William Lane Craig Replies to My Attack on Faith Statements

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A few months ago, I wrote “A Call for Honesty in Christian Scholarship,” an expansion of my earlier criticism about faith statements. I sent a shortened version to Christian apologist William Lane Craig, and he replied.

As you might imagine, I have quite a bit to say in response to Craig’s article, but first let me remind you of my position. Faith statements hurt Christian institutions because they constrain their staff. Scholars at the Discovery Institute or Answers in Genesis or a Christian university who sign a statement that includes the virgin birth claim (to take just one example of dogma) is publicly stating that they will never write a paper that concludes otherwise. If they ever do tell us, “And that’s why the virgin birth is history, not just a story,” there’s no point in believing it since we knew beforehand that that’s what they would conclude before they began any research. Was that their conclusion after an honest evaluation of the evidence, or did they cherry pick their data? In short, is that the researcher or the faith statement talking?

Other professions have resolved this problem of constraints on scholars’ freedom. Conflicts like this must be disclosed according to the professional standards of journalists, medical researchers, historians, scientists, and those in the legal profession. If religious scholars want to sit at the adults’ table, they should have similar professional standards. I’d like to see, “The author of this paper is bound by the faith statement of [Institution], which can be found at [URL].”

This would be a simple statement of fact, but if it would look embarrassing, then you begin to see the problem.

Freedom of speech demands that scholars be able to say what they want, but professional standards demand that they disclose constraints on their research such as faith statements.

William Lane Craig strikes back

WLC begins his response with a clarification.

Notice that I speak of “doctrinal statements,” not “faith statements,” as you do. Characterizing such doctrinal statements as “faith statements” carries the connotation that such doctrinal affirmations are made by faith alone, without a reasoned basis.

This sounds like someone agrees with me that “faith” = “belief poorly grounded in evidence”! He needs to tell his fellow evangelicals. And I don’t see how this avoids the problem. If “faith statements” might be held without a reasoned basis, why think that “doctrinal statements” are any different? You’d need to first show that doctrine is more grounded in evidence than faith is.

They seem to be synonyms, but “doctrinal statement” is more popular on the internet than “faith statement.” I’ll try to use the former.

Doctrinal statements create community?

WLC says that I don’t understand the value in doctrinal statements.

The primary purpose of such statements is to help build a community of scholars that has a certain ethos founded on a common worldview. Those of us who teach at such institutions value a Christian community in which problems can be explored from within a shared worldview and in which students can be provided an education which reflects a Christian worldview.

You want a worldview? How about Veritas (“truth”)? That’s what Harvard uses.

As for having a worldview shared among the faculty, try a job interview. That’s what conventional universities use.

And think of what this says about the strength of the Christian worldview that students need to be protected from contrary opinions. This admits that Christianity can’t compete. People can be indoctrinated as children, but they very rarely convert in to the faith as adults (more), and that’s the reason for the Christian cocoon.

Doctrinal statements are especially important in maintaining such an ethos intergenerationally. We all know that universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were founded as Christian institutions dedicated to training men for the ministry or for missionary service. But as they have drifted over the generations far from their Christian moorings, they have become secularized and lost their Christian identity.

Oops—you don’t want to go there. Ivy League schools are stellar institutions now, but they weren’t then. They’re at the top because they embraced evidence and reason and followed it where it went.

Let’s look more closely at that list. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton rank 1st, 10th, and 13th in Nobel Prizes. The London Times ranking puts them as the 6th, 12th, and 7th universities in the world. Do you think they’d be there if they were still Christian colleges? WLC’s alma mater Wheaton College has “For Christ and His Kingdom” as its motto, which is very similar to Harvard’s original motto, “For Christ and Church.”

Harvard changed theirs. They wouldn’t be where they are now if they hadn’t.

Continue in part 2.

It is better to debate a question without settling it
than to settle a question without debating it.
— Jeseph Joubert

Image credit: Daniel Günther, flickr, CC

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  • John Love

    LOL, I cannot imagine the share idiocy in the article.

    1. “If “faith statements” might be held without a reasoned basis, why think
    that “doctrinal statements” are any different? You’d need to first show
    that doctrine is more grounded in evidence than faith is.”
    No, one is forcing you to believe in any doctrine. So, nobody has to prove you anything. If you do not believe in the doctrine, you can get a job elsewhere.

    2. “You want a worldview? How about Veritas (“truth”)? That’s what Harvard uses.”
    Why not let him decide what he wants to choose, for a change? If you love “Veritas” as a statement, you can join Harvard.

    3. “Oops—you don’t want to go there. Ivy League schools are stellar institutions now, but they weren’t then. They’re at the top because they embraced evidence and reason and followed it where it went.”
    Plenty of roadside colleges claim to embrace and reason and evidence and have declaration of similar type in their statements. Does not work out for them.
    Actually, if you understand a bit economics, Ivy League colleges are stellar because they both developed a brand, and started very early on as national institutions, and their history had a much greater role to play, then embracing logic and reason. If not, you are free to open a college of logic and reason, and by your logic, it should become stellar on its own…

    4. “Harvard changed theirs. They wouldn’t be where they are now if they hadn’t.”
    Harvard was found in 1636, Yale in 1701, Princeton in 1746. Wheaton College was found in 1860. Of course, around 224 years edge by Harvard is not the reason. The motto is.

    Two moments of silence as we cry for demise of intelligence of the author, if he had any from start.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No, one is forcing you to believe in any doctrine. So, nobody has to prove you anything.

      We agree. Doctrine is just a bunch of words without evidence.

      Why not let him decide what he wants to choose, for a change? If you love “Veritas” as a statement, you can join Harvard.

      Can you guess why I chose Harvard’s motto?

      Ivy League colleges are stellar because they both developed a brand, and started very early on as national institutions, and their history had a much greater role to play, then embracing logic and reason.

      Ivy League colleges follow the evidence. Christian schools with doctrinal statements don’t.

      Harvard was found in 1636, Yale in 1701, Princeton in 1746. Wheaton College was found in 1860. Of course, around 224 years edge by Harvard is not the reason.

      Precisely. Ivy League school researchers are encouraged to follow the evidence. Not so with Christian schools.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        “Of course, around 224 years edge by Harvard is not the reason.”

        I think this was a failed attempt at irony?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well, aren’t you the optimist?

          One can only hope.

      • John Love

        _”We agree. Doctrine is just a bunch of words without evidence.”_
        So, you put words that I didn’t write. Interesting…

        _”Can you guess why I chose Harvard’s motto?”_
        Because that supported your theory. It is like choosing a black criminal case to be racist.

        _”Ivy League colleges follow the evidence. Christian schools with doctrinal statements don’t.”_
        Evidence Required.

        _”Precisely. Ivy League school researchers are encouraged to follow the evidence. Not so with Christian schools.”_
        Evidence Required.

        So much assertions but no evidence. Typical Atheism:)

        • Greg G.

          So, you put words that I didn’t write. Interesting…

          You are accusing him putting words in your mouth when he didn’t. Bob said he agreed with you and gave his reason of agreeing. He did not say that was your reason for your opinion.

          Because that supported your theory. It is like choosing a black criminal case to be racist.

          He used it as a positive example.

          _”Ivy League colleges follow the evidence. Christian schools with doctrinal statements don’t.”_
          Evidence Required.

          _”Precisely. Ivy League school researchers are encouraged to follow the evidence. Not so with Christian schools.”_
          Evidence Required.

          Christian apologetics. The Mike Licona case.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          _”We agree. Doctrine is just a bunch of words without evidence.”_
          So, you put words that I didn’t write. Interesting…

          You passed up an opportunity to make your position clear. Was that deliberate?

          _”Can you guess why I chose Harvard’s motto?”_
          Because that supported your theory. It is like choosing a black criminal case to be racist.

          Nice bullshit playing of the race card! You get extra points, sir.

          Nope. I chose Harvard because Craig himself had mentioned Harvard favorably.

          _”Ivy League colleges follow the evidence. Christian schools with doctrinal statements don’t.”_
          Evidence Required.

          Dang! I just recently read a blog post all about that. Where’d it get to?

          So much assertions but no evidence. Typical Atheism:)

          Say, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you walk the walk? School us reprobate atheists on how it should be done. Shame us into doing the right thing.

          You could take a blog post (this one or another one here) and step us through any errors or omissions made. Y’know, use evidence to make a point. Or is it just too much fun making snarky comments?

