A Christian Apologist Just Debated Richard Dawkins… Kind Of

Christian apologist William Lane Craig recently debated Richard Dawkins on stage at the Contending with Christianity’s Critics Conference at a church in Dallas, Texas.

There’s just one problem with that: Richard Dawkins doesn’t debate Creationists.

How does that work, exactly…?

Simple. Craig, taking a page from the book of Clint Eastwood for some odd reason, put an empty chair onstage and pretended it was Dawkins:

William Lane Craig talks to ‘Richard Dawkins’

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. William Lane Craig is used to talking to people who aren’t really there.

The debate took place for 42 minutes. The video is below… the comments are disabled as you might expect:

To no one’s surprise, the chair won the debate.

(via The Christian Post)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Volunteer

    The chair won by saying nothing and letting Craig ramble his idiocies for 40 mins. Sadly, the audience lost for the same reason.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Eastwood made a complete fool of himself and of the Pluto-Theocratic Party by talking to a chair as empty as his head. So Craig thinks this is a good idea to mimic.

    If this trend continues, we can look forward to religionists debating a whole panel of empty chairs all in a row,  for a rousing and fascinating discussion between Empty Chair Dawkins, Empty Chair Dennett, Empty Chair Harris, Empty Chair Hitchens, Empty Chair Ingersoll, Empty Chair Darwin, Empty Wheelchair Hawking,

    and of course, Empty Throne God.

    This will be done in front of an Empty Chair Audience.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Eastwood made a complete fool of himself and of the Pluto-Theocratic Party by talking to a chair as empty as his head.

      Most of the press coverage focused on the empty chair. But the really foolish part was that Eastwood’s incoherent rambling did not seem to encompass any awareness of who was responsible for the policies he complained about, or which party they belonged to. Example: he went on for a bit about how stupid it was to get into a war in Afghanistan. But wait, who started that war again?

    • Prezombie

      But as we all know, the Empty throne now has the Saint of Killers sitting upon it.

    • Brennin Statistician

       Your pretense of learning is precious.

      • Brian Pansky

         New strategies for quantum learning enable intuitive consciousness.

  • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

    the video is private

    • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

      it’s here: http://youtu.be/_XZb8m7p8ng

      • r.holmgren

        Really disappointed that those commenting completely ignore the content and focus on the setting. For any thinking person, the existence of the universe requires an explanation. WLC gives possible and even plausible arguments. Only the atheist says, “The existence of the universe does not require an explanation.”

        • RobMcCune

          There are plenty of naturalistic explanations for the big bang, many of which do not pose the “problems” WLC claims require God as an explanation. Craig also uses dishonest quotations, strawman arguments, rhetorical tricks, so he’s hardly the best representative of the christian worldview.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          That the existence of universe necessitates an explanation does not entail that any explanation will suffice.

        • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

          an atheist is perfectly happy to search for an explanation, and until it is determined, say, ‘i don’t know. yet.’

          the problem with WLC is that he makes stuff up, and the stuff he makes up is grotesque, and has been refuted repeatedly.

          the iron chariots are a great resource: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Kalam 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          One catch is what constitutes “explanation”, and on what basis explanations are ordered as “better”. Sweeping the formal math under the carpet, the statement “the universe exists” fully explains that the universe exists. Explanations of this sort generally can be improved on — but that’s separate from not being an explanation. 

          Another major catch is that near a Münchausen Trilemma level, the existence of the universe (or more specifically, or experience, with a generating pattern referred to as “the universe”) is taken as an axiomatic assumption, which is philosophically perfectly valid to take in refutation (either as lack of pattern, or denying the existence of experience). In which sense, the proposition that the universe does exist in the first place is utterly unjustified and completely debatable.

        • Earl G.

          For any thinking person, the existence of a deity requires an explanation.  Only the theist says “The existence of a deity – in fact MY exact deity and no one else’s! – does not require an explanation.”

  • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

    To be fair to William Lane Craig, even though he doesn’t deserve this, I’m pretty sure he did this before Clint Eastwood. Basically what I’m saying is WLC is a publicity stunt hipster.

    • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

      no, he specifically says that he got the idea from the RNC and calls the whole thing ‘eastwooding’.

      • Reginald Selkirk

         There’s a problem with that: WLC was using this stunt in 2011, well before Eastwood appeared at the RNC. William Lane Craig’s empty chair thread.
        Dec 11, 2011

        • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

          aHA.  mediocre minds think alike, i suppose.

          • Sindigo

            Ha!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          So, WLC is trying a retcon (aka: lying about how he got the idea)? Or does his phrasing allow that he got the idea of calling it “Eastwooding” as a result of the RNC?

          • http://www.helensotiriadis.com/ helen sotiriadis

            he says,

            ‘having watched the RNC last month, i now realize i missed my chance that night at the sheldonian theater. through the magic of ‘eastwooding’, that empty chair would have sufficed very nicely for a dialog with professor richard dawkins. so, if i might invite the staff to bring out a chair for professor dawkins.’

            etc.

  • Brian Westley

    Atheists ought to respond by challenging god to a debate, and debating an empty chair when he/she/them don’t show up.

    • Evertonian

      Oh yea. That would be brilliant Brian. Except for this: When the atheist debates god in the empty chair, is the atheist going to use reason and sound arguments that appeal to the laws of logic? “Debating” and proving things presupposes that there is truth. However, what is truth in the atheistic universe? Why are the thoughts being generated out of your brain producing truth and mine are producing falsehoods? The atheist cannot account for the abstract concepts that are required for intelligible debate. So just by showing up to debate god in the empty chair….means you are jumping into the Christian worldview to debate. You loss.

      • Lagerbaer

        Why the Christian worldview? Why not the Jewish, or the Hindu? And what denomination of Christianity?

        Even if an atheist couldn’t account for abstract concepts, you can’t either.

      • SavannahRob

        Wow. Just wow.

      • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

        I’d like to see your reasoned and sound argument to the effect that atheists cannot account for the concepts required for intelligible debate. I’ve heard this nonsense claim bandied about before, but I’ve never heard any argument to why this must be so. ‘Truth’ is simply that which is the case. So basically what you’re saying is that if it were the case that God didn’t exist then nothing would be the case. However, that’s clearly a contradiction; if it were the case that God didn’t exist, then – by tautology – it would be the case that God didn’t exist. Therefore, there is at least one thing that would be the case even without God, so the concept of truth has a quite straight-forward applicability even to atheists. As for sound argumentation: an argument if valid iff retaining its premises and negating its conclusion results in a contradiction. So what you’re saying is that if God doesn’t exist, then the concept of contradiction cannot be accounted for? Why on Earth would this be so? Explain yourself, please.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          Philosophically, truth is marginally more complex than “simply that which is the case”. Not much; but a little.

          • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

             Hmm. Wrote a reply to you but it seems to have vanished.

            The
            correct analysis of truth is controversial among philosophers, but most
            analyses are made in terms of ‘facts,’ ‘reality,’ ‘what is the case,’
            ‘what is actual’ etc. I take your point that truth in some philosophical
            contexts is more complex than these terms, but in the context of
            whether the analysis in question is compossible with atheism, all that
            we need to establish is that the atheist is entitled to the component
            terms of the analysis.

            I’m not aware of any philosophical
            analysis of truth whatever the coherence of which necessitates an
            adherence to theism. Even if there were one such an analysis, all the
            atheist would have to say is “very well then. Whatever my analysis is,
            it’s obviously not that one.” In order to establish his assertion
            Evertonian would have to show that all analyses of
            truth that have been made and even that could be made
            must fail if God doesn’t exist.

            Given the insurmountable task of
            proving such a preposterous thing, I’d say that while I take your point
            that ‘truth’ is somewhat more nuanced than what I made it out to be,
            such nuances are fairly irrelevant to the context of our discussion.
            Unless, of course, you’d like to argue Everton’s preposterous assertion
            on his behalf?

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

              I’m not inclined to argue Everton’s thesis; I disagree with it. Nonetheless, I still think familiarity with those nuances helps can help with effective response to that argument.

      • William Snedden

        What a useless and stupid response. Utter logic fail. The laws of logic simply cannot be dependent upon your god’s mind for existence because that would necessitate that they could be other than they are. But that leads to a logical contradiction and thus is impossible. Checkmate stupid TAG-depender…

      • Fjell_strom

        If you’re really interested in seeing a well-structured, entertaining take down of this convoluted canard, check out TheoreticalBullshit’s Youtube videos “Slick Logic” and “Tag, Matt”. Done and dusted.

        • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

          Thanks for the recommendation. I knew of TBS but I’ve never bothered to watch all his stuff and those particular videos had escaped by notice.

      • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

        Presuppositionalism? Well, I don’t suppose you’d actually be interested in a discussion of relational, gramatical/linguistic, and correspondence senses of truth. The short answer is that while the atheists account does require premises that sit on some horn of Münchausen’s trilemma, and while the Christian worldview may be a possible way to reach those premises,  that doesn’t mean the Christian worldview is the only way to reach them.

        Those interested in presuppositionalism might track back through the Ace Of Clades archives over at FreeThoughtBlogs for a discussion or two in there. The “fideism” entry over at the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Wikipedia entry for “Presuppositional apologetics” may also be worth a glance.

      • Brian Westley

        Hey Evertonian, debating a Calvinist like you is ALMOST like debating an empty chair.  All you do is make unsupported assertions, there’s no real argument.  “Me loss” indeed.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          Doesn’t seem to respond much to any of the replies, either. Drive-by critique that never challenges any presented counterargument.

      • pRinzler

        Q: “However, what is truth in the atheistic universe?”
        A: Truth is correspondence with reality.  Duh.

        Q:  “Why are the thoughts being generated out of your brain producing truth and mine are producing falsehoods?”

        A: Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I’m sure some of your thoughts are true.  Whether thoughts are true or not depends on – wait for it – whether they correspond with reality.

        “The atheist cannot account for the abstract concepts that are required for intelligible debate.”

        What would satisfy you as an account of abstract concepts?  I’ not sure what your criteria are.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          Actually, “Truth” seems to have at least three senses: correspondence between empirical reality and some symbol string within an abstract formal language; a string being recognizable as grammatical within the formal language (EG: a mathematical theorem in some axiom system); and the relational sense of (P OR (NOT P)) used in definition of the formal language of mathematics.

          • pRinzler

            Arthur, I’m not sure that the distinction you draw is crucial to the theist’s point.  I think theists challenge atheists on abstract concepts like Truth on the grounds that materialism – mere atoms – can’t lead to abstractions, you need agency (basically, a soul).  I don’t see where Münchausen’s trilemma nor your distinction addresses the theists’ complaint.

            • Evertoniancalvinist

              Correct PRinz…The atheist cannot account for these abstractions if he is to be consistent with his materialistic worldview. The Christian position can give an account for Truth, Laws of logic, shame(see comments below) etc etc. The Christian worldview can make sense of the reality we live in. The atheist cannot unless he borrows.

              • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

                 Not all atheists are materialists, mate. I, for one, am not since I’m not sure ‘materialism,’ whatever it means, makes any exclusionary prediction.

