William Lane Craig and Bryan Fischer don’t like the Secular Hotline Project.

William Lane Craig has taken a break from creating bad rationalizations and condescending, well, everybody, to offer his opinion of the Secular Hotline Project.  Surprise, he doesn’t like it.

Recovering from Religion, a secular company seeking to provide people leaving their religious views with various resources, apparently has nothing to say about arguments for or against God’s existence, said William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif.

Having nothing to say is quite a different thing than that not being their purpose.  As Sarah Morehead explains:

“That is not the purpose nor the intent. Responders will absolutely not urge any form of belief or disbelief. In fact, our volunteers will be specifically trained to never debate callers under any circumstances,” said Morehead. “It’s not our place to do anything but encourage exploration and discovery, and to provide a solid support structure as people reconsider the role of religion in their lives. For many, this is a long process and we will be with them every step of the way.”

First, this talk about engaging with arguments from the other side is hilarious coming from a guy who repeatedly ducks debates with Matt Dillahunty.

Second, there are plenty of atheists out there (*raises hand*) who make it their job to shoot down the rationalizations for god’s existence by Craig and his cohorts.  That’s not what the secular hotline is there to do.  It’s there to help people deal with the psychological difficulties that come with leaving or questioning religion.  It should also be noted that it’s religious people who have made leaving Christianity/Islam such a painful process.  Arguments are used far less often than the threat of social consequences to keep people cloistered with the rest of the faithful.  The hotline project is there to sooth potential wounds that religious people have used as a deterrent to leaving the faith for centuries.  How will someone’s family react?  Will they lose their job if their Christian boss finds out?  These things are almost always on someone’s mind when they’re evolving out of faith, not “I wonder if there’s a way the ontological argument can make sense” or “maybe William Lane Craig knows something about Big Bang cosmology that cosmologists don’t”.

To be pissed at an organization for not fulfilling a role it has never tried to fulfill (and which it has repeatedly said it doesn’t try to fill) is like trying to get a refund on your lawnmower because it doesn’t make a perfect pizza every time.

Craig said it seems the secular group “thinks that the traditional arguments for God’s existence are now passé and so no longer need refutation? If so, they are naïve.” He went on to say that over the last generation “there has been a revival of interest among professional philosophers, whose business it is to think about difficult metaphysical questions, in arguments for the existence of God. In fact, many of the brightest philosophers today are theists, using a tough-minded intellectualism in defense of their beliefs.

This is a very misleading use of the word “many”.  The most recent data we have suggests that about 14.6% of the world’s top tier philosophers are theists, with a whopping 72.8% claiming atheism outright. Compared to the numbers of believers in the population of philosophical laymen, it’s pretty clear that philosophy, like science, is an avenue toward non-belief, not the other way around.

Perhaps in an attempt to make WLC’s comments look relevant by comparison, the Christian Post article also included commentary from the ironically named American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who manages to be manifestly wrong about just about everything (and yet, has never once had WLC say anything about his copious stupid claims):

Bryan Fischer, director of Issues Analysis at American Family Association, earlier told CP that human beings “have been running from God since the days of Jonah.” “But to run away from God is to run away from life, forgiveness, hope, strength, and the promise of eternal life and to run toward death, emptiness, darkness and hopelessness. What do these secularists want people to run to?” said Fischer, responding to the announcement of the atheist hotline.

“Many people will, like Jonah, regret turning their backs on God and will come running back. The AFA and many other organizations stand ready to welcome them home and help them reconnect with God.”

There’s a lot wrong here, so let’s take it one line at a time.

Bryan Fischer, director of Issues Analysis at American Family Association, earlier told CP that human beings “have been running from God since the days of Jonah.”

Poppycock.  First, there’s no evidence that anybody lived in the belly of a fish for three days, so to say that something’s been going on since then is akin to saying it’s been going on since Jack grew a beanstalk into the sky and hacked off a giant.

Second, Fischer says people have been “running from god.”  God has not been here for anybody to run from.  People have been finding the claims of people claiming to speak for god to be unconvincing ever since people started saying that sickness was caused by demons or that we shouldn’t be suffering witches to live (both of which really happened), but calling bullshit when people make assertions they cannot defend is quite a different thing than “running from god.”

If god exists, it should be proud when humans manage to not be gullible.

“But to run away from God is to run away from life, forgiveness, hope, strength, and the promise of eternal life and to run toward death, emptiness, darkness and hopelessness. What do these secularists want people to run to?” said Fischer, responding to the announcement of the atheist hotline.

Do Christians who repeat this line not have any friends?  Do they live in a fucking cave?  Who do we run to when times are tough?  The same thing Christians run to: other people.  Oh, you’re sick?  Well, you could trust god (who created the sickness in the first place and watched while you contracted it) to make you better, but you’ll probably go to a doctor.  Oh, you’re bored?  Well, you could sit around and think about how grand god is, but you’ll probably turn on the TV (invented by humans) to watch shows created by other humans.  Oh, you’re hungry?  You could wait for god to fill your stomach, but you’ll probably go to a grocery store built and run by humans to buy food made plentiful and preservable by human innovation.

And when you’re sad or scared?  Sure, you can sit around and wait for god to make it better, but you won’t get any better results than for sickness, boredom, hunger, and quite literally every other problem facing humankind.  When atheists are sad or scared, we do exactly what religious people do: we turn to our friends and other humans for comfort.

Without belief in god we are not running away from life.  Life is lush trees and long walks; it’s the love of our partners; it’s League of Legends and our favorite video games.  Life is a whirlwind of experience that is there whether a person believes in god or not.  In fact, that’s what bugs people like me about religions, as they often needlessly restrict the experiences one can pursue with the life we’re in.  Sex with multiple people?  Fucking awesome!  If the choice is between planting your swampy ass in a pew for an hour or sex with someone you find attractive (to whom you are not married), go with the sex.  Trust me.

Without belief in god people are not running away from forgiveness.  We’re simply asserting we don’t need any for being human.

Without belief in god people are not running away from hope.  We simply realize that hope has only ever come from human intelligence.  We didn’t like getting blind-sided by hurricanes (that god would’ve made if he existed, so tell me again how you can have hope trusting in that asshole) so humans invented satellite weather radar.  We were hungry so we invented better ways to farm and create food.  We hoped for a cure for various sickness, and so we set our minds to the task and we found solutions.  Real hope comes from intelligence, not from waiting around for a silent god who created our ails to erase them.

Without belief in god people are not running away from strength.  You know what’s easy as hell?  Being a part of the majority.  You know what takes strength?  Saying to a nation composed primarily of Christians “I don’t believe any of this.  Yes, it may cost the love of family members and friends.  Yes, people who care more that I believe in a man rising from the dead than in all of my virtues will reject me.  But I will not be a liar, and I will not value acceptance over reason.”  That’s fucking strength right there.  Strength means not being controlled by fear, which is the very lifeblood of Christianity.  Believe or burn.  How often do we hear Christians ask “What if you’re wrong?” none-too-subtly implying that hellfire awaits?  Strength is saying “To hell with your threats, give me a reason to think you’re right.”

Without belief in god we are not running toward death.  What a ridiculous thing to say.  Our blood flows the same as Christians.  And we can hope for eternal life as much as a believer, but we can also call bullshit on the people who say they know how to achieve it with nothing but shitty reasons to back it up.