        • John Love

          _”You passed up an opportunity to make your position clear. Was that deliberate?”_
          Waiting for you to point where I wrote that you implied I wrote. But hey, you are not bound by a doctrinal statement of honesty.

          _”Nice bullshit playing of the race card! You get extra points, sir.”_
          I wonder whether it is something a racist would say. Oh! Wait!

          _”Nope. I chose Harvard because Craig himself had mentioned Harvard favorably.”_
          So, this is how you choose samples for an argument? LOL

          _”Dang! I just recently read a blog post all about that. Where’d it get to?”_
          Oh! I missed the link to a review by a reputed and independent organisation that conformed that “Ivy League colleges follow the evidence.”. Oh! Wait! There is no such link. You just want us to believe you.

          Do not worry. Your sheep are by your side.

          _”Say, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you walk the walk?”_
          I have no intention. So, I will stay as long as I like.

          _”School us reprobate
          atheists on how it should be done.”_
          By maybe not talking biased samples? By taking collective data? By controlling for “other factors”.

          Here’s a sample for you.

          Creating a Data Analysis Plan: What to Consider When Choosing Statistics for a Study – Scot H Simpson – The Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 2015 Jul-Aug; 68(4): 311–317.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4552232/

          _”Shame us into doing the right thing.”_
          You can shame someone who has conscience. Can’t shame a degenerate. Not possible.

          _”You could take a blog post (this one or another one here) and step us through any errors or omissions made. Y’know, use evidence to make a point. Or is it just too much fun making snarky comments?”_
          99% of people I can vouch, even seriously challenged one, know how to lift data for study and how to use it, at least maintain minimum standards.

          No one is as dumb to just lift few colleges and conclude results from it. If it was so easy, I would have written 100s of peer reviewed papers. LOL

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          _”Nope. I chose Harvard because Craig himself had mentioned Harvard favorably.”_
          So, this is how you choose samples for an argument? LOL

          Yeah, I’m funny that way. When my antagonist uses an argument, I look for ways to use it against him, as in this example.

          Oh! I missed the link to a review by a reputed and independent organisation that conformed that “Ivy League colleges follow the evidence.”.

          No need. WLC himself cites Harvard favorably, so I used that to show how his perspective creates a poorer school.

          _”Say, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you walk the walk?”_
          I have no intention.

          I’m not surprised by anything but your honest.

          So, I will stay as long as I like.

          You’ll stay as long as I allow you to stay.

          You can shame someone who has conscience. Can’t shame a degenerate. Not possible.

          You’ve convinced me. We’re a waste of your time.

          99% of people I can vouch, even seriously challenged one, know how to lift data for study and how to use it, at least maintain minimum standards.

          Study? WLC makes points, and I show how they fail. There’s no study involved.

          No one is as dumb to just lift few colleges and conclude results from it.

          Don’t tell me. Tell WLC.

    • Tony D’Arcy

      A lot of words, John, to say so little. Is the other barrel loaded ?

      • Joe

        I didn’t know there was such a thing as double-barreled potato guns?

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I’ll wait here while you search on “potato gatling gun”

    • rogero

      ‘Share’ idiocy? I think you meant ‘sheer’ idiocy, but instead revealed your deficit of intellect.

      “Two moments of silence as we cry for demise of intelligence of the author, if he had any from start. “. Now google “irony”.

    • Joe

      If you do not believe in the doctrine, you can get a job elsewhere.

      That was one of my issues with Craig’s response. He’s correct, but as usual he misses the point completely.

      If you already believe a certain doctrine, why go to all the trouble of signing a legal document to that effect? The issue is not that they have a belief. We all have beliefs. It’s just that the statements don’t allow for honest and open academic study.

    • Lark62

      If a person publishes academic research, they have an obligation to disclose matters that might appear to others to restrict or influence full reporting of results. This disclosure should include faith statements and/or doctrinal statements that are conditions of employment.

      Duh

    • Rudy R

      If you love “Veritas” as a statement, you can join Harvard

      As oposed to non-truth?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        As opposed to “I wuv Jeebus this much!” which is what the mottos of Christian colleges often amount to.

        • Bob Jase

          Apparently the position of being Ass-Kisser # 1 in Heaven is the most desirable thing these folks can think of achieving.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You’re missing the point, and I’m going to claim you’re doing so with malice aforethought.

      The POINT is that Craig wants the prestige of being an advocate of the evidence-based community, while still grimly clinging on to unfalsifiable superstitions that deny consensus reality.

      Craig doesn’t have that choice, as the options are mutually exclusive.

    • Jim Jones

      I hope none of these schools (except Wheaton) can claim you as a student. You don’t English.

      • John Love

        +Jim Jones
        _”You don’t English.”_
        Irony is thy name…:)

    • adam

      “LOL, I cannot imagine the share idiocy in the article.”

      But we dont have to imagine the idiocy you bring.

  • Kevin K

    It’s hilarious. Craig is trying to use the same rhetorical tricks on paper that he uses in his live “debates”. Doesn’t quite track the same when people have time to digest what you’re saying and respond coherently, does it?

    He’s just another common grifter, make a living fleecing the sheep. He just uses bigger words.

  • Greg G.
    • Nos482

      LOL, great.

  • Philmonomer

    “The author of this paper is bound by the faith statement of [Institution], which can be found at [URL].”

    I think this statement goes too far (and is directly related to WLC’s “get out of jail” card). The problem is the word “bound.” As WLC says, any honest Christian professor who stops believing in the faith statement can walk away (of course, for many professors, this is hugely unrealistic–but WLC can simply ignore that.)

    I would change the statement to something like “The author of this paper’s employment by [Institution] is contingent upon their adherence to the faith statement of [institution, which can be found at [URL].”

    Hmmm, but even that might not be the best……I’m not sure.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Maybe “the author has committed to …”?

      • LeekSoup

        Presumably you sign the statement or a contract containing the statement. Just say “The author has signed a declaration of faith / doctrinal statement …”

      • Philmonomer

        better, i think

  • Cornell Anthony

    So where were you when Google fired James Damore for giving a different opinion in a memo back in August?

    If you were silent then please spare me your BS on free speech and faith statements.

    • Philmonomer

      Google is a private company. They sell stuff (or provide services). They can do what they want. They aren’t a University, which has a different purpose.

      • Cornell Anthony

        Christian universities can be private….

        Texas Christian university is a prime example

        This article argues the case that all Christian universities are private

        http://www.onlinechristiancolleges.com/faq/are-all-christian-colleges-considered-private-schools/

        • Philmonomer

          The point is the purpose of the University. Presumably, it would be something like a free and unfettered search for Truth.

        • Cornell Anthony

          Ok let’s go back to my example with James Damore then.

          Shouldn’t Google operate differently when it comes to difference of opinions, since it could lead to truth?

        • Philmonomer

          Huh? Google isn’t in the Truth business. Just like Chick-fil-a, they are free to run their company according to their own principles (provided those principles don’t break the law.)

        • Cornell Anthony

          Are you kidding me?

          Damore got fired due to ethical principles

          Even if you are a moral relativist you believe truth exists in ethics.

          Only a moral nihilist would disagree

          Google seeks truth, because that helps sales. BS will hurt their reputation

        • Joe

          Damore got fired due to ethical principles

          So you see, in your own words, that the Dalmore firing was a moral issue and not a truth issue?

          I believe you’ve answered your own question.

        • Philmonomer

          Are you kidding me?

          Damore got fired due to ethical principles

          I don’t understand how this is relevant.

          Also, this strikes me as a strange use of “ethical principles,” and I’m not sure what you mean by it. I suspect he got fired for a lot of reasons (and at best all I would be doing is guessing as to why he got fired.)

          Even if you are a moral relativist you believe truth exists in ethics.

          Ok. This also strikes me as irrelevant. I’m not really sure how it is related. But in any case, I believe height is also relative. I also believe there exists such a thing as “tall people,” and that it is true that some people are tall. Things can be both relative and true.

          Only a moral nihilist would disagree.

          Ok.

          Google seeks truth, because that helps sales. BS will hurt their reputation

          Let’s try to nail down what we mean by “Truth,” and how it relates to companies and universities. What do you think?

        • Joe

          Let’s try to nail down what we mean by “Truth,”

          Good luck with getting a definition, let alone a coherent one. It suits apologetic arguments for this definition to remain elusive.

          FWIW, my defintion of truth is: “That which consistently corresponds to observed reality“.