              • pRinzler

                Care to provide sufficient evidence for your claim about atheists cannot do with regard materialism and abstract concepts?

              • http://www.facebook.com/johnpiermont.vm John Piermont V. Montilla

                @4629f37158aa6f1ca3bd34fa1f301a20:disqus  sounds like your deluded of your own definition of truth. The universe can only be observed by an observer and the observer only endowed with 5 senses to observe. Now you are offering another sense to observe, what is that sense? is that none sense? sense of humor? or what?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

                You appear to neglect the possibility of the materialism being an implication of the abstract, with existence as abstraction not requiring instantiation in the material — or more precisely, the experiential.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

              Only in so far as “mere atoms” is a strawman. For one thing, the existence of atoms is an inference; the abstractions are philosophically prior.

              The Münchausen trilemma actually relates to a not uncommon atheist position involving a genuine blind spot. Relation of propositions — EG, “reasoning” — requires some some starting set of premises. 

      • Marco

        Said like a two legged chair.

      • TiltedHorizon

         ” Why are the thoughts being generated out of your brain producing truth and mine are producing falsehoods?”

        Feel free to ask the Liverpooliens.

        • Evertonian

          Titled…LOL. Very few will understand that. Figures an atheist would be on the Red side. How’s is 14th goin for ya?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            Ah. A reply… to the response with the least substance as counterargument.

          • TiltedHorizon

            I’m glad it hit home, I figured this would be a good time to interject with a little levity.

            I don’t have any interests in Red or Blue (or any sports), I’m actually a Yank where baseball is as American as apple pie; my ‘atheistic’ attitude towards sports means I’d rather have the pie. (or a Melton Mowbray pork pie when next in the UK)

            I tend to draw parallels between sports and religion as fans can become quasi-fundamentalists in their support mirroring the faith vs faith vs atheist arguments. Bitter arguments over the superiority of their chosen sides, asserting opinion and subjective personal preference as authoritative facts in the absence of anything quantifiable.

            So what makes your “truth” a falsehood? If “truth” is rooted in subjectivity then it is only true to you; it is not a truth. The god you believe is not the god or gods the other 2/3 of the world subscribes to. Red vs Blue vs the ‘Ities’ or Mets vs Yankees vs Phillies on a global scale.

            • Evertoniancalvinist

              Titled… So you just said at the end of your post that truth is subjective. Let me ask you, is your idea that truth is sibjective … is that absolutely true? Or is that also subjective. Kinda self-refuting… Yeah?

              • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

                Would you care to answer something that’s been said in response to you that can’t be answered simply by regurgitating rhetoric from Kirk Cameron debating guide? Please?

                • Evertoniancalvinist

                  LOL. What do you want me to answer? Ask. Go.

                • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

                  See above. I want you to give me an argument showing that all analyses of truth that have been made and even that could be made must fail if God doesn’t exist.

                  You can present the argument however you like, but I’d prefer it if you were very clear on your premises and how you think your conclusion follows from them.

                  Looking forward to it. :)

                • Evertoniancalvinist

                  Impossible question to answer unless we can agree on a definition for truth. Is truth absolute? Or is it subjective? Your going to have to day it is subjective if you ate consistent with your atheism, which makes the question impossible.

                • Evertoniancalvinist

                  *you’re *say *are. Sorry iPhone

                • http://www.SketchSepahi.com/ SketchSepahi

                   

                  Your going to have to day it is subjective if you ate consistent with your atheism, which makes the question impossible.

                  I’m sorry, but you’re simply reverting back to your Kirk Cameron rhetoric guide. Whether truth is ‘subjective’ or ‘absolute’ – whatever that means, since you haven’t bothered to define your terms – has not the slightest bearing on the issue at hand. You have provided no argument whatsoever as to why my lack of belief in your god commits me to anything; let alone why it commits me to thinking truth is subjective or to forego  argumentative soundness.

                  I have now given you every opportunity to clarify your position and to provide justification thereof, but you’ve made it abundantly clear that all you’re interested in is parroting stock rhetoric you’ve read somewhere else. You fail at making your case. If ever you have something intelligent to say, write back to me. Otherwise I consider our exchange over. Have a good day.

              • TiltedHorizon

                There is a ‘if’ which preceded the assertion. I’ll rephrase: Something that is true will always be true regardless of interpretation; hence no subjectivity. If I walk the earth with one stone in each hand and ask everyone I pass how many stones I hold, the answer regardless of time of day, weather, season, culture, area code, religion, ethnicity, or language spoken the answer remains ‘two’. The same cannot be said of one’s favorite team or of faith. Subjectivity undermines any claim of truthfulness.

                • Evertoniancalvinist

                  And how can you account for this absolute truth that you say exists in a universe that came to be by chance and had minds made of physical matter? Why are our minds producing truth and not just reacting? You are borrowing the concept of truth from the Christian.

                • Deven Kale

                   Because it’s more beneficial to the individual to have a mind which is better able to model that which is correspondent with reality. That creature that cannot properly model reality tends to die off rather quickly; by misinterpreting it’s surroundings and either being killed by predators or by nature (such as falling off a cliff). That creature which is best able to model reality will therefore pass on it’s genes moreso than that which can’t, and the cycle continues with each successive generation. It seems evolution explains it quite nicely.

                  You seem to like to use the term “absolute” in place of “objective” all the time. I imagine it’s because you really enjoy the little rhetorical trick of “that’s an absolute claim, are you absolutely sure of that?” Which is not only equivocating two different meanings of absolute, but genuinely dishonest. Yes, there are many things which are objectively true, even in an atheist worldview. And yes, we can be absolutely sure that those things are objectively true, regardless of whether or not they fit into your little word games.

                • TiltedHorizon

                  “…in a universe that came to be by chance…”

                  Presupposition. Covered by “asserting opinion and subjective personal preference as authoritative facts in the absence of anything quantifiable.”

                  This universe is expanding from a central point, this is the only fact which is known. The big bang which explains the expansion is one possible theory, there are others, like the constant universe theory; i.e. the universe is eternal and always existed. Others posit under metaphysical arguments that the universe expansion may be part of a cycle, an eternal ebb and flow where the universe compresses into a singularity then explodes again in a cycle.

                  With so many possibilities rooted in naturalism one has to wonder how you managed to disprove them all before leaping with such certainty into supernatural answers.

                  As for me,I don’t have to account for this “absolute truth”, I’m happy with a little mystery and the occasional pie.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

                It doesn’t seem that TiltedHorizon actually said “Truth is Subjective”. Rather, he used that as the antecedent of a conditional.

                Isn’t that kind of deficit in reading comprehension abnormal past the fifth-grade level?

      • LesterBallard

        Presuppositionalism: the last refuge of a scoundrel.

      • http://www.facebook.com/johnpiermont.vm John Piermont V. Montilla

        Define truth? 

    • Lagerbaer

      A guy in Romania wanted to sue god, and the court refused because you can’t sue an imaginary person. Go figure.

    • Foster

      You mean like Romney vs. Obama in Denver?

    • DougI

       There is a movie, I think it’s called “God on Trial” about Jews in a Nazi concentration camp putting god on trial.  Pretty good stuff.

  • CultOfReason

    To no one’s surprise, the chair won the debate.

    LOL!  That made my day.

  • TiltedHorizon

    William Lane Craig vs Chair.
    William Lane Craig never stood a chance.

    • Antinomian

      Wait until you see what the Davenport did to him…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        Cue Narbonic mad science jokes….

        • Antinomian

          Not until after the ottoman has its way with him.

          • Earl G.

            My money’s on the barcalounger.

  • jose

    Can’t wait for the creation museum dude to do this as well. But we need to step up the game, just debating is getting old. This time the show could take the form of a wrestling match (’tis very american, right?), where he can act like all biologists in history are sitting in the audience as he engages in a pretended hulk-hogan-style fight against Darwin himself. “Were you there?” he would say, just before the fatal suplex.

  • asonge

    WLC did this to Dawkins months ago (last year?) during a tour of England.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cestatheeconne Jezzie James

    fyi – video didn’t play.  message: this video is private

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Meanwhile, WLC refuses to debate atheist John Loftus.

    • John

       Judging from Loftus’ previous debate with Dinesh D’Souza, an empty chair could do better than him.

  • A3Kr0n

    You can’t debate an empty chair, that makes n sense.
    Oh ya, I get it now. Debating an empty chair about an empty subject.
    Good move WLC!

  • William P.

    The video is now private. Figures.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fixed now! Video is working

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    The water bottle is a horrible moderator.  

  • http://twitter.com/TweetThatSheet Daniel Brown

    Thank you WIlliam Lane Craig for the visualization of how Dawkins spends his time off your stage, teaching the minds of the young, while you remain on stage where you mentally masturbate yourself doing nothing for the advancement of science or critical thinking. Just… talking to a chair. Trying to make some kind of statement.

    • Brennin Statistician

       Dawkins is a completely dried up ethologist (which is, perhaps, marginally more useful that haruspicy) with a rather undistinguished scientific record. Those who can do. Those who can’t teach and/or write popular books.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

         Such an undistinguished academic his work The Selfish Gene was widely recognised as groundbreaking and coined the now widely used term MEME.

        And your great contributions to science and society are?????

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        I hate that dumb old statement.

        Where would “those who can” be without teachers? 

        It’s a stupid us vs them statement.

  • http://twitter.com/TweetThatSheet Daniel Brown

    Video plays now, at least for me on 10/10/2012 around 10:45am Eastern time.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Why does anyone think this is a good idea? You’re talking to furniture! Man up and debate someone who can talk back.

    • Brian Westley

      So you’re saying we need talking furniture?

  • http://twitter.com/TweetThatSheet Daniel Brown

    And how on earth does Craig think that this stunt will encourage Dawkins to change his mind and debate him? This was just awful.

  • amycas

    Go chair!

  • snoozn

    I have to take this opportunity to say “I GET TO SEE RICHARD DAWKINS SPEAK IN LESS THAN A WEEK!” If there is just an empty chair on stage I am going to be seriously pissed.

    • theist101

       Do yourself a favour and don’t go.  Read a comic book, or watch a soap opera instead, it will be far more enlightening and useful!

  • Marco

    They have no shame.

    • Evertoniancalvinist

      Marco…I’m going to have to pick on you even though I like the name Marco. It sounds very romantic. Given your atheistic worldview, how can you make sense out of “shame”? Bro, this universe came into exsistence by chance. We emerged from the soup millions of years ago. It is a dog eat dog world. This world and our lives will go out of existence and nothing we did or thought will ever matter. Come on bro… When you start talking about concepts such as “shame” you are sounding like the stupid Christians. Shame fits within their Christian story…. Not yours. So be consistent fella, don’t ever be shameful about anything.

      • Brian Westley

        Evertonian, you’re pitiful.  You have a totally distorted view of reality, and you’re so boorish you think other people need to follow your philosophy.

        Shove off, you’re not going to find any support here.

        • Evertoniancalvinist

          Bri… I have a distorted view of reality??? You think we could be in the Matrix.

