Nobody wants to talk to William Lane Craig and he is crying about it 18


William Lane Craig, the American Evangelical Christian apologist, wants a public debate during his UK visit. However, the problem he faces is that nobody wants to, (You can see where this is going), so he is claiming that the atheists are scared.

Sigh! …

This month president of the British Humanist Association, Polly Toynbee, pulled out of an agreed debate at London’s Westminster Central Hall in October, saying she “hadn’t realized the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style.” (thats a polite way of saying that he is a complete kook and really likes babbling mangled pseudoscience).

Responding to Toynbee’s cancellation, Lane Craig commented:

“These folks (atheists) can be very brave when they are alone at the podium and there’s no one there to challenge them. But one of the great things about these debates is that, it allows both sides to be heard on a level playing field, and for the students in the audience to make up their own minds about where they think the truth lies.”

Dawkins was also invited four times to take part, and refused each time. When this became public knowledge in the UK press, some are quoted as observing, “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.“. Dawkins responded by saying, “I have no intention of assisting Craig in his relentless drive for self-promotion.

I once recall being present when somebody yelled at Richard Dawkins, “Why don’t you debate … <name-of-some-evangelical-kook>“, he turned and politely explained, “I’m busy, I’ve got better thing to do with my time“.  Now that nails it, these kooks want credibility by being associated with somebody well respected, so when the famous folks they invite refuse to play ball, they then taunt and cry about it.

Still not sure? OK, think about it like this; if you worked for National Geographic and were invited to debate with the flat-earth society, would you accept, or would you simply dismiss it as silly?

Does Craig really have a valid argument that many find hard to refute? Lets take a look at what he actually says, here is William Lane Craig’s formulation of the Cosmological Argument (he is famous for this) …

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

Oooh, a scary argument … oh but wait, here is that same argument being easily de-bunked:

UPDATE:

Commenter has kindly pointed out that Stephen Law has stepped up to the mark and will be debating him on 17th October 2011 at Westminster Hall. Tickets are £12.50 and available at http://www.premier.org.uk/craig


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18 thoughts on “Nobody wants to talk to William Lane Craig and he is crying about it

  • Mitch

    I am instantly unimpressed when I see someone post a video a supposed critique of an argument. “This video said so therefore it’s true”. Try harder next time. An actual, personal assessment wouldn’t kill you would it?

  • Skoodle um Skoo

    I haven’t watched the logical rebuttal of “everything has a cause…” but there is a scientific rebuttal – cause and effect require space time. Space time was created during the early universe. Therefore it could not exist before the universe, so we cannot talk about ‘a cause’ for the origin of the universe. You can debate wether it is true that that spacetime did or did not exist in the very early universe, but, there it is, a rational conventional possibility. And rational possibilities have been trumping religious possibilities throughout human history. That’s been the undeniable trend, so that now God has been chased further and further away, in space and in time.

    • English_Tory

      Well, I’ve heard this line of reasoning many times before but it simply doesn’t follow. Ahmed stated this in the Cambridge debate.

      Many, many moons ago Stephen Davis published an essay that deals with this: there’s an onus for atheists to prove that it’s impossible for causality in timelessness to effect time-bound phenomena, and indeed, theist philosophers develop the point that personal agency is necessary for causality to timeless but for the effect to be time bound. Ahmed, amongst others, haven’t grappled with that.

  • J Roberts

    Its an overstatement to claim that Craig’s arguments are easily defeated. But certainly they can be debated, which he also acknowledges. The video here is an excellent example of how counter argument can be brought against some of the main arguments Craig often puts forward. Excellent, good! These should be the approaches atheist debaters (or other types of debaters) take when debating Craig (or other theists) – as best and as ably as they are able. I felt the video here was a good example of thoughtful engagement.
    Craig is a Philosopher, so of course he will have answers or counter points. Keep in mind that ultimately, from his point of view, his claims do not rest entirely on his understanding of cosmology and how it can be brought to bear on the question of that which is Ultimate. There will be various strands of reason and thought he uses to make an argument for that which we call God. The video here deals with one strand – not all – but certainly provides a good model for how these things should be done.
    In fact it provides such a good model it seems hard to credit that someone like Richard Dawkins is not willing to defend his God Delusion book in a similar manner. Stick to the points, make the case clear and to the point – expand on what is in his book by consulting those who have done the hard yards of grappling strongly with the arguments of theists. Seems relatively simple and would save all the rather more personal, dismissive attacks – as evidenced by some of the above comments and elsewhere – that try to deal with Craig by calling him a liar, a trickster or a buffoon or that seek to equate the God concept with fairies and flying spaghetti monsters; and therefore suggest any such debate is unworthy of any consideration at all.

  • Cathy Cooper

    I believe Dawkins when he says his time is too valuable to waste debating nonsense. Craig’s arguments are easily defeated, and I have done just that on my blog. All it takes is a little knowledge and some logic to illustrate just how flawed their thinking is.

    Dawkins lives, works, and finds solutions to problems in the real world–whereas Craig lives in a fantasy world. I prefer that Dawkins concentrate on solving real problems as well, rather than waste precious time on Craig.

  • MC

    Flat Earth? Really? We have all SEEN (proven) that the Earth is not flat. There is no debate about that. Are you suggesting Atheism has SEEN (proven) that there is no God? Please.

    People like Dawkins are buffoons who are way out of their depth when they try to play the philosopher. THAT, my friend, is the reason Dawkins, and others, refuse to debate Craig.

    Dawkins has said he’ll debate any bishop, priest, etc. So debating believers is not his problem (so much for your “flat Earth” example). His problem is with debating a qualified opponent such as Craig.

  • ron crawford

    So Dawkins has been rumbled. His cowardice undermines his credentials as the “leading atheist”. Too busy? Too scared, more like.

  • Dark Star

    How to put this delicately? Debates are a f’ing ignorant way to resolve truth claims – WLC has absolutely no credentials as a biologist – Dawkins would be foolishly wasting his time participating in such an endeavor. Craig has proven repeatedly he is willing to lie, and doesn’t care about truth.

    If WLC is hot to ‘debate’ Dawkins then I DARE him to do it in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal as scientists do. Who is the coward now?

  • mjschmidt

    While I understand the point of your analogy above, the difference is that the people who accept that the world is spherical are in the majority. The people who believe in god outnumber us, so it may be more important not to look like cowards in front of them. Sadly perception is reality to most people.

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    I’ve a couple of additional observations:
    1) WLC is very good at debating (Note that is not a claim he is right)
    2) He strives to control the format of all debates.
    3) He deploys Tricks such as “bait and switch” … here is an example of him doing this to Bart Ehrman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjOSNj97_gk (quite long, its in 12 parts) Note how he outlines his evidence for the resurrection, then “brings back” entirely different evidence”

    It is tricks like this that motivates remarks like “the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style“. It is also interesting to note that this is a chap who openly admits that no argument/evidence can trump the voice in his head (or heart, as he puts it) that tells him Jesus is lord and saviour. (I believe the term for that is acute psychosis).

    As for him actually being right? … Nope, he is a complete kook. All his arguments have been debunked many times, yet he ignores all that and keeps spouting them anyway.

    Plenty of good folks have taken him on, here are some examples …

    William Lane Craig vs. Massimo Pigliucci is good I highly recommend
    http://bit.ly/Apologetics315-CraigPigliucciDebate

    There is plenty more out there, you can listen to his debates here http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=50

    Particularly the debate with Arif Ahmed who pretty much rolled him. Peter Slezak also did a great job with morality, and Ray Bradley rolled him on god and hell.

    • English_Tory

      I thought Ahmed was incredibly disappointing – what in particular did you find compelling? Further, it’s not correct to say he ‘rolled him over’: this wasn’t a 1 Vs 1 debate; infact, I believe Craig gave one 15 minute speech, to which Ahmed had the final word. It’s impossible to evaluate one as superior against the other; the best you can do is pass comment on specific points each of them raised

  • Birdieupon

    Beautiful, a word for word demonstration if everything I said.

    You say Craig is “crying about it” but he is on record as not being concerned about Dawkins, yet welcome to invites. Plenty of others, with balls, have accepted.

    And I notice still no comment on the fact that an ATHEIST academic made the cowardice accusation at Dawkins!

    Now I wonder why you chose to airbrush that out?

    With that, I rest my case.

  • Ultimate Spork

    Craig uses the same tactics every time and those tactics have thoroughly refuted.

    True Laziness–doing the job right the first time so you don’t have to worry about it anymore–is a virtue. I could type more about Craig’s tired tactics, but I’d have to blush if I wasted any more time on his dreck.

  • Birdieupon

    * correction: calling Dawkins on cowardice.

    I should add, also, the latest zeitgeist among online atheists is either to insult Craig, accuse him of unspecified “tactics” or merely say he’s “refuted already”.

    This is lazy and you should be blushing.

  • Birdieupon

    What a lame analysis. I love how you substituted “some people” for the fact that an ATHEIST academic from Oxford University itself is calling Craig on cowardice. Can’t even face the fact?

    And, actually, Craig is lined up to debate some very capable people ALL of which have Oxford credentials and his lecture on The God Delusion will be responded to by Oxford scholars including agnostics and atheists.

    Face it, your New Atheist guru is yet to evolve a spine.