Review of Craig-Law Debate on God’s Existence

SUMMARY AND ASSESSMENT OF “DOES GOD EXIST?” (2011)
WITH WILLIAM LANE CRAIG AND STEPHEN LAW

17 October 2011
Westminster Central Hall

Storeys Gate, London SW1H 9NH

by Jeffery Jay Lowder


CONTENTS

About This Summary and Assessment
Debate Summary
Debate Assessment
Other Reviews of the Debate


As always, while I’ve tried to be accurate, I don’t claim this is perfect. If you find errors, omissions, or anything else you think requires editing, please send me feedback so I can make the appropriate changes.

Note: the audio of this debate is available online. After the title of each speech, the numbers in parentheses indicate the relative position within that recording for that speech in question.


CRAIG’S OPENING STATEMENT (@ 6:36)

C1. There are good reasons to think that God exists.

C1.1. Origin of the Universe.
 
C1.1.1. The universe began to exist.
C.1.1.1.1. Scientific evidence shows that the universe must have an absolute beginning (Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem).
C.1.1.2. If the universe began to exist, then the universe has a transcendent cause.
C1.1.3. Therefore, the universe has a transcendent cause.
C.1.1.3.1. This transcendent cause must be uncaused because there cannot be an infinite regress of causes.
C.1.1.3.2. This transcendent cause must be changeless and timeless because it created time.
C.1.1.3.3. This transcendent cause must be immaterial and timeless because it created space.
C.1.1.3.4. This transcendent cause must be an unembodied mind because the only other kind of immaterial object is an abstract object and abstract objects cannot cause anything.

C1.2. Moral Argument

C1.2.1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
C.1.2.1.1. Uses standard Michael Ruse quotation.
C.1.2.1.2. Given atheism, the rapist who chooses to rape is simply acting unfashionably.
C1.2.2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1.2.2.1. Quotes Louis Antony, Stephen Law, and Michael Ruse.
C1.2.3. Therefore, God exists.
C.1.2.4. Real evil serves to prove the existence of God, since without God real good and evil would not exist.

C1.3. Resurrection

C1.3.1. There are certain minimal facts that are admitted by the majority of historians, across the ideological spectrum.
C.1.3.1.1. The Empty Tomb
C.1.3.1.2. The Post-Resurrection Appearances.
C.1.3.1.3. The Origin of the Christian Way.
C1.3.2. Naturalistic attempts to explain these minimal facts (e.g., theft and swoon theories) fail.
C1.3.3. The best explanation of these facts is that Jesus rose from the dead.

Craig has presented a cumulative case for thinking the God of Jesus of Nazareth.

C2. There are no good reasons to think that God does not exist.

LAW’S OPENING STATEMENT (@ 25:00)

L1. Evidential Argument from Evil
L1.1. Bad stuff in the world.
L1.1.1. Moral evils.
L.1.1.2. Natural evils: diseases and disasters.
L.1.1.2.1. Animal suffering. Carnivores forced to eat other animals alive in order to survive.
L.1.1.2.2. Human suffering. Between 1/3 – 1/2 of all human parents have had to watch at least one child under the age of five die, usually from disease. This was not the result of any choices made by the children or their parents.
L1.2. God would be able to remove evil, would know about the evil, and would want to remove gratuitous evil.
L.1.3. This bad stuff is evidence against God’s existence.

L2. Evidential Argument from Goodness (against the Evil God Hypothesis)
L2.1. Imagine there is a God who created the universe, this God is as cruel and evil as possible.
L2.2. Craig’s cosmological argument supports the existence of an evil good just as well as it supports the existence of a good God.
L2.3. The world contains a great deal of good, far too much to be the result of an evil God.

L3. The Symmetry Thesis: No good reason to favor the existence of a good God over an evil God.
L3.1. If the problem of good is fatal to the evil god hypothesis, why isn’t the problem of evil fatal for the good God hypothesis?
L3.2. Traditional theodicies can be flipped and don’t favor a good God over an evil God.
L3.2.1. Free Will Theodicy. Maybe an evil God gave us free will so that we would have the chance to commit moral evil.
L3.2.2. Laws of Nature Theodicy. Maybe an evil God wants laws of nature so that it is possible to commit evil based on predictable consequences.
L3.2.3. Moral and Spiritual Development. Yes, evil god wants us to suffer, do evil and despair. To that end, he introduces various goods into the world.
L3.2.4. Unknown Purpose Defense. Evil god is omnipotent and omniscient, so of course his evil plans are likely to be largely beyond our understanding
L3.2.5. Afterlife Compensation. An evil God might like an evil afterlife to make us suffer more.

CRAIG’S FIRST REBUTTAL (@ 41:00)

C1. There are good reasons to think that God exists.

No response.

C2. There are no good reasons to think that God does not exist.

L1. Evidential Argument from Evil
C1-L1. Dr. Law hasn’t proven that God doesn’t have a morally sufficient reason for allowing suffering.
C2-L1. Suffering Brings Acceptance Defense: Maybe evil and suffering make it possible for the maximal number of people to freely know God and eternal life. On the Christian view, the purpose of life is not happiness in this world. Dr. Law has to show that there is another world, feasible for God, in which there is greater knowledge of God, but less suffering.
C1-L.1.1.2.1 (Animal suffering) Animals are part of a broader ecosystem in which the human drama is played out. The ecosystem must be balanced to be viable. In the absence of predators, prey animals like Caribou die of starvation due to overgrazing. If there were no predators at all, insects would take over the world. Insects would eat all of the vegetation.
C2-L.1.1.2.1. References Michael Murray’s Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: (1) reaction to stimuli (amoeba); (2) experience of pain (horses, dogs, cats); (3) awareness of 2nd-order pain, which requires the prefrontal cortex of the brain, a part of the brain missing from animals except for higher primates. Hyperactive Agency Detection Device. God, in his mercy, has spared the animal world the experience of suffering the way human beings experience it.

L2. Evidential Argument from Goodness (against the Evil God Hypothesis)
C-L.2. Inaccurate to call this evil being an “evil God,” since God is by definition good. Quotes Peter Milliken: the supreme being’s moral excellence is what makes him worthy of worship. Instead, what you would have is an evil creator of the universe.

L3. Symmetry Thesis.
C1-L3. Craig grants the symmetry thesis. Bad things don’t disprove God and good things don’t disprove the anti-God (evil Creator).
C2-L3. Law assumes that theists base their belief in a good God on an inductive survey of world events. Theists have never argued for the existence of God based on the existence of goodness. Rather, they argue for God’s goodness using a moral argument.
C3-L3. Moral evil proves the existence of God.
C3.1-L3. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
C3.2-L3. Evil exists.
C3.3-L3. Therefore, objective moral values exist.
C3.4-L3. Therefore, God exists.

LAW’S FIRST REBUTTAL (@ 51:00)

L3. Symmetry Thesis.

L1-C2-L3. Law does NOT assume that theists base their belief in a good God on an inductive survey of world events. Straw man argument.
L1-C3-L3. The idea, “moral evil proves the existence of God,” is not taken seriously in philosophical circles.
L2-C3-L3. Red herring. The atheist can make the evidential argument from evil by replacing “evil” with “suffering.”
L1-C3.1-L3. Begs the question.
L1-C2-L1. Forced to take an extremely skeptical position. Much the same reply could be made by someone who believes in an evil god.
L1-C1-L.1.1.2.1 and L1-C1-L.1.1.2.1. This is just a variant of the the appeal to the laws of nature, which I’ve already addressed (L3.2.2).

CRAIG’S SECOND REBUTTAL (@ 1:02:00)

C1. There are good reasons to think that God exists.

C1.1. Origin of the Universe.

No response. It is a strange form of atheism that admits there is a beginningless, uncaused, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal creator of the universe. That doesn’t deserve to be called atheism.

C1.2. Moral Argument

Law retreated from his published acceptance of objective moral values. Quotes atheist philosopher Peter Cave. Cites philosopher John Cottingham (sp?) regarding a consensus among philosophers that moral objectivism is correct.

C1.3. Resurrection

No response.

C2. There are no good reasons to think that God does not exist.