          • RobMcCune

             It’s logical than depending on the Cartesian Circle.

          • Brian Westley

            I think it’s extremely unlikely, but I acknowledge it’s a possibility, however remote.  If you DON’T acknowledge it as a possibility, you are removing alternatives without justification.  In effect, you’re just ignoring possible explanations that you don’t like.

          • Earl G.

            And you think that we are all puppets of some omnipotent figure in the sky who personally plans and controls everything that happens.  Tough to get more Matrixy than that.

      • Earl G.

        Shame evolved millions of years ago as a mechanism guiding social behavior in social animals.  Unless you think Jeebus gave shame to the monkeys and dogs of the world too?  Wow, you’re a dumbass.

        • Evertonian Calvinist

          Earl… Are you saying a abstract concept(shame) evolved millions of years ago? How did we get an abstraction evolving from matter and molecules? Do you see how the atheist can’t account for abstract concepts?

          • RobMcCune

             Shame is an emotion, it evolved with the brains ability to understand one own actions as well the emotions and expectations of others. That’s a better explanation than God creating it and hiding it in magic fruit.

            • Evertoniancalvinist

              How did emotion evolve out of physical, brain matter? Rob-

              • Brian Westley

                google scholar shows 320,000 articles for “evolution of emotions.”  No one here is willing to spoonfeed you, so read or STFU.

              • RobMcCune

                Emotions are the consequence of the brain evolving to to react to external stimuli in a way that helps the organism survive. Beyond that you find details from more qualified experts as Brain suggests.

                I like how you didn’t defend your previous assertion that shame is an abstract concept. Funny how you think abstractions can’t arise from matter, and yet communicate using a computer built upon layers of abstraction from complexity in simpler processes going right down to the physical. Do our respective machines embody platonic forms of numbers, math and logic?

                • EvertonianCalvinist

                  False analogy. Our computers use abstract concepts such as number, logic etc. because they were built by men who are subject to these abstract concepts. It’s not as if your computer developed it’s own abstract laws to compute. Your computer is not alive Rob, no matter how much you love it.

                • RobMcCune

                  The point still stands that computers use abstract concepts, but are purely physical machines. There is no reason you have given that you have given the same can’t be true of life. All you’ve done is point out a difference between computers and people.

                  Even though humans have the capacity for logic and abstract thought, they didn’t begin formalize it until a few a few centuries B.C., late even by young earth creation standards. Many important concepts in pure mathematics and set theory weren’t thought of until the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s not as though highly abstract thought is a default or even second nature for people. Humans had to develop abstract thought, and have to learn it today, in order to use it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        As usual, Wikipedia’s entry gives a good starting overview for “shame”. Particularly note how it’s a pattern of phenomena observed in the science of social anthropology, contrasted with the semi-similar pattern of guilt.

        This seems likely to be possible to translate into abstract mathematics; something like game-theory competition for reputation as a reliable interactive proof system prover or verifier (depending whether the shame is based from dominance or prestige).

  • http://notabarbie.wordpress.com/ Notabarbie

    To quote an old Christian friend:  “O M Gosh!”  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=116400943 Leo Buzalsky

    I just have to say hadn’t Craig said he was going to leave a chair out for Dawkins well before the Eastwood incident?  Granted, I don’t recall Craig suggesting he would debate the chair if Dawkins didn’t show up, but the point is that he had at least been planning the ideal setup for such a “debate.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PXVJCITQD3JSUFVZMZULZC24XU CaptMike

    Looks to me like Dawkins got unseated. Better luck next time loser.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      Visits to an ophthalmologist are recommended annually, last I heard.

  • nakedanthropologist

    “To no one’s surprise, the chair won the debate.”  – I love this. 

  • sam

    It’s good to see that Craig has finally found a debating opponent with as much intellectual honesty as he has.

    • LesterBallard

      The chair has more intellectual honesty than Craig has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700851737 Sam Kay

    What a joke. Pretty easy to ridicule Dawkins when he’s not there.

    • theist101

       Nah, just pretty easy to ridicule Dawkins!  (not implying all athesits, just the silly ones like Dawkins).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        And yet, you seem to be sad that the comments here descend into ridicule.

        Double standard?

        • Evertoniancalvinist

          Arthur…I’m going to answer for this guy: Given your worldview, why is it wrong for this guy to use double standards? What moral standard are you using to condem him? If you answer “his own standard” then I’m going to want to know why it wrong to be hypocritical…..given your worldview.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            Your response misses a step in the reasoning. I (quite deliberately) didn’t address whether having a double standard was “wrong” or not. The only standard thus used was on the “is” side of Hume’s “is-ought” divide; no moral standard required.

            Given such a elementary mistake, I infer that while you may want to know why I infer something as “bad” (morally wrong; distinguished from “wrong” in the sense of correspondence, linguistic non-membership, or the nadir of a boolean lattice), you are unlikely to be able to reliably follow the individual steps from premises toward conclusions. You further seem unlikely to have the abnormally high patience for following the tediously long chain of steps all the way from starting premises.

            • theist101

               Thats really funny.  Also pointless, but its good that we can keep humour alive while disagreeing.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

                Actually, there is at least one point; most proximately, marginally increased awareness of the distinction between “is” and “ought”. There’s others, more subtle.

          • nakedanthropologist

            Evertonian, I need to answer for Arthur…given your theistic worldview, isn’t life meaningless and therefore making irrational and unfounded replies just an exercise in banality?  If so, then why do you do it when you know your “intellect” can never match up to general elementary academic standards?  What moral inquiry can we find from such account, given a theistic worlview, wherein all life and experience on Earth is meaningless as it does not come from actor’s agency, but rather a game-maker?  If the afterlife is all that a theist subscribes to as ultimately more important than present life (via the game-maker’s instructions) then how can we even know what they really mean and if they understand abstract concepts?

            P.S. See what I did there?

            • Evertoniancalvinist

              Yeah I see what you did there. You misrepresented my argument and thru in some Ad Homs.

        • theist101

           Double standard?  Maybe.  I wasn’t trying to ridicule Dawkins I was trying to say that he makes himself an easy target.  Though calling him silly may qualify!  Ok, apologies for double standards, I will make sure I reign that in.  Thanks for pulling me up on it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            As I note, I didn’t say double standards necessarily are a bad thing… heh.

            Still, in so far as double standards are considered a bad thing, and in so far as awareness leads to the prospect of reducing them, that would seem to be good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698681810 Fergus Gallagher

    “the comments are disabled as you might expect”

    Comments seem to be disabled for all that user’s videos. That says something too.

  • theist101

    I’m a christian but I was cringing a bit at Craig’s performance.  I dont think it helped advance the discussion at all, and if there was any chance of Dawkins changing his mind then thats probably gone now, which is a real shame.

    Some of the comments here are also a shame though.  Sad that it always decends into ridicule.  It also shows that at many levels its a useless discussion.  I admire what Craig does as people like Dawkins need answering because he just isnt that bright and works on the assumption that if he’s dogmatic then everyone will beleive him.  I think Craig does a good job of showing how simple and flawed Dawkins logic is.  But many atheists also see that about Dawkins, he really isnt a ‘bright’.  I’m sure the atheist community has much brighter, it would be much more interesting hearing from them.  (Not Dennet, Harris or the likes of the late Hitchins they are in the same class as Dawkins). 

    Craig’s goal is at a societal level, which I think is very important in terms of keeping freedom of religion front and centre, and showing that theism is reasonable.  Its obsurd to say its not.  Some may choose atheism because they think its more reasonable – so be it, and each to their own.  Dawkins infantile desire to show theism as ridiculous is a tool of his warfare, but not a credible one.  Ive met much saner athiests who I can respect a whole lot more.  Atheism is in a huge minority in the world and its a bit delusional and arrogant of people like Dawkins that think their tiny minority group are the only ‘brights’ around.

    Below the societal level its interesting on a one to one where people really can change their views, other than that its generally just noise.

     

    • Antinomian

      Prove, with scientific evidence that the supernatural (your god) exists and has any effect on our universe (yes, I’ll give you the whole universe), then and only then will we give your circular arguments, fallacies, apologies and old tired arguments a listen.

      Otherwise we will continue to ridicule and give no respect to your infantile and useless explanations of the universe, morality and history.

      Que the goddidits and other mental gymnastics……

      • Russian Alex

         Tide goes in, tide goes out — you can’t explain that! (c)

      • Brennin Statistician

         Your inability to apprehend modal ontological arguments, the cosmological argument from contingency (different from William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument, which rests on shaky ground in my view) and other arguments for the existence of God is not our problem. And speaking for myself, I do not seek your respect and you will get none from me for your vapid atheism

        • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

          I understand that your emperor only buys the most expensive cloths and hires only the best tailors…..  But still he’s nekkid as a j-bird. 

        • theist101

           Brennin, I am with you all the way and I think your last sentence is good.  We should not respect vapid atheism but we should be respectful in how we engage with atheists as this is Christ like.  I like the way you distinguish between the two.

          • AgeOfReasonXXI

            “we should be respectful in how we engage with atheists”

            good for you. the only problem is that fewer and fewer atheists are still interested in wasting time arguing with people who converse with an imaginary friend on regular basis and refuse to grow up and let go of their infantile faith. life is too short for that. it was so much easier when you could simply burn dissenters on the stake.. and now that you can’t do that anymore,  you want to debate..

            reality check: your Iron Age dogmas have been completely chased off of academia (being from the U.K., I’m sure you know that) where your God has become a persona non grata and the crazy, often wicked, beliefs of “Bible-believing Christians” (that’s the politically correct label for Biblical inerrantists, i.e. fundamentalists, isn’t it?), are seen as so utterly disreputable, that given the rapid secularization of the developed world, it won’t be long before your ilk will have as much chance of even getting a job at a fast-food joint as nutcases who believe in unicorns and the tooth-fairy do today. What sane individual wants a person who believes Satan literally exists working for him/her?

            What did you say previously about the future?

            p.s.: not to worry, though, you sill have the hope of the world to come, right? after all, you’ve waited for 2000 yrs., you can’t lose heart now..

            • theist101

               Wishful thinking my friend.  You will never be at God’s funeral but he will be at yours.

              You are partly right about the UK but not totally.  We have more than our fair share of atheists 12% to be exact, which is double the US.  But still a small minority in both cases. 

              The Queen is still head of the church though making us a christian nation.  And the universites that started as Christian and lost reason through the enlightenment resulting in the bloodiest century on record, are seeing a turning again back to their roots.  The philosphy departments of places like Oxford have strong Christians in them as well as many other influential academics like John Lenox and Alistair Macgrath. 

              Wisdom is justified by her children, and the children of secularisation are disasterous, there comes a point when reason returns.  Which is why our Priminster, current and previous ones have talked about returning to our christian roots as part of the solution to the mess we are in. 

              Pluralism has been as much of a problem as secularisation and more responsible for the side lining of Christianity than secularism.  That mistake is beginning to be seen too.