What a mountain of unrepentant bullshit.  And yet, Christians will exert for more trepidation about a hotline that is there to sooth psychological torment than over any of Fischer’s pool of lies and inaccuracies.

William Lane Craig and Bryan Fischer…Christianity deserves them.

  • Rain

    However, Craig, founder of ReasonableFaith.org, a web-based ministry whose purpose is to provide, in the public arena, an intelligent and articulate perspective about the existence of God, sell books and CDs, ask for donations, solicit money from people in “free” newsletters, and generally keep WLC busy and famous and stuff, said…

    There… fixed…

  • Art_Vandelay

    I don’t even have anything to add…this is just an awesome blog post. One of your best.

    • Zinc Avenger

      Concur. I don’t have more to offer than a thumbs up and raised flagon.

  • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

    I LOL’ed at this:

    “First, this talk about engaging with arguments from the other side is hilarious coming from a guy who repeatedly ducks debates with Matt Dillahunty.”

    Matt really isn’t worth Craig’s time and Craig would mop the floor with Matt hands down. More to the point, you’ve never really meaningfully engaged with any of Craig’s scholarship either, at best you simply draw on the work of others to do that (e.g. Richard Carrier). While there is nothing wrong with that on a personal level, it certainly doesn’t grant you the unwarranted self confidence you think it does.

    You have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of; your work with the SSA and with Skepticon are good examples of that. Engaging Christian thinking at anything beyond street level apologetics is not a feather you can rightfully put in your cap just yet.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Matt really isn’t worth Craig’s time and Craig would mop the floor with Matt hands down.

      I don’t really think that’s accurate at all. Craig talks with such a smug-like conviction that I can see how his minions would think he’s winning a debate but if you listen to the words? No. I don’t think he’s ever come up with anything that Dillahunty wouldn’t consider a softball. JT, for that matter too.

      • Carol Lynn

        Just don’t let Craig speak first so he can’t Gish gallop the proceedings.

        • islandbrewer

          Holy crap, but Craig has spent his career perfecting the art of the interminable chain of unsubstantiated ridiculous assertions! WLC is the fucking Gish Gallop champion!

        • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

          He consistently makes the same presentation, the majority of his arguments he made in 1983 he is making now, with tweaks based on criticisms he has acknowledged as legit.Besides his latest edition of an argument from intentional states, he doesn’t exactly surprise anyone. It isn’t easy to reply to them all in limited time,but it isn’t unexpected or untelegraphed.

      • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

        Truly. Dude has been doing public debates against scholars and huge public figures for about 30 years, but if there is one thing he’s terrified of, it is an autodidactic host of a Texas cable show. Forget the fact he is one of the world’s most experienced debaters but also has a publication record in scholarly journals/monographs that outnumbers the entire publication record of the Atheist-Patheos blog team and it becomes totally obvious that Matt Dillahunty and JT Eberhard are the stalking horses that Craig dodges.

        You have me convinced.

        • Art_Vandelay

          I think that a market only exists for a guy like him because there are just a lot of Christians that enjoy having their beliefs reinforced. They all make the same mistake as Craig…leading with the premise that there’s a compassionate deity that wants humans to believe in him. His deistic arguments are unoriginal and his arguments in favor of the Christian God are not only illogical but in most cases, downright depraved. I’d be shocked if WLC ever convinced anyone of a God who was coming from a neutral or atheistic position.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            All of Craig’s arguments are logically valid. If they are sound or not is what the debate is about. If you can find a formal error, please share!

          • Art_Vandelay

            - If God doesn’t exist then there are no objective moral values

            - Objective moral values do exist

            - Therefore God

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            If ~G then ~M

            ~~M

            .:. ~~G

            That is a Modus Tollens and a introductory logic textbook example of what a valid argument looks like.

          • Zinc Avenger

            If there is no God, then there are no Fleebles.

            If ~G then ~F

            ~F

            .:. ~G

            Your logic is spurious.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            That would actually be a formally invalid argument; it is called affirming the consequent.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I see you’ve been informing your readership on the basics of critical thinking JT!

          • JTEberhard

            Says the guy who thinks getting drunk after a talk means I don’t appreciate fair and accurate criticism.

            Says the guy who couldn’t be bothered earlier to give specifics of things I got wrong in posts he didn’t like.

            Yeah, you’re a monster at debate.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I gave you specifics. You are just so completetly deaf to the proper cues and sociolect to the academic discourse that you miss it. The same academic discourse you pretend to engage in, by the way.
            When I say: “YO! Your whole talk about the problem of evil lacks any real response to Molinism, which is assumed by most Evangelical apologists you are likely to actually debate.”
            See JT, this is one of those handy “isms” that allow me to convey to you complex ideas quickly. You bothered to memorize large swaths of Sam Harris, but some how managed never to stumble upon this concept. How, I’ll never know.
            You could have said: “Actually, I address Molinism here”
            Or perhaps: “I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with a term that is a few hundred years old and is often utilized by the very people I claim to totally dominate”
            But I’m asking for too much I guess. I’m mean, so everything I say isn’t true and can be ignored.

          • JTEberhard

            Oh, I know who you are now! At least, I’m pretty sure I do. We debated on stage once upon a time, did we not? :)

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford
          • JTEberhard

            Yeah, pretty sure this guy is a Patrick I went to college with. If so, he’s a Christian apologist who, for some reason, is playing at being an atheist. He’s definitely someone I went to college with who has an axe to grind and this is the only guy I can think of.

            If it is, and I hope it is, we’re in for a treat.

          • invivoMark

            Mentioning the term “Molinism” isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card against the problem of evil. Just because some Molinist once argued that the problem of evil can be reconciled with Molinism, that doesn’t mean that every subsequent discussion of the problem of evil must assume the soundness of that argument and use that as a starting point.

            Isn’t that sort of like going into a debate over the theory of evolution and starting, “So, I know that the Earth is only 6,000 years old….”

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Never said it was a “get out of jail free” card, I’m saying that it has been offered as a theodicy by Christians for decades now and anyone who wants to boast that they shoot down theistic arguments has to deal with it. Those who don’t are either ignorant or don’t respect their audience enough to inform them.

            Molinism isn’t some obscure philosophical topic, it is beginning to influence all sorts of organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention for instance. I don’t see any reason for a guy like J.T. to ignore it or not put it in his presentation.

          • Azkyroth

            It is not necessary to know what the name of something is in order to use it.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            So if he put it as:

            If God, then Fleebles.

            There are no Fleebles.

            Therefore no God.

            That would be a logically valid argument?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Yes.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Does it do anything other than confirm what is and is not logically valid? That is, is it a persuasive argument to anyone on top of being technically logical?

            Or am I missing the point of this informal logic lesson?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I don’t think you’ve missed anything.
            Logic is only concerned with having the proper relationship between premises or statements. A logically valid argument can have false premises. A sound argument is valid and has true premises. As you’ve already noticed, logical validity is nothing more than following rules and making sure arguments follow proper form, so it isn’t any kind of achievement. The real trick is creating a valid argument made up of premises your opponent would readily agree to. And for all our differences, I think we’d all agree here that Craig hasn’t accomplished that.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Indeed, we do both think Craig has pretty bad premises.

