Then again, this, is kind of sad. Christopher Hitchens, it seems to me, is not on top of his game in this video (see below). He is also playing by the rules of this debate, which is good, but really, it evades fully understanding the topic.
Watch the video, then think if the logic presented external to the video subject, makes full sense to you. That, is only partially important here, but it full irritating in its lack of clarity of logic.
In the video one Dr. Craig says that both the theist and the atheist share a burden of proof, as they both hold claims about reality which needs justification (i.e., God does/does not exist).
Mr. Hitchens says the atheist bears no burden of proof (it's ALL on the theist), because atheism is merely a lack of belief in God... but it's also distinct from agnosticism! Right, well.... let's back up a bit.
First, about the debate itself. It's a prime example of a condition regarding this debate, that is really so very much misunderstood. I'll give you an example in an entirely unrelated area.
In Full Contact Martial Arts, such as the UFC, which many may know of because of their show "he Ultimate Fighter", which did a lot to bring this form of Martial Art Tournament fighting to the public attention. These guys (mixed Martial Arts fighters in general) are incredible athletes and have my respect for their sacrifices, sportsmanship and abilities. Let's face it, they are tough guys.
However, although on the street or in a bar fight, they would typically be the guys to bet on most of the times, just because a guy is a champion in this type of ring or cage fight, it has little or no bearing on his being a champion on the street. This is something people haven't understood for as long as I can remember, even predating full contact mixed Martial Arts. You see, a true, professional martial artist in the oldest and truest sense of the word, in theory, could drop a UFC fighter pretty readily.
That being said, that same martial artist, if put in that champion's ring, with those rules and those limitations, could very well encounter extreme frustration and in the end, lose to that "champion". He is after all, a Champion in that ring, cage, or universe, if you will. But we have to consider, just what is he a "Champion", of?
This is something I experienced rather clearly myself in fighting tournaments when I was younger and it was quite frustrating to me, and my fellow style of Martial Artists that came to a head at one tournament in Tacoma. I won't bother here to explain why. But at that one tournament, after several of them going by and our style getting pretty much beat down, our heavy weight put the other style who were the big winners at that time, in the hospital. Three rapid punches to the body did it.
Some of us felt it was because our style had finally had enough of the constant humiliation in comments and lack of successful tournaments, which are the bread and butter of a martial art style or dojo (school) back through history. What we heard from the other leading style was that our style was lame and weak (typical comments) and theirs was the better style (this has been going on for a thousand years in East Asia). But in reality, their style was gross (in movements) and based bludgeoning in techniques, great for tournaments but not on the street.Where our style was elegant, specific and focused.
What happened was that this new style had been (rightly) designed toward tournament fighting. Our style was old and designed toward a specific purpose of killing Samurai, in full armor and gear, by little Okinawan farmers. But in a tournament, we were severely handicapped, while the other style, was pretty much actualized into winning, by design. Something we felt wasn't that useful in a real fight to the death type of match. It, would lose. No doubt about it we felt. After all, our style was designed for that. And so our style fell out of favor. Why. Because were weren't a good style? Or because we weren't a good style for tournaments?
So in a debate such as this, we find something similar. Before the debate gets started, the Atheist's side, is already at a disadvantage and some of that you can see in Hitchen's lack of fielding his argument well. So, let's follow these rules, starting here and ending there, and with a defined set of criteria, which stops the reality of the argument from ever actually happening or being addressed.
And so what Hitchens is bravely doing, and as he does so well, time and time again throughout the years, is play a theist's debate game, and repeatedly beating them at it. Granted in this video, its a closer decision on the debate and for obvious reasons, thus further spurring on and deluding those who are on the theists side, that Hitchens has proved nothing. But regardless of that, I would argue the same to be true on the other side, regardless of the banal over texting on the video stream. Nothing, really was proved. Which allows the Theists to walk away feeling successful. Because they proved their argument? No, because they didn't lose their argument. But really, neither did Hitchens. Think about that.
In that as indicated in the over texting on the video, "Atheism, was originally A-Theism, and so it's Athe-ism"? The text writer of the subtitles was simply deluded by their own comments. But I appreciate they put their fallacy right there on the screen for everyone to see. I simply wonder, how many of the theists who see that, will even notice it, or simply accept it as, if it's presented, then it proves our case (a total lack of critical thinking, which is part and parcel in theism).
If you watch the video and see this and don't get it, I really don't know what to tell you. Read a book? Stop watching "Hoarders" on cable?
Life existed originally, with no god. Thought one day, then existed, still no god. Thought then either created or became aware of god and therefore, theism came after belief, or you could argue, simultaneously. Either way, atheism may have come after theism as a reaction to it, but the actual belief or understanding of there being a god, came after there having been no god, or any understanding of there being a god.
Consider also, especially in the Middle Eastern desert religions, Christianity (including Catholicism), Islam, Judaism...why was their God, not available during the early Sun worshiping thousands of years periods up until it hit where and when it did? Where was this God in the Mayan, the Aztecs? The Hindus? The Shinto, Buddhism, and others? Why is this God so specific to region and period in History? But, let's let that go for now.
The point of what is and when did it come to be, or what is it a reaction to if anything, really is a moot point.
Theists say that God always existed which comes from within their own argument and others are supposed to prove it incorrect. This is logical lunacy. It SOUNDS good (to them) but you have to back away from them and their arguments to clearly see it.
The problem we face in this God vs no god issue, is that in the beginning, there WAS no God. Accept it. Now, YOU prove to me, there is a God. Feels different, doesn't it?
And to be fair, theists because of the form of their philosophy, really do not have the luxury of admitting, seeing, or acknowledging God didn't exist and then try to prove it. And so by necessity, they start their argument there but, so do the atheists who have to begin their argument there.
THAT is where the problem lay in why the atheists have so much trouble in these debates (and let me say, that actually Hitchens frequently has little difficulty in his debates and his tactics are proper and accurate).
And so we have the issue now where people will argue that yes indeed, God was there at the beginning, because and only because, people proclaim it to be. Then they turn around and say if you don't believe us, prove it.
What? Uh... Really?
You are sitting at a nightclub. A magician is on stage. He does an incredible but doable magic trick that is, it's not real magic. Okay? Now, you let 2000 years pass. People talk about it, write about it. Start little clubs for it.
Now one day, we have a debate. Was what he did, Magic? Or make believe. Prove it wasn't for real, honest to God, Magic.
Okay. I thought so.