      • theist101

         Antinomian, I think you misunderstand the nature of the discussion.  The sciences are concerned with the material world, thats their sphere.  Nothing wrong with that.  Science is a magnificent pursuit and enables us to “think God’s thoughts after Him”.

        Philiosphy asks the metanarative questions and explores the implications of science.  It explores what the best ‘inference to best explanations are’ given reason and logic.  Scienctific data forms the basis for arguments that either support or deny those premises.

        Dawkins cannot prove that there is no God in the sense of a scientific experiment, and Craig cannot prove that there is a God through a scientific experiement – which is true for many things.  However, that doesnt leave it 50/50.  As then arguments are formed with premises and the scientific data is then used in a constructive way.

        The arguments that Craig uses have premises supported by scientific evidence.  They are not tired, they still remain unanswered by every atheist that has debated Craig.

        This doesn’t mean Craig has proved cast iron evidence for God.  It means that he is showing that the inference to best explanation, using the tools of  established principles of logic, are heavily weighted towards theism.  Thats not proof, it shows that faith in God is ‘reasonable’ – hence the name of his organisation ‘reasonable faith’.

        Dawkins on the other hand doesnt even understand philiosphy he takes his test tubes and thinks thats the answer.  Its crass and crude and embaressingly naieve, to many atheists as well as theists.  Thats why he doesnt debate Craig, he doesn’t even have the tools to have a debate – which was shown when he debated Lennox in the US.

        The result of Craig’s arfuments is not that people will say “now we have cast iron proof of God” but that:

        1.  On a societal level, Christianity is not pushed out and retains a much needed voice.

        2.  On a personal those who have a strong conviction that there is a God and want to beleive, and have even experienced God personally, are able to do so without the hiderance of ‘unreasonable cultural defeaters’.  (Things culture say that create implausability structures).

        3.  Those who haven’t thought seriously about theism are able to think it through for themselves.

        I hope that helps.

    • pRinzler

      No, Dawkins certainly isn’t (a) bright, he’s only a professor at a prestigious university, and one of the most renown in the world.  What could be “bright” about that?

      • theist101

         My friend there is a difference between the science of biology and analytical philosphy.  He is a good scientist in his field, he is a terrible philospher when it comes to trying to extrapolate to best explanations.  In terms of the latter he is not a ‘bright’ or anything like it.  If you haven’t seen it then watch Dawkins v John Lennox, which was in the US.  Lennox also teaches at Oxford and is a scientist, as well as a Bible beleiving Christian.  If you watch that debate you can see how embaressing Dawkins is.  This is true for all the ‘Brights’ when they debate Christian intellectuals.  Lenox v Hitches in Alabama (I think) is another example.  I live in the UK and have followed the work of these guys.  The new atheists are just not ‘brights’.  I am not saying that all atheists are dull.  I disagree with all atheists, but I have met better ones than these guys.  They only appeal to agressive atheists who want loud spokespeople and are not concerned about the quality of the arguments.  There are more respectable atheists than that – granted.

    • RobMcCune

      How is Dawkins’ desire to show theism as absurd infantile, when so much theism in the world today? His main argument is that there is no evidence for the existence of God and that such beliefs are harmful. It’s funny that a defender of William Lane Craig (in general, not this instance) criticizes others for a win at all costs, “warfare” mentality, when Craig engages in the very same thing. His apologetics ignore pertinent facts that undermine his arguments, mischaracterize his opponents to the point of dishonesty, and uses cheap rhetorical tricks. Though you may agree with Craig’s goals, all he really does is try to prove to Christians their side is better than atheists by appealing to philosophy at a level that most people are unfamiliar with. Not for the purposes of finding truth, but to use sophistry to win debates.

      • theist101

         Rob,  Dawkins in particular is not really concerned with all theism, his crusade is 95% against Christianity.  I must disagree about Craig, I admit that this empty chair thing was a bit crass (in my opinion), but usually he is very respectful, he presents his arguments well, he responds to his opponents arguments, whatever they raise.   He is logical and thougtful.

        If he is leaving out things then his opponents are free to raise them for him to answer.  Admitadly people like Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennet are not clever enough to really even understand the arguments (i’m not saying all atheists – I am saying these guys).  If you want to watch a more satisfying debate I suggest the UK debate between Peter Milican and WLC.  He is one of the few atheists I have seen that have been inteligent enough to bring a host of objections are arguments against Craig.  Craig engages with and answers all of them.

        If Craig’s arguments were as silly as you make out then some of these atheists opponents would be able to nail him but most of them aren’t ‘bright’ enough to even engage with him.  Look thats not a theism is better than atheism statement, (which I think is true but thats not the point), im jus ttrying to be intellectually honest.  I’d love to see some better caliber atheists take on Craig for some real substantive discussion, however, I only ever hear “If I was in the ring with Craig I’d show how silly and wrong he is’ – well that doesn’t really count.

        The sophistry comments you make are not greatly supported my friend.  Craig uses analytical philiosphy (the best kind there is) to create logical arguments based on premises that can be shown to be false if they are false.  The conclusiions follow if the premsises are true.   He then uses science and reason to support those premises.  His oponents have an hour and a half etc to show that his premises are not true.   Thats not sophistry thats argumentation at its best and as it should be. 

        What I was arguing for before was that this name calling and saying things that arent true about Craig being a Sophist etc. doesnt advance the discussion.  I would love to see some really intelligent atheists debate Craig, but where are they?  Peter Milican was the best I have seen, and I appreciated his contribution and learnt from the exchange.

        • theist101

           I used the present tense for Hitchins above.  Of course, respectfully, I mean Hitchens when he was alive.

        • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

          The reason why most well known atheist don’t debate with creationist and the like is because it’s been done over and over. And the creationist arguments have not changed.

          Take his cosmological argument for example.  The first premise is flawed.  

          1.)  If the universe began to exist, it needed a cause. 
          No one has ever proved that the universe needs to have a cause.   I know it sounds strange, but the physics when dealing with the very small, very hot and very massive are very very strange.  We know that very tiny particles can pop into and out of exists without any cause.   In fact, some estimates are that a large portion of  your mass of is counted for by these virtual particles.   Right now, the state of our knowledge in physics, all we can say is that the universe may or may not have had a cause.

          That should end the cosmological argument.   People have pointed this out to Craig.  He hasn’t changed his argument.  He is just another creationist, oblivious to any counter argument.  

          His teleological argument is a nice blend of ignorance and putting the cart before the horse.  

          We are here because the conditions in our little corner of the universe are right.  The conditions in our little corner of the universe are not the way that they are because we are here.  “It’s like the saying, “if there were intelligent fish, they would be asking why the universe was intelligently designed to be all water.” 

          Secondly, we don’t know why some of the values are what they are.  If we don’t know why they are that way, then any argument based is basically a God of the Gaps.   It quiet literally could be chance.   

          There is an idea that we are not the only universe.   That multiple universe could exist.  Each one with random values, and each one different.   While, it has not been proven, it has not been disproven.  Therefor you can’t say it has to be design, because it couldn’t have been chance.  

          As to his bit about an explanation not needing an explanation, he couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Science is all about explaining explanations.  You always have to take it one-step farther.   Because while the explanation might be satisfying, if it’s premise is wrong or if the premise’s premise is wrong.  Then the orginal explanation is wrong.   You do need to explain your explanation.   There is an infinite loop of questions in science.   That’s how we learn.  

          But, no matter how many times this is explained, theist won’t change their arguments.  

           

          • theist101

             Holytape, Craig answers and deals with every objection that comes to him.

            Here is the problem you dismiss the cosmological argument by overstating your case. 

            1.  Every tested and testable / observable contingent effect in the universe has a cause.  That is established.  The law of cause and effect is a scientific law.  So it is absolutely reasonable to say that a contingent universe has a cause – all scientific data and principles bare this out – in terms of other causes.

            2.  We do not know that tiny particles pop in and out of existence.  What we know is that they do pop in and out of existence in a quantum vacuum.  We do not know that its without a cause.  We just do not know the cause.  that is entirely different.  And nothing  in the space time universe that we know about supports a theory of an uncaused event – nothing. 

            So your objection does not carry the weight of the vast scientific data that lays behind the law of cause and effect, as it does with Craig’s argument.

            It is similar to people using the quantum particles to say this is how the universe got started out of nothing.  Which frustratingly people keep saying.  Even though its not true.  It takes a charged vacuum which is something, not nothing.  Nothing has no energy, no potential, its no-thing.

            Your arguments about fine tuning have all been answered, its just not reasonable.  Even things like not needing to know the cause of the cause etc.  What Craig says is you don’t have to know the cause of a cause to recognise it as the best explanation.  And if you insist on it you end up in an infinite regress where you cannot establish any fact and science would be doomed.

            Multiverse ideas are the athiests last stand.  Please note that the concept only exists because of the impossiblity of the cosmological constants being as finely tuned as they are, by chance.  So they come up with the theory of the multiverse which has how much scientific evidence?  None.  Its only there to avoid theism.  And as scientists and Craig have shown that a multiverse does not solve the  problem of the beginning.  Along with massive fine tuning implications for the multiverse that make it even more unlikely.

            The arguments are good and the evidence supports them.  Its not a God of the gaps, its what we do know from science and what the inference to best explanation is.

            • theist101

               my point 2 above is meant to say:

              “We do not know that tiny particles pop in and out of existence without a cause”

              • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

                So how is your argument that we don’t know the cause of little particles different than we don’t know the cause for the universe as a whole?    Why don’t you say that God makes the little particles?  

                We don’t know enough about the big bang to say if it needed a cause, or what that cause could possibly be.   The laws of physics that describe the universe as we see it now, don’t apply to the big bang.  Saying that everything we see know has a cause is meaningless.   Arguing that there therefor had to be a God, is by definition an argument from ignorance. 

                Also by your definition of nothing, we don’t know that the universe was ever that ‘nothing’.   (You’re starting to sound a bit like Ray Comfort here.)

                As for the fine tuning argument my point still stands.   We are here because the universe allows us to be here.  And not the other way around.  The odds that our universe is the way it is might be astronomical, but our universe might have won the ultimate lottery.  

                And if the universe is fined tuned to us then why is it so poorly designed for us?  Most everywhere in the universe will kill you instantly.  The vast majority of the universe is beyond our ability to reach it.   We have existed for a mere fraction of a fraction in the context of the universe.  And to top it all off the universe is headed to a cold death.      

                Your arguments are still just God of the Gaps arguments.  We don’t know how the big bang happened, therefor God.  We don’t know why exactly some of the properties are the way they are, therefor God.    Your whole argument is ignorance.   (And you do need to know the cause of the cause, and so on and so forth.  That is how science works.  To be satisfied with an explanation, without demanded further detail is a intellectually lazy.)

    • kaydenpat

       “Dawkins need answering because he just isnt that bright”

      But you’re bright?  Why personal insults against Dawkins?

      • theist101

        Here’s the issue.  The new atheists have conferred on them selves the label ‘the brights’, and consistently refer to theists as being exactly the opposite, irrational, anti-scientific etc.  So when people take a public stance like that they are inviting such statements to be scrutinised and evaluated.

