A proposal for all future debates with William Lane Craig

Richard Dawkins has written quite a bit on why he refuses to debate William Lane Craig. I think you could take his arguments further to argue that atheists should stop agreeing to debate Craig period. But if atheists are going to keep debating Craig, I have a proposal for all those debates from now on.

On the “atheists shouldn’t debate Craig” side, part of the problem is that Craig is a C-list scholar (at best), who’s managed to convince people he’s an A-lister in large part based on his debating resume. I’ve actually heard people make the argument that, “Hey, Harris and Hitches agreed to debate Craig, therefore Dawkins is obligated to do the same!” (because Dawkins is obligated to do everything Harris and Hitchens did?) There’s something to be said for breaking the cycle of that nonsense.

But arguably there are some benefits to the atheist side from debates with major Christian figures like Craig, so I have a slightly less harsh proposal that I think all atheist writers and speakers should be able to agree on: Craig never gets to speak first in a debate ever again.

If you’ve followed Craig at all, you’ll notice that the debates he does almost always use the same format, and Craig almost always speaks first. This is because, apparently, Craig is a control freak when it comes to organizing debates. From a behind the scenes account of his debate with Sam Harris:

Craig took part in the planning from the start. He insisted on particular details of the debate’s format, down to the timing of each speech and the placement of the clocks. (”Probably the most important technique to master,” he has told me about debating, “is managing the clock.”) Craig made sure that he would go first. He also suggested the topic, which bears on the subject of Harris’s latest book, The Moral Landscape.

It doesn’t always happen this way; for example, Eddie Tabash spoke first in his debate with Craig, and I understand that it happened because Tabash challenged Craig’s attempts to totally control how the debate was organized. But usually Craig’s opponents don’t do that, and Craig benefits.

Being able to speak first in a debate gives a substantial benefit to any debater, because speaking first means that in that first speech, you can focus on laying out your case without having to worry about rebutting your opponents’. But with Craig, the situation is even worse, because Craig has persistently abused the privilege by using his first speech to misrepresent his opponents’ views before they’ve even had a chance to speak.

You can see good examples of this behavior from Craig in his debate with Sam Harris and his debate with Stephen Law. In the case of Law, Craig wrote a post-debate article on his website where he continued to misrepresent Law’s views on even after Law had corrected him on it. Craig has even shown a willingness to lie outright, claiming Bart Ehrman as supporter of Craig’s “four facts” about Jesus’ resurrection even after Ehrman told him otherwise in very clear terms.

I’d like to think that by doing this, Craig only gives his opponents opportunities to expose him as a fraud, but the sad fact is that these tactics probably benefit Craig no matter how clearly his opponents’ call him out on them. The reality is that once people have been told a lie, it’s rarely enough to say “that’s not true.” They’ll often continue to believe whatever they heard first until you put in five times as much work as it took to tell the initial lie.

The solution to this is for Craig’s opponents to always speak first, so the audience can always hear what their real views are first. In a sense this isn’t fair, the fair thing to do would be to always flip a coin to see who goes first, but by his persistent dishonesty Craig has forfeited the right to 100% fair debates. After getting that very same unfair advantage through the vast majority of his debating career by taking advantage of naive opponents, Craig should be able to handle that. And if he can’t, atheists should refuse to debate him period.

For more on Craig, see my post series on his arguments, which I’ve also turned into a draft chapter for my forthcoming book.

Update February 4th, 2013: Before you try to defend Craig in the comments on this post, I have a challenge for you.

  • Jamie Richardson

    I think the best way to debate Craig would be an empty chair and a recording device for his side. His constant rehashing of the same lame arguments is boring and predictable. I just might challenge him and end up doing this as he did to Dawkins in th UK this year(minus the recording)

    • Marshal

      You should totally do that.

    • jjguigs

      Maybe the reason why Craig uses the same arguments is because no one has been able to break it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. No one has beaten him in a debate in full, so if u want to leave him alone i understand but don’t pass it off as it’s because Craig is a C- scholar, hell if he is a C- and he destroys Harris, Hitchens, ect. where does that leave those guys

    • Darrah Densmore

      Quick, somebody register “www.williamlanecraigsoundboard.com.”

