This article relates to an upcoming free "God debate" at Portland State University on April 9th at 7:30 pm. For details, see this link: http://tinyurl.com/l9s8lar . A Facebook event notice can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/l2df3pd .
The Christian in the debate is Phil Smith. Phil says there are a number of arguments for the existence of God, and that each one, by itself, isn't so persuasive. But when taken as a group, the arguments gain merit, because of the number of them. In other words, if you have a couple of apples in a big bucket, but have a lot of buckets, then you can end up with a heck of a lot of apples. In the same way, many weak arguments can add up to a heavy argument in total. This is known as "the cumulative case for the existence of God."
Bernie Dehler, the atheist in the debate, will be representing a worldview known as philosophical naturalism, or metaphysical naturalism. Bernie says that all the arguments for God are mostly a logical fallacy of the type called "the appeal to ignorance." The Christian will ask "How did life come from nonlife?" Since science doesn't yet have an answer, the Christian claims this is an argument for the existence of God. However, "not knowing" isn't evidence for anything, other than "not knowing." But that's one argument for God called the teleological argument.
Another question the Christian will ask is "Where did the big bang come from?" Since no one knows, they will claim it is another argument for God. However, it is just another logical fallacy of the type "appeal to ignorance." (For more info on "the appeal to ignorance," please see this link: http://tinyurl.com/yghrdx2 .) In this way, having a bunch of logical fallacies for an argument really does not make any argument any stronger. If you have one or a hundred logical fallacies, it really doesn't bolster your case in any way.
This debate/discussion is co-sponsored by the Center for Philosophical Naturalism, a group dedicated to educating the public about the naturalistic worldview and providing fellowship for such thinkers. To see other events sponsored by the Center for Philosophical Naturalism, click here: http://tinyurl.com/l5j52kc . They also have videos available on their free YouTube channel here: http://tinyurl.com/ltub9aa .
Note: The above video is a previous Dehler/Smith debate from back in May 2012.
For those interested in other non-religious social gatherings in the Portland-area, here are some other groups you might find of use:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl