In Defense of William Lane Craig

After my last post on William Lane Craig and debating, I decided to do several web searches related to William Lane Craig and debating. While I obviously disagree with his arguments, I have no problem with him as a person. I suspect the majority of atheists (who know who he is) also do not. But a few of his critics have engaged in personal attacks which I think are unfair and inaccurate. As a freethinker, I think it’s important to follow the evidence wherever it leads and avoid sloppy thinking. This includes sloppy thinking about our critics.

Objection: Craig is not a good philosopher.

Reply: I’m going to be blunt. This is a stupid objection. Not only does he have a Ph.D. in philosophy, but he is widely regarded as a leading expert on the philosophy of time. Before someone makes an objection like this, I would encourage them to look in the mirror. Do they have a Ph.D. in philosophy? If not, then why do think they are even competent to attack the philosophical competence of someone who does? In my experience, when I have talked to nontheistic professional philosophers of religion about Craig, they have always had respect for his philosophical abilities.

Objection: Craig is dishonest.

Reply: Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I take the charge of dishonesty extremely seriously. Anyone who levels the accusation of dishonesty has the burden of proof, and they had better make sure they attempt to get the other person’s side of the story before publicly concluding that dishonesty is the best explanation.

If Craig has been dishonest, I have yet to see any evidence of that. For example, one person suggested Craig was dishonest in a debate because he used a probability calculation in a debate. According to this critic, the ‘problem’ was not that Craig was being dishonest in his calculations, but that he used a calculation in a debate, which was supposedly unfair to his opponent. Huh? I don’t call that “dishonest.” I call that making an argument.

A second allegation is that Craig is dishonest in his public debates because he uses arguments which he “knows” are false. Really? I do wonder how these people “know” what Craig thinks.

In summary, I don’t agree with his arguments, but there is no need for unwarranted personal attacks. Let’s focus on the arguments, please.

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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.