William Lane Craig lectures against naturalism at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Note: even if you have heard Dr. Craig’s arguments before, I recommend jumping to the 48 minutes of Q&A time, which starts 72 minutes in.

About Dr. William Lane Craig:

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American analytic philosopher, philosophical theologian, and Christian apologist. He is known for his work on the philosophy of time and the philosophy of religion, specifically the existence of God and the defense of Christian theism. He has authored or edited over 30 books including The Kalam Cosmological Argument (1979), Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology(co-authored with Quentin Smith, 1993), Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time (2001), and Einstein, Relativity and Absolute Simultaneity (co-edited with Quentin Smith, 2007).

Craig received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Wheaton College, Illinois, in 1971 and two summa cum laudemaster’s degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1975, in philosophy of religion and ecclesiastical history. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy under John Hick at the University of Birmingham, England in 1977 and a Th.D. underWolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich, Germany in 1984.

Dr. Craig was in Scotland to lecture at a physics conference, but a local church organized this public lecture at the University of St. Andrews. I was astonished when, during this lecture, Dr. Craig claimed that his ancestors are Scottish! Scotland is one of the most secular, left-wing places on Earth! Can anything good come out of Scotland? (Except for James Clerk Maxwell, of course) Maybe Dina will know, since she lives there, and because I tease her about Scotland all the time, so she is used to defending Scotland.

Anyway, Scottish-teasing aside, here is the full lecture with Q&A: (2 hours)


  • Naturalism defined: the physical world (matter, space and time) is all that exists
  • Dr. Craig will present 7 reasons why naturalism is false
  • 1) the contingency argument
  • 2) the kalam cosmological argument
  • 3) the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life
  • 4) the moral argument
  • 5) the ontological argument
  • 6) the resurrection of Jesus
  • 7) religious experience

The Q&A time starts around 1:12:00.

Dr. Craig does mention an 8th argument early in the Q&A – the argument from the non-physicality of mental states (substance dualism), which is an argument that I find convincing, because a materialist conception of mind is not compatible with rationality, consciousness and moral agency. He gets a couple of questions on the moral argument early on – one of them tries to put forward an evolutionary explanation for “moral” behaviors. There’s another question the definition of naturalism. There is a bonehead question about the non-existence of Jesus based on a Youtube movie he saw – which Craig responds to with agnostic historian Bart Ehrman’s book on that topic. There’s a question about God as the ground for morality – does morality come from his will or nature. Then there is a question about the multiverse, which came up at the physics conference Dr. Craig attended the day before. There is a good question about the Big Bang theory and the initial singularity at time t=0. Another good question about transfinite arithmetic, cardinality and set theory. One questioner asks about the resurrection argument. The questioner asks if we can use the origin of the disciples belief as an argument when other religions have people who are willing to die for their claims. One of the questioners asks about whether the laws of nature break down at 10^-43 after the beginning of the universe. There is a question about the religious experience argument, and Craig has the opportunity to give his testimony.

I thought that the questions from the Scottish students and faculty were a lot more thoughtful and respectful than at American colleges and universities. Highly recommended.

6 thoughts on “William Lane Craig lectures against naturalism at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland”

  1. Of course Dr. Craig claims to have Scottish ancestry. Half the world claims to be Scottish, and the other half wish they could.
    Why else would you be learning to play the bagpipes and want a kilt for your Christmas? And changing your name to Wintery Macknight. And eating black pudding. And trying to speak properly. Aye.


    1. LOL! I’m not doing anything of the kind, of course. Although I would do all of the above if I could get a nice Scottish castle on the Isle of Lewis as a reward. Then at last I could quit my boring job and become a pirate, like I always wanted.


  2. Hi Wintery!

    Thanks for featuring this video! I ought to let you know, however, that the “bone-head” question actually came from Christian apologist Rev David Robertson (author of the Dawkins Letters). He wasn’t endorsing the argument for the non-existence of Jesus, but rather using the opportunity to get Dr Craig to explain the reasons why the “Jesus didn’t exist” argument is vacuous, and to raise the issue of how to set the popular culture’s misconceptions straight.




  3. “Of course Dr. Craig claims to have Scottish ancestry. Half the world claims to be Scottish, and the other half wish they could.”

    You mean the Chinese, don’t you!

    I don’t think Dr. Craig has convinced the Naturalists that their position is questionable. If God is proven to exist, the Naturalist can just say, “Well of _course_ God exists! He’s natural, too!” The real question is what does it mean to be natural?


    1. I think it’s pretty clear that naturalism does not include a first cause of the entire physical world. THe Big Bang and the fine-tuning arguments are sufficient to defeat naturalism.


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