This post is sort-of repeating the point I made here, but I got thinking about it again reading some of the Christian responses to this post. Many Christian defenders of William Lane Craig seem unable to wrap their heads around the idea that Craig might “win” (an ambiguous word that I prefer to avoid) his debates through anything but superior arguments. I have a challenge for them.
Take a close look at the way Craig deploys his moral argument in his debates. Notice the way he often bases the argument on nothing more than appeals to authority, and when forced to go beyond that he often relies on non-sequiturs about “naturalism,” etc. If that’s not obvious just from listening to Craig, start at the bottom of this post and follow the links for detailed explanations, or just watch this video.Then tell me: is there any way a competent scholar could honestly believe these are good arguments? To me, this alone looks like clear evidence that Craig is either incompetent (if he doesn’t understand why this isn’t a legitimate way to argue) or dishonest (if he understands, but has decided not to let that stop him).
Now, I recognize that in principle one of Craig’s other arguments could be good even if he’s incompetent and/or a charlatan, but this should settle the question of whether rhetorical effectiveness in a debate has much to do with whether your arguments are any good.