Some (Very Incomplete) Thoughts on Luke Muehlhauser’s “How to Debate William Lane Craig”

After writing a post about William Lane Craig and John Loftus debating, I remembered that Luke Muehlhauser (Common Sense Atheism) posted an article in April 2009 about debating William Lane Craig. (LINK) Here are some very incomplete thoughts about Luke’s article.

  1. I agree with Luke that many of Craig’s debate opponents were unqualified, in the sense that they did not have both (a) the relevant knowledge (e.g., of philosophy of religion, metaethics, etc.); and (b) suitable debating experience.
  2. I strongly disagree with Luke’s assumption that Craig has ‘won’ literally “all” of his debates, but I do think he has ‘won’ most of them. Off the top of my head, I think the following opponents ‘won’ their debates with Craig:
  3. I agree with the five specific points in his section, “How to Win.” On the other hand, in my experience, the people who would most benefit from following Luke’s advice tend to be the same people least likely to follow it.

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About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • Larry Tanner

    If he does that line, "I can tell we're going to have a good debate tonight," please tell him that I knew he would say it.

    Then tell him it's time for a new script.

  • urbster1

    Ray Bradley also firmly trounced Craig on the issue of Hell not being a just punishment.

  • LadyAtheist

    Who has had the best counter to the "properly basic" idea? I think that's the weakest argument for the existence of god ever!

  • Mike Gage

    I don't know that saying it is properly basic is actually an argument for the existence of God. I consider it more of an argument for the reasonableness of belief from the perspective of the believer. In other words, it's not meant to prove anything to you – just to say you can't prove the contrary to them! Much of Plantinga's work is simply to defend the rationality of believing in God.

  • Keith Parsons


    Thanks for the plug! Actually, I debated Craig twice. The one that is most available is the one I did at Prestonwood Baptist Church in '98 on the topic "Is Christianity True?" I also debated him a few years later (2003?)at the University of Indiana on the topic "Does God exist?". I did not think that this debate was available, but a very persistent student of mine was able to get a copy by contacting their Campus Crusade people. I felt pretty good about both encounters.

  • unitedandy

    I'd also second Ray Bradley, and propose that Austin Dacey and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong got the better of Craig in their debates, even though I still think Craig has won most of his debates against atheists, overwhelmingly at times (e.g. Atkins, Hitchens, Wolpert).

    Keith, is there any place I can listen/ watch the second of your debates with Craig? The first debate was certainly worth a listen. If I remember rightly, the problem of Hell (which is puzzlingly so underused in my judgement) put Craig on the defensive from the start. Cheers.

  • Keith Parsons


    Do check with the Campus Crusade people at IU, and I think they can e-mail you the whole debate. Thanks for your interest.

  • Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Keith — Thanks for reminding me about your second debate with Craig. I think you won that debate also. I've edited the post.