On Dawkins’ refusal to debate Craig

Craig is famous for his debates with atheists, but one atheist who has repeatedly refused to debate Craig is Richard Dawkins. Dawkins initially refused because he had no idea who Craig was, and later, when he learned more about Craig, because of Craig’s defense of genocide (which I discussed while discussing Craig’s moral argument).

This has led to Dawkins being repeatedly called a coward, and some truly ridiculous antics on Craig’s part, some of which Dawkins describes in one of his replies to Craig’s debate challenges:

In an epitome of bullying presumption, Craig now proposes to place an empty chair on a stage in Oxford next week to symbolise my absence. The idea of cashing in on another’s name by conniving to share a stage with him is hardly new. But what are we to make of this attempt to turn my non-appearance into a self-promotion stunt? In the interests of transparency, I should point out that it isn’t only Oxford that won’t see me on the night Craig proposes to debate me in absentia: you can also see me not appear in Cambridge, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, if time allows, Bristol.

Dawkins has also been accused of being ignorant for not initially knowing who Craig was. Anyone who says this shows they have a ridiculously inflated view of Craig’s importance. Not only are most philosophers atheists, most philosophers do not take philosophy of religion very seriously.

And even within philosophy of religion, Craig isn’t a complete nobody, but he doesn’t have the status of Plantinga or Swinburne of van Inwagen. This makes Craig’s behavior towards Dawkins as ridiculous as if Michael Tooley behaved the same way towards National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins. (Don’t know who Michael Tooley is? My point exactly.)

That doesn’t change what I said previously, that Craig is one of the world’s leading defenders of arguments for the existence of God. But that isn’t a compliment to Craig. Rather, the fact that a relatively insignificant charlatan like Craig can claim that title ought to be an embarrassment to religion.

  • Albert Bakker

    That is rather harshly put. I love it.

  • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com J. Quinton

    Craig is also hypocritical for not debating John Loftus. Craig said he won’t debate (his former student!) Loftus because he doesn’t want to increases his status. One of the reasons why Dawkins refuses to debate Craig is for that same reason.

  • Fergus Gallagher

    The “empty chair” wasn’t Craig’s proposal – but he certainly was happy to go along with it.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    I heard Dawkins was there, died, and ascended bodily into Heaven, all in a matter of seconds. The empty chair proves it!

  • AgeOfReasonXXI

    “Rather, the fact that a relatively insignificant charlatan like Craig can claim that title ought to be an embarrassment to religion.”

    I could not have said it better myself

  • MNb0

    You really should link to Dawkins’ article, CH. Frankly it is better than what you wrote about Craig – though you made several points Dawkins neglected.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig

    Note the last alinea. If I ever get the chance I will certainly follow that advice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Meant to link – fix’d!

  • http://fathergriggs.wordpress.com Lord Griggs[ Ignostic Morgan, Inquiring Lynn, Skeptic Griggsy, Carneades of Ga., Fr.or Rabbi Griggs]

    Plantinga is hardly better-just another intellectual wind bag with stupid premises!Swinburne does not fathom the Ockham and is stupid like Plantinga about the free will rationalization.I’m going to Google van Inwagen now.
    John Hick was the ever-ready rationalizer! They all rank with paranormalists, no matter the language!
    For the r ecord.

  • christophburschka

    you can also see me not appear in Cambridge, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, if time allows, Bristol.

    Dawkins must have superpowers to not be in so many places at once.

    • wholething

      That proves God’s omnipotence as he can not be in more places than Dawkins can not show up in.

  • Chris C.

    Dawkins did attend a debate with Craig in spain, link below for those interested.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uaq6ORDx1C4

  • Bananamana

    Don’t forget about Jeffrey Jay Lower.

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