MUST-SEE: Cowardly Richard Dawkins explains why he won’t debate William Lane Craig

Richard Dawkins explains why he will not debate William Lane Craig. (Posted by ChristianJR4, H/T Brian Auten of Apologetics 315)

Let’s re-cap Dawkins’ reasons in point form: (with my comments in parentheses)

  • Dawkins claims that he is willing to debate high-ranking clergymen (but Craig is a scholar, not a clergyman)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig is a creationist (but Craig supports his kalam cosmological argument with the Big Bang)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig’s only claim to fame is that he is a professional debater (but see Craig’s CV and publications below, which is far more prestigious than Dawkins)
  • Dawkins claims that he’s too busy (busy cowering in fear hugging his Darwin doll for comfort)

Let’s review William Lane Craig’s qualifications:

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 he taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity… In 1987 they moved to Brussels, Belgium, where Dr. Craig pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming his position at Talbot in 1994.

He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

Craig’s CV is here.

Craig’s list of publications is here.

Here are some of Craig’s most recent publications:

From 2007:

  • Ed. with Quentin Smith. Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy. London: Routledge, 2007, 302 pp.
  • “Theistic Critiques of Atheism.” In The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, pp. 69-85. Ed. M. Martin. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • “The Metaphysics of Special Relativity: Three Views.” In Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity, pp. 11-49. Ed. Wm. L. Craig and Quentin Smith. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy. London: Routledge, 2007.
  • “Creation and Divine Action.” In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, pp. 318-28. Ed. Chad Meister and Paul Copan. London: Routledge, 2007.

From 2008:

  • God and Ethics: A Contemporary Debate. With Paul Kurtz. Ed. Nathan King and Robert Garcia. With responses by Louise Antony, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, John Hare, Donald Hubin, Stephen Layman, Mark Murphy, and Richard Swinburne. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  • “Time, Eternity, and Eschatology.” In The Oxford Handbook on Eschatology, pp. 596-613. Ed. J. Walls. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

From 2009:

  • Ed. with J. P. Moreland. Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • “The Kalam Cosmological Argument.” With James Sinclair. In Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Ed. Wm. L. Craig and J. P. Moreland. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • “In Defense of Theistic Arguments.” In The Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue. Ed. Robert Stewart. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Forthcoming:

  • “The Cosmological Argument.” In Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues. Ed. Paul Copan and Chad Meister. Cambridge: Blackwell.
  • “Cosmological Argument”; “Middle Knowledge.” In The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Ed. G. Fergusson et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • “Divine Eternity.” In Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Ed. Thomas Flint and Michael Rea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richard Dawkins is eminently qualified to debate uninformed clergymen, but he has too much at stake (in terms of book royalties) to disappoint his loyal horde of foam-flecked fundies by debating a professional scholar who has debated hundreds of times, against the top non-Christian scholars, in hundreds of universities, including Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford.

See that debate up there with Daniel Dennett? You can listen to Craig’s response to Daniel Dennett here. Or you can watch Craig’s debate with Christopher Hitchens. Then you’ll know why Dawkins soils his knickers at the thought of facing Craig in a public debate.

What are the real reasons why he won’t debate Craig?

I can think of three reasons why Dawkins would avoid a debate with Craig:

  1. He doesn’t know how to defend atheism and disprove theism in public
  2. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand logic and study evidence
  3. He doesn’t want to debate a real scholar and be humiliated in public, like Hitchens and Dennett

My opinion is that he is guilty of all 3 of these.

If you are an atheist, you should be ashamed to be represented by a LAZY, IGNORANT COWARD like Richard Dawkins.

Previous posts on Richard Dawkins and other New Atheists

20 thoughts on “MUST-SEE: Cowardly Richard Dawkins explains why he won’t debate William Lane Craig”

  1. As an atheist, I am disappointed that Dawkins has declined to debate Craig, but not because Dawkins represent me in any way — merely because it would be an interesting debate. Having said that, when was the last time you examined the Kalām cosmological argument? It is unsophisticated in the extreme, and I marvel that Craig, an intelligent man, can possibly champion it.

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  2. “1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.”

    This assumes that there was a beginning, when it is just as logical that the universe has always existed. Plus the argument is circular. The only time that something could be said to begin to exist would be the arguable beginning of the universe. The conclusion, “3. Therefore, the universe has a cause,” is thus presupposed.

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    1. First, it doesn’t assume anything about the universe.
      Second, do you deny the Big Bang? Why? No one else does.
      Third, other things begin to exist, like my computer programs or my dinner.

