Sunday, August 14, 2011

Debate with William Lane Craig

I am debating "does god exist" on 17th October 2011 at Westminster Hall. Tickets are £12.50 and available at http://www.premier.org.uk/craig

Please publicize as much as you can. It would be good to get both sides well represented in the audience.

100 comments:

Steven Carr said...

William Lane Craig always has the same spiel.

Has he insisted upon speaking first?

Paul Baird said...

I sincerely hope you research the guy and his debate technique.

If you decide not to address his mass of questions in an area then say so and briefly explain why.

WLC can be 'beaten' but it requires forethought.

Stephen Law said...

Sure.

Paul Baird said...

As Steven says - don't agree that WLC goes first. He likes to micro-manage the format to his own advantage.

Anonymous said...

Please do not approach this with anything less than 100% preparation otherwise he will wipe the floor with you.
I suggest if you have not already done so listen to his debates as located here http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=50
Particularly the debate with Arif Ahmed who pretty much rolled him
Peter Slezak did a good job with morality
Ray Bradley rolled him on god and hell
Richard Carrier who has some good materials on the reserection though the reserection has no place in a debate on god (rather than the christian god)
See also Mapping the Kalam by Luke Muehlhauser at http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1212
There is no concept of philosophical charity in a debate with Craig only a win or loss

Steven Carr said...

Why not print out Craig's article on killing innocent children Slaughter and put a copy on each seat in the venue?

exapologist said...

I second Paul's recommendations. He's going to give the following arguments:

(i) the kalam cosmological argument (esp. both a priori and scientific evidence for an absolute beginning of the universe). I'd be sure to know his lines of argument he uses here, his standard replies to criticisms, and then the replies by Wes Morriston and Paul Draper (in particular, their criticisms of his arguments against the existence and traversability of actual infinites). He has yet to adequately respond to these criticisms anywhere in the literature.

Also, he's going to hammer the argument from Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin that on any possible interpretation of the data, no matter how many universes there are, and even if there's a multiverse, there has to be an absolute beginning to space and time.

(ii) the fine-tuning argument. He's going to know the standard replies (many universes, etc.), so make sure you know ahead of time how you would reply to his replies.

(iii) an abductive argument for the resurrection of Jesus (based on evidence accepted by the consensus of scholarship across the spectrum views -- not just conservative Christian scholars) based on three lines of data: (a) his burial, (b)the putative appearances that seem to be of Jesus alive after his death, and (c) the origin of the Chrisian faith. I wouldn't just give a Humean critique of miracles, unless you know how to adequately and rigorously critique Earman's book, Hume's Abject Failure, because he will clearly articulate Earman's critiques of Hume's case against miracles.

Instead, I'd recommend replying with Bart Ehrman's abductive argument for the mainstream view among New Testament critics that Jesus was fundamentally a failed apocalyptic prophet of an imminent end of the world. Then you can meet him on his own terms and offer a defeater of his resurrection argument (the probability that Yahweh would raise a false prophet is virtually nil).


Good luck!
-EA

Tony Lloyd said...

Have you seen him do the "bait and switch" on Bart Ehrman?

http://bit.ly/nxskBY (quite long)

Craig outlines his evidence for the resurrection. Later in the debate he discusses Hume's argument against miracles using Bayes. To do this he starts calling the evidence "E", so that he can stick it in an equation and discuss the equation in the abstract. This he does, and does quite a good job of it. Now it's time to relate the evidence back to the problem, to stop calling it E.

When Craig does this he "brings back" entirely different evidence". The whole Bayesian discussion was a bit of misdirection whilst his "lovely assistant" switched Es backstage. (The evidence for the resurrection is the Gospels, Pauline writings etc. Ehrman used Hume to argue the this E could not possibly support belief in the resurrection. After discussing Hume Craig takes the resurrection as the "evidence" a claims it supports belief in miracles).

This is what you're up against.

And the guy has zero respect for evidence and no willingness to subject his own ideas to criticism:

http://bit.ly/nxskBY (short and quite shocking)

Peter Byrom said...

Homework really pays off here. There is a long list of weak objections Craig regularly deals with (eg people mis-representing premise one of the Kalam, confusing ontology with epistemology... Poor Lawrence Krauss didn't seem to remotely understand - nor have heard of - the argument from Contingency)!

I write this as somebody partial to Craig but also wanting to see some juicy philosophical challenges that can really test his arguments! From what I've seen, however, this only appears to happen when a person has so thoroughly researched them that they can filter their rebuttals through Craig's "frequently asked and already dealt with" list.

Looking forward to it greatly and ticket booked already! :-)

Jojo Jacob said...

My strategy to "beat" Craig.
1) Debunk the Kalam argument.
http://sites.google.com/site/mccormickphilosophy/

2)Deny that absolute moral value exist.

Arif Ahmed vs Gelnn (available)on the premier christian radio site.

3) expose the fallacy of the fine tuning argument.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt-UIfkcgPY

Jojo Jacob said...

test

Adzcliff said...

I've always found Craig to be deliberately slippery and intellectually dishonest. Whilst his tactics might be acceptable in a schoolroom debating competition - where the aim is to out-argue your opponent on random position - I have no time for them when truth and reality are the potential casualties.

Unfortunately I'll not be able to make it to this event - does anyone know if it's being recorded?

Peter Byrom said...

Paul, it's silly to try and scandalize Craig as wanting to control the debate format.

Not only is it standard practice for the affirmative position to go first anyway, it actually gives the opponent an ADVANTAGE: more preparation time for rebuttal, as well as having the last word.

Michael Young said...

Not to knock technical expertise in the minutae of philosophy of religion, but are popular debates of the sort proposed really about who gets the better of a technical argument? Surely most non-philosophical audiences are ill-equipped in any case to evaluate hyper-technical philosophical arguments. Faced with such an exchange, the audience will never really be challenged (because they won't understand what is going on), but will instead resort to blind cheering whenever their guy seems to score a rhetorical point.

I'm not sure I know what precisely one should do instead; but I have this unease about recommending the sort of thing which would play well in a room of graduate students but not in a popular forum.

Maybe the thing to do is to actually face the sorts of reasons which real, ordinary people (take themselves to) have re: religious belief. Most people who are religious are not religious because it was the inevitable conclusion to an unavoidable chain of philosophical reasoning. Most people are religious because they fear that, without religion, they would lose something important. (Like morality, or an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing, or a sense of place in the universe, or a sense of place in a community.) Maybe if one could challenge that (admittedly inchoate) sense of things, the debate might really be a worthwhile exercise.

PaulJ said...

I'd recommend Craig's debate with Shelly Kagan (though in that case the topic was morality).

An object lesson in debating the question of morality with a theist.

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Stephen,

I hope that this is recorded for us overseas bloggers of interest.

I have absolutely no time for Craig and I'm amazed that he's given the 'respect' that he's acquired.