            Thanks for the explanation.

          • Art_Vandelay

            I think you’re correct…I wrote that wrong. The antecedent should be that there are no objective moral values.

            - If there are no objective moral values, then there is no God.

            - There are objective moral values

            - Therefore God.

        • JTEberhard

          Dillahunty is one of the best debaters we have, and that’s what scares Craig. WLC is big on winning on points via Gish Gallop against people who are scholars but not necessarily debaters.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Then I’m afraid we are in trouble.

          • Artor

            Who exactly is this “we” you’re referring to?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            You specifically.

    • JTEberhard

      Go to youtube and look for my debates against Christians with PhD’s in philosophy/various theological degrees.

      Read my blog. This is precisely what I do.

      What’s more, street-level apologetics are WLC-level apologetics without the polysyllabic language.

      And Dillahunty would crush Craig. But, we’ll never know because Craig keeps ducking him.

      • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

        Hi JT,

        I’ve seen your debates; you don’t do well on the substance level at all. In fact, if I had to guess from your debates alone, I’d suspect you’ve never read theistic arguments outside primers and friendly sources. For example; in the Ferrer/Lee debate you grant a premise of the Kalam argument that you don’t really need to (temporal beginning to the universe) that assumes an A-theory of time. You didn’t intend this, because you are simply unaware of the issue and how the entire Kalam argument rests on a very controversial and I think obviously flawed idea of time. If I was grading that forensically, you and Matt would have lost the whole shebang.

        I’ve seen the evolution of your “Dear Christian” presentation and its successor, your ideas of theodicy are, at best, aimed at folk notions about God’s nature and evil (which has its place). Even
        the dude holding that giant cross outside Skepticon V knew enough about Molinism to deflate your entire section on natural disasters. He took the time to try and explain divine foreknowledge to some kid dressed as a pirate, but it went over his head I think and was just there to say, “May his noodlely appendage bless you.”

        I also read your blog, your attempted reviews of the Geisler/Turek “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” was really lukewarm, which is surprising because that book is a paragon of terrible.

        But hey, I’m obviously not familiar with anything you’ve done and since I’m not giving you unqualified praise, I guess I should stay out of the cheerleading section.

        • islandbrewer

          But you are qualified to give WLC unqualified praise for his Gish Gallops and tired old Kalam arguments?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I don’t give him unqualfied praise, I think he is wrong on every argument he makes. I also think he gets his rear end handed to him in print all the time.
            I’m more worried about creating cozy echo chambers where we overestimate idealogical opponents and declare victory on blogs when no such victory has been acheived.

          • islandbrewer

            And “we” don’t give JT unqualified praise, either. Thank you for that insult, though. It’s nice that you telegraph your true colors early.

          • JTEberhard

            Ayup.

            I’m not too impressed with this guy.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            What are my true colors? I’d be interested in knowing.

          • islandbrewer

            I LOL’ed at this:

            Opening with contempt and condescension without any actual argument or assertion, classy.

            Matt really isn’t worth Craig’s time and Craig would mop the floor with Matt hands down.

            Grandiose and baseless assertion (no wonder you’re a fan of WLC). Reminds of of the minions of supervillians sneering, “You puny earthling are no match for the might of WLC! Rawr!!”

            More to the point, you’ve never really meaningfully engaged with any of Craig’s scholarship either, at best you simply draw on the work of others to do that (e.g. Richard Carrier).

            *honk* Patently false.

            You have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of; your work with the SSA and with Skepticon are good examples of that. Engaging Christian thinking at anything beyond street level apologetics is not a feather you can rightfully put in your cap just yet.

            Another baseless assertion wrapped in a condescending pat on the head.

            Condescension at the outset, no real arguments or citation backing up WLC’s sophisticated theology or TOTALLY AWESOME debate skills (although WLC is great at convincing people who already agree with him, I’ve noticed), and the whole imperious “I am not impressed, puny atheist! Cower before my logic (which I decline to demonstrate)!”

            Your grammar and diction are better than a vincent finley, but I’d put you on a par with his trolling skills.

            Meh, you’re a mediocre troll who is mightily impressed with himself and loves to pee on others. I’d bet if the topic turned to something more real than theology you’d Dunning-Krugerize yourself into ridiculousness.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I’ve dealt with most of these accusations elsewhere, but I don’t think a medicore troll would post under his real name, which links to his blog, which indicates that JT and I share more than a few mutual friends.
            No, there is a lot of potential costs here. I’m not doing myself any favors by busting JT’s chops over shit he shouldn’t do like this, but I’d be dishonest with myself if I just let it go while he engages in the kind of mental masturbation required to think he has accomplished defeating a bunch of people and worldviews he clearly hasn’t.

          • islandbrewer

            Ah, the cognitive dissonance of the “student of philosophy and religion” accusing others of mental masturbation.

        • Rain

          He took the time to try and explain divine foreknowledge to some kid dressed as a pirate, but it went over his head I think and was just there to say, “May his noodlely appendage bless you.”

          I don’t blame the kid. It would be helpful if he showed the poor kid an actual divinity that had foreknowledge. No point in having foreknowledge if you’re not an actual thingy. “Where’s the beef” may have been more appropriate than “May his noodlely appendage bless you,” but still the all-talk-and-no-beef baloney was worthy of being ignored.

        • JTEberhard

          “For example; in the Ferrer/Lee debate you grant a premise of the Kalam argument that you don’t really need to (temporal beginning to the universe) that assumes an A-theory of time. You didn’t intend this, because you are simply unaware of the issue and how the entire Kalam argument rests on a very controversial and I think obviously flawed idea of time. If I was grading that forensically, you and Matt would have lost the whole shebang.”

          I took another route to beating the argument than you would have and this is grounds for a technical loss. Riiiiiiight. Are you saying the rebuttal I gave didn’t work, or that I should’ve gone your particular route?

          “I’ve seen the evolution of your “Dear Christian” presentation and its successor, your ideas of theodicy are, at best, aimed at folk notions about God’s nature and evil (which has its place). Even
          the dude holding that giant cross outside Skepticon V knew enough about Molinism to deflate your entire section on natural disasters. He took the time to try and explain divine foreknowledge to some kid dressed as a pirate, but it went over his head I think and was just there to say, “May his noodlely appendage bless you.”

          This whole paragraph lacks a single specific critique for me to assess.

          “I also read your blog, your attempted reviews of the Geisler/Turek “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” was really lukewarm, which is surprising because that book is a paragon of terrible.”

          This whole paragraph lacks a single specific critique for me to assess.

          But go on, tell me more about how to debate.

          “But hey, I’m obviously not familiar with anything you’ve done and since I’m not giving you unqualified praise, I guess I should stay out of the cheerleading section.”

          I welcome criticism and have often integrated it. But I think your assertions here are empty and that you’ve done a shit job of defending them.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            You didn’t take another route to beating the argument, you made a mangled statement about Minds being contingent on space/time and followed that up with some kind oddly confused justification based on reductive materialism (“minds are just the results of
            chemistry”) joined with some kind of functionalist non-reductive account that “this is why we have brains”. Maybe you intended something else, but what came out wasn’t some kind of biting critique you think it was, your opponents were very kind not to exploit this.