C1-L1-C2-L1. Agreed.
C2-L3. Quotes Stephen Wykstra: it is antecedently very probable that we are unable to understand the purposes of any being powerful enough to create the universe.
Re: C3-L3. Moral evil proves the existence of God. He says L2-C3-L3, the atheist can replace “evil” with “suffering.” Agreed. But that means you have to retreat from the affirmation of objective moral values in the world. If you do affirm objective moral values, then you have to deal with the objectivity of evil and its explanation. Quotes Dr. Law’s book, Humanism: there is a puzzle about the objectivity of morality, how it is possible for things to be right or wrong. And Dr. Law offers us with no solution.
C1-L.1.1.2.1 Animal predation is part of a broader ecosystem in which the human drama is played out. And animals don’t have awareness of 2nd-order pain. Granted, the problem of evil is emotionally powerful, but philosophically it is hard to make the argument work.
C5-C2. Any event that happens may have a ripple effect through history, so that God’s morally sufficient reasons for permitting it might not apply until centuries from now, even in another country. Quotes James Clark Maxwell.

LAW’S SECOND REBUTTAL (@ 1:10:00)

C1.2. Moral Argument
L1-C1.2. Vast majority of philosophers reject this argument. Richard Swinburne says he cannot see any force in argument from the existence of morality to the existence of God.
L1-C1.2.1. The fact that evolution does not provide an account of objective moral values does not mean that, on atheism, no such account can be given. And the onus of proof is on Craig to show that all atheist accounts of objective morality are wrong, including the ones we haven’t thought of yet. The accounts don’t even need to be naturalistic.
L2-C.1.2.2. No response to the evidential argument from evil.
L1-C1.2.2. Law agrees that it seems like there are objective moral values. We shouldn’t abandon that belief easily, but we should be open to evidence.

C1.3. Resurrection
L1-C1.3.3.You should always be suspicious of arguments to the best explanation in such contexts. Example: 1967 sighting of large lighted object in the night sky. Multiple attestation by trained eyewitnesses. Hard independent confirmation (blip on radar scope). They figured out it was the planet Venus and the radar blip was just a coincidence.
L2-C1.3.3. We have good reason to expect some baffling reports to turn up anyway, regardless of whether there are gods, extra terrestrials, etc.

CRAIG’S CLOSING STATEMENT (@ 1:18:00)

C1. There are good reasons to think that God exists.

C1.1. Origin of the Universe

Unrefuted. We can all agree there is a beginningless, uncaused, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal creator of the universe, who may or may not be good.

C1.2. Moral Argument

C1-L1-C1.2. Appeal to authority. Yes, Swinburne doesn’t agree with the argument, but atheists like Nietzsche, Russell, Sartre, and Mackie do agree with the first premise. Quotes Joel Marks’ essay, “Confessions of an Ex-Moralist.” Marks came to realize that, as an atheist, he had to give up objective moral values and duties. Quotes Shelley Kagan on the need for explanation in moral theory, how there can even be a moral realm. Theism offers a better foundation than atheism for objective moral values. The foundation is God’s nature and His commands.

C1.3. Resurrection
C1-L1-C1.3.3. Any claim must be weighed by objective criteria: explanatory scope, explanatory power, plausibility, degree of ad hocness. No naturalistic explanation passes those criteria as well as the resurrection hypothesis.
C2-L1-C1.3.3. The religio-historical context shows the core historical facts are not just a bald anomaly. Paranormal phenomena do not have this kind of context.

C2. There are no good reasons to think that God does not exist.

C1-L1-C2-L1. Agreed. We’re not in a position to judge God’s reasons for allowing things to occur.

LAW’S CLOSING STATEMENT (@ 1:24:00)

L1. Evidential Argument from Evil

L1.1. Bad stuff in the world.
L1.2. God would be able to remove evil, would know about the evil, and would want to remove gratuitous evil.

L3. The Symmetry Thesis: No good reason to favor the existence of a good God over an evil God.
L3.1. Dr. Craig has failed spectacularly to meet the challenge of the evil god hypothesis.

C1.2. Moral Argument

L1-C1-L1-C1.2. Law’s reference to Swinburne wasn’t an appeal to authority; that’s just background information.
L1-L1-C1.2.1. Craig has provided no justification for the first premise of the moral argument.
L2-L1-C1.2.1. But even if the first premise were true, it wouldn’t show that belief in a good God is more reasonable than belief in an evil God.
L3-L1-C1.2.1. His moral argument presupposes he has already dealt with the evidential argument from evil.

C1.3. Resurrection

C1-L1-C1.3.3. This is a terribly weak argument. As an aside, even Alvin Plantinga thinks this argument is weak.