I wish you the best of luck. Don't lose your equanimity - I think it's your best trait in highly contentious debates.

Regards, Paul.

exapologist said...

Here is a link to the debate between moral philosopher Shelly Kagan (Yale) and William Lane Craig on whether God is necessary for morality. It offers an excellent presentation of Craig's moral argument for God (including Craig's standard "moves" in reply, as well as a thorough and devastating critique of it.

Jojo Jacob said...

This debunks the kalam argument.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD9MtIma5YU

There is a youtube video of Brian Green which says the universe did not begin to exist

Jojo Jacob said...

Keith parsons literally beat Craig

Jojo Jacob said...

I am a fan of Steve's devil god hypothesis. But that would not be enough to beat Craig. If I were to debate Craig and get the chance the speak first, I would use his cosmological argument to "prove" that the universe the created by an alien civilization. To prove the resurrection, Craig uses "3" facts. To prove my alien theory, I could cite "countless" facts, including living eyewitnesses.

Jojo Jacob said...

It is good to watch Craig vs shelly Kagan debate. I personally fell, Kagan demolished the demand command theory.

Jojo Jacob said...

Great video. Standard big bang model does not say the universe came from nothing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfvq1J7eVpU&feature=related

Jojo Jacob said...

Nail him on "nothing". He does not know what is he talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsYitVJMYOM&feature=related

He accuses scientists of using "nothing" in a naive sense. He is a lunatic.

Jojo Jacob said...

Richard dawkins given a brilliant gives an example of how improbable things to happen. Statical improbability argument of fine-tuning could be refuted using a modified version of Richard's example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGGmuUvA2Mg&feature=related

Vic stinger gives a beautiful example of how improbable happen all the time. It is worth watching VIc vs Craig debate.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Tony, that is a shocking video. After watching that, one is left wondering why Craig bothers to engage in debates at all (aside from appearance fees).

Peter Byrom said...

I would also like to say, Stephen, I agree with Alvin Plantinga that you appear to be a far more thorough atheist than Dawkins. I enjoyed listening to you on Unbelievable and I have every confidence that you will focus on the arguments and not the contrived silliness which can surround and distract from it (sadly, some of that seems to be exhibited here in the comment posts)!

Philosophy all the way! :-D

Steven Carr said...

Why are you giving a platform to somebody who writes articles defending genocide?

I quote Craig 'God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

Craig's solution is for his alleged god to have all the children killed.

How much would it cost to print out Craig's article and put a copy on each seat? I am willing to donate towards the cost.

Steven Carr said...

Why are you giving a platform to somebody who writes articles defending genocide?

I quote Craig 'God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

Craig's solution is for his alleged god to have all the children killed.

How much would it cost to print out Craig's article and put a copy on each seat? I am willing to donate towards the cost.

Rocky said...

I question the wisdom of debating a man 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.

Matt McCormick does a pastiche of it with unicorn belief, here:

http://atheismblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/defense-lawyers-for-jesus.html

You could put literally any (equally) ludicrous claim in place of Craig's and it'd be as credible as his 'witness of the holy spirit'.

Despite that, seeing as you are debating him and having watched that Kagan video before, it's worth watching as it's an object lesson in how to handle the stream of assertions (it becomes apparent quite quickly that a lot of what he says is simply asserted as a fact minus any substantive argument), absurd claims he's likely to make and the much higher standard of proof that he holds his opponent's positions to compared with his own

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the news is getting out there re Craig.

One more point, as it hasn't been mentioned already: be ready for the response that you're conflating moral ontology with moral semantics. He could easily use that one against you if you start defending your 'evil god' argument.

See his past debates for examples...

skydivephil said...

Great to see our video on Fine Tuning was recommended by another viewer, weve made a new one on Kalam here
http://www.youtube.com/user/skydivephil
its had great reviews from Richard Carrier and PZ Myers, hope you can watch it, we deal with very up to date cosmology.
My number 1 piece of advice is talk to Sean Caroll at Cosmic Variance blog and Caltech. he's very very knowledgable about cosmology and Craig's arguments or read his posts on god and cosmology. Dont understimate WLC. Prep and prep as much as you can. he knows his stuff and how to bend the facts to make it seem like it fits. Contact Marcus at physics forums. He reviewed our Kalam video and is also an expert in the field of cosmology. Its imperative you talk to the experts in the field and prep yourself on it.

Anonymous said...

As the others have said, PLEASE do your very best to prepare for the debate. Study Craig's arguments, watch his debates on youtube to get a feel for his debating technique, etc. Many atheists in the past underestimated Craig, and were thoroughly defeated. I, and the others, don't wish to see the same thing happening to you.

Good luck.


Sincerely, A Fan.

Dingo said...

Congrats and good luck on this debate.

A couple of good links regarding Craig and his style of argumentation.

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=2963

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10018

The great benefit that you have is your philosophical expertise. You should be able to call Craig on a lot of his bluffs.

Swifter358 said...

William Lane Craig vs. Massimo Pigliucci is good I highly recommend

http://bit.ly/Apologetics315-CraigPigliucciDebate

Jojo Jacob said...

http://spot.colorado.edu/~morristo/Morriston-Craig-kalam-dialogue-debate.html

Anonymous said...

In relation to these debates the review comments made by Luke Muehlhauser at http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392 say it all

You need apply the KISS principle to a debate of this nature.

For example in his debate Ahmed floored Craigs moral argument with, “Dr. Craig says that objective moral values exist, and I think we all know it. Now that might pass for an argument at Talbot Theological Seminary, and it might pass for an argument in the White House, but this is Cambridge, and it will not pass for an argument here.”

However I think he could have turned Craigs moral argument back on him(an essential debating tactic)in the following way.

Craig's moral argument is:
1 If god does not exist then objective moral values do not exist
2 Objective moral values exist
3 therefore god exists.

In response to the Euthyphro dilemma when it is raised against him Craig attempts to avoid the horns of the dilemma essentially by saying god is the locus/embodyment of good.

Based on his moral argument and response to the Euthyphro dilemma it seems reasonable to formulate an argument as follows.

1 If god exists then objective moral values exist.
2 Objective moral values do not exist.
3 therefore god does not exists.

Premise 1 seems to reasonably arise from, amongst other things, Craig's moral argument and his response to the Euthyphro dilemma.

Premise 2 seems plausible based on real world observations.

Therefore god does not exist.

If you want to carry the audience it is essential to KISS the arguments while attempting to maintain some integrity something I'm not convinced is high on Craig's list.

As for Craig railing(and he does not have an argument simply emotive appeals eg tourturing children)about the desent into moral relativism, Rawls veiled original position or ideal obsever positions are, amongst others, real world practical answers to pinning values down

Anonymous said...

BTW
Craig or his offsiders will trawl your web/blog sites for clues as to how you will approach debate so you might want to keep some things close to the chest with a view to getting him on the back foot.