            You don’t see the connection between Molinism and the problem of natural evils because you don’t know Craig’s published material like you think you do. Molinism provides the counter-factual freedoms he needs to argue that God is not morally responsible to prevent earthquakes. Which he does. In print. Over a decade ago.

            These are pretty specific examples; one would be remedied by mastering the basics of philosophy
            of mind and the other could be helped by actually reading Christian Apologists actually publish outside of Bookstore chains.

            And I don’t think you care much for substantial criticism; you certainly don’t go looking for it, even stumbling around drunk in hotel rooms asking your friends what they
            thought of your presentation. If I were you, I wouldn’t be soliciting it from your friends and fans, but people with different interests

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Oh noes, after a presentation someone got drunk and asked his colleagues and friends what they thought! Clearly this person has no interest whatsoever in outside critiques or criticism!

            Your conclusion does not follow from the evidence you present.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            omg-zero-in-on-a-single-sentence-and-remove-it-from-context-bbq-sauce.

          • invivoMark

            Could you point out the context that makes your statement actually work? ‘Cuz I’m not finding it.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Which statement yo

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Well, I freely admit I don’t know anything about Molinism, so I can’t really address your arguments there. Your arguments about JT’s willingness to open himself up for criticism, on the other hand, are something I have minor experience with and thus have an opinion on. Your insinuations (or outright accusations!) are false. The evidence you provide to support such claims (JT gets drunk and asks friends what they thought) doesn’t actually lead to the conclusion (JT doesn’t looks for criticism from those with different interests).

            But hey, if completely ignoring what I said makes you feel better, I can’t stop you.

          • invivoMark

            Molinism is just omniscience with a fancy label. It’s Calvinist predestination plus free will, except God already knows how you’re going to use your free will, so it isn’t really free will.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Actually, Calvinists would say Middle Knowledge is unbiblical and a borderline heresy because it denies God is sovereignty. This is why Molinism was adopted by Romanists first (e.g. Molina) and eventually co-opted by later Evangelicals who don’t buy into all 5 points of TULIP. It also relies on possible worlds being in some strong sense “actual” which opens up another mudpit of metaphysical problems.

            It really can’t be characterized as Predestination+ Free Will and William Lane Craig would object to it because he is an incompatablist and holds to a strong idea Libertarian Free Will.

            Congrats on completely misrepresenting an opponents idea.

          • invivoMark

            Exactly how is Molinism not predestination plus free will? Molinism is the idea that God knows what a person would choose in any situation. Every situation that comes up is a product of God’s will. Therefore, God knows what every person will do in every situation they will encounter in their lives. That is the definition of predestination. And yet Molinists still buy into free will.

            So, exactly how have I misrepresented anything?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            For Molinism, the idea of predestination is considered “Free Knowledge” which basically God’s knowledge of his own will and desires. Knowledge of what a free agent chooses to do in a given state of affairs is Middle Knowledge.

            Free Knowledge is dependent on God, Middle Knowledge would exist even if God exists or not. Predestination would be the idea that God selected an event to happen based on his will or desire, Jesus dying on the cross would be an example of something that was Predestined.

            You responding to some street preacher’s invitation to the gospel two weeks from now is an example of Middle Knowledge, because you (according to Molinism) freely made the decision to accept or reject without any coercive influence from God.

          • invivoMark

            Yes, I know all this, and none of it contradicts anything I’ve said.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I don’t think you did, because you said:

            “Every situation that comes up is a product of God’s will.” That would mean every situation is predestined, which would be fatalism.

          • invivoMark

            Unless you want to try to argue that Molinists don’t believe that God is omnipotent (which would be silly), you can’t deny that every situation that comes up is a product of God’s will. Furthermore, since Molinism also says that God is omniscient (including that Middle Knowledge you’re so fond of), he has always known which situations would come up.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            A Molinist *would* argue that every situation that comes cannot be the product of God’s will, since they believe in libertarian Free Will.
            You could argue that omnipotence is incompatable with libertarian free will, and I’d agree with you. So would Calvinists.

          • invivoMark

            And yet, if Wikipedia is to be believed (and I sure as hell am not buying the book to check, though you’re welcome to), “[t]he Molinist believes that God, using his middle knowledge and foreknowledge, surveyed all possible worlds and then actualized a particular one. God’s middle knowledge of counterfactuals would play an integral part in this “choosing” of a particular world.”

            So, every situation that comes up is the product of God’s will, according to the Molinist.

            In a less strict sense, even if we forget about middle knowledge and free knowledge, the mere notion that God created the universe would mean that every situation that comes up is a product of God’s will. The difference between this and the Molinist interpretation is that the Molinist argues that God knew those situations prior to actualizing them.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I think you are mistaking “I don’t think” as some kind of deductive conclusion.

          • JTEberhard

            Yeah, there’s always plenty of criticism. Gotta pick the people who give you good criticism. This guy’s just being an asshole.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Actually I’m just being honest. That can unsettle someone who is used to having a congo line form up to textually fellatio their fragile ego.

          • JTEberhard

            mmmmMMMMmmm…axe to grind. “I’m just being honest” is a far too-oft excuse for being an asshole.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            If I’m an asshole or not doesn’t really impact my points. Especially your inability to recognize certain words that are
            pretty important to the topics you get invited to speak on. At the end of the day, you are still unable to comprehend how molinism is going to impact any argument from evil and remain totally unaware that you grant premises you don’t need to so you can make absolutely inane points about the mind of God being contingent on space/time because reductive and non-reductive materialism [Pst!
            they are mutually exclusive] about the human mind is true [even if either were true it, it would be a false equivalence].

            I think you’re an ignorant prima donna who would rather rely on theatrical performances instead of pushing substantive issues; I don’t exactly rely on that to make my point. I just like to remind you that you surround yourself with a cult of personality.

          • JTEberhard

            “At the end of the day, you are still unable to comprehend how molinism is going to impact any argument from evil and remain totally unaware that you grant premises you don’t need to so you can make absolutely inane points about the mind of God being contingent on space/time because reductive and non-reductive materialism [Pst!they are mutually exclusive] about the human mind is true [even if either were true it, it would be a false equivalence].”

            All minds we’re aware of work that way. The only way to escape that burden is to appeal to knowledge we do not have. You could argue for the possibility, but nobody is denying that, since pretty much anything has a non-zero possibility of being true.

            “I think you’re an ignorant prima donna who would rather rely on theatrical performances instead of pushing substantive issues; I don’t exactly rely on that to make my point. I just like to remind you that you surround yourself with a cult of personality.”

            And yet, you’re not banned or anything. Strange.

            I’ll take this assessment with the same grain of salt I take your assertion what my post talk celebrations mean.

            And, frankly, you’ve spent more of your time in this thread assaulting my character than any argument I’ve ever made. I think it’s clear what bothers you more.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            “All minds we’re aware of work that way.”

            Not really, this actually this is called the “hard problem of consciousness” we have no idea how consciousness minds arise from our organic brains. Quite a few believe the problem to be insoluble.

            “The only way to escape that burden is to appeal to knowledge we do not have.”

            Yeah, not really. You’d first have to argue/prove that some kind of theory of consciousness is true and then show how this theory applies to all possible forms of consciousness God could have. That is the only way for this argument to have any cogency to it.

