Christian Apologist William Lane Craig Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis

Christian Apologist William Lane Craig Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis December 1, 2017

This allegation is a few years old, but it was brought to my attention yesterday by John W. Loftus, an atheist author, philosopher, and former student of Christian apologist William Lane Craig.

Source: Reasonable Faith Press Kit
Source: Reasonable Faith Press Kit

Loftus has written before about Craig’s refusal to debate him, but now he’s shining a light on a much more serious claim: Craig, one of the most respected modern Christian thinkers, plagiarized parts of his Master’s Degree thesis.

Loftus links to a science forum in which people lay out some of the similarities between Craig’s thesis (titled The Nature of History) and the work of historian Stewart C. Easton, whom Craig has quoted in the past:

It seems to me that it’s fairly clear-cut that he in fact plagiarized these parts of his thesis. If he did plagiarize, what are the possible repercussions? Can his Masters degree be revoked?

We have:

“The achievements of this century and its predecessors in the modern period have made it possible for the majority of Western men to emancipate themselves from the numerous restrictions that afflicted men in past centuries.”-Easton

“The achievements of this century, and indeed, the modern period as a whole have made it possible for the majority of Western men and women to liberate themselves from the numerous restrictions that shackled persons living in past centuries.”-WLC

and we have:

“The individualism that we notice as early as the Renaissance, but which could be in the possession of only a few in that age, has now become possible for the majority.”-Easton

“The individualism that sprang from the Renaissance, but which could be the possession of only an elite few in that age, has now become possible for the majority.”-WLC

This isn’t even good plagiarism; it is middle school level copy/paste-modify type plagiarism.

I can’t speak to the veracity of these plagiarism claims, but I can speak to the intellectual integrity of Craig himself based on my own personal experience.

In 2013, Craig was contacted by a Christian follower who had been reading my book Disproving Christianity and having doubts as a result. The individual wanted to know what they should do in order to dispel the questions now in their mind, and Craig responded by saying they should they should simply “Quit reading the infidel material.”

Again, I don’t know if Craig is a plagiarizer, but I do know that his intellectual integrity is likely not up to par if he’s encouraging young fans to simply ignore any material that disagrees with their existing biases. Regardless, I think this issue needs to be investigated.

If you have any insight into this matter, or just want to ask me a question, I can be reached at David@DavidGMcAfee.com


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