Further it is not unheard of for Craig to push arguments his opponent has used in different places into the debate probably with a view to redirecting his opponents attention and wasting their time. Unless you have relied on those arguments they are irrelevant and do not require a response save to say that such a tactic on his part is improper.

I have also heard Craig call his opponent for not responding to an argument when in fact they have.

If this debate is recorded you should insist on the right to a copy and to be able to post it on the web so the interested who cannot attend can hear it. Maybe a live podcast would be the go.

Jojo Jacob said...

My humble opinion is to "assault" Craig in your opening statement like what Arif did. Arif explicitly mentioned that Crig was not trained in maths. If you ever consider my suggestion, this could be of help.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SRg7ghaiRs&feature=related

Eric said...

Excellent! I'm looking forward to the debate.

Now I know that you don't need me to tell you this, but I'm going to say it anyway: ;)

Ignore anyone (like JoJo Jacob or Tony Lloyd) who (1) suggests that Craig is stupid, dishonest or uninformed; ignore anyone who (2) suggests that Craig's arguments are obviously weak and easily refuted; and ignore anyone who (3) claims that Craig's debate successes result from his 'debate tricks' and 'rhetoric' and not from his arguments. If you listen to people like that, we'll all miss out on what should have been a truly great debate. (In my opinion, you're a *much* better opponent for Craig than Toynbee or Dawkins as far as bringing challenges to Craig's arguments and providing challenging positive arguments is concerned.)

sherlock holmes said...

Here are some tips:
- KALAM: Argue that decision making is a temporal process and incompatible with a timeless god
-Argue for b theory of time(kalam is dependent on A theory)

-FINETUNING: -Puddle thinking
-human frame of reference is not statistically significant

sherlock holmes said...

-FINETUNING: -Puddle thinking
-human frame of reference is not statistically significant See more at (http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Anthropic_principle
-not fine tuned, actually very hostile universe

MORAL ARGUMENT: -morality based upon a characteristic or opnion of a person is subjective
- see his debate with shelly kagan on youtube

JESUS: - Begs the question Assume the supernatural to try to prove the supernatural

BE PREPARED for debate,do not be like most of people that debate him: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10018

Stephen Law said...

Many thaks for all the tips and advice. I appreciate it.

drcraigvideos said...

LOL! My, my! I find it absolutely humorous how atheists are going nutts about William Lane Craig's style of debate, while warning Stephen Law about his tactics. It's only little ol' William Lane Craig guys. Eddie Tabash predicted every counter argument Craig made and look what happened, Tabash still got beat.

Anyway, Stephen Law... Sir, I'm glad you're debating WLC. I very much prefer you more than Toynbee. And if you could, tell Dawkins to put his money where his mouth is and stop disrespecting Craig and debate him.

Jojo Jacob said...

Eric,

I stick to what I said. He is not a philosopher. He wins only because of his debating tricks. His arguments are fallacious. I would like to know that would be the objections to my "version" of the Kalam argument.
1)Everything which exists and existed has a cause.
2)The universe exists.
3)So, the universe has a cause.

ThealityBites said...

Heya, I'm a Christian, and I'm eager to see a good solid debate, and to see Dr Craig put through his paces. Having traded emails with him a few times regarding his past debates, I know he's looking forward to a challenge also!

I have to reiterate what your fans have said earlier about underestimating Dr Craig in certain points:

- Firstly, that he relies solely on rhetoric and showmanship. If you polish a turd, it's still a turd. He's been using the same core five arguments for over twenty years now, and if it was all a smoke screen, he'd surely not be debating any more.

This works to your advantage, though, because you can walk in with your first rebuttal pretty much written in advance.

- Second, do not underestimate his ability to control the flow of the debate. He seems to have a near eidetic memory for arguments, and will systematically address your arguments one at a time, show how he has attempted to dismantle each argument, and then show which of his arguments you have failed to address.

You can, obviously, do the same. Keep track of each line of reasoning, and the most recent rebuttal on both sides. Present them in similar order to the way he does, and reaffirm why you believe your case is a strong one.

- Lastly, be gracious and friendly. There's a good man behind the brilliant mind, and one thing that has turned off more debate viewers than anything else is cheap mud slinging (Don't know you, not assigning this to you specifically, but a large portion of Dr Craigs opponents have gone on to write some fairly nasty stuff after debating him).

If you can cross the floor and shake his hand when all is said and done, I'll salute you, and invite my side of the conversation to do the same.

Enjoy, and give us all a great debate!

Thrasymachus said...

1) As others have said, know well the likely argument Craig is going to use (he uses the same stuff, with minor variations, all the time).

2) coin toss on who goes first. If you win, go first.

3) Check rebuttal time, and hold for as long a second round as you can. Craig usually gives 5-6 arguments in his first round, then can have fun calling drops if you can't attack them all in the time. Obviously, if there is a shorter R2, try to use lots of (defensible) arguments yourself.

4) Have fun.

Anonymous said...

These debates on God are so 'last year'. As 'exapologst' has outlined there is nothing new on the table here. If we're seriously recomending replies to a debate which has yet to take place then so much for originality. This says more about the male psyche than philosophy.

Trialist

Jojo Jacob said...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4215701495371837912

Paul Wright said...

Let's not build Craig up too much: there's always Chris Hallquist disagreeing with Common Sense Atheist Luke's praise for Craig.

On the resurrection of Jesus, it's always seemed that Craig's argument is circular, since in Craig vs Ehrman, he accepts that the resurrection is fantastically improbable if God didn't do it, but claims that we cannot say it's improbable if God was involved. That seems tricky to me: either any claim which seems unlikely to us can be bolstered by the "but not if God did it" argument, or Craig is claiming some specific knowledge of the sorts of things God would be likely to do.

In the latter case, there's a claim that God is the sort of God who'd resurrect Jesus, but the major evidence that Craig advances for this is the resurrection itself (since the earlier of Craig's 5 ways arguments get you to deism, not the Christianity that Craig's hoping to persuade his audience of). I've not really seen Craig address this apparent circularity other than by hand waving about the "historico-religious context" of Jesus' resurrection, which seems to mean "oh yes, and the Old Testament is true as well, but not the way the Jews read it".

These sort of claims about what God would do also seem to raise problems for Craig's sceptical theism, which is his usual response to the evidential argument from evil. See John D's summary of a paper by Rob Lovering on the subject.

Of course, if Craig's reading this, he's getting a warning about what your readers think are the problems with his arguments, so you'd better come of with some new ones to have the advantage of surprise :-)

Matt said...

As a student of McCormicks, I want to add one more thing:

If/when Craig starts talking about his "Sensus Divinitatus" point out that it is not public evidence. His argument no longer has prescriptive value. It's a sly switch from an argument proving God's existence, to an argument proving that HE believes in God... There's no question that he believes in God.