        • Philmonomer

          I don’t know. Heck, I’m not sure I have a coherent definition. But I’m certainly willing to think about these things.

        • Joe

          That’s absolutely fine. If we have no skin in the game, i.e. we don’t need a particular model of “truth” to be correct to support our beliefs, we can debate it like adults.

          I doubt we’ll get an interesting debate on the subject from Cornholio here.

        • smrnda

          No, Damore got fired for circulating a document at work as if google was his personal salon. Businesses have no obligation to be forums for employee opinions. An employee who thinks that their workplace is their personal soapbox should be fired.

          We should also take his quest for ‘truth’ about gender and working in the tech field in context. The tech field is a cess pool of toxic sexism. I’d take a tech dude-bros article on ‘women in tech’ about as seriously as ‘objective truth seeking’ as I’d take a paper about the intellect of black people (or the Irish) written in the 19th century in the USA.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ” I’d take a tech dude-bros article on ‘women in tech’ about as seriously as ‘objective truth seeking’ as I’d take a ”

          …religious apologist 😉

        • Greg G.

          Google’s algorithms find words and synonyms. The algorithms are not sophisticated enough to determine truth vs falsity.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Damore got fired for advocating violation of policies that are EEOC matters.

          If your big mouth puts your employer in the path of a lawsuit, they’re fully justified in firing you.

          Nobody is required to pay another person to damage their reputation or make them legally liable.

        • Jim Jones

          > Damore got fired due to ethical principles

          He claimed that women can’t code.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Do you really not understand that the issue was outside of Google’s mission? If he had new business ideas, that would be a different story.

        • smrnda

          For profit businesses are not truth seeking enterprises, but money seeking ones. This is why people tend to be skeptical of their claims.

        • Lark62

          “But what about ….?”

        • Rudy R

          You’re comparing a commercial business with a Christian school. Are you suggesting the Christian establishment has the same objective? Profit?
          I’m assuming you’re not because you stepped in your own mess and now you’re trying to cleanup, unsuccessfully I might add.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Damore had nothing but his widdle hurt fee-fees that he was whining about.

          That’s not evidence. If he had a rigorous scientific case showing his point, that would be different.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if an institution categorically shuts out any particular [creditable] ideas or reasoned dissension, then ‘university’ is immediately rendered an utter misnomer for that institution.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sure. Christian universities can do whatever they want. They can invent their own accrediting organizations if they want.

          My point about the downsides of faith statements and the cloud they put over the researcher is still valid.

          I’m making a suggestion here. If you’re happy with Christian scholars not being taken seriously, then ignore me. If you want to give them more respect, then take my concerns seriously.

        • smrnda

          Universities have a different mission than money-making companies. A for profit business is in the business of selling things – though they are regulated by laws in terms of what they can say, attacking an ad campaign because ‘it’s so biased’ would be ludicrous. Companies advertise to make themselves look good. Universities are supposed to be about unbiased scholarship. This is why studies funded by businesses tend to be suspect – they may simply be looking to make their products look good.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Cornell is right that both cases (Google and Christian colleges) are broadly about censorship, but that’s the only connection. James Damore challenged Google’s approach to diversity … which has nothing to do with what Google exists for. It’s a policy matter. Contrast that with universities built to study religion … that have rules against honest critique of religion.

        • Grimlock

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but scientific publications are supposed to make a disclaimer about commercial interests, right? So this analogy basically says that a faith statement should also be disclaimed.

    • Philmonomer

      I find Christian apologetics fascinating. In some alternate universe, maybe I’d go get a MA in it. For example, here:

      https://www.biola.edu/christian-apologetics-ma

      However, I believe they would never accept me (an atheist, who can’t agree to their Faith Statement, at least now) Isn’t that, well, messed up? Wouldn’t it be even better if they accepted atheists, but then the atheists became Christians (say, due to their apologetics program)?

      • Cornell Anthony

        Ok but would a secular university accept me as a Christian philosopher if I taught kids that God existed and that Christianity was true?

        It works both ways

        • Philmonomer

          [Edit: Wait, do you mean being a student? Or being a professor? I assume below you mean being a professor.]

          You could ask Timothy McGrew at Western Michigan University. I’m not sure how he handles it.

        • Philmonomer

          My guess is that of course they would accept you into the MA program. They have no statement of faith that you have to sign.

        • Joe

          I’m sure they would be fine as long as you don’t outstep the bounds of what is true and what is known.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Secular universities do employ Christian philosophers who argue in favor of God’s existence and Christianity.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          And some of them are pretty lousy philosophers.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          True. Craig among them, IMO.

        • Jack Baynes

          What course would be teaching where that would be on topic?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you simply teach the Bible as literature, there are loads of people doing that already. If you’re teaching the Bible as fact, you need to give some evidence first.

        • Michael Neville

          As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (a state run, non-religiously affiliated school) I took a course in Biblical history taught by a guy with two doctorates, a PhD in Biblical Studies from Harvard and a Doctor of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. He certainly taught that class as if Yahweh and Jesus existed. So I guess if you could get a job as a philosophy prof at UW-O you could teach that you think God existed and Christianity was true.

        • smrnda

          University professors are not allowed to turn classes into forums for their personal opinions. It’s kind of unprofessional.

          When teaching classes, one is expected to teach based on the best evidence.

        • Bob Jase

          Except for theology.

        • Rudy R

          If the secular university is public, you can be accepted, but you can’t teach Christian dogma as truth, because there is a church/state divide and it’s unconstitutional. You can teach comparative religions, but you can’t pick a side. If you don’t agree, then work to change the Constitution.
          Even Congress and the Supreme Court know that God and Christian dogma can’t be taught in the science class, because it’s not science.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you could provide E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E (and NO, *assertions* are NOT evidence), then you’d be accepted, and *lionized*, in fact, as those who overturn scientific knowledge with *better* scientific knowledge usually are.

        • se habla espol

          would a secular university accept me as a Christian philosopher if I
          taught kids that God existed and that Christianity was true?Yes, they do that. Their geology and biology programs don’t discriminate against creationists, either. That’s because secular universities tend to be concerned with reality rather than with dogma. If it’s a state-funded university, they might take action because of your violations of the law, however, if you’re trying to indoctrinate these ‘kids’ on company time.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        There’s a weekend course by Frank Turek et al called “Cross Examined Instructor Academy.” I considered going, but they have a faith statement for attendees.

        Isn’t it just a bit ironic that they’re (supposedly) taking Christian laypeople who are decent apologists and making them great apologists … but having me there would make them sad? Or break the spell? Or something?

        • Bob Jase

          Its like having skeptics at a seance – the spooks won’t come.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’d be harshing their buzz.

        • al kimeea

          Ah, such power we wield.

        • Grimlock

          It’s almost as if apologetics are primarily aimed at reinforcing already existing beliefs.

          Oh, wait…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Altemeyer mentions that in ‘The Authoritarians’.

          Some people will be unhappy about doing bad things in groups when orderded to do so, but will obey. If ONE person objects, that gives people the permission they need to disobey the authority figure telling them to do something bad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The avalanche of sexual abuse allegations might be another example.

        • RichardSRussell

          I’m currently partway thru watching the movie The Experimenter on DVD. It’s about Dr. Stanley Milgram and his experiments at getting subjects to apply increasingly painful “electric shocks” to his research confederates when they answered questions wrong. A white-coated lab tech kept urging them to complete the experiment when they hesitated due to the screams coming from the adjacent room, and virtually all of them did so, however reluctantly. Milgram was trying to understand why all the “good Germans” went along with Nazi atrocities, and it turns out that they weren’t that much different from “good Americans”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yeah, it was the Milgram experiments that I read about…sorry for the misattribution.

        • al kimeea

          A quite common trope is most of all those millions of people were forced to go along with The Godwin Gang rather than displaying nationalism while being patriotically led down the garden path with doG on their side.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Hey! This happens awesomely in an episode of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’!

    • Joe

      I’m struggling to see how you bringing up a completely unrelated issue even makes a point.

      Your mind must be a confusing and scary place.

    • smrnda

      Last I checked, for profit businesses and such workplaces were not forums for personal opinions. Many companies will fire workers who use company resources to post non-work related material, even when it’s something fairly innocuous.

    • Lark62

      Cornhole is a master of the “But What About” logical fallacy.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        So you and he go way back?

        • Lark62

          A week or so on other patheos non religious blogs like FA where he makes the same comment a hundred times or do.

          It only feels like years.

        • Annerdr

          I blocked him. My life got better. Now I know that may be a coincidence and that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it’s some pretty strong evidence that blocking the great Cornholio improves one’s life.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
      • Chuck Johnson

        But what about Cornell starting a blog that includes all of his own most cherished “What Abouts” ?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Leaving it where it’s easily ignored by those of us who aren’t interested in button-pushing ideology wankery – gets my vote.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      James Damore was employed by Google, and what he wrote was not only antithetical to Google’s stated ethos, it also could have set Google up for a REALLY expensive lawsuit if he hadn’t been severely smacked down.

      Disagreement is allowed, even *encouraged*, when someone brings consistent evidence (that’s not *cherry-picked* to avoid contradicting the conclusion) to the table.

  • Joe

    As usual, I can’t get through a full article by Craig as he seems to be operating in a different reality to the rest of us. My issues were:

    The primary purpose of such statements is to help build a community of scholars that has a certain ethos founded on a common worldview.

    In other areas of academia, this happens organically. People with like ideas get together and share their research. You don’t need to set up a gatekeeper as bad ideas are usually weeded out.

    The truth is rather that because I believe X, I (gladly) teach at such a university.

    If this is the case, and I have no reason to believe he isn’t being honest here, why sign a faith statement in the first place? Professors at a medical college don’t have to sign a statement saying they believe disease is caused by pathogens rather than an imbalance in the humors.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The lyric “Where seldom is heard a discouraging word” came to mind. That must be how it is to work at a Christian college. It’s like living in Disneyland.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Or on Airstrip One.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Like Disneyland in another way…all the garbage takes place underground 😉

      • Annerdr

        Not a very fun Disneyland.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A magical land where no one is mean to Jesus? What’s not to like?

        • Annerdr

          Being mean to Jesus is one of my most favorite hobbies.

      • Jim Jones

        But quite unlike WORKING in Disneyland!

    • Chuck Johnson

      “. . . a certain ethos founded on a common worldview.”

      “common ” is the weasel-word here.
      Truth be told, it is a “centrally-mandated worldview”.
      Or an “officially-authorized worldview”.
      Or a “narrowly-defined worldview”.

      “Common” implies diverse and democratically arrived at.
      Craig’s success is related to his ability to use words to persuade, often using deceit.
      Here, he is trying to deceive.

      • Jim Jones

        Religion is spread by four basic methods:

        Deceit
        Fear
        Torture
        Murder

        I bet WLC regrets he can’t use the last 2 on his critics.

    • TheNuszAbides

      If this is the case, and I have no reason to believe he isn’t being honest here, why sign a faith statement in the first place?

      well … for one avenue of lame superstitious excuse, there’s the paranoia that demons and/or demonically-misled folks
      (a) would too easily infiltrate a poor little besieged institution of piety and righteousness that wasn’t protected by run-of-the-mill authoritarian conformity;

      (b) could still falsely sign the statement in order to set up some horrible faith-smashing apparatus, but will then be ~vulnerable to getting fired~ – and we all know that demons don’t like to expose their diabolical identity/machinations in a termination kerfuffle – the coincidentally-identical way that Yahweh doesn’t like to expose objectively compelling evidence of His Existence, Intentions, Handiwork, etc.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    I’m pretty sure all those universities still have theology departments, etc. It’s healthy to have ideas challenged by those who don’t agree. Living in a bubble is not.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Living in a bubble

      mental and emotional inbreeding doesn’t necessarily have a monopoly on snobbery, viciousness or ignorance, but it blatantly, historically, fails to protect itself from any of them.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Quite so.

  • Michael Neville

    The London Times ranking puts them as the 6th, 12th, and 7th universities in the world.

    Looking at that list I saw that the highest ranked religious university was Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium at 128.

  • eric

    The primary purpose of such statements is to help build a community of scholars that has a certain ethos founded on a common worldview

    So, basically, Craig is saying that the groupthink isn’t accidental, it’s designed. That the Christian leaders of these universities set out to intentionally create a groupthink environment. I agree.

    Doctrinal statements are especially important in maintaining such an ethos intergenerationally.

    I agree again. Doctrinal statements are indeed very important for Christians in ensuring the next generation stays Christian. But I’m not sure why Craig sees this as a good thing.

    Or to put it another way: your ethos may require doctrinal statements in order to survive into the next generation, William, but mine doesn’t.

  • Rudy R

    And I’ll bet dollars to donuts this same Christian cocoon believes in alternate facts in the political sphere.

    • TheNuszAbides

      John L. and Cornell A. already provide evidence that this is a sound bet.

  • Bob Jase

    “For Christ and His Kingdom”

    Not as catchy as “For Texas and Miss LIly”. Not as inclusive either.

  • Grimlock

    Two things that I noticed.

    First, I didn’t see Craig making any arguments for why it’d be bad to include a remark about the faith statements in posts. It was mostly just about how it’d be bad if someone were influenced by the faith statement and wasn’t being intellectually honest. No shit.

    Second, the part about atheist philosophers having bias and such stuff. Notice the phrasing, which I do not find accidental – for Craig it doesn’t appear to be a question of whether such atheist philosophers are wrong… that’s already a foregone conclusion, and the only remaining question is how they’re wrong. Shocker.

  • RichardSRussell

    “Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”

    —University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, Declaration in 1894

    “The question will arise, and arise in your day, … which shall rule — wealth or men? Which shall lead — money or intellect? Who shall fill public stations — educated and patriotic free men, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital?”

    —Edward Ryan, Chief Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court, addressing the UW graduating class of 1873

    “It is wrong, always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

    —W. K. Clifford (1845–1879), “The Ethics of Belief” (1879)

    • ThaneOfDrones

      “Let’s turn the University of Wisconsin into a community college.” – Scott Walker, 2015 (paraphrased)

      • Grimlock

        Based solely on the TV show “Community”, I approve of that idea!

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Elsewhere in the Ivy League:

    Godless Cornell

    In that same epochal year of 1865, Ezra Cornell and A.D. White founded Cornell University as a new kind of American institution of
    higher learning. Unlike its predecessors like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia, Cornell was to be a nonsectarian university, “an asylum
    for Science,” as President White wrote, “where truth shall be sought for truth’s sake, where it shall not be the main purpose of the Faculty to
    stretch or cut science exactly to fit ‘Revealed Religion.. ..'”
    The charter of Cornell stipulates that “Persons of every religious denomination, or of no religious denomination, shall be equally eligible
    to all offices and appointments,” and White in his Plan of Organization emphasized that “We have under our charter no right to favor any sect
    or to promote any creed. No one can be accepted or rejected as trustee, professor or student, because of any opinions and theories which he may or may not hold. On that point our charter is most carefully guarded, and made to conform to the fundamental ideas of our Republic-ideas which too many institutions of learning have forgotten.”
    President White consciously modeled Cornell’s chartering documents on the principles of the Constitution. In short order critics attacked Cornell for its liberal spirit and began referring to it as a “godless institution” where theories such as materialism and “evolutionism” received an impartial hearing. And yet “godless Cornell” soon had a large and impressive Christian chapel built in the center of its campus that could accommodate 500 worshippers…

  • ham salad

    So now if you ever say faith statement again instead of doctrinal statement he will have something to whine about for the rest of his life. Neat debating trick.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Good point.

      I recently read a WLC article pushing back against the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him), open-mouthed that he could so completely misunderstand the point of the original Kansas letter.

      What was that line again? Something like “someone won’t understand a point that he’s being paid to misunderstand”?

      • Chuck Johnson

        Upton Sinclair.
        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s it. Thanks.

        • Kevin K

          Or his campaign contributions…which pretty much defines what’s wrong in US politics these days.

      • John Love

        +Bob Seidensticker

        _”Something like “someone won’t understand a point that he’s being paid to misunderstand””_
        I don’t know why I feel like the author of the post seems to fit the description.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ouch! Who let on that atheist bloggers are well paid to be on Satan’s payroll??

        • adam

          Hey Bob, if you have any pull with the Big Guy, I havent received my weekly baby and my family is starving.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll nudge the Dark Lord.

  • Eric Sotnak

    “You want a worldview? How about Veritas (“truth”)?”

    Exactly. This should really be the only shared commitment of a college or university.