Conclusion: The balance of probability lies on the side of an evil God and against a good God.


The topic of the debate was, “Does God exist?” Each debater presented an answer to that question which may be considered an explanatory hypothesis. Craig answer to that question was (and is), “Yes.” For Craig, God is, by definition good, so implied in his answer is the follow-up statement: “And, by definition, God is good.” Once we add his resurrection argument to the mix, it’s clear that Craig was defending the explanatory hypothesis of Christian theism (hereafter, “CT”).

Now consider Stephen Law. Although Law is an atheist, he did not defend atheism per se in the debate. Law’s answer to the question posed by the topic of the debate may be interpreted in one of two ways: “Yes, but God is evil,” or, “No, but an evil Creator of the universe exists.” Regardless of the interpretation, the differences between Craig and Law should be obvious. Law was defending the explanatory hypothesis of an evil god (hereafter, “EG”).

C1. Craig’s Arguments for CT.

C1.1. Origin of the Universe: None

Because both CT and EG grant the universe has a creator, this argument is irrelevant to assessing CT vs. EG.

C1.2. Moral Argument: Law

Craig dropped Law’s response to his moral argument in his second rebuttal (L1-C1.2.1). The fact that evolution does not provide an account of objective moral values does not mean that, on atheism, no such account can be given. And the onus of proof is on Craig to show that all atheist accounts of objective morality are wrong, including the ones we haven’t thought of yet. The accounts don’t even need to be naturalistic.

C1.3. Resurrection: Law

Law presented a valid and interesting objection (L2-C1.3.3), which I’ve always thought but never heard clearly articulated in a debate: we have good reason to expect some baffling reports to turn up anyway, regardless of whether there are gods, extra terrestrials, etc. Craig presented an equally valid and interesting reply (C2-L1-C1.3.3), regarding the religio-historical context. Craig never explained in the debate, however, how the religio-historical context negates the force of L2-C1.3.3. I think I have an idea what Craig would say if asked and given the time, but if I consider only what he said during the debate, then reply objection fails to overcome L2-C1.3.3.

For, based solely on what Craig said in the debate, one could simply replace the words “religio-historical context” with “all of the things that make the alleged resurrection of Jesus different from other alleged miracles.” The problem is that one could make parallel arguments for other alleged miracles. There may not be (and probably isn’t) a “religio-historical context” for these other miracles, in the sense that Craig has in mind, but they are unique in other aspects. And, again, considering only what was said in the debate, Craig failed to explain why “all of the things that make the alleged resurrection of Jesus different from other alleged miracles” is a good reason for believing the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation, while “all of the things that make any alleged miracle different from other alleged miracles, including the resurrection of Jesus” is a bad reason for believing that alleged miracle occurred.

Law’s Argument for EG

L3. The Symmetry Thesis: Law

In Craig’s closing statement, the only objection I noted was C1-L1-C2-L1, which just reaffirmed agreement with Law that inscrutable evil doesn’t disprove a good God and inscrutable good doesn’t disprove an evil god. But he never gave an argument for why we should believe in a good God rather than an evil one. I agree with Law at L3.1: “Dr. Craig has failed spectacularly to meet the challenge of the evil god hypothesis.”

Overall Decision: Law

Craig failed to present or defend any evidence favoring CT over EG, whereas Law reiterated this point in every one of his speeches. Therefore, I “flow” this debate to Stephen Law.


Other Reviews of the Debate

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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "Dr. Craig has failed spectacularly to meet the challenge of the evil god hypothesis."

    :)Name of debate: "DOES GOD EXIST?"
    Law with his "evil God" fail to debate against existence of God but FOR existence of God(evil or not).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "Law with his "evil God" fail to debate against existence of God but FOR existence of God(evil or not)."

    But Craig doesn't believe in evil god. What Law did was show that Craig's arguments don't make a case for the god he believes in, since you can also use them to make an equally strong case for evil god.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "But Craig doesn't believe in evil god."

    But debate wasn't about "Evil god vs Good God" was about "Does God exist"
    and Law proved very well that God exist .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    So, Craig believes in an evil god, or in a god that may be evil? Apparently not, judging by Craig's arguments.