Or, conversely, as M brings up, you could just claim a "Sensus Atheistus" -an inner sense that God is not real. :P

Cheers, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

A paper by Neil Manson
The fine tuning argument
http://home.olemiss.edu/~namanson/Fine%20tuning%20argument.pdf

"Second Problem for FTA: Fine-Tuning is not Improbable
A quite different objection to FTA is that the very concept of probability
does not apply when it comes to the values of the fundamental cosmic
parameters. To help see this problem, we must first realize that presentations
of the fine-tuning data typically do not say anything at all about probability.
Instead, claims of fine-tuning are usually presented in terms of counterfactual
conditionals wherein expressions such as ‘slight difference’, ‘small
change’, ‘delicate balance’, ‘precise’, ‘different by n%’, ‘different by one part
in 10n’, and ‘tuned to the nth decimal place’ appear in the antecedent."

This paper highlights the fatal flaw with the current probabilistic fine tuning argument.

It really is the simple way to end Craigs design argument. It is the formal encapsulation of Ahmeds argument in his debate.

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Stephen,

You strike me as someone who doesn't get into arguments where you don't have the knowledge, whereas I believe Craig does.

So I'd say: be careful about getting into cosmological arguments depending how well-read you are in that area. I'm currently reading John D. Barrow's and Frank J. Tipler's The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1986), and it's a heavy-going text that covers the entire history of science as well as contemporary cosmology (right up to string theory) which they call 'Kaluza-Klein cosmologies' (in 1986).

I know you've read Paul Davies' The Goldilocks Enigma, which covers just about every conceivable cosmology, from the farcical to the most up-to-date scientific reasoning. I would only make one point that I've gained from reading both these books: the 'anthropic principle' does not equate to 'intelligent design'. In other words, there are many philosophical positions one can take on why the universe happened to create intelligent creatures known as humans, no matter how low the probability. The point is that we can only exist in a universe that did, hence the 'weak anthropic principle' which is espoused by both Barrow and Davies.

As Barrow and Tipler point out, this is distinct from the 'strong anthropic principle' which says that the universe exists because we're in it, and Davies argues a specific position that was originally postulated by physicist, John Wheeler (who was mentored by Niels Bohr) that still doesn't involve God.

If you want to read a book on cosmology in preparation, I'd recommend Barrow's latest book, The Book of Universes. It's much easier to read than the one he cowrote with Tipler and it covers the entire history of astronomy and cosmology from Stonehenge to String Theory.

Regards, Paul.

Aquinas said...

Stephen get ready to be pwned by Dr. William Lane craig just like the 25+ previous debate opponents. there cant be any winning against WLC because atheist have no arguments of their own and they have no answers to the theistic arguments. so all u can hope for is to make the defeat a bit less painful. i'll be waiting for the debate.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Aquinas, first of all, I am curious to know whether you subscribe to the view that Aquinas was one of the saints who could levitate or not?

In answer to your comment "atheist have no arguments of their own and they have no answers to the theistic arguments", I must reply in two parts:

1. As for atheists having no arguments, you must live in either a hole or monastery. We have records of pre-Socratic philosophers questioning the existence of god and pummeling the theological constructs of their times - this tradition began centuries before the birth of your supposed Christ and continues to the present. It is unclear if you are basing your comment on the writings of the four horsemen or if you have actually engaged the writings of some of the leading atheist thinkers such as Graham Oppy or Paul Draper, not to mention the skewering that the Bible takes from scholars such as Hector Avalos and Bart Ehrman who are not (like Craig) theologically committed to the text.

2. As for atheists having no answers, there is no onus on us to do so. We are comfortable with saying "we don't have a clue" or perhaps "this question might not have an answer or might even be incoherent". You see, you don't have to have the answer to know that another answer is wrong.

Thank-you for posting your comment because you have nicely summarized the difference between theists and atheists. We prefer unanswered questions (which we continue to strive to answer) to your unquestioned answers.

Paul P. Mealing said...

By the way, there is a fundamental difference between design and biological evolution. With a design, it's only the end result that serves a purpose, whereas in biological evolution there is no end result per se, and everything leading up to the current generation was an end result in itself.

Barrow and Tipler (referenced in above comment) make this point in regard to William Paley's famous watch analogy. No intermediate stage of the watch could be used to tell the time. To quote them: 'An unfinished watch does not work...'

Regards, Paul.

Peter Byrom said...

@Aquinas

I'd urge you to show more respect for Stephen Law. He's graciously stepped in to replace Toynbee, and from what I've seen of him he is a far more reflective and analytically-minded atheist than many of those who have refused to debate Craig.

Let's not join in the jeering for "pwnage" but rather support a debate where academic arguments can be tested and scrutinised. That is what these events are for.

Anonymous said...

The Kalam Argument is Craigs centerpiece
It boils down to
(1)Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
(2)The universe began to exist.
(3)Therefore, the universe has a cause.

I think there is a serious contradiction in Dr Craig’s argument about beginings.
He claims there are no actual infinities yet he claims there has to be a singularity implying a beginning of time. Craig’s own words in Cosmos and the Creator:
“When the expansion is coupled with the 1968 Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems, it leads, via a time-reversed extrapolation, to a universe which began at a point in the finite past, before which it literally did not exist. That initial event has come to be known as the “Big Bang.” This cosmological singularity, from which the universe sprang, marked the beginning, not only of all matter and energy in the universe, but of physical space and time themselves. ”
Since singularities contain infinities,, heres Alan Guth’s definition of a singularity:
“an infinite density, infinite pressure and infinite temperature… the singularity is sometimes said to mark the beginning of time , but it is more realistic to recognise that an extrapolation to infinite density cannot be trusted.” (The Inflationary Universe)Craig’s argument seems to me to then be a contradiction. he denies infinities when it suits him :eternal past yet embraces them when they suit him : singularities.
However His own proposition that actual infinities do not exist can be turned into an argument against god
eg If god exists then god has actual infinite power.
Actual infinite's do not exist
Therefore god does not exist

This sort of argument highlights in a dramatic and understandable way the problems with his argument and force him into a redefence in his rebuttal period plus having to rebutt rebut yours he then has time management issues and when he splits the hairs and starts suggesting gods powers are qualitative and the actual infinities he is speaking of are quantitative one can hammer the fact that he is simply playing word games for god , actual infinities either exist or they don't and all he is doing is splitting semantic hairs for his god

One can then move on and use Wes Morristons excellent arguments in his paper, "Must the begining of the universe have a personal cause"
http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/wes/wes2craig1.pdf
To refute and turn arguments back on Craig. Craig and Morriston have had this argument and Craigs responses are available on his web sirte to enable you to prepare counter arguments and turns.