  • eric

    Well, I think Dawkins has it right. But assuming we are discussing ‘how to’s’ rather than ‘whether to’s,’ here’s another suggestion: Require a two debate format. Insist both be filmed and copies of the tapes be made available to both parties. Debate one: WLC misrepresents your opinion. You correct him. Debate proceeds as per normal. Debate two: WLC misrepresents your opinion. But now you have your videotaped prior correction teed-up for the second debate, and you show it to the audience. You focus on his deception and ask, point blank, why he refused to correct his misrerpresentation. Ask him to explain his behavior. At this point hopefully he loses most of his credibility.
    When it comes time to air the whole event on the internet, make sure the second debate gets highlighted.

    • Marshal

      …or, you could just present your opinion.

  • Laurence

    I would add another stipulation which is to add a crossfire section to the debate where each debater has 10 minutes to ask the other questions that they immediately have to respond to. Shelly Kagan made great use of this part in his debate against Craig. It also allows the immediate ability to respond to misrepresentations.

    • Marshal

      Awesome idea!

  • Jack M

    I was disappointed to discover that Craig has finagled a debate with Alex Rosenberg. I sorely wish Alex would not lend any measure of his stature to Craig, but alas, such is the case. It should prove interesting in one aspect however. Alex won’t be saddled with providing any objective grounding to morality, other than it’s evolutionary roots. Evangelicals love Alex’s last book, “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality” since they see it as an admisstion that naturalism leads inexorably to despair.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Really? Where’d you here that? Someone send a copy of this post to Rosenberg!

      • Jack M

        It’s on Craig’s website. I confirmed it with Professor Rosenberg.

    • W. Nusbaum

      I honestly do not understand what the problem is. These are all professionals in their field who have access to all sorts of advice and strategy prior to each debate and they even know what Craig’s essential opening case is going to be, and yet, people still complain about Craig not being fair or honest. All anyone has to do is pull out excerpts from prior debates demonstrating the “lies” and “mis-truths” that Craig has committed in the past so that the audience becomes well aware of it. But no one does that. It seems that the bottom line is that by and large Craig formulates his case better, he structures his rebuttals better for the audience to understand, and he holds his opponent to the topic of the debate to ensure that the debate is judged correctly on the agreed topic. Hearing all this whining time and again makes the critics look very small and petty. Tabash and Shook both did fairly well because they were much better prepared and structured that the others. The bottom line however is that if you are going to debate Craig, you better put your big boy pants on and be prepared or you are going to have it handed to you.

      • Chris Hallquist

        “All anyone has to do is pull out excerpts from prior debates demonstrating the “lies” and “mis-truths” that Craig has committed in the past so that the audience becomes well aware of it. But no one does that.”

        The main reason I suspect no one does this is that few people have any reason to pay enough attention to Craig to notice his misrepresentations aren’t occasional mistakes, but part of a pattern.

        But if you’re imagining that this would be a ticket to an easy win, no it wouldn’t be. Craig would just dismiss it with some one-sentence non-sequitur (and perhaps feign sorrow that his opponent would resort to personal attacks like that) and then run his usual “if my opponent doesn’t respond to everything I say, I win” shtick, benefiting from the fact that his opponent spent time digging up Craig’s dirty laundry rather than responding to him directly.

        • Harry

          “The main reason I suspect no one does this is that few people have any reason to pay enough attention to Craig to notice his misrepresentations aren’t occasional mistakes, but part of a pattern.”

          Well if you are correct that doesn’t, mean there are no examples of his misconduct that we can examine does it?

          As Nusbaum says Craig is a very good debater and that’s all there is to this. I mean look at the recent Rosenberg debate – Rosenberg actually complained that these kind of debates are not very good and that the format of the multi-round debates is not effective and so on.

          Yet he ACCEPTED the invitation to participate!

          Imagine (honestly, do this) that Craig began a debate with say Dawkins and said stuff like “These kind of debate’s don’t work and I’d much rather discuss this with Dawkins in this other format.”

          I think we all know how Craig’s critics would react were he to say anything like this in a debate.

          Harry.

          • RobMcCune

            If Craig did say such I a thing I, as a critic of him, would applaud. His whole motivation for these debates is bolster the faithful’s sense of superiority. His admitting that debates can be won through sophistry, rhetoric, and tactics, rather than the merit of arguments would be a first step toward an honest dialogue.