            “You could argue for the possibility, but nobody is denying that, since pretty much anything has a non-zero possibility of being true.”

            Possibility is more than enough if the theist is wily enough; with S5 modal logic, that possibility can open a whole can of worms.

            “And, frankly, you’ve spent more of your time in this thread assaulting my character than any argument I’ve ever made. I think it’s clear what bothers you more.”
            You got me. Just like you had me pegged as that dude from college.

          • JTEberhard

            “Not really, this actually this is called the “hard problem of consciousness” we have no idea how consciousness minds arise from our organic brains. Quite a few believe the problem to be insoluble.”

            Not knowing how is a far cry from knowing that it does. The existence of MRIs and other means by which we can detect what parts of the brains control particular functions confirms that consciousness is tied to a functioning brain, even if we don’t know entirely how it functions as of yet.

            You surely cannot deny that we have oodles of evidence that consciousness is tied to a functioning brain. Meanwhile, we have zero evidence of any consciousness or mind existing without one.

            “Yeah, not really. You’d first have to argue/prove that some kind of theory of consciousness is true and then show how this theory applies to all possible forms of consciousness God could have. That is the only way for this argument to have any cogency to it.”

            Are you suggesting we have evidence for how thought can exist without a mind? I’m not arguing for possibility here, I’m saying we have no evidence of it ever being the case. If you have that evidence, toss it out.

            “Possibility is more than enough if the theist is wily enough; with S5 modal logic, that possibility can open a whole can of worms.”

            If you’re going to say that possibility is enough for an idea to be taken seriously, you lose all right to lecture others on whether or not they’ve won a debate. It’s possible there’s an invisible smurf in your ass.

            “You got me. Just like you had me pegged as that dude from college.”

            I was wrong about that. You said a lot of the same things he did (see how I react to fair criticism?). However, that doesn’t negate the point you quoted.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            You are missing a great deal of the debate. Here is a link to a review of Dan Dennet’s book on Consciousness from Ned Block from MIT (atheist and huge authority on the topic) that helps explain all the distinctions that currently exist. Warning, this is a notoriously rough read for just about anybody and if you need help with some of the jargon, I’ll help in anyway I can.

            (I mean that in an honest and non-asshole way. I needed lots of hand holding on this paper)

            http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/HILLBK.html

            As for the comments about conceivability and possibility and its impact on this topic, Saul Kripke gave a very famous set of lectures on this where he gives a conceivability argument that is couched in terms from the modal logic he invented (and published in a logic journal at 16 !!!) some time ago. It is considered a major turning point in modern analytic philosophy. You can find it in Kripke’s “Naming and Necessity”

            And I’m not being coy about this, there is some rigorous stuff out there that argues from conceivability to possibility to necessity in some strict logical ways. I don’t think anyone in the field thinks it is conclusive, but it could be presented as such and would be hard to take down in public. I can’t imagine being exposed to it for the first time and having to formulate an answer on one’s feet that even had a hope of being decent.

            I also have some PDFs that help explain the problem of hard consciousness that I can send via e-mail. I don’t think I’m allowed to host and share them.

          • JTEberhard

            Also, on your fb I saw the link to this post. With the quote you used, you accusing me of looking to others for affirmation is…well, maybe you should accuse me of being a hypocrite next for ultimate irony? :P

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            …damn it…

          • islandbrewer

            I think you’re an ignorant prima donna who would rather rely on theatrical performances instead of pushing substantive issues;

            Mmmmm, the axe grinding of the prima donna who resorts to philosophical and theological legerdemain to feed their own egos.

            I don’t exactly rely on that to make my point.

            What, you actually made a point? Ah that’s right – “JT is lamezors and doesn’t know mental masturbation language sophisticated philosophy and theology like I do! Adore my philosophy grad student might!”

            I just like to remind you that you surround yourself with a cult of personality.

            Always end with an insult. Stay classy!

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Anti-intellectualism for the win!

          • islandbrewer

            *yawn* this has been mildly entertaining, thanks.

            Good luck in your studies of philosophy and theology. I’m sure you’ll make every bit a contribution to our understanding of the universe and bettering the lot of humanity as any theologian has throughout history.

            I have truly met my match, and will slink back to my anti-intellectual peptide growth factor cascades and oncology drug design.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Goodnight Sweet Prince.

          • Artor

            The verb is fellate, smarty-pants.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I stand corrected.

          • DavidMHart

            At the risk of piling on the pedantry, the verb is ‘fellate’ :-)

          • baal

            “just” is a 4 letter word.

          • Loqi

            Even with limited knowledge on the subject, I find it hard to believe Molinism allows Craig to effectively argue much of anything. At best, it gets you to Christianity being compatible with some contrived and useless definition of “free will.”

          • Derrik Pates

            Sounds like it also manages to ignore the incompatibility of an all-powerful god with the idea that there are things beyond that god’s control. Either he’s all powerful or he isn’t – it can’t be “well he’s all powerful! (note: except when he isn’t…)”.

          • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

            “Molinism provides the counter-factual freedoms he needs to argue that God is not morally responsible to prevent earthquakes. Which he does. In print. Over a decade ago.”

            That sounds interesting, do you have a reference so I can read more about this?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Mark,
            What exactly are you looking for? An introduction to Molinism or how Craig uses it?

          • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

            If you know where has made argument in print that that would be good, but really I’m just looking for anywhere I can read that argument.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            A basic introduction to the topic can be had here: http://www.iep.utm.edu/middlekn/
            There is also a book called ‘Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views’ which is basic too, but it gives you 4 different Christian understandings to compare with. Really helps when you want to distinguish between positions like Open Theism when you engage Christians, so you can adjust your arguments to take aim at their specific views
            The meat of Craigs thinking can be found in a monograph called “The Only Wise God” where he lays out the specifics of his beliefs.
            Another important book his Plantinga’s God, Freedom and Evil. He was the one who really opened the door to using Molinism for defanging the logical problem of evil and opens up the possbility of answering for natural evils as well against evidential forms of the argument from evil.
            Craig takes his philosophical cues from Plantinga on this subject, so knowing that book heads off Craig fans and students at the pass, so to speak.

          • http://www.honestuniverse.com/ Mark Hanna

            Thanks :)

        • JTEberhard

          Also, it should be noted that your original point was that I don’t engage scholars. When I pointed out that I do (debates with philo PhDs), your response was that you didn’t think I’d beaten them. That’s very different from your first claim, which my response handled.

          You should look up “moving the goalposts”.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Here is the body of the text from my orginal post. Tell me how “you’ve never really meaningfully engaged” or “Engaging Christian thinking at anything beyond street level apologetics” means that I was claiming you haven’t sat on a stage with two guys with PhDs and made bad arguments.

            “Matt really isn’t worth Craig’s time and Craig would mop the floor with Matt hands down. More to the point, you’ve never really meaningfully engaged with any of Craig’s scholarship either, at best you simply draw on the work of others to do that (e.g. Richard Carrier). While there is nothing wrong with that on a personal level, it certainly doesn’t grant you the unwarranted self confidence you think it does.