You can obtain transcripts of some of Craig's previous debates from Luke Muehlhauser's site at http://commonsenseatheism.com/

Because of the time limits you need your argument/s mapped, timed and practiced. I find the shower is a good place to run the argument and hone it, hone it, hone it.

Anonymous said...

A few other things I have picked up from listening to his debates that might be of interest/use

Craig has in the past used ridicule against his opponents, the worst example was in his debate with Bart Ehrman where he wheeled out Bayes Theorem and then ridiculed Ehrman with phrases like Barts blunder. I would love to see this happen to Craig and while I have not looked into it he has often said words to the effect that, "on naturalism the resurrection is a non starter". To me that suggests P(R!N)=0 and I would be interested to know if the insertion of that P into Bayes Theorem would leave P(R!God)=0

Craig in his 5th argument "This isn’t really an argument for God’s existence; rather it’s the claim that you can know that God exists wholly apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing Him" is often supplemented by Craig when challenged by him suggesting that unless you establish his experience is 'delusional' then he see no reason to abandon it. His own words and when you hear the emotion with which he speaks them for example "They're just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on a infinitesimal speck of dust called the planet Earth, lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe, and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time." really show the this man is really invested in his absolute significance to the universe and simply cannot accept he is going to end up dust, that simply cannot happen to the great W Craig and he will cling to anything including abandoning reason where required to maintain the eternal existence of W Craig.

Its interesting that the 5th argument is in his own words not an argument yet it relies on experiences that in his moral argument, "But the fact is that objective moral values do exist, and we all know it." he seems to count as appropriate. I don't believe you get to have it both ways.

Maybe Luke Muehlhauser's has the answer

"The reason I’m an atheist isn’t because of the argument from evil or from unbelief or from inconsistent revelations or anything. No, the reason I’m an atheist is because theism drastically fails Solomonoff induction.

If I want to pull somebody away from magical thinking, I don’t need to mention atheism. Instead, I teach them Kolmogorov complexity and Bayesian updating. I show them the many ways our minds trick us. I show them the detailed neuroscience of human decision-making. I show them that we can see (in the brain) a behavior being selected up to 10 seconds before a person is consciously aware of ‘making’ that decision. I explain timelessness.

And if they have time to consume enough math and science, then The God Question just fades away as not even a question worth talking about."
http://commonsenseatheism.com/

I think he is right, god is dead there is no debating that.

T. A. Lewis said...

Stephen,

I recently dealt with Craig's cosmological argument in a chapter in my thesis. I'm not 100% sure, but I think it may be original or at least have some original elements. I'd be happy to send you the chapter if you are interested.

Bogdan said...

Don't let Craig lead the debate by having you focus on his cumulative case argument. Come prepared with your own. This is very important to keep in mind, otherwise the debate will be all about his case. If you come with your own arguments he will have to take the time to address them rather than just defend his own. This strategy was employed by Austin Dacey. You should check his debates with Craig from 2004 and 2005.I do however think atheism is capable of offering stronger arguments than Dacey did. You should choose carefully.

el ninio said...

I know you received a lot of advice but I hope you won't mind receiving one more. If you plan on using the Evidential Argument from Evil as part of your case I suggest you check out the responses to the Skeptical Theism objection to this argument. Craig is known for using this approach.
Best of luck!

Jojo Jacob said...

Aquinas,

Could you please explain the "sweet" silence of Craig during his debate with Ray Bradley. Has your Lord (Craig)ever admitted that he did not have any response to Bradley's question?

"I am asking you to confront some examples of possibilities".

Jojo Jacob said...

My hunch is that Lord Craig is not going to use his KCA. He might use the "contingency" stuff.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8629

http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/2010/05/william-lane-craigs-arguments-for-god.html

Jojo Jacob said...

This exposes Craig's "best explanation" non-sense. Most of the Indian experts say this is a man-made stuff. Who did that? There is no natural explanation. So, Lord Rama did it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_Bridge

Jason Coffey said...

I'm a Christian from the USA and have greatly enjoyed listening to podcasts of your appearances on "Unbelievable". You are obviously very intelligent and I respect your calm, well-thought critiques of the arguments you oppose. I'm very excited that you are debating Dr. Craig! What a great replacement for Toynbee. It will be a great conversation, I'm sure of it. I only wish I could attend in person! Even though I have a different worldview than yours I respect you and look forward to hearing this debate via podcast as I do your other discussions on "Unbelievable".

Mark said...

I think some people do Craig a disservice by implying that he wins his debates by virtue of having better debating skills or being deceitful and dishonest. Surely it is difficult to win a debate if your beliefs and arguments are as ludicrous as people claim Craig's to be.

As an agnostic who has listened to or watched many of Craig's debates online, I have to admit that he has won them all. In a number of cases, this is probably down to the ridiculous arguments presented by his opponent. For example, Peter Atkins argued that the universe is just a "reorganisation of nothing". Others bang on about the universe 'bootstrapping' itself into existence or infinities of universes just popping into being. To my mind, these kind of arguments can be taken no more seriously than Dawkins' "God did it!" characterisation of theistic belief.

Anonymous said...

I smell fear...

Overland Park dui lawyer said...

These debates on God are so 'last year'. As 'exapologst' has outlined there is nothing new on the table here. If we're seriously recomending replies to a debate which has yet to take place then so much for originality.

Anonymous said...

Here are some unsolicited suggestions. I hope they may prove useful.
I advise exposing his assumptions. Assumptions are just that ---assumed, nothing necessary about them. tell why it is unreasonable or at least no necessity whatsoever to subscribe to his assumptions; say that it is more reasonable, more common sensical to hold a different assumption. Demand proof, arguments, for the
assumptions in his arguments. Expose the assumptions in whatever arguments he replies with--if he does not try to ignore your demand. Don't let him ignore the demand---let the hearer know he is ignoring the demand because he has no answer.
Then also argue that--given the success of science---a simple reliance on the action of some all powerful entity,--is no substitute for real inquiry and investigation, leading to genuine knowledge. If science were to invoke some god or other to explain things,instead of a scientific mechanism, there would be no science at all---it would never have developed. People generally respect the results and findings of science.
Invoke Ockham: god is neither a necessary concept, nor a productive
one; people have their own moral sense even if they don't believe in a god--- god is superfluous;
make it clear that whatever intelligence is in the universe can be explained equally well without a god or indeed any anthropomorphic omnipotent entity at all. And whatever magnificence the universe has, stands on its own, without need for any god behind it.
No necessity for god.
And define god. Define god such that it is clear that such a notion is unecessary and even silly. Show how vague or ill defined it is, so ill defined that
it really doesn't have any more significance than a general description of the universe
And, of course, invoke your intuition that there is no such creature, anymore than there is a father christmas or Pegasus or Pan.
That's about it. I hope these rather vague admonishments can be of some use. My understanding is that Craig has lots of rhetorical tricks to spring and wish I knew more so I could address them specifically. I wish you success.
Finally, really, it will come down to intuitions--religion and atheism always does.
I personally think there really is no necessity to conclude there is a god (whatever the hell that means) nor necessity to conclude that there isn't. I have no attraction to the issue at all, either way.