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  3. First, I would counter that it assumes everything about the universe. The universe is the totality of existence, and everything that exists, exists within it, even if you are identifying that thing as vaguely as “whatever.” Second, I don’t deny the Bang Bang, but I’m not slavish to it. It is just a theory that provides a provisional answer that may or may not be the correct one. Third, neither your computer programs nor your dinner began to exist within your lifetime. The constituent parts of both have existed for as long as the universe has — whether that universe has existed forever or came to exist is the question.

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    1. My concern is that if you deny the first premise, then you affirm that things can begin to exist without a cause. It seems to me that this would stop science by denying that events have causes.

      Second, I need to know WHY you don’t accept the Big Bang. What’s your beef with it? What’s wrong with the expanding universe, helium-hydrogen abundance predictions and the cosmic background radiation? Any of which is sufficient to guarantee a beginning of the universe.

      Third, my dinner is a thing that did not exist at a certain time t, and then existed at a certain time t. A thing is not the same as it’s parts.

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  4. I don’t necessarily believe that things can BEGIN without a cause, except that at a quantum level this is apparently (read: believed by some scientists) the case. I do dispute that things require a beginning. Assuming that things cannot spontaneously pop into existence, then something has existed forever, whether the creator of said things or the things themselves. The latter seems to me just as likely as the former.

    God or gods might be the “creator.” The Big Bang might be the “creator.” Or everything might have existed forever, in this or other forms. I don’t expect that we will ever know the answer, nor do I consider the question particularly important, except for academically.

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    1. Quantum mechanics isn’t going to help you here. The virtual particles that appear in vacuums are not a good analogy for the beginning of space-time. The nothingness that causally preceeded the universe is not a vacuum. If you want to say that there is a quantum vacuum outside the universe, then you need to produce independent evidence of that, and deal with the problems of a vacuum fluctuation model of the universe. An acquaintance of mine who is an experimental particle physicist answered questions about this issue in a post. He did his Ph.D in physics at UCLA, and research at SLAC. Then he moved to Fermilab, and will probably go on to work at CERN. His specialty is QM.

      If you retreat to an eternal universe, then I want to know why you don’t accept the three evidences that led to the big bang theory – and a finite universe. (red-shift, light element abundances, cosmic microwave background radiation).

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      1. Atheists essentially deify the physical world itself, much like Paul described in Romans.

        Romans 1:22-25
        “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

        We can see this trend right here, where Chas attributes an characteristic of God, eternality, to the universe. We can also see it when atheists attribute another characteristic of God, infinity, to the universe through such concepts as the “Multiverse” to evade the Teleological Argument.

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        1. I think I need help following your chain of thought.

          I apparently deify the physical world by attributing a characteristic of God to the universe.

          How does this observation fit into the discussion? In other words, assuming that your claim is true, what is the relevant logical consequence that I am supposed to infer?

          Would you explicate, please?

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        2. 1) That you are religious, only toward the universe itself, and

          2) That your faith-based idea is also flawed and unrealistic, because the universe is not a god

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          1. So, permit me to reconstruct.

            1. I attribute a characteristic to the universe that belongs (exclusively?) to God — which makes me religious except that my faith is focused on the universe.

            2. My religion is fallacious because the universe is not God.

            Is my reconstruction correct? If it isn’t, please repair it where it is wrong.

            Are all of God’s attributes His solely, or only eternality and infinity?

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          2. Eternality and infinity are the main ones. Wintery has explained numerous times that if the Big Bang happened at all, science shows that it must have happened only once. This demonstrates that the universe therefore *did* have a beginning and was *not* eternal.

            The Multiverse (which is a separate topic I brought up just for illustrative purposes) cannot be scientifically disproven, but it also has essentially no evidence to support it either. Imho, it’s just an absurd idea invented to turn the world into a god.

            Aside from eternity and infinity, the ability to ultimately judge evil and establish ultimate morals also belong exclusively to God — and these are traits that social Darwinians sometimes attribute to the universe as well.

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  5. I wasn’t invoking quantum mechanics. It was mentioned as an aside to indicate that I was aware that some use it in their anti-Kalām argument.

    I’m not rejecting the Big Bang theory. It’s a great theory, but it isn’t incompatible with an eternally existing universe, or an eternally existing sequence of universes, all ultimately derived from the same stuff.

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    1. I’m almost certain that a beginning is not the same as an eternally existing universe, due to the fact that an eternally existing universe has no beginning. All the evidence we have points towards a beginning of the universe. How would one universe existing before this one cause this one? Moreover, something would have to start that sequence of universes… It’s not derived from the same stuff, due to the fact that a beginning has evidence, and a universe in which exists eternally has none. How can you say that the two are compatible?

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