        What i have tried carefully to say is that Dawkins in his field is indeed bright, but he steps out of his field into philosophy, the meaning of life and the questions of God etc.  When he does that he shows that in these areas he is at very best a laymen, and not bright at all.   And not just him but all of the new atheists.   I have come across a lot brighter atheists and I think the likes of Dawkins only embaresses atheism, as in deed some atheists themselves say.

        So its not meant as a personal attach on Dawkins but more of evaluating the ‘brights’ own claims to having the intellectual high ground.  Which they certainly do not have, and as with Dawkins will not even debate Christian intellectuals to avoid the strongest arguments.  His own Atheist Oxford colleage, scientist and professor, had the courage to call it what it was and said Dawkins was a coward (I didnt say that).  On balance he is wise not to debate people like Craig as he would lose even more credibility than he already has.

        I hope there are some atheist ‘brights’ who can rise to the challenge.  What Dawkins has wonderfully done is brought the discussion into the public arena, claiming the intellectual high ground and then been shown publically that he hasnt got any ground, let alone the high ground.

        There are atheists I respect for their thoughtfulness but Dawkins et al are not among them.

         

  • Renshia

    Wahoo!! Way to go chair.

  • Raven

    A man who is a perfect example of why debates are a terrible format for reaching any kind of conclusion about the truth manages to debase the format even further.

    • theist101

       Ravven thats crazy.  Debate as exemplified by Craig  (no in the cringy chair sense) are the best format where ideas are tested rigorously.   Your talking about logical arguments resting on evidence based premises that can be proved or disproved following to a conculsion.  If this isnt the best format that the only other alternative is irrationalism.  Im sure you dont really beleive that.

      I do notice this trend.  Atheists are dying on the debate circuit so there is a trend towards saying that debate is a bad format.  Its not, you just have to up your game and find some better equipped atheists than Dawkins.  I hold out no hope for atheism being on top, but i would really like to see some intelligent atheists put up a good fight.  Peter Milican v Craig is the best i have seen, Milican realised he was out of his depth, but he still did a miles better job than any of the ‘brights’ have ever done.

      • kaydenpat

        So in your world, theists win every debate they have with atheists?  On which planet do you live?

        • theist101

           I live on the planet where the vast majority of mankind are theists and atheists are a tiny minority, and for good reason.

          In answering your question I would have to offer a qualifyer.  When the best that atheism puts forward meets the best that theism puts forward, theism certainly more often than not loses significantly.  Its important to put it that way because if a Christian professor and scientists debates a layman atheist it would not be a fair comparison, or vice versa.

          Whats so unsatisfying about these debates is that the athiests:

          a.  When debating Craig, know in advance what he is going to say but still can’t put up a good fight.

          b.  the atheists don’t bring any real arguments with them.

          c.  atheists resort to emotional arguments that have no baring on whether God exists or not, e.g suffering and war.  But this is all they’ve got.

          As I have said here several times, the one, and only one exception I have seen is Craig’s debate with Peter Millican, who was thoughtful, came well prepared, offered 9 arguments against Craig’s cosmological argument.  Milican realised and said he was out of his depth, but he was far closer to the shore than any of the other new atheists.

          I sincerely hope that atheists continue their strong public attack on religion as its doing theism the world of good.  people are thinking and discussing, and then when they see the debates… well enough said.

          • theist101

            oops slip of the keyboard, above in the second paragraph I obviously meant that atheists certainly lose.  I guess im not one of the ‘brights!’

          • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

            I live on a planet where the vast majority of theist live in nice echo chambers.   

            Craig’s cosmological argument is nothing more than an argument of ignorance.    He claims that it is improbably that the universal constants (i.e mass of an electron, speed of light….) are the way they are due to chance.  Well, what is the probability distribution for the various possible speeds of light?     We don’t know why the speed of light is what it is.  So the best explanation at this time, isn’t design, but simply “We don’t know.”

            Again, if this universe was design, then why is it on a one way trip to a cold death?  Doesn’t seem like a good design to me.

            • theist101

              There is some irony in you accusing Craig of ignorance and then proceed to not understand which argument you are referring to.  You actually mean the fine tuning argument, not the cosmological argument.

              Secondly, (on the fine tuning argument) you fail to understand what is going on.  The point is that the premise Craig uses is that it being due to design is more probable than its negations of  necessity or chance.  You only pick up on chance so I will touch on that.

              Mathemticians have provided some analagies of the kind of odds involved in all of the constants being the way they are,

              a.  Its similar to having  the best 100 marksmen in the world in a firing squad standing 6 feet away from their target, and them all missing it.  You could say that all 100 of them had a bad day at the same time – but its an unreasonable explanation.  If you were watching it in a film you would 100% say that all colluded to miss, e.g they missed on purpose.

              b.  Imagine every atom in the universe was red, and there was one black atom.  And you went out with a blind fold and then pinpointed that one black atom by randomly sticking a  microscopic pin in the air.

              I could go on but you get the idea.  Now the point of the argument is to show inference to best explanation.  The inference clearly isn’t weighted toward chance, but toward design.  This is the conclusion you would draw in any other topic if theism was not the issue.

              Thirdly, the future cold death of the universe would only be an argument for poor design if you could prove that the universe was designed to be permenant.  However, Christian theism teaches the opposite, that the current universe was build with a shelf life as part of the grand design.  Even if this were not the case your point would still not negate design it would only suggest we do not know the intentionof the designer.

              • Deven Kale

                Confusing one argument with another, especially when it comes to Craig, isn’t really all that difficult or surprising. At the very root of it, every single argument Craig makes is an argument from ignorance. I haven’t seen even one argument from him that doesn’t basically run down to “I don’t know why this happens, and/or I don’t understand/accept the science which (sometimes) explains it, therefore it must be God.” They’re ridiculous and dishonest, each and every one of them. He has still failed to show that a belief in God is reasonable in any way.

                Making an argument based on probability is no different. There was a Mormon named David H. Bailey which made a very good example for this with snowflakes in a paper called “Evolution and Probability,” published in the “Reports of National Center for Science Education.” Basically, he shows that any argument from probability is misleading in which nearly anything can be shown to be effectively impossible when done in the right way, even if it happens all the time. Considering the fine tuning argument, this is also combined with the fact that we don’t know the other possible “settings” of things like gravity and electromagnetism. Maybe it’s completely impossible for them to be weaker or stronger than they are, or maybe there is an infinite number of other alternatives. We simply don’t know, and therefore there is no way to assign probability values to them.

                In summary, what I’m saying is this: While many of Craig’s arguments seem to make sense from the perspective of someone who assumes theistic belief first and then looks for arguments to bolster that belief, they just don’t hold water when looked at from the perspective of someone looking for evidence first and then determining belief based off of that evidence. No argument from ignorance or probability, no matter how flowery it’s worded, will ever convince someone who is looking for truth first, and belief second. I think that’s essentially what Holytape has been trying to say.

                Now on the subject of Craig v. Dawkins: I’m not surprised that Dawkins won’t debate Craig either, but it’s not because Craig has the better argument or that Dawkins doesn’t debate creationists. In my view, there’s a very simple reason: Criag is very charismatic and people like him on a personal level- Dawkins, not so much. People tend to see Dawkins as angry and off-putting in many cases. If the two were to debate, the validity of the arguments would quickly become unimportant and Craig’s charisma would win out in the end. I think Dawkins knows this, and understands the futility of having that debate. It’s not cowardice, it’s accepting an unfortunate weakness of the debate format. If there was a way to remove the “likability” aspect from debates and somehow make it purely about the validity of the arguments, I think Dawkins would reconsider his position at that point. Until that happens though, I don’t see these two debating at all.

                • theist101

                  You demonstrate well what I am talking about.  The things you say are blatantly foundless and amiss, but you still hold to it.  You say that only a convinced theist would be persuaded, but you show that your starting point is not neutrality looking for truth, its that of a convinced atheist looking for denial.  “You protest too much.” This points to other reasons that you have for your atheism.  I just wonder what they are.  Anyhow, I will engage with the things you say.

                  1.  You say Craig’s arguments are from ignorance, god of the gaps, ridiculous and dishonest. 

                  Craig uses the correct tools for talking about God – analytical philosophy, and fully engages with the sciences to support his premises.  He is a high level academic with doctorates.

                  Far from using god of the gaps arguments he uses what science states and supports.  Your problem, as you put it is that you are not aware of anything outside of our reality.  Thats your argument.  Well the cosmological argument shows from science that the cause of the universe must by absolute definition be ‘outside our reality’.  Christian theism has always taught an absolute beginning to the universe and a supernatural cause.  Science has relatively recently come into line with it, changing from steady state / eternal universe ideas.

                  Look, its Einsteins theory of general relativity that states that time space and matter are bound together.  And its cosmology, physics and mathametics that proved that they all came into being at the big bang, and that before the big bang they did not exist.  This is fairly uncontraversial.

                  a.  Universe had a super natural (non natural cause).

                  b.  that cause was timesless, spaceless, immaterial, immensely powerful.

                  c.  The effect of the universe was not inherant in the cause or else the cause would also be eternal.  It means the cause is contingent and therefore the the cause had the choice of not creating the universe, which is an attribute of personhood.  The only other alternative are abstract objects which do not stand in causal relationships.

                  Thats a philisophical dedective argument based on science, reason and logic.  NOT from ignorance.

                  Interestingly, yesterday on the BBC news, top European scientists have invited philosphers and theologians who hold this view to meet with them and discuss the beginning of the universe to look at the crossover between science and faith.

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19870036

                  This is the same people who made the Higs Boson discovery.

                  Your fatal error is that your starting point is ;  God cannot have done it because he doesn’t exist so im closed to everything that infers a god.

                  (2)  Fine Tuning argument.  Again, the ignorance here is yours alone.  You suggest that how you do the probability colours its usefulness rendering it useless.  Well its Dawkins, atheistic scientists, as well as theistic ones that say thats its as near as impossible for the universe to be the way it is by chance.  I dont think they are all predisposed toward theism! 

                  In any case what you say is ludicrous, we live our lives based on probabilities all the time.  Risk assesment is founded on it.  You drive your car based on you thinking there is a low probability of someone crashing into you.  You go outside becuase there is a low probability of being struck by lighting..  the examples are endless and you literally stake your life on them.  Politics science does the discipline of decision theory using statistical analysis (probability theory) to make policy and law. 

                  Look, if there was a tightrope between two skyscrapers and you had the choice of walking across it blindfolded, you would rightly assume that there was a high probability that if you did, you would die.  You would then make your decision not to, based on that probability.

                  Well science says that the probability of the universe being the way it is by chance is miles worse than being hit by lightning, or a car crashing into you, or you falling off a tightrope.

                  You say at this point, well it could be necessity that the constants have to be like that.  This shows your predjudice, there science utterly rejects that idea.  Not faith – science.  No credibile scientists believe that.  Thats why the fine tuning is recognised by Dawkins et al as such a huge problem that they postulate a multiverse – which has not a shred of evidence – nothing.