    It's astounding how many people simply do not understand Law's arguments.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    @Magicthighs
    I tell you a little secret:all debates in the world(not only atheist-theist debates) prove existence of God.A debate presupose there is a TRUTH to be found,to be declared. So everytime you start to debate with a theist you lost because you agree there is a TRUTH to discover .
    Everybody have and aknowledge instinctually this "sense" of truth.Evolution can't explain something like that,but God explain very easy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    Sigh.

    Saying truth exists is equivalent to saying some statements are true. By claiming there's no truth if there is no god you're saying that without god only false statements exist. If only false statements exist the statement "all statements are false" is a true one.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "By claiming there's no truth if there is no god you're saying that without god only false statements exist. If only false statements exist the statement "all statements are false" is a true one."

    well,the primary question to ask yourself is:with what kind of brain you think :brain given by evolution or given by God? If God created your brain then your claim from above is false but confirm God,because you understand concept of truth .If evolution created your brain nobody would debate about truth so you debating me would be madness in an materialistic world.

    "you're saying that without god only false statements exist."

    nope!without God concepts like truth or false are just logical imposibility (like blind men talk about light )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "If evolution created your brain nobody would debate about truth"

    "without God concepts like truth or false are just logical imposibility"

    I must have missed you actually substantiating these claims.

    I can't believe people take this Plantinga piffle seriously…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    Magicthighs: bin is not following Plantinga, he's following the presuppositionalist nonsense (of Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, etc.) which has no support among academic philosophers at all.

    Here's a comparison between Plantinga and Van Til, see especially point of disagreement #5. There is a sort of vague resemblance to Van Til's sort of transcendental argument in Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism, but Plantinga is more precise and coherent than Van Til, which is why his argument gets attention from philosophers (see this list of responses, for example).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "I must have missed you actually substantiating these claims."

    My arguments are your "sense" for truth.Are real and you can sense.

    "I can't believe" is not argument. A didn't know Plantinga ,thank you for telling me about him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "My arguments are your "sense" for truth"

    Referring to a sense of truth is not an argument in and of itself. What you're doing is saying "you have a sense of truth, therefore god", which is just nonsense on stilts.

    ""I can't believe" is not argument"

    It wasn't offered as an argument.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "bin is not following Plantinga, he's following the presuppositionalist nonsense"

    Can you tell me your argument who "make sense" ?

    "you have a sense of truth, therefore god", which is just nonsense on stilts.

    why is nonsense ? because you said so? Give argument if you have.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "why is nonsense?"

    Because you're simply assuming that evolved brains (actually, any brain not created by your god) can't have a sense of truth.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    This idea that there is a "sense of truth"–something like a Cartesian ability to recognize a "clear and distinct idea" as being true–is itself nonsense.

    We judge things as being true in terms of our perceptions, memory, and mental representations, but there are no guarantees. We've evolved both biological features and cultural features to aid us in our judgments.

    The presuppositionalist arguments seem to me to confuse the map with the territory, linguistic descriptions for the things being described. Limitations on our abilities to *describe* or *theorize* are not limitations on what perceptual and rational apparatus we *have*, only on our ability to talk and reason about them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    Agreed, Jim Lippard. I was interpreting bin's statements in the most favourable light, reading "sense of truth" as "the ability to determine the truth value of a statement".

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    @Magicthighs
    "Because you're simply assuming that evolved brains (actually, any brain not created by your god) can't have a sense of truth."

    1.you assume brain evolved because:
    2.you assumed evolution is true because:
    3.you assumed naturalism is true.

    So you made 1.an assumption of 2.an assumption of 3.an assumption judging me a assume something?Funny.

    @Jim Lippard

    Your comment is empty noise for me . Can you be more exact?In my previous messages I was talking about reason ontology and NOT reason epistemology.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    "1.you assume brain evolved because:
    2.you assumed evolution is true because:
    3.you assumed naturalism is true."

    That's clearly false, since the truth of evolution is not dependent upon the assumption of naturalism. There are massive amounts of empirical evidence supporting 1 & 2–which are indirectly supportive evidence for naturalism. I think most people don't assume naturalism, it's a conclusion they come to. While rejecting naturalism would cause a fair amount of belief revision on my part, it wouldn't entail the falsity of evolution or that brains have evolved, though it would open up some options for outside intervention in both processes in the same way discovery that the universe is a computer simulation would.

