William Lane Craig

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig

I recently came across some you tube videos of William Lane Craig, debating various points on the philosophy of religion. I have seen other Christians debating the likes of Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, and professional cosmologist advocates of naturalism. Their arguments against the new militant atheism were adequate, but never captured the essence of the high road of how Christians in the modern world can still authentically believe.

That is not the case with William Lane Craig. He has an exacting mind, and lays out the case for how fully educated, fully scientific Christians can still authentically believe in a world view that has preceded our modern world of science and reductionism. He does not get distracted by all the low roads that the militant atheists lay out for those that they debate, as booby traps.

Which is to say, the reason that Richard Dawkins refuses to debate Craig is that he does not want his butt handed to him in a sling, as has happened to all of his buddies who naively entered into a debate with Craig.

Craig is a cut above the rest, I think.

He’s incredible. Also, look up Ravi Zacharias.

The bottom line is that anyone who refuses to debate Craig and then musters together a host of ad hominems to explain why must know that he has no chance against Craig.

Richard Dawkins said Craig is for Old Testament genocide, and can’t fathom it, so he considers Craig a murderer. That is sufficient reason not to debate him

He does not appear to agree with St. Thomas Aquinas since he writes:
“The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.”
christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/13.22.html?start=5

If he considered Craig to be a murderer, wouldn’t that be all the more reason to debate him! :confused:

Two good debates:
Craig and Sean Carroll on the cosmological argument
youtube.com/watch?v=X0qKZqPy9T8

Craig and Shelly Kagan on morality without God
youtube.com/watch?v=SiJnCQuPiuo

I think in both debates, Craig’s opponents are able to highlight why people like Dawkins won’t debate him. Dawkins and Craig are sort of two sides of the same coin, and Craig does his job full time. That is to say both Craig and Dawkins are fundamentally concerned with persuading people through emotions, and only use conversational appeals to science and philosophy to make their positions seem grounded in reason. Craig is better at that sort of persuasion than Dawkins; but it doesn’t mean that Craig is right.

The problem that these two debates highlight is that when faced with professionals (in these videos, a cosmologist and a moral philosopher) Craig can’t use his shallow appeals to science or philosophy because the professionals know better. When he tries anyway, he gets called out (e.g. in the Carroll debate he gets called out for his misinterpretation of the BGV theorem, and in the Kagan debate he gets called out for playing fast and loose with definitions of meaning.) Dawkins wouldn’t be able to employ those sorts of strategies in a debate because his debate style is basically the same as Craig’s.

Okay thanks.
I will.

Craig did a good job with Carroll.
Carroll tried to low ball it at one point to being about naturalism and theism, but Craig kept the focus on the cosmology.

Carroll couldn’t go past the idea that Craig was making a ‘God of the gaps argument’, but that wasn’t the point Craig was making at all-only that God was more probable given the measurable state of the universe, given the state of scientific knowledge available to us today.

Carroll is not on the same type of debater as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris though.

It was an above-the-belt debate for the most part.

He is not a Thomist to be sure, and said as much in one of his debates. (I can’t really comment on the CT article, since the context is behind a pay wall).
Then again, the amount of scientific discovery available to Craig compared to what was available to Thomist likely would have meant that even Thomas would not have been the same kind of Thomist had he known then what he would surely know now, if he was of our age.

Carroll does not think that it is necessary for the universe as a whole to have a cause.
Craig disagrees.

We are at the cutting edge of science here, whether time is eternally present as past, present, and future, or whether the cause and effect can occur simultaneously. Either way, there is nothing naturalistic and worldly about the world surrounding a singularity.

Suffice it to say, at the level of contemplation the probabilities of why something rather than nothing, why order instead of chaos, why complexity rather than simplicity, we got some dice so hot that we would get kicked out of Las Vegas in a Big Bang minute.

At this point in science what takes the greater faith, to believe in God, or not to believe in God?

That gets to Carroll’s other point, which was that the concept of God isn’t defined well enough to actually explain anything about our universe. You can’t say “look at feature_X this is clearly evidence for God” if you can’t use a God model to predict feature_X. The best you can do is come up with ex post facto arguments for why feature_X is compatible with your conception of God.

bjps.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/4/561.abstract
The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology
“Philosophers have postulated the existence of God to explain (I) why any contingent objects exist at all rather than nothing contingent, and (II) why the fundamental laws of nature and basic facts of the world are exactly what they are. Therefore, we ask: (a) Does (I) pose a well-conceived question which calls for an answer? and (b) Can God’s presumed will (or intention) provide a cogent explanation of the basic laws and facts of the world, as claimed by (II)?”

If God would be of a nature that would be amenable to being looked at under the microscope, that would be making God into a God of the gaps.

Carrol makes a good argument against the God of the gaps. Anyone who argues for the God of the gaps, ought to take heed.

Craig never seeks to use God to disprove or limit science in any way, or as the trump card to give an explanation that might somehow fulfill science by going beyond what is amenable to the scientific method.

Instead, he only points to the folly of scientist who presume that their discoveries may disprove God. or make belief in God as fit only for those with simplistic minds.

What the cosmological mainstream in fact believes about God is better explained by the science of social psychology and the behavior of groups than it is by anything that cosmology reveals. about the nature of the universe.

It takes greater faith not to believe in God, and fairly blind faith at that, since there is no evidence whatever that God does not exist; whereas the requirement of an explanation for the Big Bang and the existence of an ordered universe apparently planned ultimately to produce life suggest an extremely powerful and intelligent Force behind the universe.

May the Force be with y’all! :wink:

I like both Dr. Craig and Dr. Zacharias and listen to them fairly regularly (along with Catholic apologists). Another favourite is John Lennox, who actually did get to debate Richard Dawkins.

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