    • TheNuszAbides

      I agree. Even if an aspect of “higher ed” is to prepare us for “the real world” replete with liars and cheats, the instructive example to lead by absolutely ought to be positive and protective; and if it’s the last opportunity to bask in honesty and truth, we must strive for the best exhibition of both at all times – give the grads something to miss at least!

  • Thomas Goodnow

    As a minor quibble, Craig clearly doesn’t believe that faith is “belief without evidence”, and I believe he’s on the record multiple times explicitly denying this (it’s a bit of a recurring theme on their podcast, for instance) . He is, however, a skilled debater, and knows enough to know that the person who settles the definition (even if the definition is only settled to their own satisfaction) controls the answer. Mr Seidensticker clearly DOES believe that faith is “belief without evidence” or similar, and Craig’s answer seems an attempt to head this off (unsuccessfully, obviously).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I hear you, though it seems that in this instance he is denigrating “faith.”

      I’m happy to have any definition attached to “faith,” but I do insist on consistency. In my experience, many Christians will publicly declare that faith = trust, and that their “faith” is as firmly grounded in evidence as anything else in their lives (but then privately talk about a faith that you have to accept, well, on faith).

      • al kimeea

        Would the faithful trust an airline that flew on faith? Trust in doG or have faith in a comprehensive maintenance routine. Hmmm…

        • Greg G.

          I contend that a prayer warrior or two with the faith to move mountains could make a fortune in the road construction business with no overhead, well, the overhead would be heaven itself.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the overhead would be heaven itself.

          LITERALLY.
          no, wait – metaphorically, right?
          er … metaliterally?

        • Greg G.

          Jan Brady: “Meta, Meta, Meta…!”

    • Peter White

      WLC a skilled debater? I think not, he has admitted that he is unable to convince anyone who isn’t already a believer. A skilled debater would have no difficulty convincing skeptics to adopt his position. His debating skills are limited to repeating arguments already refuted by his opponents. His loyal followers seem to miss that and believe he has offered counter arguments.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        I agree. He is effective with his audience, but they’re not objective observers.

    • Ficino

      “the person who settles the definition (even if the definition is only settled to their own satisfaction) controls the answer”

      Excellent point. So true.

      The scholastics spent years being trained in disputations.

      • TheNuszAbides

        are there extant transcripts of debates from way back then (if there ever was such a thing pre-stenography), or only things like disputatio training manuals from legacies that managed to avoid the fate of [e.g.] Abelard’s work?

  • Otto

    So when Craig says…

    Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.

    Is that a faith based statement or a doctrinal statement? Does it really matter what he calls it? Bullshit by any other name would smell just as putrid…

    …never trust a man with 2 first names…or 3

    • Pofarmer

      Yep. He’s declared his mind is closed before he even starts. And he ends every “debate” with an emotional appeal.

    • Michael Neville

      Since Willy Lane is the one who determines what the Holy Spirit is saying to him, every opinion or fact which contradicts that “witness” can be disregarded. It’s not even “heads I win, tails you lose”, it’s heads every time.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Weeelllll, I trust Neill deGrasse Tyson :-)

      • Otto

        There is always an exception HEWBT….;)

        • TheNuszAbides

          nah, that looks like two last names to me. totally different thing.

    • Kevin K

      I know it’s petty of me, but I can never type the man’s name without misspelling the middle one — It’s William Lame Craig every single time.

  • Len

    Apologies if this has been brought up elsewhere but this is clearly a case of believers muddying the water to try and look better than they are. “Doctrinal” sounds more impressive than “faith”, so a doctrinal statement appears to have more value.

    It gives the impression of being the result of actual research, backed-up by real evidence. This is not the feeling you get with a faith statement.

    For many believers, it would be more accurate to call it an indoctrinal statement – ie, a statement accepted by believers due to their indoctrination at an early age.

    • TheNuszAbides

      indoctrinaire, even.

    • John Love

      But isn’t it atheism that is result of indoctrination?

      • adam
        • John Love
        • adam

          Ignorance of superstition and ignorance of politics.

          So YES, there is a connection

          Without that knowledge, religion INDOCTRINATES children into both
          That’s why religion needs IGNORANCE in order for it to spread.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eb8a7e73957ded447269085abf01df5d5cb0416d10b2f8752001a8d27bc8e2d9.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/256d4323cc766e35836b7e4d7164c74af49ca1c7446f93f4d9bdb0d82f502ddd.jpg

        • John Love
        • adam
        • John Love
        • adam
        • Jim Jones

          If you get leprosy, let me know and I’ll sacrifice a pigeon to cure you and save your life.

        • MNb

          Don’t you pity that pigeon?

        • Jim Jones

          Waste of a perfectly good statue decorator.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t believe anyone will erect a statue of me and that suits me fine. I don’t want air rats giving their opinion of me until the statue erodes.

        • Jim Jones

          I don’t want one like the Aussie one with the carefully placed loaf of bread.

        • Michael Neville

          A strategically placed bit of pigeon poop would enhance that statue.

          EDIT Yes I am 10 years old, why do you ask?

        • Greg G.

          Damn you, Neville. You beat me to it. I posted the same joke but too late.

        • Michael Neville

          You snooze you lose.

        • Greg G.

          I had a good excuse. It involved birthday cake.

          PS: OK, it could have been the tryptophan, too.

        • Greg G.

          I can understand why. You don’t want a pigeon to carefully decorate the loaf.

          http://24.p3k.hu/app/uploads/2017/11/pedofil-szobor-407×660.jpg

        • MNb

          Ah, Johnny wants the Truth and he wants it right now. Such unchristian lack of modesty.
          In our days it’s the scientists and unbelievers who continue the christian tradition of modesty. We recognize openly how poor our knowledge and understanding is, while at the same time we are proud of the few things we do know and understand. That way we can be grateful that for instance computers and internet work and allow us to communicate directly with people all over the world, no matter the distance.
          But not Johnny-never-enough. Despite the fact that his religion never has achieved anything tangible in several millennia he whines that science always changes. In the meantime he takes his computer and internet – plus all other scientific discoveries – just for granted, as if he has an inborn right to them. Such ingratitude.
          In case you have some brain cells left that still work properly, give this one a thought:

          “John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”
          Asimov.
          Your question, Johnny-never-enough, demonstrates that you are even more wrong than all those people Asimov talked about – also put together.

        • Greg G.

          There are over 45,000 different denominations of Christianity because they cannot agree enough with one another to unite and that is in less than 2,000 years. Their agreement is only enough to identify them as Christian. That makes Jesus the biggest prayer failure in history:

          John 17:20-23 (NRSV)20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

          We see disagreement between Paul and the other disciples right in the Bible, before any of the New Testament was written. For Jesus’ prayer to not be a failure, the whole world would have to believe and that belief would be triggered by agreement being great enough among Christians to impress the rest of the world. The whole world does not believe. Christians have different theologies. According to Jesus’ prayer, the world doesn’t believe because Christians do not have a single theology.

          Instead of trying to harass atheists with inanities, why are you not trying to determine the one true Christianity that Christians can agree on to save everyone and rescue Jesus from being the all-time greatest prayer failure?

        • Greg G.

          Why are you posting that message with a computer that will be obsolete in a few years due to improvements in science and technology?

      • Len

        On the contrary. Atheism wants you to think for yourself.

        • John Love

          +Len
          _”On the contrary. Atheism wants you to think for yourself.”_
          Didn’t know that Atheism was a voodoo doll, that can have “wants”. Oh! Wait.

        • Michael Neville

          Tell me, are you stupid or are you just looking for a fight? I’d like this information so I know how to deal with you.

        • adam

          “Tell me, are you stupid or are you just looking for a fight?”

          Or?

        • John Love

          +Michael Neville
          Should I report this comment for threat?

        • adam
        • John Love

          +adam
          If Atheists are victims when they say they will slap people around, should we help them when kill religious peasants???

        • adam

          “If” is a very strange word. For some, it makes them have wet dreams. For others, it is just a possibility.

        • John Love

          I wonder whether you are already wet, because of that proposition:)
          I mean you can kill millions, and then claim victim points…. Voila!!!

        • adam

          “I mean you can kill millions, and then claim victim points…. Voila!!!”

          No, I am not the church.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b914c9ae89d657742ab60de9c6ec87ee18649d8df4086333e70d3eef334774a4.jpg

          Besides why would I want to kill?
          Atheism has no God commanding US to kill

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

        • John Love
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Explain. Tell us what Richard Dawkins has to do with pedophilia.