    • Marshal

      Me too, very disappointed indeed.

  • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

    Lulz @ character assassination and ad hominem in an attempt to discredit someone.

    Par for the course with you, Chris. Keep arguing like this, please, because it’s sooooo effective. Really.

    • Chris Hallquist

      You haven’t actually disputed my description of Craig. Do you disagree with what I say about Craig, or do you not agree that people who act the way Craig has acted deserve to be called out on it?

      • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

        Sure I disagree with that. Surely a philosophy graduate could infer that from your post being called “character assassination.” You have a negative emotional reaction to your atheist buddies and idols having their arguments destroyed in debate. So you accuse Craig of some sort of trickery and dishonesty without ever really showing how he’s tricking you or being dishonest. That’s all I see from you gnu atheist types on the interwebz. If that were all he was doing, surely one of you could beat him in a debate. Shirley! I mean you have the best arguments, right?

        But like I said, please keep it up. It’s clearly the best technique.

        • http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com Rhology

          They have the best arguments? Then why don’t they ever defeat Christian apologists in debates and demonstrate the superiority of their arguments?

          Ohhhhh…. you were being sarcastic. Gotcha.

          • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

            Sarcastic? Moi?

        • Chris Hallquist

          I’ve documented Craig’s dishonesty at length in other posts, which you can find through the links in this one.

          • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

            Uh huh. I’m sure you’ve made such an amazing case too.

          • Chris Hallquist

            So… sarcasm is your substitute for responding to what I’ve actually written?

    • Chris Hallquist

      See also Richard Chappell’s old post Attacks and Arguments, which everyone should read.

      • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

        I’m well aware of what the ad hominem is. Trying to discredit all of Craig’s arguments by attacking his character and methods would be ad hominem. You could criticize those perhaps on some moral ground, but they do nothing to attack his arguments, all of which are deductively valid.

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

          Ad hominem is not always a fallacy (thinking so is dangerously close to the fallacy fallacy). And attacking someone’s methods is always a valid tactic.

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

            Also, winners in live debates aren’t determined by actual arguments, but by whoever is the best practitioner of the dark arts.

          • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

            It is a fallacy when you attempt to discredit someone’s argument using it. But wait, I just said this.

        • Chris Hallquist

          Nope, discrediting Craig’s arguments wasn’t the point of this post. The point was to argue atheists shouldn’t agree to debate him unless they can speak first.

          Also, I like that you make a big deal out of Craig’s arguments being deductively valid. The following argument is also deductively valid:

          1. You’re an idiot.
          2. If you’re an idiot, you’re wrong.
          3. Therefore, you’re wrong.

          • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

            Except none of those premises are true. But like I continue to say, please keep arguing like this.

          • Chris Hallquist

            I never said the premises were true. I was just giving an example of a deductively valid argument. That’s the point.

        • HannibalBarca

          I could list all the logical fallacies that Craig uses in every debate I’ve ever seen him in, but that would take a lot of time that I am not willing to waste on him. I can’t even watch debates with him anymore – not because I disagree with his conclusions, but because of the dishonest and intellectually bankrupt ways he arrives at them. I’m not sure that someone of his admittedly high intelligence even believes the nonsense he spouts – but he knows the average theist listening to him isn’t going to bother to look up what an argument from ignorance is, or an equivocation fallacy is.

          • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

            //I could list all the logical fallacies that Craig uses in every debate I’ve ever seen him in, but that would take a lot of time that I am not willing to waste on him

            Hahaha. I think that’s the seventh time I’ve seen that exact sentence from an online gnu atheist type. But yes, I prefer you just hand wave and ignore and pass Craig off as irrelevant. Keep it up, guys. Keep up the 19th century mindset. K thx.

    • RobMcCune

      Lulz @ character assassination and ad hominem in an attempt to discredit someone.

      Well I’m looking forward to you explaining just how this blog post does that, we need more people who insist on taking the high road in discussions.

      Par for the course with you, Chris. Keep arguing like this, please, because it’s sooooo effective. Really.

      Or not. Bossmanham, complains about ad hominem, engages in ad hominem, and in the space of two sentences no less.