    You say you've been talking about reason ontology, but you've been talking about what people say, believe, and conceive, which are all matters of epistemology. Reasons and explanations are human constructions which, if correct, mean that they accurately describe a system of entities and causal relations. Where does God figure in as a dependency?

    You say the existence of the concepts of truth and falsity are "logically impossible" without God. What's your argument to that effect, what's the contradiction that's entailed?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    " you've been talking about what people say, believe, and conceive,"

    :)I've been talking about WHY people have this sense of truth(The source of reason)

    That's clearly false, since the truth of evolution is not dependent upon the assumption of naturalism.

    :)
    "There are massive amounts of empirical evidence"

    give me just one direct evidence.

    "You say the existence of the concepts of truth and falsity are "logically impossible" without God."

    Stupid process of evolution can't give you reason and thought.Reason is a defeater for naturalism,evolutionism and atheism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    Shared pseudogenes across related species are one category of evidence for evolution. There are more categories of evidence here.

    "Stupid process of evolution can't give you reason and thought.Reason is a defeater for naturalism,evolutionism and atheism." is not an argument, let alone a valid one. Show me an argument that starts with "God does not exist" and "There are concepts of truth and falsity" as premises, and derive a contradiction as a conclusion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "Shared pseudogenes across related species are one category of evidence for evolution."

    :) How can be that a prove ?You assume as true naturalism and evolution in order to say that shared pseudogenes are prove for evolution-it's circular reasoning;latest discoveries claim that pseudogenes are not really pseudogenes ,but have functions ;
    Can you prove scientifically the mechanism of adding information in genome? As far as I know nobody proved that, even if they have tried for 50 years.Without this prove evolution is a joke.

    You should search book of evolutionist Motoo Kimura "The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution" .(read personal writings of Kimura not interpretation of darwinian evolutionist about theory of Kimura)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    Not a proof (there are no proofs when it comes to contingent empirical claims), evidence. There is no assumption of naturalism. There is no circular reasoning. The best available explanation for shared pseudogenes across species is common ancestry. Regarding functions, see )Wikipedia on pseudogenes.

    For an overall expression of the argument in fairly plain language, I suggest these two articles by Edward Max: "Plagiarized Errors and Molecular Genetics: Another argument in the evolution-creation controversy" and "Plagiarized Errors and Molecular Genetics: A Response to Wieland"

    I don't see how Kimura's neutral theory has any bearing on this argument. There's no mystery about the existence of processes that add information in the genome.

    If you have a better explanation of pseudogenes shared across species, I'm sure there are many molecular biologists who would love to hear it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    "The best available explanation for shared pseudogenes across species is common ancestry."

    Best available ONLY if apriori you consider that naturalism and evolution are true .

    pseudogenes are not "pseudo" but very functional.Scientists discovered that. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7301/full/4651016a.html

    Kimura is closer to truth than darwinian evolutionists.Kimura prove matematically that natural selection is NOT important in evolution .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "Best available ONLY if apriori you consider that naturalism and evolution are true"

    Science doesn't depend on metaphysical naturalism, it uses methodological naturalism (something completely different) as a framework.

    Evolution isn't presumed a priori at all, it's the explanation that fits the data best.

    "pseudogenes are not "pseudo" but very functional"

    Can you quote me any peer reviewed papers that suggest that pseudogenes can't have a function?

    "http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7301/full/4651016a.html"

    PTENP1 doesn't code for a protein, which means it's a pseudogene. Furthermore, this is a human pseudogene of an extant human gene, PTEN, with a 95% similarity of parts of the sequences, making the chance that these genes independently arose astronomically small. The chance that it's the result of gene duplication is, however, very likely.

    "imura prove matematically that natural selection is NOT important in evolution"

    What he showed was that neutral drift can also play a large role, he never said natural selection didn't play a role:

    "The theory does not deny the role of natural selection in determining the course of adaptive evolution" (Kimura, 1986).

    What does any of this have to do with the Law/Craig debate? I feel like I'm in a youtube creationist video's comment section.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16970147467101133481 bin

    @Magicthighs

    "Can you quote me any peer reviewed papers that suggest that pseudogenes can't have a function?"
    :) I 've already given (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7301/full/4651016a.html)
    "Pseudogenes are considered to be defunct relatives of known genes. But there is some surprising news: pseudogenes are functional and could have a role in the control of cancer."