                  The bottom line, is if you are an atheist, it is you who are dishonest, you should be atleast an agnostic or a deist.  World renowned Atheist Anthony Flew was honest and was willing to “follow the evidence wherever it leads”.  DNA was the final straw when the weight of evidence towards theism became overwhelming and he became a theist or atleast a deist.  Thats honesty.

                  (3)  Its a terrible argument to say that Craig is too likeable to debate Craig.  How silly and demeaning to say that thinking people cant look past personalities and look at the arguments.  Craig said he would debate anyone and win.  The real problem is that how now realises thats not the case.  Atheism is an intellectual dwarf desparately looking for a giants sholders to stand on, but cant find any.

                • Deven Kale

                  From my perspective you demonstrate well what I’m talking about. You still argue that the universe being the way that it is would be probabilistically impossible, and yet fail to recognize that without knowing exactly what all of the different possible permutations are we cannot assign any probability values at all. With our current knowledge, and until we find what these different permutations could be, the probability that the universe could have came into existence as it is “by chance,” as you say, is 100%.

                  You still have not shown that there is anything outside of the universe which could have created it outside of the intellectual masturbation which is philosophy. I already told you, until there is empirical evidence that there is a form of existence outside of the physical universe, there is no reason for anybody to believe there is. Philosophy can only go so far to show that there could be, maybe, a possibility that something is a certain way, but it can’t actually prove anything. That’s where science is needed, to actually prove that it’s true.

                  Even the conference that CERN hosted with theologians and philosophers isn’t what you claim it is. It’s scientists asking them for ideas on what to research, since they’re running out of ideas on their own. Especially now that they’ve found the Higgs-Boson, which was the main purpose of the LHC.

                  You claim that I’m an atheist only because I want to be, but you’re wrong. I’m an atheist because I follow the evidence, and there is no evidence for theism. Even using the best arguments for gods, the cosmological and fine-tuning arguments as you rightly point out, they only go to show the possibility that the universe could have been created by some supernatural entity which at the very best would support deism. Where they fail is that, again, there is no real evidence for a supernatural entity in the first place. And again, until that point comes when there is real evidence for supernatural entities, the only reasonable position is atheism.

                • theist101

                   I do find your reasoning very strange!  I do not understand your disdain of philosophy as it forms the basis of all knowledge.  It even explains / explores  how we discover knowlege (epistimology), it provides the tools of logic and reason.  Without it you are left with irrationality.  You practice philosophy every day.

                  Your probability arguments are unfounded.  Please note that atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins, and theist thinkers like John Lennox who is a professor of mathematics at Oxford University, disagree with you.  This should give you pause for thought.

                  Your faith in science  is misplaced.  You say that until there is evidence that there is a being outside of God then its right to be atheist.  But the greatest scientists have said that all scientific conclusions are tentative at best, awaiting more data.  And its always been that way.  This years breakthrough is turned over next year.  Its called progress, but it shows that your requirement of proof is not even held up in science.  Also because of your disdain for philipsophy you wrongly beleive that scientific pursuit is the only valid way of gaining true knowledge.  Epistimology blows this out of the water.

                  Additionally, what equipment does science have to measure a timeless, spaceless, immaterial being?  Science deals with the natural order.  It does not have the tools for anything else.  Perhaps it will one day.  Until then its reasonable to take extrapolate from science to best explanations, that theism is tenable. 

                  The strength of the pointers adds to this conclusion.  You may also be interested in evidence from near death experience.  There was a BBC documentary called “The day I died” which had evidence of things like a woman blind from birth being able to describe everything in the room, the colour of clothes people were wearing etc.  After she was rescucitated.  And many others.  Very recently a neuro surgeon had an out of the body ecperience while in a coma and his neocortex had ceased to function.  That it was not functionioning is scientificly proved.  Read it here:

                  http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/07/proof-of-heaven-a-doctor-s-experience-with-the-afterlife.html

                  Of course none of that would sway you because you want the kind evidence that not even science provides.  

                  Here is the problem, there is enough overwhelming evidence to point towards God.  From there you can seek God and ask Him to make himself known to you personally.  The experience of millions of Christians is that he does reveal himself to those who humbly, genuinely, and sincerely seek him.  I do not beleive first of all because of the scientific evidence.  I beleive because the Bible did what it said it would do.

                  1.  It says I am sinful and guilty and because of this I am cut off from God, and have no relationship or ecperience with Him.

                  2.  God sent Jesus to die on a cross an be punished for my sins, so that I can be forgiven and be brought back into relationship with God, now and forever.

                  3.  If I turn to Him, seek Him and ask for forgiveness and relationship – he grants it.

                  My experience is that before I was a Christian I did not know or experience God in anyway.  Once I accepted the death of Christ for me personally and asked Him to come into my life.  He did.

                  Life went from black and white to colour, and the God I did not know became the God I do know.  I don’t have the language or capacity to explain that.

                  You are currently stuck at step 1 of the above process and so have no experience of God.  That can change if you want it to.

                  Even given your lack of experience of God, it is still unreasonable, given the mass of evidence for design, and given your conscience, to be an atheist. 

                  Atheism is the belief that God does not exist.  Agnosticism says, I don’t know.  The latter is surely more reasonable – at the minimum.

                • Deven Kale

                  I do not understand your disdain of philosophy as it forms the basis of all knowledge.

                  No it doesn’t. Experience forms the basis of all knowledge, not how some mental narcissist decides to describe why he thinks the way he thinks.

                  [Philosophy] provides the tools of logic and reason.

                  Again, no it doesn’t. Logic is not a philosophical tool. It’s a method which, when followed properly, leads our thought processes to valid conclusions. Philosophy uses logic to verify if it’s premises are consistent (distinct from accurate, because philosophy cannot be proven (if it can, that places it within the realm of science, generally social sciences like ethics)). Logic does not use philosophy, it’s the other way around.

                  Your probability arguments are unfounded.  Please note that atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins, and theist thinkers like John Lennox who is a professor of mathematics at Oxford University, disagree with you.

                  Why should an argument from authority give me pause? No probability claim can be made without knowing all possible permutations of a given subject. That’s just basic probability. If these people are making probabilistic claims without knowing all of the options either, then their claims are just as fallacious as yours.

                  [T]he greatest scientists have said that all scientific conclusions are tentative at best, awaiting more data.  And its always been that way.  This years breakthrough is turned over next year.  Its called progress, but it shows that your requirement of proof is not even held up in
                  science.

                  You say that as if it’s a weakness. This is actually one of the greatest strengths of modern science, that it changes it’s conclusions based on a more accurate understanding of how things actually work. This is exactly why I rely on science for understanding reality, because of it’s ability to accept new evidence and re-determine whether it’s conclusions are valid based on that evidence. Philosophy and theology do not do that because they’re not testable in reality and can only be tested (through logic) for consistency and not accuracy.

                  [B]ecause of your disdain for philipsophy you wrongly beleive that scientific pursuit is the only valid way of gaining true knowledge. 
                  Epistimology blows this out of the water.

                  I find it funny that you try and show me that philosophy is a worthy endeavor, by offering up more philosophy. That’s no better than saying “The Bible is true, because the Bible says it’s true!” It’s a tautology, and a bad one at that.

                  Additionally, what equipment does science have to measure a timeless, spaceless, immaterial being?  Science deals with the natural order.  It does not have the tools for anything else.

                  You’re exactly right: currently science doesn’t have tools to measure non-physical entities. That doesn’t matter though, because everybody who claims there are these non-physical entities also claim they interface with reality in some significant way. This means there should be some way of measuring this interface, even with the current tools of science. The fact that there is zero conclusive evidence of this interface, despite centuries of looking for it, should give you pause.

                  Until then its reasonable to take extrapolate from science to best explanations, that theism is tenable.

                  I vehemently disagree with this. Until there is any evidence for any sort of non-physical entity existent within this universe and/or some form of existence outside of this universe which can interface with it in some way, theism is very much not tenable. In fact, it’s completely as irrational as believing in the Invisible Pink Unicorn or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you want to allow some philosopher to ejaculate their god into your mind, I can’t stop you, but doing so is highly illogical.

                  The experience of millions of Christians is that he does reveal himself to those who humbly, genuinely, and sincerely seek him.  I do not
                  beleive first of all because of the scientific evidence.

                  Millions of anecdotes do not a single shred of evidence make. Yet another fallacious argument on your part.

                  Atheism is the belief that God does not exist.  Agnosticism says, I don’t know

                  Wrong again. (A)theism speaks to belief, (a)gnosticism speaks to knowledge. Atheism is the disbelief in gods, or more specifically a disbelief in god claims. It’s not “there is no god,” it’s just “I don’t believe you.” (A)gnosticism qualifies the belief with whether the claimant believes they have proof. An agnostic atheist says they don’t believe in any gods since they haven’t seen any proof for them, a gnostic atheist claims to have proof for why they don’t believe them. It’s similar with theism as well. I personally am an agnostic atheist, but I’m definitely starting to lean more towards gnostic.

                • theist101

                  In what I put below about the out of the body experiences, part of the significance of that is that although you might not have experience of God as an unembodied mind.  Such evidence suggests that unembodied minds are in our experience.  Therefore all the intelligent design theories point to something we have encountered in our reality – an unembodied mind.

                • Deven Kale

                   So it’s just an interesting coincidence that most NDE’s experience the afterlife they expect to experience based on their religion? Because that’s what actually happens. Buddhists have a Buddhism based NDE, Muslims have one based on Muslim beliefs, and Christians are Christian based. That either means that every god currently worshiped actually exists in some way and their followers go to those respective afterlives, or it’s all made up in the mind during those few moments right before or after brain “death” occurs.

                  I’ll go with the latter option, personally, and with good reason. The brain can create powerful hallucinations even while fully awake and functioning properly. When blood flow is greatly reduced, certain areas of the brain are more susceptible than others which makes hallucinations more likely. Even dreams only last a few seconds, but the dreamer believes it to have lasted for hours, sometimes even days.

                  So you see NDE’s are not evidence for a disembodied mind. They’re exactly what we’d expect to see in a brain that is starved of it’s blood supply. They’re powerful, subjectively long (but objectively very short) hallucinations based on the belief systems of the subject, and nothing more.

                • theist101

                  Ive done a new post at the top.  columns are getting too small!!

  • ORAXX

    Wow.  Not just anyone can debate an empty chair and lose.  Professor Dawkins doesn’t debate creationists for the same reason professors of literature don’t waste their time debating illiterates.

    • theist101

       I’m sure you don’t beleive that, I mean when no one else is looking.  I expect better from atheists.

      • David McNerney

        The reality is that debate is a format that favours the showman, not the scientist.  Creationist arguments are heavily based on appeals to emotion, such as the ‘I’d hate to think that when I die that’s the end’ argument.  But it has not basis is truth and is an obvious fallacy.

        However, for more serious problems, where the answer to the question requires far more elaboration (such as Quantum Mechanics), the creationist can swoop in, drop a bomb and leave his opponent speechless – but not because he doesn’t have an answer, but because there is no simple answer and to deal with it would take far more time than the bounds imposed by the debate format.