      • http://www.thinkinggodsthoughts.com bossmanham

        Well I’m looking forward to you explaining just how this blog post does that, we need more people who insist on taking the high road in discussions.

        Then dude, the gnu atheist corner of the web is the wrong place.

        Or not. Bossmanham, complains about ad hominem, engages in ad hominem, and in the space of two sentences no less.

        Except imploring an intellectual opponent to keep arguing fallaciously isn’t attacking them to discredit their argument. But anyway, I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here. God bless, guys.

        • RobMcCune

          Saying character assassination is “Par for the course with you, Chris.” is an ad hominem if “ad hominem” means anything.

          Except imploring an intellectual opponent to keep arguing fallaciously isn’t attacking them to discredit their argument.

          Or just ignore what you wrote, pretend it’s something different. Then again why expect anything else from someone who is inconsistent in the space of two sentences.

          dude, the gnu atheist corner of the web is the wrong place.

          I know, right most of the theists who show up are just trolling. Occasionally one will be just clever enough to throw out a bunch of backhanded insults.

          But anyway, I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here. God bless, guys.

          Ah, pretending to quit nicely a staple of trolling, see you later.

        • coyotenose

          But anyway, I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here.

          Because you were stupid enough to think that people couldn’t see through you, then desperate enough to keep digging a hole, then pissy and childish enough to run away while yelling that you won and nobody can prove otherwise.

        • tom

          ” But anyway, I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here. ”

          And yet you cannot stop making an ass of yourself.

    • Marshal

      It worked in junior high.

  • Annatar

    There have been plenty of rebuttals to Craig’s arguments, and Craig’s responses (where he has them) rely on misrepresenting his opponent’s views (see the video above about his debate with Stephen Law), changing the subject (his “evil proves God” response to the problem of evil is a red-herring. He just wants to put the emphasis back on his moral argument) or re-wording things all together (his dubious use of the word “fact”).

    Obviously, the point of Chris’ post is not to say “Craig is a jerk therefore his arguments are wrong and no one should pay attention to him.”

    The point was “Craig’s arguments are a load of crap (as has been established elsewhere). We need to make sure we don’t give him the leeway he needs to make his case look a lot better than it is.”

    Also, what is this rubbish about “surely one of you could beat him in a debate”? Craig has been ousted plenty of times. See his debates with Eddie Tabash, Keith Parsons, Bart Ehrman, Stephen Law, Shelly Kagan, Raymond Bradley…Perhaps bassmanham means “you guys” as in “the people commenting on this blog,” but I’m not sure how that’s a relevant challenge.

    • Annatar

      Also, Craig’s fans never seem to take seriously the thought that Craig really might be dishonest, or at least occasionally tell a lie. Is the idea of a religious apologist telling lies really so difficult to comprehend?

      • rehabdrich

        Not to the christians in the audience. They already have their minds made up and are there to either cheer WLC on or to confirm their own beliefs that since WLC is a christian, then he doesn’t tell lies. I know, I was one of them.

  • Steven Carr

    Craig happily argues both sides of an argument, even in the same debate.

    For example, in his debate with Bart Ehrman, Craig claimed, in one and the same debate, that Bart blundered by not realising that believers in a god could expect the resurrection of Jesus to be probable, and Craig also claimed that the followers of Jesus would have regarded the resurrection of Jesus to be such an ‘outlandish thing’ that there must have been an incredibly good reason for them to believe it.

    But the same event can’t be both probable and also an ‘outlandish thing’!

  • Bob Seidensticker

    But the guy who goes second gets the final word. Is that not compensation? I would’ve thought that being aware of his shenanigans and being quick to point them out would have your final thoughts taking precedent in the mind of the audience member.

    • Chris Hallquist

      The consensus of people who really know debate seems to be that getting the final word is not much of an advantage. In many college debate formats, the team that speaks first actually also speaks last. Other things are far more important in determining whether a contest is fair than who speaks last.

      See also Jeff Lowder’s (sarcastic) comments here–Lowder is a former college debater who’s also been involved in organizing a number of atheist-theist debates, so he knows what he’s talking about.

  • http://Skepticali.blogspot.com Skepticali

    So, we’re arguing about arguing.