        • adam

          ” Tell us what Richard Dawkins has to do with pedophilia.”

          Its a diversion from the inherent problems of John’s ‘God’

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/229037267d9f3f7ebe9e29acb9174169db54397978bde3de5d422914ae544a2c.jpg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I think this is adam’s cue to provide some meme artwork showing children who were left to die by Christian parents who believed the Bible when it said that if you pray to have someone healed, it will actually happen.

          THE GIFT OF CHRISTIANITY

        • adam
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bingo.

          THE GIFT OF CHRISTIANITY

        • adam
        • John Love

          What is Dawkins doing in Church???

        • adam

          I didnt know Dawkins was in Church.
          Probably speaking reason to superstition, if he was actually there.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/151925a51e6a55d5bd1418d3a12f8fa99b39d9a82fb1f8468f8e6fcd942470f3.jpg

        • Jim Jones

          Laughing.

        • adam
        • John Love
        • adam

          PERFECT CHRISTIAN!!!

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5445e273728092c84dc583a4e5d5b4272a1e62c42654b930aa001a7c5c86900.png

          GOD PROVIDES

          FORGIVENESS

          FOR

          MURDER

          RAPE

          CANNIBALISM

          so NO ACCOUNTABILITY at all for christians.

        • Jim Jones

          <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11615457/Australias-worst-paedophile-priest-molested-every-boy-at-school-in-Victoria.html”>Australia’s worst paedophile priest ‘molested every boy’ at school in Victoria

          Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse told that senior Church leaders were aware of the crimes of Father Gerald Ridsdale and an “evil” paedophile ring that he operated for decades

          The commission heard that, in 1971, each of the male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school was molesting children.

          Philip Nagle, who was abused at the school, held up a photograph of his fourth grade class and said that twelve of the 33 boys had since committed suicide.

          THE GIFT OF THEISM

        • Kodie

          What exactly is your fucking problem? You haven’t made a valid point since you arrived, and it seems to unleash some craziness in you that atheists even exist. You think you know everything about us, but you’re basically operating on propaganda, and you think you are dropping bombs on us so … what? You think we will shut up? You think we will want to be Christians? All you are is a troll, somehow you think you’re a victim, and somehow you found one atheist blog on the whole internet to flash your tiny dick at. What are we supposed to do with that? Cry?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’d love to slap him around, but his arguments are of the schoolyard-taunt variety. Not really worth much effort. Can we make him up his game? I fear that this is already his A game.

        • John Love

          “I’d love to slap him around”
          Oh! Little Stalin is awake:)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nope–you got me again. I just can’t match your cleverness.

          I see you’re wisely avoiding an actual debate topic. Smart–it’s good to know your limitations.

        • John Love

          Topic, about how you pick data for a sample???

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Data? Sample? How is that relevant for this post? WLC made some stupid statements, and I pointed that out.

          There are over 1000 posts here. You’re welcome to poke through them and respond to those where data and sample are more relevant.

        • John Love

          Yeah, data is not important for atheists. Sorry, my bad.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t think that John Love is worth much even as a chew toy. Most of what we give him just go over his pointy little head. Give him a day or two to see if he can actually produce a coherent argument. But I won’t be holding my breath.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Unfortunately, he’s easy to fit into the “obnoxious shithead with nothing but snarky comments to offer” bin. I don’t like to stereotype, but what else can we do when they keep fitting themselves into those bins?

          How about more Christians who want to actually discuss the intellectual issues? I’ll add that to my list for Santa. I know that asking God for them won’t do anything.

        • MR

          At this point I’m willing to try anything.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Golly, but didn’t God smile on us when he directed you to come here? One small suggestion: give us less meaningless banter (only you think it’s witty) and more intellectual contribution to the conversation. Are you here to debate serious issues or just blather?

        • Kodie

          Hopefully it’s just because of school vacation.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ah, maybe that’s it. Middle schoolers have a lot of energy.

      • Greg G.

        No, for some, it requires the rejection of indoctrination. Some atheists were never indoctrinated so they do not subscribe to any religion. Many atheists saw the problems with their theology and could not maintain belief despite their religious indoctrination. It doesn’t require any contact with atheists or atheist thought.

        For me, I was amazed by the creationist quotations of scientists that appeared to show that scientists were trying to hide something. So I started reading some books on evolution to see if I could find some. I began to realize that the arguments for evolution were not being stated correctly by the creationists. Then I came across some of the quotes creationists used and saw that the way they were ripped from the context was dishonest. It’s like pointing out some of the verses in the Bible that say “there is no god” and arguing that is what the Bible means when the context of the verses have, “the fool says in his heart” or “besides me.” Then when I heard my favorite preachers telling lies about what scientists say when they could actually look up what they actually say, then in the next breath with the same tone of gravitas they preached about what heaven is like without biblical support, I began to realize that it was all supported by lies. But I still struggled to maintain my faith despite that, for a while, as I has other foundations.

        The final foundation was when a sermon was about cussing. The preacher said, “There is POWER in the NAME of the LORD!” It sounded like he was speaking in all CAPS and bold font, even. But then I realized that “bullshit” had the same power. My faith was dispelled at that point and I was sad. But I was lucky that I had non-religious friends and I never looked back. I never had a conversation about atheism until about ten years later.

        • John Love

          +Greg G.
          Well, in my case it was little different. I read for example, that evolutionists lied when they cited the moth experiment as evidence of natural selection. Even other evolutionists had written criticisms of the experiment. I was never told that Darwin himself had put out a condition for falsification of his theory, and I searched it myself.
          I was also lied that Neo-Darwinism was true when there was actual documented evidence of horizontal gene transfer and epigenetics. It was hidden from me that homologous and analogous were convenient methods of understanding and not actual truths. I was also never told that phylogenetic tree had been changed many times, and employed two different perspectives for its creation. I was told that neutral mutations were removed from population over time (like tail), and also told that we have vestigial organs, from the time we were fish. I was told that each life’s goal was to maximise survivability but then also told that sacrifice by soldiers, for example, was a trait of evolution, when in most cases, soldiers are better than average and more desirable because of their athletic physique and aggravated presence of masculine traits. And so on.

          Whether Theory of Evolution was true or false, I was surprised I was constantly lied to. But for what?

          It was a Redpill moment for me when I realised the answer.

        • adam

          “Whether Theory of Evolution was true or false, I was surprised I was constantly lied to. ”

          Why wouldnt religion lie to you?
          They want you to have ‘Faith’ not reason.

        • John Love

          +adam
          Why you would not lie to me? You have unbelief to sell…

        • adam

          No I have reason to sell.

        • John Love

          _”No I have reason to sell.”_
          And then salesman told the Truth, for the first time….
          AMEN!

        • Jim Jones

          “We all know that any emotional bias — irrespective of truth or falsity — can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value…. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.”

          ― H.P. Lovecraft, Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Lied to? I missed the lies. Perhaps you’re confused and it’s just that science isn’t perfect and changes with time. Could that be it?

          Greg G.’s point is that there is much deliberate, verifiable lying on the Creationist side. Big difference.

        • John Love

          “SCIENCE CHANGES” IS NOT A DEFENSE OF EITHER STUPIDITY OR WILFUL LYING

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “science changes” ≠ “science lies”

        • John Love

          Science cannot lie, it has no mouth. But scientists, sure can.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And yet the fact remains that science changes because it changes, not because scientists are rubbing their hands and twirling their mustaches, trying to lie to you. But if lying is an actual concern, you should check in with those fundamentalists who pick and choose their science (cosmology and chemistry OK, evolution and climate change evil) to satisfy their religious preconceptions.

        • John Love

          I KNOW HE IS NOT LIAR, BECAUSE HE WEARS A WHITE COAT – SAID NO ONE EVER, EXCEPT BOB

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Another skillful deflection! Well done.

        • John Love

          Skillful, yes, deflection, no.

        • Kodie

          You don’t sound like a lot of Christians. You sound like the particular paranoid angry Christian who is butthurt that anyone can reject your psychosis. Other Christians can be a lot more mature about it. You have no rational arguments, you are just some school kid home on vacation and trolling on the internet. If you had something better to do, you wouldn’t bother, and if you had any better arguments, you wouldn’t have to resort to sloppy, paranoid, asshole kind of thinking. Why would someone want to be a Christian? You have evidence? Or just hate and deceit?

        • Greg G.

