Reply to Wintery Knight’s Review of the Craig-Law Debate

I recently submitted the following feedback to WinteryKnight’s review of the Craig-Law debate.

Wintery Knight — You must have listened to a different debate than the one I did. For example, in summarizing Stephen Law’s first rebuttal, you write:


“Craig thinks that you need an objective standard in order to judge things as objectively good or evil. But that’s false. I can use my subjective opinions to claim that some things are objective evil. If God doesn’t do what I like (prevent moral and natural evil), then he isn’t objectively good. I don’t need to buy into the notion of objective good and evil in order to say that something is good or evil. I can say that something is good or evil while denying the existence of objective good and evil.”

I have no idea how you are able to attribute these comments to Law. According to my notes, Law made the following points regarding Craig’s appeal to the moral argument.

* Law does NOT assume that theists base their belief in a good God on an inductive survey of world events. Straw man argument.

* The idea, “moral evil proves the existence of God,” is not taken seriously in philosophical circles.

* The idea that evil proves God is a red herring. For the sake of argument, the atheist can make the evidential argument from evil by replacing “evil” with “suffering.”

* The idea, “moral evil proves the existence of God,” begs the question.

You then write:

“(IMPORTANT NOTE: DR. LAW HAS AT THIS POINT RETRACTED HIS SUPPORT FOR OBJECTIVE MORAL VALUES, WHICH MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO EMPLOY THE EVIDENTIAL ARGUMENT FROM EVIL)”

This doesn’t follow at all, even if we (incorrectly) assume that Dr. Law rejects objective moral values. He could still employ the evidential argument from evil as a reductio ad absurdum argument against theism. Theists believe that X, Y, and Z are evil. Theists believe that God is good. Theists believe that good persons are opposed to evil. So you theists need to explain why a god who is good (in your sense of ‘good’) would allow so much apparently pointless evil (in your sense of ‘evil’). If you can’t explain it, then that is a problem for the internal coherence of your worldview.

You then write:

“Dr. Craig says that I think that people determine the goodness or evilness of God by counting good things and evil things. But that’s false. My argument is that people determine the goodness or evilness of God by counting good things and evil things. It’s completely different!The presence of good things undermines the existence of evil God, and the existence of evil things undermines the existence of good God.”

According to my notes, Dr. Law made no such comment. Your review also omits Dr. Laws’s other points in his first rebuttal:

* Dr. Craig is forced to take an extremely skeptical position against the evidential argument from evil, but much the same reply could be made by someone who believes in an evil god against the evidential argument from goodness.

* Dr. Craig’s points about animal suffering are just a variant of the the appeal to the laws of nature, which he [Law] already addressed in his opening statement.

At this time, my comment is awaiting moderator approval.

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/12478038936820787129 Landon Hedrick

    Good luck getting your comment published over there. I left a comment several days ago when I was first made aware of that ridiculous "review," and Wintery Knight never published the comment (presumably because it was highly critical). I think what I wrote bears repeating, especially the last sentence:

    "Your "review" does a disservice to your cause, because the snarky comments on the debate end up making you out to look like those followers of Richard Dawkins who criticize William Lane Craig with similar sorts of comments. (You know the crowd I'm talking about.) When they do it, they end up saying a bunch of false, misleading, and outright disingenuous things in an attempt to make Craig look bad and discredit him. I'm afraid you've done the same thing here. In fact, since your review is not (even close to) an honest portrayal of Law's points or positions, I'm willing to guess that your friend Bill Craig would not approve of this "review.""

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

    Clearly, there is a Craig cult out there much like the C.S. Lewis cult. My friend John Beversluis found out just how truculent the Lewis cult could be when he published C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, one of the few critical studies of Lewis's apologetic. His failure to display properly hagiographic deference to The Master drew venomous personal attacks, even from noted scholars. Clearly, dedicated Lewisphiles are determined to see their emperor as clothed. Now Craig is a vastly more sophisticated apologist and philosopher than Lewis, but cult-like adulation is just as inappropriate when directed towards him.


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