    "What he showed was that neutral drift can also play a large role, he never said natural selection didn't play a role"

    Kimura in Preface of his book :"This book represents my attempt to convince the scientific world that the
    main cause
    of evolutionary change at the molecular level – changes in the
    genetic material itself – is random fixation of selectively neutral or nearly
    neutral mutants rather than positive Darwinian selection.

    (book of Kimura: http://www.filesonic.ro/file/16636921/0521317932Evolution.rar)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09033533069813329577 Magicthighs

    "Pseudogenes are considered to be defunct relatives of known genes"

    It IS defunct; it doesn't transcribe into the PTEN protein anymore. That doesn't mean it can't adopt another function.

    Your Kimura quote doesn't back up your claim, he doesn't say natural selection doesn't play a role.

    Please respect copyright, don't post links to illegal downloads.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11148637465997053971 drcraigvideos

    LOL! So, let me get this straight. The question of the debate is "Does God exist?" and atheist Stephen Law's response is "Yes, a God exists (albet an evil one)". And you "flow" the debate to Law?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    "DrCraigVideos" — Let me begin by quoting something Dr. Craig wrote a long time ago in his commentary on the Moreland-Nielsen debate.

    Having participated in eight years of high school and intercollegiate debating, I have a pretty fair idea of what makes for a good debate. ….

    It is thus necessary to keep in effect two flow charts on this debate because the participants are not debating a proposition, "Be it resolved that …," but a question, "Does God exist?" If they were debating a proposition, one person would bear the burden of proof (the affirmative side) and the other would have merely to refute it to win (the negative side). But in debating a question, each advocate has to shoulder the burden of proof for why his answer is the correct one. . .

    Source: William Lane Craig, "Is There a Case for Christian Theism?" Does God Exist? The Debate Between Theists & Atheists (ed. J.P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen, Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), p. 139.

    And, as I wrote in my assessment of the Craig-Law debate, the topic of the debate was a question ("Does God exist?"). As Craig correctly points out, each debater is only required (1) to provide an answer to the question; (2) provide reasons in support of their answer to the question; (3) answer their opponent's objections to their answer; and (4) present objections to their opponent's answer.

    As I wrote in my original assessment, Law's answer to the question posed by the topic of the debate may be interpreted in one of two ways: "Yes, but God is evil," or, "No, but an evil Creator of the universe exists." The fact that Law is an atheist is irrelevant to the debate, since in the debate Law did not answer the topic's question by claiming, "God does not exist."

    Law fulfilled requirements (1)-(4), whereas Craig did not. Therefore, as a debate judge, I would vote for Law as the "winner" of this particular debate.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Jeff,

    "drcraigvideos" appears to badly misunderstand the logic of Law's argument. It is a fundamental tenet of theism that there exists one and only one all-powerful being, namely God, a being who, by definition, is perfectly good. (Indeed, it seems paradoxical to suppose that there could be more than one all-powerful being.) Therefore, it is a consequence of theism that God exists only if the all-powerful evil being does not exist. Hence, any evidence for the existence of an all-powerful evil being is evidence against the existence of God. Worse, if all of the evidence for God's existence is equally good evidence for the existence of the all powerful evil being, then all of the evidence for God's existence is equally good evidence against God's existence.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01786844757672182664 Some Guy

    Hello Keith Parsons,

    What an honor to dialogue with you! Law wasn't offering any positive evidence for an evil God as you seem to suggest. He was claiming to be able 'to rule' out a certain kind of God, namely, a perfectly good one, on the basis of the evil in the world. Moreover, his use of evil God was mean to illustrate his claim that it is absurd to believe in an evil God because of the good in the world; we can rule out an evil God on the basis of good in the world. Analogously, we can rule out the existence of a perfectly good God on the basis of evil in the world.

    Craig's response was that the universe is morally ambiguous and we can't confidently rule out the existence of an evil god or a good god on the basis on the good and evil we observe in the world.

    Law never actually made an argument to show that the good in the world can rule out an evil god, he simply asserted that it was absurd.

    Craig did offer two reasons to think there was a morally perfect God: the moral argument, and the resurrection argument.