            You have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of; your work with the SSA and with Skepticon are good examples of that. Engaging Christian thinking at anything beyond street level apologetics is not a feather you can rightfully put in your cap just yet.”

    • invivoMark

      The thing about apologetics is that it never really gets above “street level”.

      Oh, sure, the “big thinkers” claim that there’s a difference, but it’s all just Sophisticated Theology(TM), which is the same arguments dressed up in fancy terminology, along with Courtiers’ Replies.

      • Loqi

        That’s been my evaluation as well. We get accused to only addressing kindergarten theology when we take down the first cause argument or somesuch, but what does Craig offer that’s better? Kalam? It’s just first cause rebranded. Can anyone show me something of Craig’s that isn’t just the same old debunked argument with a fresh coat of paint?

        • Billy Bob

          Another thing is that the most common religious believers don’t know any “sophisticated theology.” Hell, they haven’t even read the holy book they claim to revere. If they don’t have to read tons of the theology to accept it, why do they expect non believers to read a shit ton of it to reject it?

      • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

        You could start here with Craig’s contributions to this:

        http://www.amazon.com/Einstein-Relativity-Absolute-Simultaneity-William/dp/041559166X/ref=la_B001IOH3GQ_1_32?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371589277&sr=1-32

        I’d like to see you pick out a Courters’ Reply.

        • invivoMark

          That looks like it’s supposed to be all science-y. Well, real science doesn’t happen in books. Real science gets published in peer-reviewed literature. Show me some papers that Craig has published, and I’ll peruse them and give you a reply. I’m not going to buy a $50 book just to get involved in an internet conversation.

          Also, ironically, you just did a courtier’s reply right there. “Oh, you can’t say that all theology is the same until you read this book, which is totally different and proves you wrong!”

          • Loqi

            I’m not going to buy a $50 book just to get involved in an internet conversation.

            This, plus I wouldn’t knowingly use my money to support someone who thinks the Nuremberg Defense is valid.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            me thinks you don’t understand academic publishing and royalties.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            This. Is. Awesome.

            So the book is published by Routledge, which is a giant in the academic publishing industry; which owns Taylor Francis Online, which publishes 10 different journals in
            Condensed Matter Physics alone.

            So merely coming in book form instead of journal form is some kind of indicator of “science” even though the topic matter has more to do with Metaphysics and Philosophy of
            Physics and is actually just an edited reader made up of different (already published) papers by philosophers and scientists in other venues.

            Oddly enough, Craig’s ideas of time have already been taken apart pretty well by peeps with twin PhDs
            in physics and philosophy in these kind of publications. You seem to labor under the idea that I think Craig has yet to be sufficiently challenged by anyone, but this isn’t the case.

            Instead, I just want people who are going to dismiss Craig like he is some kind of fool (like you) to actually go through the mechanical process of reading the best Craig has to
            offer and making up their own mind based on the merits of Craig’s work.

            I like to call such a strategy being “intellectually honest” but others like to call it the “courtier’s reply” because it is a hard road to take. It is much easier to think J.T.’s PowerPoint parade of stale memes and incestuous scholarship (that is what we call citing your friend’s
            books who already agree with you) has taken care of it.

            Other than being some kind of lame genetic fallacy to insist that the source of an argument immediately renders it wrong, I actually sympathize with you. If you don’t
            actually have an interest in the subject and personally dislike Craig, I wouldn’t insist you read it. I’d just tell you what I think.

            However, you want to unfairly characterize something you’ve never read and want to feel justified in
            doing so. I actually have standards, and won’t let my ideological allies do that because that is how Church groups study Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell.

            BTW- so far, this place is pretty similar to such groups. Except I think J.T. is a better person than Strobel or McDowell.

          • Joe

            It isn’t at all clear to me why this book is relevant to Craig’s arguments about God. I only flicked through the first chapter (like others here, I am unwilling to pay $50 in an internet discussion), but it appears to be about an alternate theory to Special Relativity (one that, as far as I can tell from 10 minutes on Wikipedia, is observationally identical to Special Relativity). So, why should we read this?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            The Kalam Cosmological argument is Craig’s most famous argument for God. He also has it intuitevly broken down to sound like basic common sense, which he uses in his debates for great effect.

            The only way for the Kalam Cosmological argumnt to work is on a A-theory of time. An A theory of time requires a very different understanding of special relativity that is viritually untested.

            If you can explain that Craig’s Kalam argument needs his idiosyncratic explanation of relativity to even be plausible, and that viritually all physicists are not going to say “lol Einstein was wrong” well…
            That is a better route to go than questioning the principle of suffcient reason.

          • invivoMark

            Kalam has about a million problems with it. If someone makes a valid argument against Kalam that unambiguously undermines it, who are you to say they picked the “wrong” argument?

          • Joe

            As far as I can tell, neo-Lorentzian theory (the theory this book discusses) is observationally indistinguishable from Special Relativity – there is no experiment that can distinguish them. We use Special Relativity because it has a number of conceptual advantages, such as not assuming an undetectable ether, but this is largely an application of Occam’s razor.

            So, we can’t show Craig’s version of relativity to be implausible and so this isn’t a good route to take when arguing against Kalam.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            He wants them to be observationally indistinguishable, but that requires him to want to view SR strictly as a theory of principle explanation while his Neo-Lorentz is a theory of constructive explanation. This is why he calls SR “explanatorily impoverished” on page 102, but there are good reasons to think SR isn’t strictly a theory of principle explanation too.

          • Joe

            Ok, you’re going to have to define some terms for me. What do you mean by principle and constructive explanations, and how do they allow us to distinguish between the two theories? From what I have read (which admittedly isn’t much) the two approaches produce the same mathematical formalism, so they will produce the same results in any given experiment (be aware that I am approaching this as a physicist, not a philosopher, so I’m admittedly more interested in the physical results of the theory rather than its philosophical underpinnings)

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            The distinction actually comes from Einstein himself. Basically a theory of principle is that you take some uber confirmed empirical regularities and raise them to postulates so you can explain phenomena necessarily occur in our world if the postulates are true. A constructive theory is about getting at the underlying reality underneath the phenomena.

            Let me give you an example with length contraction; if SR is just a theory of principle then all it does is say that in a world were relativity postulates hold and light postulates hold, then the length contraction we observe will happen. Craig’s Neo-Lorentz theory is supposedly a constructive theory because it provides empirically accurate models, length contraction is explained as a combination of dynamical effects and artifacts of measurement.

            Is that true? I don’t think so, and I think the kinematical section in the famous 1905 paper bears this out. On page 181, Craig even goes so far as to claim Einstein’s postulates are completely non-empirical, which is a helluva thing to put into print.

            Does this help at all?

          • invivoMark

            If you’re wondering why people aren’t immediately getting what you’re talking about, it’s because you aren’t using standard terminology. “Constructive theory” and “theory of principle” are terms that were basically used only by Einstein, and no one else.

            And as Einstein defined it, a constructive theory is not “about getting at the underlying reality underneath the phenomena.” It’s a generalized description of phenomena or behaviors. Basically anything we would call a theory today, Einstein would have called a constructive theory. The distinction is mostly irrelevant, however.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            When talking about a book that uses Einstein’s terms, it kind of forces you to use those terms. Crazy idea I know.