Anonymous said...

I recommend attacking the first premise of the kalam rather than the second. Craig isn't very willing to provide any actual defense of premise 1 in debate and spends the whole time defending 2. Here are some problems I see with (1).

http://atheologic.blogspot.com/2011/08/kalam-cosmological-argument-premise-1.html

Ian Logan said...

You will, I am sure, get the beating you deserve. I shall be there to enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

In olden-golden days the saying was: When there was nothing, there was God. When there will be nothing again, there will still be God.
But then came the scientists and changed everything. The above saying also changed to this: When there was nothing, there were quantum laws. When there will be nothing again, there will still be quantum laws.
These quantum laws are spaceless, timeless, changeless, eternal, all-pervading, unborn, uncreated and immaterial. Only that these laws lack consciousness. In every other respect they are just like God.
These quantum laws are spaceless, timeless and immaterial, because when there was no space, no time and no matter, there were still these quantum laws. (Vilenkin’s model)
These quantum laws are all-pervading, because these laws act equally everywhere.
These quantum laws are scientists' God.
Amen.

Philip said...

Apparently people don't have very much faith in you, Dr. Law. Either that, or they are all eager for their own shots at Dr. Craig as well.

Speaking of debates, how is the Swinburne video coming along?

Jojo Jacob said...

Let the physicists and cosmologists stop all the fucking research. Dr Craig knows that the universe has a cause and the cause is an immaterial, impersonal, powerful being who was wandering for billion of years and then started impregnating women in the most uncivilized part of the world.!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Law

I am very pleased to hear this - your book "The Philosophy Gym" was what inspired me to study philosophy at degree level. Two philosophers going at it head to head is always entertaining.

Hopefully this will be an enlightening and thought-provoking debate. Even though I guess I 'bat for the other side' so to speak (ie. believe in 'god') I am most disappointed in many of the debates between Dr. Craig and prominent atheists - I am sure you will do much better and (hopefully) open up some minds to investigating the philosophical basis for their beliefs etc.

Not meaning to sound patronising, but I think I (and many others) cannot stress the importance of preparation - I suspect a big part of why Dr. Craig has won his debates against, for example, Mr Hitchens and Dr. Harris is that they either did not familiarise themselves with his arguments beforehand or ended up resorting to what probably came across as snide and irrelevent quips. Whilst I'm sure it will be a very mixed audience, I suspect that such behaviour will not make the more dogmatic believers very receptive to your arguments.

I am disappointed that I will be unable to attend but it will no doubt surface on youtube for all our enjoyment.

Best of luck (although hopefully you wont need it)

PropellerHeadCase said...

William Lane Craig is fascinating to watch - clearly very intelligent, or rather wily - his arguments are merely more educated and eloquently argued versions of any creationist you care to mention. Ultimately he always has to slip in an assertion of God's existence in order to prove god's existence, which is circular reasoning. Just like Comfort's Scientific evidences of god, all that is proved is the individual's belief, which isn't in dispute.

Justin said...

You could always respond to KALAM with this little ditty showing that even if Kalam follows, it could not be the Christian God because such a being is ontologically perfect while also being an intentional actor of creating the first object to join him in the set of things that exist....

A COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT FOR THE NON-EXISTENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN GOD

KEY:

T1 = The the state of affairs when God was the only thing in the set of things that exist.
T2 = The state of affairs when God intentionally added to the set of things that exist.

(T1, T2 and T3 are causally, not necessairly temporally chronological)



1. Christians believe that this current state of affairs (T3), the set of existing things contains God, Physical Universe, Heaven, Hell (etc.)

2. Christians believe God is the only item in the set of existing things that has always been in the set of existing things. (God has always existed.)

3. There was a state of affairs (T1) when nothing but God was in the set of existing things.

4. God is ontologically perfect.

5. At that state of affairs (T1), the set of existing things was ontologically perfect. (3, 4)

6. Then, there was a state of affairs (T2) when God, through Intentional action, brought the very first Non-God thing into the set of existing things. (1, 3)

7. Intentional action entails a desire(s).



8, A desire entails that some other logically possible ontological state is preferable than the current one, that is to say, the current ontological state of the set of things that exist is not perfect.

9. God must have recognized a lack of ontological perfection while God was the only thing in the set of existing things. (6, 7,)

10. It is logically impossible for a set of existence to be ontologically perfect and not be ontologically perfect at the same time. (5, 9)

11. The Christian God has traditionally been defined as being ontologically perfect and has been said to intentionally add to the set of existing things.

12. God, if he exists, is either not ontologically perfect or has not intentionally added to the set of existing things.


13. The Christian God is logically impossible.

I am sure you could write a better version.

Peter Byrom said...

By the way, Stephen, I've been very curious for a while to see Craig's Kalam examined on whether or not it commits equivocation. People have highlighted his use of "begins to exist" and whether or not it jumps between "ex nihilo" and "existent material re-arranging".

He's responded to these objections already, but I've not really heard much substantive challenge put to him in debate, on this issue, it seems to resurface more regularly at the moment, in the general blogosphere.

Would be fascinating to see what you make of it!

Hope holidays go well! :-)

Michael Baldwin said...

Disappointed to see the amount of negativity in a lot of these comments. I, for one, think it's going to be a very interesting debate with two very intelligent philosophers.

Also bit puzzled by people saying you should not let Craig go first- it would be strange for the affirming speaker, in this case WLC, to go second, especially given the fact that you will probably argue that absence of evidence for God is evidence of his absence. Given that fact, what your commentors expect you to say in your opening speech when WLC hasn't even had the chance to give the case for theism is anybody's guess. Let the affirming speaker go first, and look forward to a very interesting and cordial debate. Much like your debate with Plantinga, I expect you will have some very constructive things to say.
Looking forward to it! =)

Buzz Moonman said...

G’day Stephen

As Sir Humphrey would say, "That's very brave of you, Stephen"

I've been following your blog for a couple of years with interest, and have read a few of your excellent books but think that you have chosen to argue with Lane in the area of public speaking, which is his greatest strength and your greatest weakness. Your greatest strength is the written word, which is Lane's greatest weakness. Just try reading a transcript of one of his debates and then look at the video of it. His opponents look great on paper and then wither at the podium. Lane withers on paper and looks great at the podium.

Lane is a brilliant public speaker, no ums or ers, no waffle, no stops and starts, great microphone technique and fabulous voice projection and tone. He gets in the zone right at the start and stays there. He is impressive at the lectern.

