Why does Richard Dawkins refuse to debate William Lane Craig?

Because Richard Dawkins doesn’t understand basic logic:

That’s the latest video from Peter Byrom, aka BirdieUpon. (H/T Peter S. Williams)

And don’t take my word for it, look at what sensible atheist Jeffrey Jay Lowder has to say about it:

I find myself in an odd situation. I agree with Dawkins’ decision not to debate Craig, but not for the reasons he has given (more on that in a moment). With all due respect to Dawkins, I don’t think he should debate Craig because he simply isn’t qualified to do so. If The God Delusion is any indication, Dawkins clearly isn’t familiar with contemporary philosophy of religion, whereas Craig is an expert on the philosophy of religion.

The idea of Dawkins debating Craig would would be like a championship bodybuilder, who just happens to have a green belt in Taekwondo, agreeing to a fight with an eigth-degree black belt. Bodybuilding is not completely irrelevant to Taekwondo and the bodybuilder may be the best bodybuilder in the world, but bodybuilding and Taekwondo are clearly not the same thing. The black belt would easily and decisivelybeat the bodybuilder.

There is no shame or dishonor in declining a mismatch. If the black belt challenged the green belt (bodybuilder) to a fight, the bodybuilder would be rational–indeed, wise–to decline the invitation. The bodybuilder needs to clearly acknowledge, however, that he is declining because it would be a mismatch.

And if Dawkins did decline the invitation on the grounds it was a mismatch, theists shouldn’t act as if they’ve scored some major victory, just as, say, Billy Graham’s refusal to debate an atheist philosopher of religion shouldn’t be viewed as a victory for atheism.

Billy Graham shouldn’t debate Peter Millican the same way that Richard Dawkins shouldn’t debate William Lane Craig. Exactly!

But I don’t even agree with Mr. Lowder that Dawkins can do biology, either.

Drawings of Haeckel’s embryos were discredited in the 19th century, according to research published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

But Dawkins cites the faked the 19th century embryo drawings as evidence of evolution. He’s not good at biology, either.

Dawkins’ recent book doesn’t even interact with recent scientific discoveries and publications.


Richard Dawkins’ new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, is being touted as a scathing rebuttal to intelligent design (ID), yet an actual response to mainstream ID thinking can hardly be found in the book. Though the book makes passing mention of “irreducible complexity” in a couple places, there are zero mentions of leading ID proponents like Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Phillip Johnson, Stephen Meyer, or any other well-known ID proponent. Instead, Dawkins refers extensively to “creationists,” repeatedly attacking young earth creationism, while also making heavy use of fallacious (and dubious) “poor design” examples that rebut no argument made by a leading advocate of design since perhaps the 19th century. It seems that Dawkins didn’t have the stomach to tackle the actual modern theory of intelligent design in his new book.

Mr. Dawkins, when he isn’t busy pushing for infanticide and adultery and aliens causing the origin of life, hasn’t bothered to engage at all with recent criticisms of evolution  – he is still stuck in the 19th century. This is not a person who is credible about anything related to evolution and biology. He cites professors of German language as an authority on the historical Jesus, for goodness’ sake.

The reason why atheists like him is because he is rude, crude and insulting. And that’s what popular atheism is all about. Blindly believing in eternal universes, unseen aliens and untestable multiverses, and being insulting to real scientists, real historians and real philosophers. If you are a science-respecting person, then you are reading Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” and “Darwin’s Doubt”. That’s where the real science is being done – not using faked embryo drawings from the 19th century.

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7 thoughts on “Why does Richard Dawkins refuse to debate William Lane Craig?”

  1. 1. Dawkins succeeds because he has good hair (for TV).
    2. I am yet to meet a humble atheist, which goes a long way to explaining why religion is anathema to them.

  2. Haeckel’s diagrams are clearly flawed. Here is another, later (2008) paper on them:


    In the voiceover in the TV show, Dawkins says “Darwin became fascinated by..” (etc). Origin of Species came out in 1859, Haeckel’s in 1868, though Darwin did enthuse about Haeckel in
    “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex” (1871).

    Dawkins was talking about what impressed *Darwin* as evidence for evolution.

    Dawkins lectured in zoology from 1967 (at Berkley and Oxford) and was appointed a Reader ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reader_(academic_rank) in 1990.

    One can criticise him as a philosopher or a historian. But it goes too far to claim “he cant do biology”.

  3. If a debate between Dawkins and Craig is a mismatch in Craig’s favor, and if there is no shame in declining such, wouldn’t it be the case that Craig’s challenge to Dawkins is the shameful act of a bully?

    If there is no shame or dishonor in the decline of such an invitation, there must be shame and dishonor in extending the invitation.

    What can be said of Craig–a black belt–picking a fights with mere green belts?

    1. Because Dawkins runs around saying “we bad, we bad” to everyone trying to appear menacing and competent. He needs to be put in his place – under a dunce cap. He is the bully, and someone needs to give him what bullies need.

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