    In the meantime, I’m sure we’ve all noticed that the supernatural scheme that we’re arguing about the arguers for, still remains mysteriously absent from the cosmos.

  • Jess Simmons

    I can’t see why you’ve described Craig as a ‘C-list scholar’, whilst talking about Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Law as if they are scholars at all. Craig is far from the best in contemporary philosophy, and (contra the apparent view of many Christians), there are many better Christian philosophers. But Dawkins et al. are *morons*.

    You don’t do it explicitly, but you implicitly seem to be defending Dawkins et al. We should be denouncing them, and repeatedly pointing out that there are far more able atheists.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Yes, Hitchens and Harris made their names as writers outside of academia. Dawkins and Law are obviously scholars, and Dawkins a far more important one than Craig will ever be. You *obviously* haven’t been reading my blog very log if you think it’s a good idea to come here and refer to them as “morons” without further argument.

      • Harry

        Comparing crdentials is pointless – the efficacy of a debate rests wholly upon the soundness of the argumnets presented, it’s easy to desrcibe Dawkins for example as just a writer of pop-science who studied zoology and has never written a peer-reviewed article for a recognized science journal – but does that matter?

        Why is Dawkins a “obviously a scholar”? what establishes that? and more to the point what relevance is that to a debate?

        Harry.

        • RobMcCune

          “– the efficacy of a debate rests wholly upon the soundness of the argumnets presented,”

          Debates are limited by time, access to information, and the memory and attention of the audience and speakers are all limited in a live debate. Unless you’re arguing none of those things are relevant to evaluating arguments involving complex and specialized topics, I think you’re mistaken on that point.

          • Harry

            Each participant is alloted the same time, each participant has access to an almost infinite amount of data, the memory if poor will result in unsound or poor arguments – which is what I said was the important factor.

            So although relevant in principle these things are the same for each participant and overall would cancel out.

  • Rain

    I propose that he not be allowed to use three names. Just “William Craig”, omitting the “Lane”.

  • Sarin

    I propose that WLC’s microphone be disabled in future debates! LOL!!! This is HILARIOUS! There’s actually an army of crybaby, sore losers, headed by the leader of the blind, Dawkins huddling together to build false allegations and spurious reasons as to why their buddies are losing debates. What is this, the intellectual maturity of a playground!? Craig is winning the debates because his opponents and their arguments are losing them!
    The reality is, Dawkins won’t debate Craig because after losing, it will impact his sales and relevance.

    • Harry

      Well said.

      Harry.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling Jonathan MS Pearce

    Don’t know if this is of interest to you:

    http://skepticink.com/tippling/2013/01/05/exclusivewilliam-lane-craig-accidentally-admits-nativity-accounts-of-matthew-and-luke-may-be-legend/

    WLC seems to have talked a bit loosely to someone he thought was a Christian!

    • Bryan

      That blog post blows Dr. Craig’s statements way out of proportion. What he told the guy is something he has professed to openly and publicly. After watching many of his debates, reading loads of his articles, and listening to a few year’s worth of his Defenders and Reasonable Faith podcasts, there is nothing controversial to what he said. If all you are doing is watching his debates to explore the truth of what he says, then you are doing your self a disservice. There are other philosophers, theologians, and historians that have useful resources too. Alvin Plantinga, N.T. Wright, and Mike Licona respectively, to name a few.

  • Bryan

    So tired of atheists whining about loosing debates to Christian apologists, especially Dr. Craig. The point of the whole blog here is that he wins because he commandeers the first speaking spot. Well, if any of you knew anything about scholarly debating, then you would realize that the affirmative position almost always goes first. Dr. Craig almost always represents the affirmative position in these types of debates. Such as “God exists”, can you not see how this is an affirmative position? Also, the negative position always gets to wrap things up with their end speech being the LAST WORD. Maybe I should be whining about that? Or would debating Dr. Craig only be fair if the atheist got to start and end the debate too?

  • LW

    I don’t think it will make any difference. I’ve seen or heard a few debates where WLC goes second. He simply prefaces his opening with a promise to address his opponent’s points in rebuttals. Then he launches into his usual “my opponent needs to prove these four [or five] things” schtick, laced with out-of-context quotes from his opponent. In the rebuttals he never actually does address his opponent’s opening points, unless they happen to play into one of his well-rehearsed rhetorical traps. And even when he does address an opponent’s actual thesis, I think it is merely coincidence, because as best I can tell from watching him in videos, he spends all his off-mike time rehearsing his next rebuttal and pays no attention to his opponent. Plus, he appears to be a bit hearing-impaired, and might not be able to actually hear what his opponent is saying.