        William Lane Craig is a showman (and personally I think he’s brilliant at it), but his arguments are very weak (mostly they are just an appeal to authority – count the number people he references) – and that is exactly why Richard Dawkins would do well to avoid him and send a chair in his place.

        You need to match showman with showman – but unfortunately, the greatest atheist showman died late last year. But IIRC, when they did go head to head, Hitchens destroyed WLC.

        • theist101

           WLC is not a showman, despite his performance with the chair.  I think that was out of character.  I dont want to get into a tennis match but the opposite is true.  Hitches goes for the emotional appeal to suffering without any recourse as to whether suffering actually proves logically that God cannot exist or that it is unlikely that he does.  Hitchens never once engaged with any of Craigs arguments and presented no argument for atheism.  He didnt destroy craig at all, he just waxed lyrically – which I enjoyed.  But he clearly lost.  As he lost when he debated John Lennox in the US, and atleast on that occasion there was a vote and many people changed their minds from Hitches position to Lennox and Hitchens lost.  Not that its a game of whose the winner – but it shows that when the atheist arguments are held upto intellectual scruticny they have no weight and they also have no arguments against the theist position, that have any weight.  I really want more intelligent atheists than Dawkins to step upto the plate.  Where are they?

          Debate is based on arguments with premises that use evidence to prove or disprove those premises.  Its a great format.   Whats more is that everyone who debates Craig knows in advance what he going to say, and they still cant counter his arguments.  Again, watch Milican v Craig who is the best atheist I have seen, but still lost.

          Atheists are shying away from debates because it keeps being shown that they have no good arguments and cannot refute Craigs arguments.  If they could they would have.  Only cyber atheists say from a distance “craig’s arguments are ridiculous and falacious”  well get in the ring with him and see with the rest of the ‘brights’ that your standing on thin air. 

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

    Perhaps it is time to rename the Straw Man Fallacy to the Empty Chair Fallacy. 

  • Lagalmor

    This debating a chair thing is catching on. Quick, we much trademark this thing, before the theists get it for good!

  • nakedanthropologist

    Honestly, I expected this because it is a technique of the defeated.  For example, I honestly think that deep down inside their brains, creationists know that they’re technically wrong.  They don’t want to be, but fact is not on their side.  So they create internal apologetics that allow them to keep preaching the same old shit, or they just outright lie.  Thus, the best this snake oil salesman can do is talk his own ear off at an empty chair.

    • theist101

       I don’t really think that you honestly beleive that.  He talked to a chair (cringlingly so) because Dawkins wont debate him even though Dawkins said he would debtate anyone and win the argument (you can watch him saying that on youtube).  Dawkins is a paper champion because he picks his own fights and avoids the strongest opponents.  When has accidently got into the ring with an intellectual heavyweight its not long before he is on the floor.  

      In the last world wide study atheists were a very tiny minority, and in the US I think its 6%.  This gives pause for thought:

      1.  It could be argued that people in a tiny minority who claim to be brighter and have the intellectual high ground over 90% of the world are manifesting the hallmarks of delusion.  I sincerely mean that, im not trying to insult people, the other alternative is arrogance which I want to avoid saying.

      2.  If evolution is responsible for our development then evolution has consistently for thousands of years determined that religious belief is good for our survival.  However, there are a very tiny amount of DNA machines (atheists) that are misfiring and going against evolution.  This being the case then atheists should probably have themselves reprogrammed or isolated so they dont affect the survival of mankind.  Or they will become obsolete shortly anyway as evolution strives forward.  Either way, your not the future.

      No offence intended here, I am just thinking about the implications of atheism.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        Let’s look at you evolution argument.   First you make the mistake that selection pressures are constant.  They’re not.  What is select for at one time can be select against at another it.   

        Let’s just assume that religion can be selected for.  You have to ask why is religious beliefs good for survival?   The two reasons I can think of is that it promotes group behavior and cohesion  and it reduces the fear of the unknown.  Note, both happen regardless to whether or not the actual belief is true.   But there is a cost, first is that while religion may promote intra-group cohesion, it also promotes inter-group conflict.  So as long as the benefit from cohesion outweighs the negative from conflict, religion can be select for.  Our societies are becoming less and less dependent on religion to keep us together, the benefit of religion is get less and less.  As religions are being exposed to each other more and more, conflict is rising, and therefor the negative accepts of religion are becoming greater.    Also, the benefits of explaining the unknown are going from a positive to a negative.  Science does a far better job, and produces useful results.  Religion can’t.  All the prayers ever uttered have had less effect on fighting disease than one pill of penicillin.  If you look around, the places were humanity as progressed the most, is where religion has the least amount of influence.      

        (Third reason, is that religious belief is a by-product or a side effect.  The brain chemistry that allows us to reason, also gave rise to religious beliefs as a by-product of an imperfect system.  And that if nature actually had foresight and design, that flaw could be removed without detriment.) 

        Also, atheism might be the mutant gene that spreads like wildfire because it has higher fitness value than the religion gene.  And considering that atheism is growing       

          Either way, you’re not the future.   Instead religious folk may one day go the way of the dodo….

        (P.s.   Every time you need to say ‘No offense intended’ or ‘Not to be (i.e. racist, sexist, homophobic), you should instead write, “I know I am acting, writing and talking like a complete asshole.  But I am going to pretend that by saying that I didn’t intend to be an asshole, when clearly I did, I am somehow not an asshole, when clearly I am.”  It might be a bit longer to write but it is a far more accurate sentence.  If you don’t want to take all of that time you could just go straight to the “I’m an asshole.”   (Offense intended.))

        • theist101

           Until I got to the last paragraph I was going to respond to you.  But at bottom, the last paragraph is all you have.

          • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

            Your “evolutionary argument” was meaningless and knowing insulting.    So, yes I’m the bad guy.  

      • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

        1. Worldwide although atheists represent a minority, the numbers are rising, and religiosity is on the decline. And yes over 90% of the world can be wrong if they believe in fairy tales and demons.

        2. In the absence of scientific truths of the world, religion aided us. Religious beliefs now can work against us. Religious belief has declined the more educated a population gets, so no you’re wrong. Religion is not the future; secularism, disbelief and scientific rationality are.

  • Brennin Statistician

    The chair outperformed Lawrence Krauss (who has shown himself to be a loudmouth ignoramus outside of his somewhat narrow expertise, like Dawkins and Coyne, among other theomachoi) but that does not mean it won. (Although, I realize that you all have to set the bar low.)

  • http://twitter.com/tkmlac Katie

    I literally just picked a random spot in the video and clicked. Craig was arguing with an empty chair, pretending to be talking to an evolutionary biologist about cosmology. I stopped. That was enough.

    • theist101

       Katie  thats because an evolutionary biologist (Dawkins) claimed to have destroyed the cosmological argument in his book ‘the god delusion’.   You are right in one sense, Dawkins should not go into areas that he has no clue about.  however, that would rather shorten the discussion to biology and he would not write any books or say anything about God – which is the realm of philosophy which he also doesn’t understand.  So i’m with you in principle all the way, but with Dawkins not Craig.  Having said that I cringed at the whole empty chair thing.

  • Robster

    If these people can really believe that they’re munching on or drinking the flesh and blood of the baby jesus when the wine and cracker moment comes around in the cafeteria…errr…church on Sunday, then imagining there’s a professor in the chair isn’t too far fetched

    • theist101

       Its Catholicism that does that, not evenagelical Christianity.  Criag is in the latter camp and the two camps historically are not friends.   

  • DougI

    Keep in mind Craig is in favor of genocide.  That alone should make him shunned by everyone.

    • theist101

       Great typical new atheist statement which aims at excusing a lack of engagement in substantive discussion.  Hitchens is a master at it, perhaps you learnt it from him.  Of course, Dawkins trembled behind that vaneer too.   He said he wouldnt debate Craig on those grounds but he will debate pastors who beleive the Old Testement as much as Craig does.  Whatever makes you feel good.  But just in case you want to also think about things:

      Suppose God in the Old Testement did command the destruction of people that he was bringing judicial judgment upon as a non-repeatable event – but as a foreshadowing of the ultimate day of judgment where everyone will be held to account.  You can use the emotive word ‘genocide’ if it helps you.

      Lets suppose thats true and you are outraged by it and hate the idea.  Does that prove or demonstrate that there is no God and that atheism is true?  No.  Does it prove that God did not have sufficient reason for what he did, even if you can’t fathom it, and even if no one knew – no.

      Statements aimed at emotional reactions are not arguments for atheism or arguments against theism.

      • DougI

         What are you blabbering about?  Craig was asked about the story of the Canaanites in the Bible.  Craig is it was perfectly moral for people to be utterly slaughtered to get them off the land that the conquerors wanted.  Craig followed it up by saying those who are slaughtered aren’t the victims but those who are doing the slaughtering because they lived and might feel really bad about killing all those people.

        What sense is there is having a ‘debate’ with someone who relishes in wholesale slaughter for the sake of acquiring real estate?  According to Craig it was a moral act to slaughter the Native Americans because God had given the land to United States.  It was acceptable to slaughter the Filipinos to bring the right version of Christianity to them.  It was moral for Hitler to fulfill his divine destiny to Jesus by ridding the world of the Jews.

        I never proposed that Craig’s love for slaughter is an argument against religion, that’s just you creating a strawman out of your own bigotry.  I presented an argument why Craig should be vilified and never entertained with the notion of paying him the respect of advancing his hatred for humanity.

        Read more about your hero:
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/10/william-lane-craig-on-being-the-apologist-who-defends-genocide/

        • theist101

          My friend, what you are doing is what Dawkins does.  If the arguments are not winable then try and discredit your opponent.  Its a sidelining tactic.  Things like ‘Craig’s love for slaughter’ demonstrate this very well.

          My advice would be to recognise what you are doing and try and think about the arguments, and be open to the possibility that atheism might not be the place where you end up.

          • DougI

             So to quote Craig is to discredit him?  That would be a major fail on Craig’s part then if I can discredit Craig by using his own words.

            I noticed that you couldn’t defend Craig’s position on his approval of genocide.  Yeah, nobody can.  At least we’re both in agreement that William Craig is a horrible person and his views are inexcusable.

            • theist101

               No sir we do not agree.  Let me quote Craig from that same article:

              “I’m still willing to bite the bullet and tackle the tougher question of
              how an all-good, all-loving God could issue such horrendous commands.”

              Does that sound like someone who relishes in slaughter and genocide?  You are doing what I said in my last post, along with Dawkins.  Atheists dont want to face Craig’s arguments so they attack Craig and try and discredit him personally.  Its like a political campaign that tries to discredit those running for president / priminster.

              Now, what Craig does do is to try and handle the very difficult biblical texts and understand them without watering them down.  And what he says is that God has the moral right to do so. 

              So given Craig’s statement above he is saying “This is a horrendous command humanly speaking, but God has the right to do so.”

              Thats is entriely different than your attempt to discredit Craig which is shere aversion of the strongest opponents.  My advice to you still stands.