            Also your definition is wrong, when you place an order for this book, also nab ‘Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist’ and read the section entitled ‘Autobiographical Notes’ where he pretty much contradicts what you just said.

          • invivoMark

            No, I’m not wrong, but it’s nice of you to use another courtier’s reply. See, I got my definition straight from Einstein’s words. I’m capable of reading, too, ya know.

            And no, you are not forced to use Einstein’s terms when describing flaws in Craig’s arguments. Similarly, I’m not required to speak in Old English when talking about Beowulf, or in Egyptian when talking about the Pyramids.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            You’re right, giving you a direct published source of Einestein’s autobiographical notes is clearly a courtier’s reply to your unsourced assertion about true definitions.
            Combined with your complete insistence on ignoring any sort of context when it comes to a book you haven’t read, you continue to inspire.

          • invivoMark

            What context am I ignoring, and why does that affect any argument I’ve made?

            And you want sources to back my claim that your definition of “constructive theory” is wrong? No problem. Like I said, I, too, can read Einstein.

            http://todayinsci.com/E/Einstein_Albert/EinsteinAlbert-MyTheory.htm

            I didn’t claim to have provided a complete definition of a constructive theory. That isn’t my job. But I pointed out a general description of how they work, which contradicts your made-up definition.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Just for fun, I searched up Einstein’s 1919 London Times piece (link at the bottom).

            So InvivoMark made this observation:

            “And as Einstein defined it, a constructive theory is not “about getting at the underlying reality underneath the phenomena.” It’s a generalized description of phenomena or behaviors.”

            Here is how Einstein defined constructive theories:

            “The advantages of the constructive theory are completeness, adaptability, and clearness, those of the principle theory are logical perfection and security of foundations.”

            You can find that on page 1 of the PDF. “generalized description” is not exactly a synonym for “completeness” or “clearness”. Just before that statement in the previous paragraph on the PDF, Einstein gives an example of a constructive theory is the kinetic theory of gases…

            “When we say that we have succeed in understanding a group of natural processes, we invariably mean that a constructive theory has been found which covers the process in question.”

            Sounds a lot closer to “getting at the underlying reality underneath the phenomena” (say like, why gas behaves the way it does) instead of giving a “generalized description of phenomena or behaviors.”

            Village Atheism. Not even once!
            http://www.thiruvarunai.com/eBooks/einstein/Albert%20Einstein%20-%20What%20Is%20The%20Theory%20Of%20Relativity.PDF

          • invivoMark

            What the hell do you think the kinetic theory of gases is if not a generalized description of behaviors and phenomena?

            And “getting at the underlying reality” implies the philosophy of realism, which is NOT necessary for (or even relevant to) a constructive theory.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I like how you are unable to distinguish between understanding Einstein’s thought as is related to a monograph about him and SR and a conversation about how you understand the word “theory”.

          • invivoMark

            Where have we had a conversation about how I understand the word “theory”?

            Also, why do you dodge so much? Afraid to admit you’re wrong?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            When you said “as Einstein defined it” sans a citation and directly contradicted the words of the man himself.

            You don’t like reading, do you?

          • invivoMark

            But we were never talking about the word “theory”. Also, I provided a citation when asked, and I didn’t contradict Einstein at all.

            I can’t read what hasn’t been written.

          • Joe

            It helps me understand your post better, sure, but it doesn’t explain to me how we distinguish between the two theories, which is important if we are to use this approach to argue against Kalam.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            A very good reason for choosing SR over the neo-Lorentzian theory of Craig can be found in Einstein’s 1905 paper (right in the opening paragraph):

            “Take, for example, the reciprocal electrodynamic action of a magnet and a conductor. The observable phenomenon here depends only on the relative motion of the conductor and the magnet, whereas the customary view draws a sharp distinction between the two cases in which either the one or the other of these bodies is in motion. For if the magnet is in motion and the conductor at rest, there arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet an electric field with a certain definite energy, producing a current at the places where parts of the conductor are situated. But if the magnet is stationary and the conductor in motion, no electric field arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet. In the conductor, however, we find an electromotive force, to which in itself there is no corresponding energy, but which gives rise—assuming equality of relative motion in the two cases discussed—to electric currents of the same path and intensity as those produced by the electric forces in the former case.”

            If Craig’s neo-Lorentzian theory is true, the magnet at rest is very different from the conductor at rest, because all the laws that govern different sorts of matter share the Lorentz invariance as a matter of unexplained coincidence.

            SR does not have that problem, but can explain it in other ways. So on page 101 where Craig talks about what is considered brute in the first theory that can be explained in the second theory gives us good grounds to favor the second over the first, I’d use Craig’s own criteria to pick SR over his Neo-Lorentz.

          • Joe

            I understand that there are reasons to pick SR over neo-Lorentzian theory (heck, I’ve given one or two of them myself). My point is that, if your argument against Kalam relies on it using a non-standard theory of relativity, then you need to show that the theory is flawed in order for your argument to work. Neo-Lorentzian theory is indistinguishable from SR, so you can’t do this. The best you can do is explain why SR is the prefered theory, which doesn’t tell us which theory is the right one.

            Your argument has a giant hole that any competant debater (which Craig is) will be able to leap hoops through.

          • invivoMark

            So merely coming in book form instead of journal form is some kind of indicator of “science”

            Actually, yes. You didn’t know this? Sheesh. This is, like… basic stuff. I picked that up in undergrad. Like, in freshman year. You still haven’t figured that out?

            even though the topic matter has more to do with Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics and is actually just an edited reader made up of different (already published) papers by philosophers and scientists in other venues.

            Actually, it looks like Craig only wrote ONE of those articles, and that article wasn’t peer-reviewed. So… exactly WHAT are you trying to claim that Craig has “contributed” here?

            I just want people who are going to dismiss Craig like he is some kind of fool (like you) to actually go through the mechanical process of reading the best Craig has to offer and making up their own mind based on the merits of Craig’s work.

            So, to do that, you post a link to a $50 book, which contains only one single paltry essay by Craig? What, do you want me to pay $50 to read one essay? Is it really the best essay Craig has ever written? Will I be totally blown away, and count that $50 as well-spent? You’re out of your damn mind.

            Look, if Craig really had anything novel to say here, then it would’ve been published in peer-reviewed philosophy literature. Then you could go and dig that up, and I’d be happy to read it. But he doesn’t, and it wasn’t, and you haven’t, so I won’t.

            It is much easier to think J.T.’s PowerPoint parade of stale memes and incestuous scholarship (that is what we call citing your friend’s books who already agree with you) has taken care of it.

            Is that the royal “we”, or have you forgotten that you’re only one person? In any case, citing sources is something that, in the world of actual scholarship (with which you are clearly unfamiliar), is expected – regardless of whether those citations are of the works of friends.

            Other than being some kind of lame genetic fallacy to insist that the source of an argument immediately renders it wrong, I actually sympathize with you. If you don’t actually have an interest in the subject and personally dislike Craig, I wouldn’t insist you read it. I’d just tell you what I think.

            Patronize much? I honestly can’t think of a good reason you might have written that paragraph, except to solidify your image as a giant douche.

            However, you want to unfairly characterize something you’ve never read and want to feel justified in doing so.