    I wish I could name the exact debates where WLC goes second, but unlike WLC, I am not able to keep an entire bibliography of references in my head. However, I found them online, and I’m sure others can too.

  • Pingback: Debate formats and the burden of proof

  • bgoss

    Craig may be a control freak but the reason he goes first is because the burden of proof is on the Theist. Those with the burden of proof must always go first.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Funnily enough, I just addressed this in a new post. TLDR; this would make sense if only Craig would agree that he has the burden of proof, which he refuses to do.

  • TJ

    I figured the person with the best argument would win. But if ya’ll must resort to blaming his success on the structure of the debates. Pleasssseeee, QQ more.

    • Chris Hallquist

      If you’re that naive, I refer you to this post.

  • http://christthetao.blogspot.com David Marshall

    I’m debating Richard Carrier next Saturday, and was asked to go first, without so much as mentioning the subject. In fact, I think Carrier himself made the suggestion. Since the title of the debate is very similiar to that of the Rosenberg-Craig debate, “Is the Christian faith reasonable?” this seems like the natural order, since I think it is.

    If I should happen to lose that debate, do you skeptics mind if I borrow some of your excuses?

    • RobMcCune

      If Carrier’s arguments misrepresent the current state of scholarship, distort your own positions, frame the debate to put you at disadvantage, and repeat the claim your arguments have failed to show something you clearly addressed, then feel free to cite those as reasons for poor performance.

      Unless of course you believe debates perfectly decide the merits of the speakers respective positions, then that would be hypocritical.

      • http://christthetao.blogspot.com David Marshall

        Rob: Watching the Rosenberg-Craig debate a couple days ago, it seemed to me Craig was the model of a gentlemen, Rosenberg quite the contrary. It also sounded like he had much the better pulse on the state of the scholarship, but if not, Rosenberg had equal time to correct him.

        • RobMcCune

          Since I argued Craig uses dishonest rhetoric and manipulative tactics arguing that Craig seemed nice doesn’t really address that. Unless Craig referenced your own field of expertise, how Craig, how would you know whether or not he’s being honest about it? Having equal time to correct someone is not a fool proof way to ensure an honest debate, since an important point can take longer to rebut than it took to make. Further more Craig can and does counter that by claiming his opponent has failed to address some other point or topic, changing the subject while declaring victory.

          • http://christthetao.blogspot.com David Marshall

            An opponent’s tactics often seem “dishonest and manipulative” to the loser in a debate. I’m not an expert in all the fields Craig covers, but those I do know something about, he seems to represent fairly enough.

            Chris begins his OP by calling Craig a “C-lister” based on his record of scholarship, and that Dawkins should therefore feel no obligation to debate him. If I felt inclined to be aggrieved, couldn’t I see that as “dishonest and manipulative?” I think Craig’s record of relevant academic publication compares VERY favorably to that of Richard Dawkins. If that makes Craig a “C-lister,” what is Dawkins, a “G-lister?”

          • Chris Hallquist

            I’ve documented Craig’s dishonest behavior at length, being slightly mean on someone’s academic accomplishments is not remotely what I was talking about.

            Also, Dawkins is a fellow of the Royal Society, and had an endowed chair at Oxford before he retired. Craig is a professor at an evangelical school that has struggled to get taken seriously in mainstream academia (I’m talking about the entire school there).

          • RobMcCune

            So that’s your claim to be dismissive, that Craig wins? Why he seems to “win” is irrelevant apparently, so long as he’s a christian who “beats” atheist is sufficient.

            Also you seem to have switched from defending Craig to attacking Dawkins with an assertion he’s a poor scholar. Which you need to back up, by the way. This seems to come out of nowhere, or are you admitting to defending Craig base on perceived insult rather than merit?

  • Blake Moore

    LOL! Reading all the whining from the ‘freethinkers’ means one thing, Craig kicked yous boy’s ass yet again.