I've listened to and watched a number of your presentations and unfortunately, you are a woeful bumbler, mumbler, waffler, who ums and ers and stops and starts so much that if that was edited out of your presentation, it would take up half as much time. You are rarely in the zone. This will cost you if you can’t correct this behaviour by the time of the debate.

You may have the content over Lane but he has the delivery and in a public speaking debate, delivery can trump content. And Lane does have plenty of content that will impress the gullible.

And then there is visible presentation. I know this is superficial but it is important because most people are superficial. Lane will be in a nice suit and tie, clean shaven with a tidy short back and sides haircut. He will look respectable. You will look a bit scruffy and no matter how groovy and true that is to your character, it will go against you with the religious people you are trying to connect with. It's why all the hippy Green politicians and spokes people now wear suits and look respectable rather than what is naturally them. Why do all leaders look like this. Because superficial appearance matters with the general public. Only in a totalitarian state like Iran could a president get away with looking scruffy. Even most totalitarians will dress up. It impresses the gullible.

Paul P. Mealing said...

With all due respect to Buzz, I say Stephen: be yourself.

The worst thing anyone can do in a debate or public speaking is to project an image of themselves that they're not comfortable with, or is not them. It will just come over as insincere. Be authentic.

Regards, Paul.

Buzz Moonman said...

Paul

I fully agree with the advice of Polonius – to thy own self be true, but I also value of self improvement.

I am not suggesting Stephen have a haircut or change his clothes. I’m fine with his hair and clothes. I’m just pointing out that a public speaking engagement with Lane and Law is not a level playing field. Lane is on the high ground when it comes to making an impression. Debating Lane is about engaging with religious people and presenting secular humanist ideas to them. Socially conservative people have their superficial prejudices and Stephen’s fine ideas have to counter these prejudices which is not easy.

As an original thinker, Stephen is way ahead of Lane but this is a spoken debate and the techniques of such are involved. Lane is considered to have won most of his debates, usually with people who are better thinkers than him. So why does he win? And how do we measure a win in a debate where neither side can prove their position?

Part of it comes down to superficial impressions, just like it does when the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition square off during election debates.

Stephen’s writing skills are excellent but his presentation skills have room for improvement. Anyone who can climb those mountains does it because they have improved their climbing skills. Public speaking skills are no different. Well maybe they are harder as most people say they would rather die than give a public presentation.

Lane wins debates partly because he has better delivery and doesn’t waste his time on waffle and silence when time is of the essence. The best lecturers are the ones who engage by bringing you into the zone and taking you along for the ride. For most of us that is a skill we have to acquire through hard work and self reflection on our abilities. It’s a skill Lane acquired to compensate for his shallow wishful thinking.

Cheers

Buzz Moonman said...

The topic is bit of a difficult one for secular humanists to win as well. You’re discussing a negative that hasn’t been proved in any of the thousands of times this topic has been debated over the centuries. He can't prove the positive either. In two and a half thousand years theologians have spent millions of pages on god and have not moved the issue a Planck length beyond Aristotle’s prime mover idea.

On the other hand, the fact that we are still having this same argument after many centuries indicates that the pro gods mob have failed to demonstrate they have anything other than wishful thinking.

Lane makes many unsubstantiated assertions and assumes they are right when he shows no such thing. The fact is that no one knows the origin of it all. He only has wishful thinking. And one thing you have to argue and get across is that there is nothing wrong is acknowledging that we don't know because it doesn't really matter if there are uncertainties. As Russell said "On the one hand there is theology, on the other hand there is science and in the middle is philosophy and the point of philosophy is to teach us to live with uncertainty." Which is exactly what philosophers like yourself have helped me do.

The area that Lane would have problems with is the political aspect of religion, the totalitarian nature of god as ordering principle, an ordering principle that can be politically activated whether god exists or not. The indisputable facts are that clerics cause social disaster whenever they get their hands on the levers of practical political power. Lane's ordering principle is inferior to secular humanist liberal social democracy. The political reality of religion, which is theocracy, is a truly repugnant and obnoxious totalitarianism. These are indisputable facts. Religion is only mild in our society because secularism has done a pretty good, but not complete job of neutralising religion in the political process. Given the opportunity, the politically religious will seek to destroy separation of church and state and implement their authoritarian politics. They always have done this, are doing it now in some countries and will do so in the future if given the chance. Secular humanist liberal social democracy is the only guarantee the religious have to freely practice their beliefs. Not even their own religion or denomination can guarantee this.

Maybe a better debate topic would be – Gods are politically obnoxious and socially unnecessary. The consequences of god as ordering principle are facts that can be scientifically examined and valued.

It can be argued that god has no moral obligations (though I think that makes him dodgy and not a being you should take moral advice from) but humans do have moral obligations and it is never right for a human to support ethnic cleansing of innocent children no matter which conscious being does it. Being on the apologist cheer squad for Yahweh’s ethnic cleansing of innocent children is grossly immoral.

Buzz Moonman said...

Stephen

The other area where I think Lane is wrong is on the objective base for morality. Again, he is making claims that he can't know about and he doesn't deal with the issue of how a god would make a decision on what they should tell us mere humans is the right and wrong thing to do.

He makes many wishful thinking assertions and he never demonstrates that gods are objective. The information from their alleged interaction with humans shows them to be very subjective. Even a god is going to need an objective (external) base (idea) for measuring morality.

So here is a different approach to harm based morality for you to think about.

The objective foundation for morality is peace, the mutual peace of un-coerced peaceful co-existence.

Morality comes from the idea of mutual peace, not the idea of god.

Peace is not only the objective, it is objective. It is a political act between humans. It is not a divine gift. Peace exists regardless of the existence or not of any gods. It cannot be given as a gift, it has to be achieved by human co-operation.

When humans behave in ways that create, enhance and sustain the conditions for mutual peace, they are being moral. The conditions necessary for peace, (and I mean un-coerced peaceful co-existence, not Pax Romana or Pax Britanica which are not mutual peace and are merely an Orwellian idea of peace) are created using the golden rule, mutual aid and loving your neighbour, using the tools of empathy, compassion and emotion, measured against peace.

It's not rocket science. Why would you prefer not to live in a world of peace on earth and goodwill to all?

Morality is not a result of a religious discourse. Religion is the result of a moral discourse. You cannot have religion without first having morality as you can't have religion without having a stable social group and to have a stable social group, you need to have morality.

Morality changes because we constantly measure morality against the idea of mutual peace and when humans decide that a particular moral standard doesn't measure up against the idea of mutual peace anymore, we change our attitude and what was once moral now becomes immoral, like racism and sexism.


TBC

Buzz Moonman said...

What was accepted as moral by Christians in the past is not accepted by them now, like slavery. The Quakers and liberal Christians who were at the forefront of abolition were not popular with mainstream Christians but they persevered and succeeded because their measurement of slavery against the idea of mutual peace was correct.

The practice of mutual peace is the end result of morality but the idea of mutual peace is the starting point. Peace is the alpha and the omega of morality.

