William Lane Craig vs atheist Daniel Dennett on cosmology and fine-tuning

This audio records a part of the Greer-Heard debate in 2007, between prominent atheist Daniel Dennett and lame theistic evolutionist Alister McGrath. Craig was one of the respondents, and this was the best part of the event. It is a little bit advanced, but I have found that if you listen to things like this over and over with your friends and family, and then try to explain it to non-Christians, you’ll get it.

By the way, this is mostly original material from Craig, dated 2007, and he delivers the speech perfectly, so it’s entertaining to listen to.

Craig presents three arguments for a Creator and Designer of the universe:

  • the contingency argument
  • the kalam cosmological argument
  • the teleological argument

He also discusses Dennett’s published responses to these arguments.

Dennett’s response to Craig’s paper

Here is my snarky paraphrase of Dennett’s reponse: (this is very snarky, because Dennett was just awful)

  • Craig’s three arguments are bulletproof, the premises are plausible, and grounded by the best cutting edge science we know today.
  • I cannot find anything wrong with his arguments right now, but maybe later when I go home it will come to me what’s wrong with them.
  • But atheism is true even if all the evidence is against it today. I know it’s true by my blind faith.
  • The world is so mysterious, and all the science of today will be overturned tomorrow so that atheism will be rational again. I have blind faith that this new evidence will be discovered any minute.
  • Just because the cause of the beginning of time is eternal and the cause of the beginning of space is non-physical, the cause doesn’t have to be God.
  • “Maybe the cause of the universe is the idea of an apple, or the square root of 7”. (HE LITERALLY SAID THAT!)
  • The principle of triangulation might have brought the entire physical universe into being out of nothing.
  • I don’t understand anything about non-physical causation, even though I cannot even speak meaningful sentences unless I have a non-physical mind that is causing my body to emit the meaningful sentences in a non-determined manner.
  • Alexander Vilenkin is much smarter than Craig and if he were here he would beat him up good with phantom arguments.
  • Alan Guth is much smarter than Craig and if he were here he would beat him up good with phantom arguments.
  • This science stuff is so complicated to me – so Craig can’t be right about it even though he’s published about it and debated it all with the best atheists on the planet.
  • If God is outside of time, then this is just deism, not theism. (This part is correct, but Craig believes that God enters into time at the moment of creation – so that it is not a deistic God)
  • If deism is true, then I can still be an atheist, because a Creator and Designer of the universe is compatible with atheism.
  • I’m pretty sure that Craig doesn’t have any good arguments that can argue for Christianity – certainly not an historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus based on minimal facts, that he’s defended against the most prominent historians on the planet in public debates and in prestigous books and research journals.

I was in the second row at the Baylor Conference on intelligent design when Guth debated Craig on the origin of the universe. Guth admitted afterwards that the universe did require a cause.

I do not recommend purchasing the whole 2007 debate, because McGrath is a squish. You’re better off with the 2005 and 2008 sets. The 2006 one is OK, but not great. I don’t have the 2009 one yet, but it looks good.

5 thoughts on “William Lane Craig vs atheist Daniel Dennett on cosmology and fine-tuning”

  1. Notice how Dennett contradicts himself:

    He says “you can’t use mindbogglingness as your litmus test” but then says that “if you have plausible premises leading to an implausible conclusion, then I guess you need to go back and deny a premise after all”!

    If Dennett was consistent with his latter contention, then he’d be throwing the door open for people to reject quantum physics (his own example of mindboggling conclusions) because it seems too weird… but if he were consistent with his former statement then he’d get off his behind and believe in God!

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    1. That’s right, Birdie. One minute he is dismissing good scientific evidence that we have and the next minute he is appealing to much more speculative stuff. And he’s not a small fry – this is Daniel Freaking Dennett. I would have expected a lot better from him that what he gave here. It’s almost like he was hearing this stuff for the first time, which would not happen with guys like Peter Millican.

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      1. I completely agree; he simply is being inconsistent. And the fact that he said the idea of an apple could’ve caused the universe to come into being is crazy. I just can’t take him seriously after that point. Honestly, part of what it means to be an abstract object is to stand in no causal relations. A supporting argument for this is the fact that abstract objects must be immaterial and timeless, but timeless things cannot cause anything in time and still remain timeless.

        Christopher Hitchens did terrible in debating Craig.
        Sam Harris did terrible in debating Craig.
        Looks like the New Athiests don’t have much going for them after all.

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  2. Hi,

    The link to an audio right under the video frame seems to be broken.
    – Greer-Heard debate in 2007 –

    Just found your site – lookin’ good!

    Keep it up “Until the whole world hears!”

    Like

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