    • Chris Hallquist

      I refer you to this post.

    • RobMcCune

      So explain why Craig’s arguments fail to be dazzling in writing, he’s just a cheap showman who dazzles believers so they walk away with an overinflated sense of superiority. The fact he demands christians instigate self-censorship if they find atheist arguments persuasive speaks volumes about how “intellectual” he really is.

  • PeterS

    Ok, so If Craig’s arguments misrepresent/are not any good/distorts positions are all these things not refutable? If what he say is plainly wrong then the rebuttal provides opportunity to skewer him. This doesn’t seem to happen.

    I would have thought given that Craig makes similar arguments in his debates it should be relatively simple to refute them. You could even anticipate his answers to challenges and prepare to deal with them.

    Its not a fault of WLC that atheists don’t debate well.

  • http://theaunicornist.com Mike D

    Who cares? At best, all Craig is accomplishing is preaching to his own flock. I think that, on the strength of argument, Craig tends to lose most of his debates quite badly. But even if others disagree and think Craig wins some, most, or all of his debates, the validity of ideas is not settled in debates. It’s a dialogue, nothing more. Those of us keen on Craig’s pattern of obfuscation, disingenuous dodging, and cherry-picking of scientific literature will continue to be unimpressed.

    Craig’s an evangelist, pure and simple. Debates are his platform of choice, but I don’t see any harm in them. Let’s have the dialogues. If it makes Craig’s fans feel better if they tell themselves he “wins”, so what? They weren’t going to be persuaded by rational argumentation anyway.

  • http://bilbos1.blogspot.com Bilbo

    I was on the debate team for four years in high school. Unless one has extensive experience in this type of format, one will be at a severe disadvantage to a debater who is experienced. It is a skill that is acquired by years of training and practice. You don’t learn how to do it overnight. I got the impression that Rosenberg had not wanted to use this format, and that he had hoped they would use the format that Craig and Shelly Kagan had used in their debate (a much better format for discussing/debating philosophical or theological issues). I suspect that somehow he was manipulated or over-ruled and had to agree to a formal, competitive debate , which put him at an unfair disadvantage. I would have preferred to see the Craig-Kagan format, which would have been much fairer and informative for the audience.

  • Harry

    I tried to watch the video clip above and it has a message saying “Do not watch this video” it then goes on to say there is a link “in the description” for a better/update video – I have no idea where to find this other video or what is meant by “the description”.

    Surely it is easy to update this page to contain the new video?

    Thanks

    Harry.

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  • Marshal

    Wowzers. What a bunch of crybabies.

  • Suresh Dogra

    It is not possible to defeat a man with a closed mind for whom any improbability and impossibility is explicable through the mysterious instrumentality of God and who is completely bereft of human ethical values and compassion. Should a man who argues that children who are brutally cut to pieces in a war are fortunate as they enjoy eternal bliss in heaven have a place in a civilised society ? How is his logic different from Islamist terrorists who believe that by blowing themselves up in terrorist action, they get a license to enjoy eternally the embraces of 72 nubile maidens in heaven ? How does Craig reconcile his Lord’s command for complete destruction of the Canaanites with his Lord’s injunctions: Love thy enemy….If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him your left cheek also….Those who kill with sword will perish with sword. Whatever knowledge Craig has acquired, he has put to perverse use. Dawkins was right in refusing to debate with him. He should only be exposed for his utterly irrational assertions. .

  • Stephen Clark Okawa

    He’s a presuppositional douche. No doubt, he’s an amazing debater. But he’s pure scum when it comes to honesty. These guys sell 10x the books any atheist or scientist will ever sell. Their entire fortunes and existences are built on a grand deception, an inability to simply say these two words: “I’m wrong.”

  • Matt M

    I love Dawkins and his excuses. He has this long list of people he doesn’t want to garner “credibility” by debating them. I wonder if he realizes that the only way you give your debator any credibility is by losing to them? I’m pretty sure his refusal to debate has a lot more to do with this fear than any notion of giving them “credibility”.
    Why not let the world marvel at the stupidity of these people? Let him lay bare for all to see the irrationality and stupidity of William Lane Craig, or even better, a well known “creatard” or someone who he considers ultra-stupid or something.
    Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he’s afraid.


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