          You said, “But scientists, sure can,” which does imply that scientists are liars. The only thing that could make your reply look more stupid is to put it in all capital letters, which you did.

        • adam

          “Science cannot lie, it has no mouth. But scientists, sure can.”

          And who corrects them?
          Science

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef407d23e2be8fcdc9acf3948763219ef19d1e53c08d25a1c440a62047a02d28.jpg

        • John Love
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
        • John Love
        • Jim Jones

          How many times did religion fly men to the moon before science figured out the process?

        • Kodie

          All caps is not an argument of anything. You’re just another ignorant butthurt Christian who can’t put two thoughts together without getting lost. How about calm the fuck down or go fuck yourself?

        • Greg G.

          I read for example, that evolutionists lied when they cited the moth experiment as evidence of natural selection. Even other evolutionists had written criticisms of the experiment.

          There is your problem. You still believe creationists and IDiots. I think you are talking about the peppered moth experiment. Here are a few claims made by creationists about the peppered moth and why the claims are not true.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB601.html
          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB601_1.html
          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910_2.html

          Darwin himself had put out a condition for falsification of his theory

          I am not sure what you are referring to. I know that at the beginning of his discussion of the evolution of the eye, he presented the the criticisms an opponent would make at the beginning of the chapter, then spent the rest of the chapter explaining why those criticisms are not viable. Creationists quote that first part as if the rest of the chapter didn’t exist. That is another reason to not trust creationists.

          and I searched it myself

          Shoulda read the rest of the chapter in Origin of Species.

          I was also lied that Neo-Darwinism was true when there was actual documented evidence of horizontal gene transfer and epigenetics.

          All the creationists have to do is show that those are major factors in evolution and genetics. Even then, it wouldn’t falsify that DNA genetics work.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section5.html

          Maybe the creationists were trying to make a big deal about it with early life forms.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB822.html

          It was hidden from me that homologous and analogous were convenient methods of understanding and not actual truths.

          Do you mean “homologous and analogous structures”? Perhaps you were confused by Michael Denton’s first book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, where he was confused by creationist arguments. He backtracked on many of his claims in his second book after his errors were pointed out. See section III. Assaulting Evolutionary Pattern in the following review for where he goes wrong:

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/denton.html

          I was also never told that phylogenetic tree had been changed many times, and employed two different perspectives for its creation.

          Science is not handed to us. Nobody claims divine revelation. It changes as new evidence is acquired. However, it was pretty well settled before DNA analysis was possible and DNA analysis has confirmed it. Even where the two models didn’t agree, the species were very closely related.

          But the major point is that DNA didn’t have to agree. If creationism was true where “kinds” were zapped into existence separately, there was no reason their DNA should be similar at all.

          I was told that neutral mutations were removed from population over time (like tail),

          I doubt you were told that unless you heard it from a lying creationist.

          and also told that we have vestigial organs, from the time we were fish.

          We have lots of organs from the time our ancestors were fish, like heart, eyes, mouth, liver, kidneys. Our coccyx is a vestigial tail from our primate ancestors, which came from the tail of our fish ancestors.

          I was told that each life’s goal was to maximise survivability but then also told that sacrifice by soldiers, for example, was a trait of evolution, when in most cases, soldiers are better than average and more desirable because of their athletic physique and aggravated presence of masculine traits. And so on.

          Altruistic behavior is accounted for. You should have paid more attention when they told you about bees and ants. Your genes do not have to be passed on by you. They can be passed on by your brothers, sisters, and cousins, too.

          Whether Theory of Evolution was true or false, I was surprised I was constantly lied to. But for what?

          You were not lied to by those teaching evolution. You have been deliberately deceived by creationists whose religion relies on their interpretation of the Bible. It isn’t about the science for them, it is finding excuses to believe the lies of their religion.

          It was a Redpill moment for me when I realised the answer.

          You need to take another pill.

        • MR

          Approach of a typical Christian bent on protecting his faith:

          *Read what Christian apologists have said about science.
          *Challenge atheists with what Christian apologists have said about science.
          *Google the atheist response for what Christian apologists have said about it and challenge atheists with that apologist response.
          *Rinse and repeat until there are no more legitimate apologist responses, then reboot or change subject.

          A more honest approach:

          *Read what Christian apologists have said about science.
          *Read what science actually has to say.
          *Check that against the apologist response.
          *Check that against the science.
          *Rinse and repeat until you realize that the apologist response always ends up strawmanning the science.
          *Question why the apologist response has to lie.

          An even better approach.

          *Learn fucking science.
          *Laugh when you hear the strawman arguments put out by Christian apologists.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nice algorithms.

        • Jim Jones

          > I was also never told that phylogenetic tree had been changed many
          times, and employed two different perspectives for its creation.

          This is a common mistake. Science is not a thing like the bible where the stuff ancient people made up out of ignorance can never be challenged.

          It is a method for hammering the truth out of reality so we can learn from it. That’s why all explanations made by scientists are subject to change until no more change is possible. Compare Newton to Einstein for examples.

      • MNb

        Hmmm – I sang in a catholic choire when I was 10, 11 years old. I learned the Lord’s prayer because I thought it cool. I participated as one of the three Biblical Magi in a stage play, all at that age. I read the children’s Bible. They are good memories for me.
        Still within a few years I was lost for christianity, thanks to two 17 years old students from Youth for Christ making propaganda in my class (on a secular school – in The Netherlands that’s legal).
        So if anything my unbelief is the result of christian indoctrination.

      • Michael Neville

        My atheism is the result of reason and logic. It started when a Catholic monk teaching a religion class said something that didn’t seem reasonable and so I researched it. I discovered that particular dogma was based on someone making up an excuse for not being able to do something. I then started looking at other pieces of doctrine and found an important method that theologians use to determine precepts: Make it up as you go along. This method is used not only by Catholic theologians but also by other Christian theologians and, indeed, by all theologians regardless of creed. Often theologians of any flavor will theologize themselves into a paradox but, instead of dropping the particular thread which brought them to the logical contradiction, they’ll declare the mess a “mystery” and mutter things like “the gods are mysterious” and “some things are beyond human comprehension” and suchlike flimflam.

        So my atheism is based on the antithesis of indoctrination.

        • John Love

          +Michael Neville
          The majority view in all societies is passed on without much argumentation in its favour because it is status quo.
          What you are saying is said by almost every person who holds a different view than what majority believes in his country.

          If you go to Soviet Russia, you still hear stories about how people were indoctrinated, literally, into Communism and Atheism. Funnily, Socialists/Communists in America say same about Capitalism, that Capitalism is achieved via indoctrination.

          “Indoctrination” is a subjective rhetorical argument.

        • Michael Neville

          First of all, do you know that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 primarily due to its own contradictions? If you’re not aware of this please let me know so I can recommend a book or two on Eastern European history of the past couple of decades. Also I’m not impressed by you conflating socialists and Communists, that tells me that you’re ignorant about basic economics but are willing to pontificate on the subject. Incidentally I am neither a socialist nor a Communist.

          Secondly, your babble about indoctrination has zip point zero to do with how I became an atheist nor on how theologians practice their trade.

          Thirdly, what point are you trying to make with your comment:

          “Indoctrination” is a subjective rhetorical argument.

        • John Love

          +Michael Neville
          _”First of all, do you know that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 primarily due to its own contradictions?”_
          Are you saying that Atheism is in Contradiction to Reality?

          _”If you’re not aware of this please let me know so I can recommend a book
          or two on Eastern European history of the past couple of decades.”_
          Why I don’t believe in your recommendation? WHY?

          _”Also I’m not impressed by you conflating socialists and Communists, that
          tells me that you’re ignorant about basic economics but are willing to
          pontificate on the subject.”_
          Didn’t know ‘/’ stood for “conflation”

          _”Incidentally I am neither a socialist nor a
          Communist.”_
          Focusing on things never said, than actual argument – Check

          _”Secondly, your babble about indoctrination has zip point zero to do with
          how I became an atheist nor on how theologians practice their trade.”_
          Did you became atheist by your free will or because of a chemical reaction in your brain?

          _”Thirdly, what point are you trying to make with your comment:”_
          A little English will help.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you saying that Atheism is in Contradiction to Reality?

          Where did I say that? Please show me how you got the idea that I said anything even remotely like that.

          Why I don’t believe in your recommendation? WHY?

          Why are you calling me a liar before you even ask for a recommendation? If you had asked and I didn’t give you one then you could call me a liar but leaping to the conclusion that I wouldn’t give you a recommendation without asking first tells me that you are just looking for a fight.

