The timeless debate about the existence of God was carried out at Kamloops Convention Centre on Friday night with a respectfully heated back-and-forth befitting a political dustup in the House of Commons.
At one point during the rebuttal period, activist and free thought humanist Christopher DiCarlo, a proponent for atheism, even referred to non-believers as the official opposition to those who do.
“Atheism is basically the opposition party. You make the claims; we can demonstrate why your claims are not to be accepted. We don’t necessarily have to prove our point,” said DiCario.
About 300 people turned out to hear the opposition party, which was comprised of DiCario and former fundamentalist Christian Matt Dillahunty, verbally duke it out with University of Toronto philosopher Michael Horner and Paul Chamberlain, the director of the Institute for Christian Apologetics.
Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger moderated the debate, giving each side 20 minutes to state its case before moving into rebuttals and cross-examinations.
Going in, the believers and non-believers admitted the debate would not be won on this night. And they covered traditional arguments on the creation of the universe and burden of proof, or lack thereof, about such an entity’s existence.
Chamberlain said the universe is proof enough that God exists, adding there’s no way gravity could have developed in such a way to allow life without the guidance of a sentient, all-powerful being’s hand.
“If left to chance, the universe would be life prohibitive,” he said.
DiCario disagreed. He said science has found evidence of multiple universes, suggesting that several might exist side by side or fate tried several times to get it right.
Dillahunty said the human mind clings to concepts like God in order to explain things that haven’t been explained. He believes this is a huge problem because it allows people to overestimate their intellect.
“Magicians and con artists, like psychics, make a living on this,” he said, likening them to God.
Horner countered, saying evidence of God is everywhere as long as people have an open heart and open mind.