Dr. Craig believes in the God of the Gaps. That's the God who is used as a substitute explanation for something we do not understand until the time comes that we do.
Dr. Craig cannot see how the universe came about naturally, so it must have come about supernaturally. He cannot see how the universe became orderly by natural processes, so order must have come about by supernatural processes. He cannot see how objective morality came from humanity, so it must have come from God. He cannot see how Jesus's tomb could have been empty, so he must have risen from the dead. And, finally, Dr, Craig cannot see how his inner experience of God could be a simple physical brain process, so it must be a true experience of God.
In each of these cases we can give a plausible natural explanation that violates no known principles of science and requires no divine actions. Dr. Craig does not succeed in proving these natural explanations wrong, and so he does not succeed in proving that God exists.
Even if the goal of the debate were not proof but simply arguing to the better explanation, Dr. Craig fails. Secular humanism or materialism is a better explanation than theism or supernaturalism. It is simpler and more consitent with emprical observcations. In fact, Dr. Craig offers no explanations at all. It's not an explanation for the origin or the order of the universe to say "God did it." How did God do it? Dr. Craig cannot say.
I have shown that a God with the attributes assumed for him by traditional theism can be proved not to exist, beyond a shadow of a doubt. These properties are incompatible with each other and inconsistent with what we see in the world. In particular,
1) A God who is all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing is inconsistent with the fact of unnecessary evil and suffering in the world and so, beyond any doubt, does not exist.
2) A God who reveals knowledge about the universe that was not previously known but could be empirically verified does not exist.
3) A God who answers prayers and performs miracles that can be objectively verified does not exist.
I readily admit that I cannot disprove every conceivable God. But there's no basis for believing in a God who doesn't possess objectively verifiable attributes.
I am sure I have not convinced many of the believers in the audience. You will testify, as does Dr, Craig, that you can feel the presence of God in your hearts. I'm sure you do. I understand your conviction. I was raised in a devout Catholic family and heard this conviction expressed by almost everyone around me. But as I grew up, I found that I could not share this faith. Despite the importance of religion to my family and friends, I could not believe in God because I saw no evidence that he existed.
No one told me about humanism. I read no humanist books. I just found that the arguments and evidence that everyone cited to me were unconvincing. Not knowing "how all this came about" didn't mean it came from God. It just meant that we didn't know how all this came about. And, sincere, personal testimonies of deeply held faith were not the sort of objective evidence that we rely on in modern life. Indeed, I saw so many conflicting religious points of view, all based on primitive, superstitious ideas, that I knew they couldn't all be right. I decided that, most likely, they were all wrong.
Most scientists share my view. Are we being too skeptical? Are we being dogmatically unwilling to entertain the possibility of a personal creator God? I don't think so. There are many examples in the history of science that demonstrate its willingness to accept ideas that challenge conventional wisdom--when the data require it. In the early twentieth century, the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics revolutionized some of our most basic concepts about the nature of reality.
Most scientists would be thrilled if evidence were found for previously undetected, immaterial substances and forces. Think of all the funding opportunities that would open up! I would come out of retirement. But even if that were to happen, I doubt that the new world being uncovered would bear any resemblance to the fantasies from the childhood of humanity that constitute traditional religious belief.
People like what they see when they look in the mirror illuminated by the light of faith. It reflects an image of themselves as fallen angels, set on this planet with the divine purpose of rehabilitating themselves so they may rejoin their fellow angels in paradise. Unfortunately, the universe exposed by the light of science does not reveal a special place for humanity in the cosmos or any prospect for life after death. I would not be honest if I tried to sugarcoat these facts, just because they conflict so dramatically with common yearnings.
St. Paul said,
When I was a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly. (1 Corinthians 13, 11-12, King James Version).
Humanity has moved beyond
childhood. We no longer need to depend on imaginary friends for company or a
mythical sky-father to provide for our needs. We can take care of ourselves. We
can find ways to live our lives that are consistent with the universe revealed
to us by reason and science.
While believers must struggle under a constant burden of guilt--because they can never live up to their cosmic status as fallen angels--nonbelievers can take pride in their achievements and those of the rest of our species. The great works of art, literature, and science are the result of our own efforts, not something inspired from another realm. Ideas such as democracy and liberty are human ideas, not God's. The are found no place in scriptures. Our individual fates and the future of humankind are not already written, in either the laws of nature or the mind of God. These fates are in our hands. These hands, along with the mighty potential that has evolved within our purely material brains, provide all the power we need to continue the upward advance of the human race.
The universe is not populated by mysterious forces, beyond our comprehension, that control our lives and destinies for some unseen purpose. Rather, humanity is in control and defines its own purpose.
Finally, if an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God existed, he would have the power to comfort a child dying an excruciating death from leukemia. He chooses not to do so. Is there a person in this room who would not ease that child's suffering, given the power? I would do it! Jesus Christ could appear before me to tell me not to, but still, I would do it! Even if I faced eternal damnation, I would do it!