Tag Archives: Bill Craig

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.

Excerpt:

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.

Related posts

Coward Richard Dawkins flees from yet another debate, this time in Scotland

Will this fundamentalist Imam ever debate his religion?
Will this fundamentalist charlatan ever debate?

(Image from Glenn Peoples)

Richard Dawkins has decided to visit Scotland, and the Free Church of Scotland (the so-called “Wee Frees”) decided to challenge him to a debate. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

The Free Church of Scotland has challenged Richard Dawkins, the world-famous atheist, to a debate on his next visit to the Outer Hebrides.

Professor Dawkins is headlining Faclan, the Hebridean Book Festival, on the Isle of Lewis where he is scheduled to promote his book the God Delusion on Friday 2 November.

Despite calls of a boycott from a member of the Lord’s Day Observance Society, Stornoway Free Church minister Reverend Iver Martin (pictured below), who is minister of one of the biggest congregations on the island, said he welcomed the visit as an opportunity for debate.

[…]“The Free Church of Scotland endorses freedom of discussion and the exchange of argument.

“However, with Richard Dawkins presenting a particularly one-sided narrative, I would hope that there would be opportunity for fair, even handed, reasoned debate at which both sides of the theistic argument can be heard.”

Would Richard Dawkins, champion of militant fundamentalist atheism, rise to the challenge of debating his views in a public forum?

Of course not: (H/T Dina)

A Scottish Church leader has labeled evolutionary biologist and famed atheist Richard Dawkins a “snob” over his decision to turn down a debate on religion. Dawkins has refused a debate invitation for the faith-themed Faclan Hebridean Book Festival in Scotland in November.

The Rev David Robertson, a Free Church minister in Dundee, responded to Dawkins’ decision to avoid debate by saying that he does not believe the atheist to be a “coward,” but sees him as a “elitist snob, who once told me he would consider debating with me if I was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope or Chief Rabbi.”

Robertson added: “Dawkins considers, like so many of his fellow new atheists, that there is no debate and they, and they alone, have the truth. Ironically, such arrogance and intolerance of others is the very definition of the fundamentalism that Dawkins professes to hate. I suspect that Richard Dawkins’ problem is that he is not a good debater.”

Yes, that’s it exactly. He cannot bear to hear other viewpoints other than his own. He is not intelligent enough to prove what he asserts in private to a skeptical audience in public. That’s why he doesn’t debate in public. He would prefer to preach in private to those who accept his dogma, and to receive their praise and adulation – and their money!

If Dawkins did agree to have his ideas tested in a debate, it would be a good thing if whoever was doing the testing asked him why he affirms the moral goodness of adultery and infanticide, as well as asking him what he means by his desire to “destroy Christianity“, especially given that he refuses to debate with Christians like William Lane Craig. Does he mean something similar to what his fellow atheists like Stalin and Mao meant, i.e. – mass murder? Or does he mean something else? It would be a good question to ask, anyway.

I don’t want anyone to think that atheism is some sort of immature, non-cognitive tantrum that consists largely of insulting Christians and giggling like children who have discovered a new curse word. There are serious atheistic scholars, and they do debate. Richard Dawkins is not a serious scholar, and he does not debate his views. He is therefore very much like those sweating, foam-flecked televangelists you see bloviating on the telly on Sunday mornings. All bluster, no substance.

William Lane Craig asks: can we be good without God?

A video lecture in 3 parts, and a peer-reviewed paper to go with the clips.

Part 1 of 3:

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

And here is the article that discusses the same topic, in more detail, and with footnotes.

Excerpt:

Can we be good without God? At first the answer to this question may seem so obvious that even to pose it arouses indignation. For while those of us who are Christian theists undoubtedly find in God a source of moral strength and resolve which enables us to live lives that are better than those we should live without Him, nevertheless it would seem arrogant and ignorant to claim that those who do not share a belief in God do not often live good moral lives–indeed, embarrassingly, lives that sometimes put our own to shame.

But wait. It would, indeed, be arrogant and ignorant to claim that people cannot be good without belief in God. But that was not the question. The question was: can we be good without God? When we ask that question, we are posing in a provocative way the meta-ethical question of the objectivity of moral values. Are the values we hold dear and guide our lives by mere social conventions akin to driving on the left versus right side of the road or mere expressions of personal preference akin to having a taste for certain foods or not? Or are they valid independently of our apprehension of them, and if so, what is their foundation? Moreover, if morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

Today I want to argue that if God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties, and moral accountability is secured, but that in the absence of God, that is, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and non-binding. We might act in precisely the same ways that we do in fact act, but in the absence of God, such actions would no longer count as good (or evil), since if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Thus, we cannot truly be good without God. On the other hand, if we do believe that moral values and duties are objective, that provides moral grounds for believing in God.

This is the easiest argument for God’s existence to discuss with non-Christians. If you would like to hear a good debate on this topic, I recommend the debate between Arif Ahmed and Glenn Peoples.

Justin Brierley interviews William Lane Craig on the apologetics project

Justin Brierley has posted an interview with William Lane Craig in the UK magazine “Christianity”. (H/T Mary)

Here’s the introduction:

Type ‘William Lane Craig’ into Google and you find some surprisingly varied views. For example, you’ll find Rick Warren tweeting about his ‘friend’ for whom he has written a recent foreword, and other Christian leaders praising an academic who combines intellect with humility. On the other hand, you may come across Richard Dawkins labelling him a ‘ponderous buffoon’ along with other commentators on his atheist website who describe Craig in even more colourful terms.

