A friend of mine mentioned that she met a girl who was raised Christian, who is now an atheist, and who thought that atheist Daniel Dennett was the bee’s knees when it came to philosophy of religion. So I thought I would re-post something related to Dennett for my friend.
Here is audio of a very interesting exchange between William Lane Craig and leading atheist Daniel Dennett.
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, and that’s what I want to focus on, since most of you are already familiar with Craig’s philosophical arguments for the existence of God.
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.
This is a very careful treatment of the arguments that Dr. Craig goes over briefly during his debates. Recommended.
Positive arguments for Christian theism
- The kalam cosmological argument and the Big Bang theory
- The fine-tuning argument from cosmological constants and quantities
- The origin of life, part 1 of 2: the building blocks of life
- The origin of life, part 2 of 2: biological information
- The sudden origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosion
- Galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones
- Irreducible complexity in molecular machines
- The creative limits of natural selection and random mutation
- Angus Menuge’s ontological argument from reason
- Alvin Plantinga’s epistemological argument from reason
- William Lane Craig’s moral argument
- The unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature