William Lane Craig memes

All of these are of my own design, with a nod to the Bill O’Reilly “You can’t explain that” meme:

Created with Quick Meme. I’d like to see people come up with their own and post links in the comments. For why I lump Craig in with O’Reilly, see chapters 9 and 10 of my book in progress.

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  • Reginald Selkirk
    • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

      Sorry, that video didn’t work on my laptop. Can you link to a write-up of what he said?

    • Brad

      It’s a 17-minute audio clip. Listening to it now, I’ll make some notes (trigger warning for discussion of rape, in general terms):

      He reviews the Akin comments and then criticizes the uproar (the “implications and speculations”) about it.

      He defends Akin’s comment regarding pregnancy with the clarification that he “got his information from doctors”. Craig says he sees “conflicting data” on this factual claim, but that its perfectly understandable for a layman to trust what he hears from doctors.

      Even the highest numbers he’s seen estimate that only 5% of rapes result in pregnancy (I presume he’s talking about the oft-cited 1996 study), and then uses that to conclude that, therefore, abortion resulting from rape is rare (which doesn’t necessarily follow).

      He talks about a supposedly commonly known principle in law that “hard cases make bad law”, and that an allowance of abortion in the case of rape doesn’t justify the current laws allowing abortion “on-demand” and for any reason which has “resulted in the sacrifice of millions of innocent lives since 1973 in this country.”

      He then moves on to what he perceives as Akin’s mistake, the use of the term “legitimate rape”. He sets up a strawman that Akin’s opponents actually believed he was saying that there were some situations that rape was legitimate (that it’s ok to rape). He then carefully explained to us confused listeners that Akin was using “legitimate” as a synonym for “genuine rape” or “real rape”. (Wow, Craig totally misses the point that everyone understood that’s what Akin meant, and that was the problem!!)

      Ok, gotta quote this next part in full: (12 min mark)

      It has the implication that a rape that is not accompanied by the sort of physical brutality that would stop a pregnancy isn’t real rape. Its not genuine rape. And that is, I think, morally objectionable, and wrong.

      (He’s still missing the point that there is no magical fertility shut-off switch, even in physically brutal rapes. He still thinks this is all about Akin poorly communicating his ideas. No, its about Akin’s wrong ideas and the fact that he uses them to defend his position on abortion.)

      He then goes on to discuss all the alternatives that Akin could have used: Forcible rape? Violent rape? Neither of those work well either. (A tiny moment of clarity when he talks about the choices a woman faces in that moment, where fighting back risk the violence escalating.) He says Akin should have used more nuanced language to describe what he meant.

      He ends by claiming that the real reason for the outcry is Akin’s strong, consistent pro-life position.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Craig says he sees “conflicting data” on this factual claim

        He tries to tarnish the 5% number by assigning it to pro-choice sources. He then says there is other data with numbers as low as 1%, but of course he never cites any source.
        Later in his monologue, WLC trots out an imaginary boy and an imaginary girl, and asks whether it would be acceptable to kill them just because they were conceived through rape. Of course not, he replies to himself. (Unless Yahweh orders the killing, in which case it would be not only acceptable but morally mandatory, judging from his past comments.)
        The one thing you will not hear WLC discuss is whether the woman has any rights as a person.

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

        Fascinating. Do you mind if I elevate this into a blog post?

        • Reginald Selkirk

          Please do.

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

            That question was actually for Brad, but if I turn this into a blog post, I’ll consider including your comments.

          • Reginald Selkirk

            Oh. I would suggest you include at least a partial transcript of what Craig says in his audio. Nothing in my comments is particularly original.

        • Brad

          Sorry, didn’t wander back around for a while. Yes, you can use my summary in a post, or edit/annotate with your own comments.

          You should probably make sure you listen to the original, to make sure you get the feel of where he was coming from. The entire thing was basically yes, he had one fact wrong, but that’s understandable for a non-doctor, and the rest was just an uproar over poor word choice.

  • Lord Elmo Bringer Of Death

    “The majority of new testament scholars agree…”

    • Annatar


  • Annatar

    I remember a WLC meme that said “god is good because he is worthy of worship, and he is worthy of worship because he’s good! Got that?” With a pic of him from his Harris debate looking kinda pissed.

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

      A picture of William Lane Craig, from the Harris debate, looking pissed? I’ve got to see that.

  • http://youtube.com/user/howtotrainapitbull Myong Rampton

    It doesn’t only punish responsible owners, but in addition add to already overloaded pet shelters which basically end up killing the dog.

  • Trent


    I think your use of the “can’t explain that” meme as an extended god-of-the-gaps argument is faulty. Please help me see if I am mistaken. Could you answer these questions:

    1. Is it possible for the theist to ever demonstrate to an atheist that God exists?

    2. How would such proof survive your objection?

    For example, let’s say the theist argues that “We have indisputable evidence that a miracle occurred on national television that everyone witnesses where God appears and does something which violates the laws of physics [or insert any other over-the-top miracle request].”

    Wouldn’t you just respond, “Alleged over-the-top miracle, you can’t explain that?”

    It seems that this retort effectively eliminates any possibility of demonstrating that God exists because you could always say there is a natural explanation we haven’t found yet for any phenomena. What do you think?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      For example, let’s say the theist argues that “We have indisputable evidence…”

      And yet somehow, this never seems to be the case. You can not name a single example in which theists claimed to have convincing evidence, and their logic was sound, and their evidence was actually convincing and verifiable. In other words, the theist’s inability to supply convincing evidence does not prove that the atheist is close-minded.

      • Trent


        That’s not the point. It’s a hypothetical that I think proves that the atheist using extended god-of-the-gaps reasoning has rigged the standards of evidence so that the theist can never win. You’re correct though, neither atheists nor theists have 100% indisputable evidence. But if the atheist says that every theistic argument is just a variant of “you can’t explain that” then why should the theist even bother? If indisputable evidence is unacceptable, then why bother with evidence that falls between indisputable and silly, the evidence that convinces some but not others?

        • Reginald Selkirk

          then why bother with evidence that falls between indisputable and silly, the evidence that convinces some but not others?

          I agree theists should not waste their time on questionable arguments. Atheists “bother” in order to show theists how their logic is not sound or valid, or why their evidence is not convincing, or how it has been misinterpreted.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          You’re correct though, neither atheists nor theists have 100% indisputable evidence.

          Hardly an equal assignment of the burden of proof. I can easily imagine “100% indisputable evidence” that theists could present – if a God existed, and had the properties claimed of Him. What conceivable evidence could an atheist present that would be “100% indisputable”?

    • Annatar

      If I may, I think if that sort of thing happened–God performed some really elaborate, visually awe-inspiring miracle that was witnessed by millions on TV, then most atheists (I would imagine) would say, “well, so much for atheism.” I would be happy to become a theist if that were the case.

      But instead, the sort of thing we get is philosophical arguments that are either obviously bad (Pascal’s Wager), or quickly develop into such obscure logic chopping that one can’t help but wonder, “If God really wants me to ‘come to him,’ why does he rely on THIS?” Additionally, the religions of the world shard into many mutually exclusive factions that are often in violent conflict with each other.

      Recall the story of Elijah and the priests of Ba’al: Elijah challenges the priests of Ba’al to show their god, and in spite of their pleadings there is no sign. Elijah then asks God to demonstrate his presence, and God ignites water-soaked wood with a bolt of lightning. It seems that in the old days, God was more than happy to perform miracles. But now we have people born and raised in religious communities who begin to lose their faith through their experience of suffering, exposure to other ideas, etc. and God is silent as they pray and pray and pray to keep their faith.
      I dunno if any of that was relevant to what you’re saying, but I think that gives a fairly good idea of how many atheists view the balance of evidence in this debate.

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

      No. I go into enormous detail in the two linked book chapters about what exactly is wrong with O’Reilly’s argument, and why Craig’s arguments are no better.

      Also, surely you agree that if Craig actually argued “atheists can’t explain the Big Bang, therefore God exists,” that would be a terrible argument. The question is whether the argument Craig actually gives is any better than that.

      Finally, this post is of course making fun of Craig. Craig actually does believe that genocide is wrong, except when God commands it, but of course I know he doesn’t argue that the inability of atheists to explain this “fact” is evidence for God. So if you want my serious response to Craig, read the chapter drafts.