactic of deliberately promoting antagonism against 'religion' was clearly intended to lead the listeners to ultimately reject the idea of 'a god'.