    So, it would be better to say that Law was trying to claim that Craig's kalam argument is consistent with an evil god and a good god, as opposed to saying that the kalam is equally good evidence for a good or evil god. Second, Law never gave an argument to show that the good in the world can rule out an evil God.

    Finally, a proponent of the problem of evil is carrying the burden of proof to show that an all-good god can't exist; they are offering a rebutting defeater. In order for Craig, or anyone else for that matter, to rationally reject the problem of evil, he could offer either a rebutting, or an undercutting defeater to the problem of evil. In fact, Craig offered both a rebutting defeater (i.e. Moral Argument, and resurrection argument for a perfectly good God), and an undercutting defeater (i.e. Wykstra's skeptical theism). With respect to the latter, if Craig's undercutting defeater is successful, then it shows that your argument is not a postiive argument against the existence of God. To protest that his undercutting defeater doesn't rule out the existence of an evil God is to confuse an undercutting defeater with a rebutting defeater. But, Craig did offer positive reason, and therefore a rebutting defeater to the hypothesis that an evil God exists. Therefore, he undercut your evidential argument from evil, and offered a rebutting defeater to the hypothesis that an evil God exists (i.e. the moral argument, and resurrection argument).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Some Guy,

    Thanks for your comments, and good to dialogue with you too. No, I was not suggesting that Law was making a positive argument for the existence of an evil God, merely making the logical point that one kind of all-powerful being excludes the other so that evidence for both is really evidence for neither. Further, many of the arguments that Dr. Craig standardly uses, such as the FTA and the Kalaam, ostensibly would support the existence of a non-good God as much as the God of theism. What good does it do to establish the existence of a fine-tuner or creator, it the moral predicates of such a being are unknown? Such a conclusion would be just as odious to theism as to atheism. Hence, just as you say, Craig's case for theism really comes down to the arguments for God's moral predicates. I don't think that any atheist debater needs to be too impressed by either of these. Maybe I can say more about why in further exchanges. Presently, I must get back to grading papers (ugh).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11148637465997053971 drcraigvideos

    Jeff, In either yes/no scenarios you’ve mentioned (‘yes, but God is evil’ and ‘no, but an evil Creator of the universe exists’), God still exists. The debate is existential in nature – ‘Does God exist?’ – not ‘Which God Exists?: Evil God or Good God’. The moment Law said an evil God exists, Craig nailed him.

  • Cracking Ace

    Way to show bias.
    Law won this debate? Really? Really?!?!

    The question was ‘Does God exist?’

    Craig gave three reasons. The first was a reason for a God’s existence. The second two explained why that God was most probably a good God.

    Law spent the entire time focusing on the idea that it was just as probable for an evil God to exist. His reasoning was sound and was a balance for Craig’s moral argument.
    However, it did nothing to touch on why Jesus’ resurrection would suggest God was good rather than evil.
    More importantly, it did nothing to touch on the question of the debate ‘Does God exist?’.

    Craig’s was a cumulative case, which he explained several times, but Law did not seem to understand.

    At best, he had shown it was possible for the creator of the universe to be evil. He hadn’t removed the creator from the picture.
    It’s an open/shut case of him losing.

    • Cracking Ace

      Just to clarify Craig’s cumulative argument.
      Step 1 gave a creator of the universe.
      Step 2 gave a God that was the grounds for moral value, be it good or evil.
      Step 3 gave evidence for a good God.

      Law’s entire argument was an agreement with step 2.

    • http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/ Jeffery Jay Lowder

      You’ve missed the entire point of the original post. Because the debate topic was a question, each debater had to answer the question and defend their answer. Law could have answered, “No, God does not exist.” But that’s not the answer he gave. Instead, Law chose to defend the existence of an “Evil God.” Law defended his answer better than Craig defended his. That is why Law “won” the debate.

      • Cracking Ace

        So you’re saying that the debate on the subject ‘Does God exist?’, was between two people who were saying ‘yes’?

        What’s the point of having the debate then?

        If Law proved a God exists, then it was surely a tie because they agree!
        Wasn’t Law meant to represent atheism?
        Besides, I don’t see where he showed a good reason for a God to exist anywhere. He only tried to explain what character he might have. Craig gave the only actual argument for existence of a creator, which Law had to piggy-back so he could talk about evil god.

        You conclusion seems to be that: God exists, He could be good or evil and let’s just ignore whether or not the resurrection happened.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X