          Didn’t know ‘/’ stood for “conflation”

          I suspect there’s a lot of things you’re ignorant about. Your other whine about evolution tells me that you’re ignorant about that subject. I’m absolutely sure that your ignorance is almost boundless. For instance, what’s a “click-clack”? Almost every American war veteran of the past couple of generations could answer that but I doubt you can.

          Focusing on things never said, than actual argument – Check

          Yes indeed, you’re trying to get into a fight. Did you notice that the first word I wrote in the sentence saying that I wasn’t a socialist or Communist was “incidentally”? Do you know what that word signifies? Or is that another part of your voluminous ignorance?

          Did you became atheist by your free will or because of a chemical reaction in your brain?

          Sorry, I’m not interested in a debate on free will. Try again later, once you’ve shown you’re an honest debater. So far you haven’t shown that.

          A little English will help.

          You are hardly in the position to talk about someone else’s use of English. I noticed a couple of grammatical errors and a missing word in your post.

        • Kodie

          Right in your post, you conflated atheism with communism. Does your teachermom know you’re on the internet?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Atheism is the default position. The theist has the burden of proof.

      • Kodie

        Did a Christian tell you that? What else are they lying to you about?

      • Susan

        But isn’t it atheism that is a result of indoctrination?

        Well, John. It’s hard to tell if you’re a believing christian or just an internet troll.

        If you are a believing christian, you don’t seem to have provided anything yet to support that position.

        You’ve just attacked science and people who don’t believe christian or any theistic claims.

        So, what are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • MNb

          Oh, I can already answer your question.
          Johnny’s claim is something like “science always changes so my version of christianity must be True.”

      • Jim Jones

        “We all know that any emotional bias — irrespective of truth or falsity — can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value…. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.”

        ― H.P. Lovecraft, Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft

    • Jim Jones

      > “Doctrinal” sounds more impressive than “faith”,

      As ‘faith’ sounds better than “wishful thinking”.

  • al kimeea

    Doctrinal plays better than faith or dogma, which is what these statements describe

    • TheNuszAbides

      oh, them sophisticated theologian types lurrrve to ‘distinguish’ doctrine from dogma, as though the overwhelmingly vast majority of The Faithful of any stripe throughout history have had a shadow of a scrap of a clue what the difference is. (oh, but they are supposed to trust their thought-leaders to Properly Understand, of course!)

  • Ficino

    Craig’s claim that assent to doctrine need not lack a reasoned basis is no answer. What he should have done is demonstrated that EACH clause in an entire doctrinal statement is believed by EACH faculty member on sufficient evidential and/or logical grounds to satisfy the demands of having “a reasoned basis.” But that, I suspect, he cannot do.

    And it goes against what actually happens. People have various needs that push them to “get saved,” and then they can construct arguments to protect themselves from the cognitive dissonance that would kick in if they considered carefully how far the reality falls from what the NT promises. Some spend decades honing those apologetic arguments. Some are even paid to hone them. A lot of others quietly keep it to themselves when they perceive some or all of the emperor’s new clothes are missing. Isn’t there an expression about seminary senior common room talk not being allowed to leak out of the common room? How many seminary profs at evangelical institutions, I wonder, realize that the Bible is not inerrant but keep mum about it to the laity and the Board of Trustees?

    • TheNuszAbides

      The Clergy Project took four years to grow from an online safe space to an independent non-profit dispensing grants and employing therapists; that was two years ago …

      • Ficino

        Yes, I understand that many people have gotten help from them.

  • Ficino

    Craig begins his rejoinder this way:

    “I’ve heard this complaint before from other unbelievers, and sometimes it is, frankly, just an excuse to ignore …”

    Clever rhetorical strategies at work.

    I’ve heard this complaint … So it’s an expression of emotion, Bob’s feelings were hurt? Craig’s readership will, like most of us, respond negatively to “complaint” and to complainers.

    … before … So Bob is not presenting an original thought. Craig’s readership will feel, oh, Seidensticker’s just repeating the same old stuff that someone on our side must have refuted already.

    … other unbelievers … Negative associations of “unbelievers”

    … sometimes … Leading off with a description of what only happens sometimes, with nothing said about whether Bob’s writing exemplifies the bad stuff that happens “sometimes” manages to associate Bob’s piece with the bad things Craig will go on to denounce.

    “frankly” – both an appeal for cred and an emotionally laden word. The readership gets to get het up under the collar at this hint that Craig is annoyed.

    “just an excuse” – effect is obvious. What’s not obvious is whether Bob’s article is an instance of such “excuse” mongering.

    “to ignore” – as though the writings Bob is questioning are things he has ignored?

    Then Craig goes on to take refuge in the comeback I find in many apologists, that their interlocutor just fails to understand how things function in evangelicalism or fails to understand Aquinas or whatever.

    By the time Craig’s evangelical reader has gotten this far, her/his pre-rational faculties have already been manipulated. [I am not saying that skeptics don’t marshall rhetorical tactics too.]

  • Linguagroover

    William Lane Craig could make the same alleged arguments if he were a classic Soviet-era Marxist-Leninist professor (however defined) explaining why a Soviet-era Marxist-Leninist academic institution that he approved of would never employ a vehemently anti-communist Eastern Orthodox metropolitan as a faculty member. In short, as is so often the case with Christian apologists, they think ideological bullshit tied up with some twinkly intellectual tinsel won’t still look like bullshit. News flash: it does.

    • Jim Jones

      > ideological bullshit tied up with some twinkly intellectual tinsel

      That was Scalia’s method of deciding cases.

  • epicurus

    Ok, I gotta ask, the photo Bob used in the post title – how does it relate to the title – I don’t get it.

    • Len

      Moving the goal-posts I guess. A favourite strategy of apologists.

      • epicurus

        Thanks, I felt like a bit of a dimwit for asking, but hey, that’s how you learn.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      If you said, “Huh??” in response to the photo, you pretty much had the correct reaction.

      What photo do you use to suggest faith statements (or the consequences of them)? And I needed 3, because this is a 3-parter. So I just decided to go with images in the “nutty” category.

      • epicurus

        Oh ok, thanks. By the way I wasn’t criticizing, just in case that you might have thought that. Just thought there might have been a reference I was not getting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No problem. It does sometimes take a while to find an image that seems to have some relevance (or not).

          I got the same “I don’t get it” question about the image in this post. That reader just hadn’t read the hover text. I mean, it’s obvious once you read that, right?
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/07/top-10-most-common-atheist-arguments-do-they-fail-4-of-4/

        • Michael Neville

          There’s hover text? I don’t see it, however Firefox did install its latest “update” on my box which has messed up several other things like Greasemonkey scripts.

          EDIT: I get it now. The hover text is in the picture you linked to, not in the picture of the goalie bride.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Right. I always ask myself if there’s any interesting hover text that I could add. Often, there’s a cerebral idea that connects the image and the post that many people might not get, so I add it then. In the present case, “Goalie bride” or “wedding soccer” doesn’t really add much to the image.

        • MR

          Don’t even get me started on that damned Firefox update. I wasted all of yesterday morning trying to undo that mess.

        • Michael Neville

          I ended up having to reinstall Norton Antivirus and I’ve lost one of my favorite Greasemonkey scripts, the one that puts HTML commands into posts with a mouse click.

        • MR

          I live and breathe by a special tool that requires one of the add-ons. I tried system restore, but the damned thing kept updating anyway. I finally had to uninstall Firefox, download the old version, disconnect from the internet, install and tell it not to update, then reconnect and download the add-ons–which will no longer be supported. It works for now. I still have one computer to go. What really irritates me is that they’re unapologetic. “Why do you want to keep an older version when our new version is so wonderful?” Because you broke the only thing I use your browser for!

        • epicurus

          Yes, I realized awhile back I miss things like hover text because I read blogs on a tablet – you don’t know it’s there and can’t read hover text, or at least I don’t know how, without switching over to a laptop or desktop.

      • Otto
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s always the frikkin’ badgers, isn’t it??

  • Questioner

    Better tell Craig: Not knowing that God is a made up fictional character is like not knowing that Mickey Mouse is a made up fictional character.

    • Grimlock

      […] Mickey Mouse is a made up fictional character.

      …wait, what?

      • TheNuszAbides

        ixnay on the isneyDay ebunkingday!

  • John Love