Tag Archives: The God Delusion

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.

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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.

Video: William Lane Craig debates Richard Dawkins at the Sheldonian Theater in Oxford

Well, I guess everyone knows that Richard Dawkins refused to show up and defend his published work… so instead, William Lane Craig lectured to the empty chair where Richard Dawkins was supposed to sit.

Description:

Richard Dawkins was invited by the Oxford student Christian Union to defend his book The God Delusion in public debate with William Lane Craig. The invitation remained open until the last minute. However, Dawkins refused the challenge and his chair remained empty. Craig then gave a lecture to a capacity audience on the weaknesses of the central arguments of the book and responded to a panel of academics. The event, which was chaired by atheist Prof. Peter Millican, was part of The Reasonable Faith Tour 2011 sponsored by UCCF, Damaris & Premier Christian Radio.

I summarized the debate between William Lane Craig and Peter Millican here. If you missed this debate, please click the link to watch it, or at least read my summary.

BONUS: Click here for a picture of the empty chair that Richard Dawkins refused to fill.

UK Telegraph on Richard Dawkins’ cowardly refusal to debate William Lane Craig

Will Richard Dawkins debate William Lane Craig?
Will Richard Dawkins debate William Lane Craig?

(Image stolen from Glenn Peoples)

Cowardly Richard Dawkins refuses to debate William Lane Craig on this latest UK tour. (H/T Mary)

Excerpt:

Richard Dawkins has made his name as the scourge of organised religion who branded the Roman Catholic Church “evil” and once called the Pope “a leering old villain in a frock”.

But he now stands accused of “cowardice” after refusing four invitations to debate the existence of God with a renowned Christian philosopher.

A war of words has broken out between the best selling author of The God Delusion, and his critics, who see his refusal to take on the American academic, William Lane Craig, as a “glaring” failure and a sign that he may be losing his nerve.

Prof Dawkins maintains that Prof Craig is not a figure worthy of his attention and has reportedly said that such a contest would “look good” on his opponent’s CV but not on his own.

An emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, Prof Dawkins last year supported a plan to charge Pope Benedict XVI with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the cover-up of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

Prof Craig is a research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, in California, and the author of 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles on Christianity.

He has debated with leading thinkers including Daniel Dennett, A.C.Grayling, Christopher Hitchens, Lewis Wolpert and Sam Harris.

Prof Craig is due to visit Britain in October this year. Four invitations to take part in public debates were sent to Prof Dawkins from The British Humanist Association, The Cambridge Debating Union, the Oxford Christian Union and Premier Radio.

Prof Dawkins declined them all.

[…]Some of Prof Dawkins’s contemporaries are not impressed. Dr Daniel Came, a philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist, from Worcester College, Oxford, wrote to him urging him to reconsider his refusal to debate the existence of God with Prof Craig.

In a letter to Prof Dawkins, Dr Came said: “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.

“I notice that, by contrast, you are happy to discuss theological matters with television and radio presenters and other intellectual heavyweights like Pastor Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Keenan Roberts of the Colorado Hell House.”

Prof Craig, however, remains willing to debate with Prof Dawkins. “I am keeping the opportunity open for him to change his mind and debate with me in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford” in October, he said.

Read it all. And please forward this to EVERYONE you know.

Dawkins mentions that he “already debated Craig” in that lame, worthless Mexico event where all the speakers got 2 minutes for their speeches, and one minute rebuttals. That was not a formal academic debate, that was a spectacle. I want a formal debate so Craig can put this blowhard in his place like he did with Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett. I want this nonsense about atheism being a  rational, moral worldview to end NOW. And by now, I mean yesterday.

Why won’t Dawkins debate Craig?

Let’s re-cap Dawkins’ reasons in point form: (with my comments in parentheses)

  • Dawkins claims that he is willing to debate high-ranking clergymen (but Craig is a scholar, not a clergyman)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig is a creationist (but Craig supports his kalam cosmological argument with the Big Bang)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig’s only claim to fame is that he is a professional debater (but see Craig’s CV and publications below, which is far more prestigious than Dawkins)
  • Dawkins claims that he’s too busy (busy cowering in fear hugging his Darwin doll for comfort)

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 most recent publications:

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.

Richard Dawkins is eminently qualified to debate uninformed clergymen, but he has too much at stake (in terms of book royalties) to disappoint his loyal horde of foam-flecked fundies by debating a professional scholar who has debated hundreds of times, against the top non-Christian scholars, in hundreds of universities, including Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford.

The Craig-Hitchens debate

This debate was moderated by HUGH HEWITT, host of the nationally-syndicated Hugh Hewitt Show.

This is just an example of what these debates typically look like. No one gets hurt, so what is Dawkins afraid of?

Who is linking to this post?

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MUST-SEE: Cowardly Richard Dawkins explains why he won’t debate William Lane Craig

Richard Dawkins explains why he will not debate William Lane Craig. (Posted by ChristianJR4, H/T Brian Auten of Apologetics 315)

Let’s re-cap Dawkins’ reasons in point form: (with my comments in parentheses)

  • Dawkins claims that he is willing to debate high-ranking clergymen (but Craig is a scholar, not a clergyman)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig is a creationist (but Craig supports his kalam cosmological argument with the Big Bang)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig’s only claim to fame is that he is a professional debater (but see Craig’s CV and publications below, which is far more prestigious than Dawkins)
  • Dawkins claims that he’s too busy (busy cowering in fear hugging his Darwin doll for comfort)

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 most recent publications:

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.

Richard Dawkins is eminently qualified to debate uninformed clergymen, but he has too much at stake (in terms of book royalties) to disappoint his loyal horde of foam-flecked fundies by debating a professional scholar who has debated hundreds of times, against the top non-Christian scholars, in hundreds of universities, including Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford.

See that debate up there with Daniel Dennett? You can listen to Craig’s response to Daniel Dennett here. Or you can watch Craig’s debate with Christopher Hitchens. Then you’ll know why Dawkins soils his knickers at the thought of facing Craig in a public debate.

What are the real reasons why he won’t debate Craig?

I can think of three reasons why Dawkins would avoid a debate with Craig:

  1. He doesn’t know how to defend atheism and disprove theism in public
  2. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand logic and study evidence
  3. He doesn’t want to debate a real scholar and be humiliated in public, like Hitchens and Dennett

My opinion is that he is guilty of all 3 of these.

If you are an atheist, you should be ashamed to be represented by a LAZY, IGNORANT COWARD like Richard Dawkins.

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