So what is it about one American philosophy professor that inspires such divergent views? Craig is arguably the best known defender of the intellectual case for Christianity in the world today. As a philosopher, his work is published in academic journals and books. As a popular apologist for the existence of God, his high-profile debates with leading atheists have been viewed by hundreds of thousands around the world. His style is polished, systematic and devastatingly thorough.

To his fans he is the commander-in-chief of a resistance movement against the populist New Atheism – the man who can floor Goliaths such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. To his detractors, he is a wordsmith and a showman – a professional debater who, to quote Richard Dawkins, ‘brandishes impressive-sounding syllogisms from Logic 101 to bamboozle his faithhead audience’.

To me, he comes across as sincere, humble and somewhat bemused by the opinions that are expressed about him online. Is he affected by the words that some atheists write about him? Laughing, he responds: ‘It doesn’t get to me because I don’t read it. I am in blissful ignorance of what these folks are saying about me.’

So why is Richard Dawkins even bothering to comment on William Lane Craig? It is because he has refused multiple invitations to debate Craig when he comes to the UK this October. They met once briefly in a panel debate in Mexico in 2010, an encounter that led to those online comments. Craig’s supporters (and many of his opponents) would like to see a more substantive one-on-one debate, but Dawkins has resolutely refused to face the philosopher again.

To Craig, it is a confirmation that ‘New Atheism’ is more bluster than substance. ‘I would describe it as a pop culture movement, rather than a serious intellectual one. But as pop culture I do take it very seriously. They have the momentum, and it’s very important that we as Christians expose it for the superficiality that it is.’

Here’s are a few of the questions he answers:

You’ve debated leading atheists all over the world. What is your ultimate hope in participating in these events?

Well, one hope is to help to reshape Western culture, which has become deeply secularised, so that Christianity becomes an intellectual option again. I hope especially to reach out to British students seeking for truth and to show that making a commitment to Christ is not a delusion, but perfectly in step with the dictates of reason.

Is this a biblical approach to evangelism?

I think so, especially in Acts. Paul would argue from the scriptures with his Jewish brethren that Jesus was the Messiah. When dealing with a Gentile audience he would present reasons from nature and conscience, moral and cosmological arguments, and appeal to the eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ resurrection. Paul would do things like rent the Hall of Tyrannus and hold daily lectures there to argue and discuss with anybody who wanted to come. So I see myself as very much following the model of Paul.

Are local churches failing young people by not preparing them for the tough questions they run into at university?

I think we are failing them. If we simply read our children Bible stories and give them entertainment and emotional worship experiences, then we are leaving them unprepared for the tremendous intellectual challenges that they will encounter in secondary school and university. I think it is vital that from an early age Christian parents teach their children to think ‘Christianly’ about the world, and to articulate and defend what we as Christians believe.

Do you see people becoming Christians through your ministry?

We really do. It happens when I speak on a university campus… people will register commitments through comment cards at the meetings, and there are also the wonderful emails that we receive weekly from people all around the world saying ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, this has transformed my life.’ Added to that is the effect that this has had in the lives of people who are Christian believers. Once they become confident that this is really the truth, it has an energising effect on them that makes them want to share the gospel. It gives them a zeal for God and a desire to read his word and know him.

I really recommend you read the whole thing. I hope that we are making more scholars like Craig, because Christian scholarship is the best defense to the secularism that threatens to suffocate Christianity once and for all. I really do think that the church has to get serious about motivating and funding scholars like Craig, and not just in the area of philosophy, but in all the areas that are relevant to the task of apologetics. I think that young Christians should choose to study areas that are relevant to the task of apologetics, especially, science, history and philosophy. That’s where the action is.

About William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig is currently conducting a debating and speaking tour of the UK, with stops at Oxford, Cambridge, London and points in between.

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 recent publications: (it’s a little out of date, now)

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.

Craig has debated dozens of times against the top atheist scholars. If you have never taken in any of his debates, take a look at his debate against Christopher Hitchens on Youtube.

William Lane Craig asks: can we be good without God?

A video lecture in 3 parts, and a peer-reviewed paper to go with the clips.

Part 1 of 3:

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

And here is the article that discusses the same topic, in more detail, and with footnotes.

Excerpt:

Can we be good without God? At first the answer to this question may seem so obvious that even to pose it arouses indignation. For while those of us who are Christian theists undoubtedly find in God a source of moral strength and resolve which enables us to live lives that are better than those we should live without Him, nevertheless it would seem arrogant and ignorant to claim that those who do not share a belief in God do not often live good moral lives–indeed, embarrassingly, lives that sometimes put our own to shame.

But wait. It would, indeed, be arrogant and ignorant to claim that people cannot be good without belief in God. But that was not the question. The question was: can we be good without God? When we ask that question, we are posing in a provocative way the meta-ethical question of the objectivity of moral values. Are the values we hold dear and guide our lives by mere social conventions akin to driving on the left versus right side of the road or mere expressions of personal preference akin to having a taste for certain foods or not? Or are they valid independently of our apprehension of them, and if so, what is their foundation? Moreover, if morality is just a human convention, then why should we act morally, especially when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

Today I want to argue that if God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties, and moral accountability is secured, but that in the absence of God, that is, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and non-binding. We might act in precisely the same ways that we do in fact act, but in the absence of God, such actions would no longer count as good (or evil), since if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Thus, we cannot truly be good without God. On the other hand, if we do believe that moral values and duties are objective, that provides moral grounds for believing in God.

This is the easiest argument for God’s existence to discuss with non-Christians. If you would like to hear a good debate on this topic, I recommend the debate between Arif Ahmed and Glenn Peoples.