            You don’t know what I have and haven’t read. I don’t know what “standards” you think you have, but they’re pretty damn low. Certainly a lot lower than any of the regular commenters on JT’s blog, including JT himself.

          • JTEberhard

            I notice Patrick has been conspicuously silent in response to this.

            But he did have the time to lecture other commenters by saying “me thinks you don’t understand academic publishing and royalties.”

            Fascinating…

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            How much in royalties do you think an author gets when someone buys a used copy of the book from an independent seller (which is where the 50 dollar price tag comes from)?
            Say, if a monograph from a major academic publisher sells for 150 bucks on amazon, what percentage of that do you think the Scholar actually gets? It is going to be much much lower than anything given by Prometheus..or even self publishing through lulu or something like that.
            Totally different story if you bought directly from Craig’s ministry, but no one is advocating that.

          • islandbrewer

            This is really what your focus has degenerated to? Royalties? This just smacks of deflection and insecurity.

            Try to get back to the brilliance of WLC’s debating accumen, or how horribly incompetent JT is at sophisticated theology.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Just tryin’ to answer the guy’s question! Sheeesh

          • invivoMark

            If by “the guy” you mean yourself. You’re the only one who’s been asking about royalties, and I had thought that was supposed to be a rhetorical question.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            If you think “real science” gets done in journals, then you are an idiot to begin with. If you think a journal article is something that makes something “science” and a book isn’t, even if they are from the same publisher, you are a bigger idiot.

            There really is no excuse to think any of that is true.

            But hey, since you feel comfortable reading technical philosophy books, the source of Craig contribution can be found from this monograph published by Wiley Blackwell, another huge academic publisher.

            And don’t bitch about the outrageous price, do what everyone else who reads this stuff does, go get a ILL copy. I look forward to reading your review!

            http://www.amazon.com/Time-Metaphysics-Relativity-Philosophical-Studies/dp/0792366689

          • islandbrewer

            If you think “real science” gets done in journals, then you are an idiot to begin with. If you think a journal article is something that makes something “science” and a book isn’t, even if they are from the same publisher, you are a bigger idiot.

            You’ve never actually had anything to do with any actual science, have you.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            I heard about these crazy places called “labs” where experiments happen. Sounds a bit more robust than pixels on a screen or ink on a paper.

          • islandbrewer

            … and their results get published in peer reviewed journals, not books of theologians’ takes on the science.

            Very clever strawman on your part, going from “Real science gets published in peer reviewed journals” to “a journal article makes it science.”

          • invivoMark

            Um, yes, real science does get published in journals. Like Science, Nature, PNAS, NEJM. I didn’t even think anyone could seriously contend that peer-reviewed journals aren’t the place to go for science. Scientists don’t publish their results in books. Books aren’t peer-reviewed.

            And why are you making such a big deal about books and journals sharing a publisher? Publishers rarely focus on just publishing journals. Elsevier, who publishes the highly-prestigious journal Cell, also publishes a couple thousand other peer-reviewed journals; publishes New Scientist, a pop-sci magazine; runs Scopus, a bibliographic database; and organizes arms fairs, where cluster bombs and riot control equipment can be purchased. Springer publishes hundreds of scientific journals, along with hosting an image database and a database of protocols. Wiley publishes hundreds of scientific journals, as well as the For Dummies series of books, travel guides and audio tours, and was the publisher of Edgar Allen Poe and Herman Melville.

            So, why does it matter that whoever published Craig’s collection of essays also publishes real science? Do you think that the For Dummies series of books is on the same level as a top-tier peer-reviewed science journal?

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            “Well, real science [doesn't happen] in books.” Notice the phrase in brackets that you wrote.

            Compare with this:

            “Um, yes, real science does [get published] in journals.”
            See what you did there?

          • invivoMark

            You have made it abundantly clear that you are not familiar with the processes of scientific research or of publication in academic journals. So if you thought that your nitpicking might have some sort of effect on me, you are hopelessly delusional.

            Still, would you mind telling me why it’s so important to you that Craig’s collection of essays is published by a publisher who also publishes peer-reviewed journals? You made a big deal of that twice, but it was never clear why that mattered.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            Sorry I replied to what you wrote instead of what you secretly meant.

          • invivoMark

            Yes, and in doing so, you have exposed your ignorance and embarrassed yourself. Good job.

        • islandbrewer

          I’d like to see you pick out a Courters’ Reply.

          Maybe you should look up the “Courtier’s Reply” before you say that. At least spell it correctly.

          • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

            BOOM! Roasted.

    • Loqi

      WLC couldn’t mop the floor with a literal mop. I’ve yet to hear or read anything from him that was significantly more coherent than Time Cube. His premises do not reflect reality, and even if they did, his conclusions would not logically follow. He’s a poor philosopher, but he’s the best Christianity has got. Being the top of the bottom of the barrel is not impressive.

    • Jason Koskey

      Anyone who can’t see through Craig’s terrible arguments simply isn’t trying.

      • Billy Bob

        This. Craig’s arguments sound good when he’s making them simply because he’s a great speaker and debater, but once anyone looks critically at them, they fall apart rather quickly.

    • DougI

      Craig has used the exact same argument in all of his debates. I wouldn’t even say that Craig debates, he just goes on with his prepared lecture and ignores everything his opponent says. Anyone can debate Craig, Craig isn’t terribly intelligent.

      The reason Craig won’t debate Matt is because Craig only does debates for the money. There is no way he’ll go on a public access tv show because 1) He won’t get paid 2) He doesn’t get to control the format 3) He’s an intellectual lightweight and knows it 4) He’s a coward.

      • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

        1 and 2 have some merit. 3 and 4 do not.

        • DougI

          Three is obvious because he keeps on using the same refuted argument in all his debates. Four is obvious because, well, he ducks debates and hides from them if he can’t have an upper hand in the debates.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Sorry. To win debates, you need facts. Not “deeply believed truths,” actual proven facts. Theists don’t have many of those.

      Matt would win handily.

    • Drakk

      Christian thinking

      Is that like Christian Love?

    • Stev84

      It’s not really worth debating someone who defends genocide.

      Besides WLC doesn’t really debate, but employs rhetorical tricks to make it seem so. He has a few points he is very well prepared on and doesn’t allow the discussion to go anywhere else. Also the Gish Gallop to put his opponent off balance and to force him to deviate from his points while not having any time to actually refute what WLC spews.

      • http://servileconformist.typepad.com/servile-conformist/ Patrick Mefford

        Craig can range pretty far actually, in his discussion with Wes Morriston about actual infinities he managed some decent points, but I think Wes carried the day.

  • Mac

    Splendid article.

  • DougI

    Craig, the guy who thinks genocide is morally justifiable is going to criticize Atheists about ethics and morals?

  • islandbrewer

    If anyone is still interested in the original topic, Cuttlefish has contributed another lovely piece of doggerel:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2013/06/18/william-lane-craigs-wrong-number/

  • Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    For all of Fisher’s vacuous nonsense, this question: “What do these secularists want people to run to?” is remarkably relevant. For myself and many other ex-believers out there, leaving the faith meant leaving family and friends and the support systems that we’d had for our whole lives. The choice between the lonely truth and the comfortable lie is not an easy one. This hotline is an excellent first step towards welcome new people to secularism.


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