              • theist101

                 Your problem should not be with What Craig says, it should be with what the Bible says, and with how someone with a theistic worldview can justify it. 

                Not that I want to help atheists form argumetns, but so often they seem to need such help.

                • theist101

                   I don’t wish to be inflamatory, but we Christians also beleive that Jesus will one day return and destroy his enemies with the breath of his mouth (picture language) which will include a final judgment where justice is done and people are sent to hell.

                  For the record, I nor Craig relish this fact and it is the propolshion behind all missionary work at home and abroad.  It is in fact a ‘terrible and terrifying’ truth which creation, conscience and reason  bears witness to.  I hope with all sincerity then that you and your atheist friends give up your vain cause and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  For your sake, please don’t ridicule this.

                • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

                  My advice: hold your breath for the day Jesus returns, it’ll do the world a favor.

              • DougI

                 Your genocidal hero isn’t saying genocide is wrong, he’s making excuses for why it’s acceptable.  It’s lovely how you take the dishonest maneuver of quoting a comment out of context.  Craig goes on to excuse the behavior, and said that nobody was ‘wronged’ in doing such horrendous acts.

                Nobody was wronged in genocide?  And you say he doesn’t relish in this slaughter.  You sir, are a liar.  And, I already mentioned before that Craig’s excuse for these acts is that the people most harmed were the soldiers doing the slaughtering.  Why do I have to repeat myself?  Is it that you are incapable of learning, or does a huge act of cognitive dissonance forbid you from accepting the reality that your hero, William Craig, can readily find a justification for genocide?

                Sorry bub, Craig is discredited, just as Hitler, Hong Xiuguan, Leopold II and other were discredited for their approval of slaughter.  I’m sure they had their fanboys who made excuses for their massacres too, and you fall into that camp.  You are a morally depraved person.  Clearly Dawkins was right in shunning Craig for his immoral beliefs and I have sunk low in entertaining the notion that you are a rational, moral being capable of a worthy discussion.  You should be shunned as well for the negative effect you and people like you have on humanity.I won’t bother commenting to any more of your morally depraved posts, you sick excuse for a human being.  I hope you get locked up before you go on one of your “moral” rampages and slaughter people.  Clearly you have no problem with it.  Sicko.

                • theist101

                   I am afraid there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.   You cannot beleive what you say unless you really really want to.  How tragic.  You are truly lost my friend.

                • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

                  Absolutely no irony here.  None.  Nope.    

      • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

        By this logic, if god had wanted to punish the Jews by commanding the Nazis to exterminate them, just as he did to the Midianites and Canaantes, then the holocaust would have been a moral obligation and objectively morally good, is that right?

  • DukeTaber

    I seriously have a problem taking anyone’s opinion to heart that still uses 1990′s style pop-unders for advertisements. How annoying and lame.
    That being said, why don’t you report that your boy Dawkins has been asked on more than 1 occasion to show up at a debate with this man and he runs away? Wouldn’t that be just a bit more honest?

    • kaydenpat

      Dawkins doesn’t have to debate “this man” or anyone else.  Dawkins probably doesn’t want to give creationists the time of day.  That’s his right.

      • theist101

        This is not the case.  Dawkins has publically said he will debate anyone and that he would win the argument (its on youtube).  He ‘debates’ creationists all the time.  Every Christian he speaks to is a creationist.  Its absurd then to use as an excuse that a prospective opponent is a creationist.  He just has no case when faced with Christian intellectuals, so he avoids them.  Its the only way he can cling onto any credibility that he has.  Atleast many people see it for what it is.  In the UK thats been really good for theism.  I hope while he is currently in the US on tour that good American citizens are not fooled by him either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnpiermont.vm John Piermont V. Montilla

    See the asshole debating a chair. just showcasing idiocy. wasted 40 minutes debating the chair just proved the chair exist, but the God.. nowhere to be found.

    • theist101

       wow thats intelligent, lost for words.

  • theist101

    Dear friendly atheists,

    I would like to raise an issue with you.  I have talked with many atheists online and in person and something occurs to me.  Repeatedly it seems the issue is not evidence at all.  I think intellectually if theism wasn’t the issue most atheists would accept things like the cosmological argument, the fine tuning argument, the argument of language seen in DNA, the moral argument, the impossibility of living organisms coming from non living matter etc -  as reasonable inference that there may well be a God and then be open to exploring that in other ways.

    However, from expereince I don’t think evidence is the issue at all, or else everyone would be agnostic at best rather than athiestic.  Here is what I think the issue is.  I had a discussion in person over many weeks about the ‘evidence’ issues with a committed atheist.  He agreed in the end that agnostisim would be atleast a better position.  BUT, he went on to say this:

    “look, if God came and stood in front of me I still would not be a Christian.  I am happy the way I am, running my own life without anyone else telling me how to live”

    I thought this was very honest of him, and though I thought it was tragic, I could respect his decision.  My question is this:  Isnt this kind of thing the real issue?  And if it is then wouldn’t it be more honest just to say so.  You have every right, humanly speaking, to hold such a position.

     

    • Deven Kale

       I find it far more likely that the person you were speaking to just told you that to get you to stop pestering him. I must admit, you’re very much like Craig in that you’re good at prettying up your language to make the inexcusable seem reasonable if one isn’t paying very close attention. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you actually were Craig with how enamored of him you seem to be, and that you follow many of his same tactics.

      For many of us it very much is about evidence. It’s the fact that there is nothing which points definitively at the fact that there are any gods. The best arguments anyone has ever come up with point, at the very best, to the fact that there may have been something which created the universe. Even that isn’t very definitive, and if it be true all it supports is a deist perspective and not a theist one. All theists then have to literally manufacture evidence in order to show that it’s their god that created the universe since there is no real evidence to support their claims.

      One (of many) reasons we don’t accept the cosmological, fine-tuning, or any other argument is that we have zero evidence of anything existing outside of physical reality. In order to accept these arguments we have to accept that something like that exists, with absolutely zero evidence for it. For many of us, you have to prove that something such as this exists before your other arguments are even close to worthy of consideration. Until the day when that proof exists, there is almost zero chance that we’re going to accept any of those arguments as evidence, much less proof, of any god.

      • theist101

        Thats just silly.

        1.  The discussions I was having with this chap happened when he came to church each week.

        2.  Its perhaps not suprising that I support Craig’s arguments on a blog that is all about Craig.

        3.  what I do, which is what Craig also does is use arguments and statements that have clarity, not based on emotion but on the established principles of analytical philosophy.  Which embaressingly for you, is the tools and language you have to use for having a discussion about God.  If you were doing a natural science experiment in one particular discipline you would use the best tools and apparatus for that experiment.  The God discussion is in the realm of philosophy not science.  Science can only be used to support or deny premises in thougth clarifying, rational, logical, philisophical arguments.  That you don’t recognise this should show you that you are currently ill equipped to think through this issue.  You are far too confident in your own opinion when you don’t even realise that you don’t really understand the questions let alone the answers.  I wish most theists would recognise this and get some education that would help them engage in a very important discussion.

        I answered your fine tuning argument in your other post so I wont repeat it here.  Though I am glad that you acknowlege here some weight in the cosmological argument.  Honesty should dictate that you should atleast give up atheism and become an agnostic.  Thats a more reasonable position that demonstrates humility.

  • theist101

    Devan Kale:

    It sounds like you didn’t read the article, or atleast not thoroughly.

    1.  He is a neurosurgeon who also teaches neurology and is more familiar with NDE cases thane we are.  He has historically dismissed them as you have.

    2.  He didn’t beleieve in any after life before this event.

    3.  His experience wasn’t distinctly Christian despite him having some nominal previous connection with christianity.

    Also, how does your argument work with the woman blind from birth?  Who didn’t go to heaven etc but did say she came out of her body, could see and described everyting in detail and colour?  Watch the documentary.

    Not that the NDE’s are a clincher, there is more than enough evidence for an open person without this.  e.g  100 sets of volumes of information in a DNA strand etc.  Information and language only come from intelligence – period.  Or the absolute imposibility of living matter coming from non living matter.  Or the issue of objective moral values.  Not to mention the cosmological and fine tuning arguments.  The case for design is completely overwhelming.  All this should send an open person on a personal God quest to find out for themselves if God exists and is knowable.

    You sound more like someone who wont beleive and are looking for ways not to. 

    • Deven Kale

       

      It sounds like you didn’t read the article, or atleast not thoroughly.

      You’re right: I didn’t read it at all. I shouldn’t have to either, since I’ve already read dozens of others who basically say the same thing.

      2.  He didn’t beleieve in any after life before this event.

      3.  His experience wasn’t distinctly Christian despite him having some nominal previous connection with christianity.

      A man who isn’t distinctly Christian has a nominally Christian NDE. That fits my description pretty well, don’t you think?

      Also, how does your argument work with the woman blind from birth?

      It doesn’t, and it doesn’t have to. I refer you to the studies done on this subject where similar things have seemed to happen. Many patients, soon after being sedated, claim to have an OOBE where they can experience and describe what’s happening in the room. The catch is that there was something distinct planted in the room that no-one was permitted to speak of until the study was over. None of the OOBE patients were able to describe it. They determined that what happened was the patients were hearing the conversations in the room and extrapolated that info into a false memory of being outside their body. This explains the blind woman.

      100 sets of volumes of information in a DNA strand etc.  Information and language only come from intelligence – period.

      We only call it a language because that’s the way our minds make sense of it. I have no problems believing that 3.6 Billion years of evolution would develop something complex enough that we humans might consider it a language.

      Or the absolute imposibility of living matter coming from non living matter.

      Not impossible, just highly improbable. Which makes no difference to your argument anyway, because it happened. It only need happen once, and it seems that it did. Until anyone can show that there is any being which exists that could have started it before any life as we know it exists, we have to assume that it did happen regardless of how improbable it seems.

      Or the issue of objective moral values.

      There is no issue with objective moral values. Objective moral values can be easily shown to be immoral and therefore self-contradictory. I don’t consider “objective moral values” to be positive evidence for anything other than the illogical mind of the person claiming them.

      You sound more like someone who wont beleive and are looking for ways not to. 

      And to me, you sound like someone desperate to find evidence for your belief and will cling to anything which you think comes anywhere close, no matter how illogical that thing may be. Hence why you always fall back to intellectual masturbation in the end.

      • theist101

         Ok, you have had your opportunity, my hands are clean.  I hope that perhaps at a later date you may re-read what we have written and realise your hardness of heart causing blindness.    And even admit to yourself the real reason(s) you reject God.

  • http://www.facebook.com/set.apart.12 Set Apart

    Why doesn’t Richard Dawkins debate Creationists?

    • DisThoughts

      He thinks it legitimises their views unduly in the public opinion to be presented alongside real scientists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/set.apart.12 Set Apart

    Richard Dawkins’s refusal to debate is cynical and anti-intellectualist
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/oct/22/richard-dawkins-refusal-debate-william-lane-craig

    Did God Command Genocide in the Bible? William Lane Craig vs Richard Dawkins
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOgSxv37SbE


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