There is absolute morality - do not murder
There is conditional morality - do not kill (except under certain conditions, like self defence)
There is no relative morality - honour killings are murder

"Good" is not a basis for morality because it is subjective. There is disagreement about the concept of good because "good" is subjective. There is no disagreement, which I am aware of, around the concept of mutual peace. Everyone knows what that is, because it is objective.


Peace does not care how we use the morality we obtain from peace, nor care whether we are moral or immoral. Peace doesn't demand that we behave in a certain way. Peace is not an entity. Peace doesn't have an agenda or a Plan for us that it demands we follow. Peace doesn't demand our submission to its will.

Peace is objective and is the same for everyone regardless of their prejudices and ideologies. Some people may not want peace or like it but it is still objectively the same for them as it is for those who do want peaceful co-existence. That’s why people who are Humanist, be they religious or secular, strive for Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

We naturally derive morality from examining the way to live in un-coerced peaceful co-existence which gives us a natural social ordering principle. We don't need a god to reveal this morality to us. The morality from god thesis only shifts the goalpost as it leaves unanswered the question of how god reaches a decision on morality. If god uses reason to arrive at a morality decision then god is not doing anything we can't do for ourselves.

What’s the point of morality? What are we trying to achieve with it. What type of life are we after? What is the end result of behaving morally? A peaceful un-coerced life, that's what we are trying to achieve.

Our cave dwelling ancestors would've worked this out a couple of hundred thousand years ago.


So the argument looks more like
Objective moral values can be measured by mutual peace
Objective moral values and mutual peace exist
Gods are redundant in determining objective moral values

Note that this does not prove that gods do not exist or did exist but no longer exist, just that they are morally unnecessary and politically undesirable.



Shalom
Peace be with you
Go in peace
Peace on earth and goodwill to all
Give peace a chance



PS Break a leg

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Buzz,

A very interesting argument on morality.

I agree with your point:

Secular humanist liberal social democracy is the only guarantee the religious have to freely practice their beliefs. Not even their own religion or denomination can guarantee this.

Living in a 'secular humanist liberal social democracy' I couldn't agree more.

I also think think this is a pertinent point:

Morality is not a result of a religious discourse. Religion is the result of a moral discourse. You cannot have religion without first having morality as you can't have religion without having a stable social group and to have a stable social group, you need to have morality.

I've long argued that God is the projection of the human psyche rather than the converse. So God can represent both the best and worst of humanity.

I've only one thing to say about Craig: Anyone with a scientific background cannot take him seriously at all. It's a conundrum that he can convince so many people that he's more knowledgable than he really is.

Regards, Paul.

Jojo Jacob said...

Patrick who is not Patrick exposes the fallacy of Loard craig's deductive logic.

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=6113

Buzz Moonman said...

G'day Paul

Thanks.

I blog on a religion site and atheist site in a newspaper at home. Two to three years ago, the religion moderater challenged us Secular Humanists to come up with an objective base for morality and none of us could do it, so it got me thinking and searching, which is how I came across Stephen's work, amongst others.

When the idea of peace came to me, it seemed too simple so I sat on it for a good while and thought and started writing it down. Eventually I thought I had to try it out in blogland knowing that if it was flaky it would get trashed and thrown back at me as there are some good thinkers on those blogs. It got a response so big I couldn't respond to all the comments. Many wanted to know how it would work in so and so situation and I found I could answer those queries and the Moonman thesis started getting longer and longer. Others pointed out a few logic errors that I corrected.

We've discussed it at length over the past year, but no one punched any holes in it. The Untheists (religious unbelievers) liked it, except for the resident Randian who gets grumpy if anyone doesn't use Ayn's dictionary. One Asecularist (those who deny the existence or primacy of secularism) even agreed that it did work, but it was merely an alternative to his god and he'd continue to use his god.

For myself, I prefer an alternative that is factual to an alternative that has not be shown to be factual and after mulling over this idea for two years, it still seems solid to me and makes gods redundant when it comes to morality.

I agree that anyone with a scientific method outlook can't take Lane seriously and the bullshit detectors go into overdirve as he has too many unsubstantiated assertions that he just claims as facts to base his arguments on and he doesn't seem to get called on them.

I don't have any debating skills myself, having done none since class room debates in school when I wasn't any good at it, though I have learned how to give to speech well, but debating is another step or three up from speeches, so I appreciate Lane's skill in this area, but I do know that delivery can trump content in a public speaking debate, particularly when there are no substantiated facts behind each side of the main topic.

Buzz Moonman said...

G'day Paul

Thanks for the feedback.

I blog on a religion site and atheist site in a newspaper at home. Two to three years ago, the religion moderator challenged us Secular Humanists to come up with an objective base for morality and none of us could do it, so it got me thinking and searching, which is how I came across Stephen's work, amongst others.

When the idea of peace came to me, it seemed too simple so I sat on it for a good while and thought and started writing it down. Eventually I thought I had to try it out in blogland knowing that if it was flaky it would get trashed and thrown back at me as there are some good thinkers on those blogs. It got a response so big I couldn't respond to all the comments. Many wanted to know how it would work in so and so situation and the Moonman thesis started getting longer and longer.

We've discussed it at length over the past year, but no one punched any holes in it. The Untheists (religious unbelievers) liked it, except for the resident Randian who gets grumpy if anyone doesn't use Ayn's dictionary. One Asecularist (those who deny the existence or primacy of secularism) even agreed that it did work, but it was merely an alternative to his god and he'd continue to use his god.

For myself, I prefer an alternative that is factual to an alternative that has not be shown to be factual and after mulling over this idea for two years, it still seems solid to me and makes gods redundant when it comes to morality.

I agree that anyone with a scientific method outlook can't take Lane seriously and the bullshit detectors go into overdrive as he has too many unsubstantiated assertions that he just claims as facts to base his arguments on and he doesn't seem to get called on them.

I don't have any debating skills myself, having done none since class room debates in school when I wasn't any good at it, though I have learned how to give to speeches well, but debating is another step or three up from speeches, so I appreciate Lane's skill in this area, but I do know that delivery can trump content in a public speaking debate, particularly when there are no substantiated facts behind each side of the main topic.

L2Philosophy said...

I'm glad it's you and not an atheist such as Dawkins or Toynbee. Watching debates against 2 equal opponents is good for the mind. This is how both sides learn each other, and I'm honored to see you on the other side of one of my favorite Christian philosophers.

Stephen you definitely are a threat to my position and arguably one of the best philosophers the atheist side has to offer on the Existence of God.

You and Dr. Craig shall have a splendid debate!!!

Jojo Jacob said...

Craig knows nothing about infinity.

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1637

Jojo Jacob said...

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1212

Luvin said...

Es evidente que el ala atea teme en sobremanera lo que WLC pueda hacer con su oponente...si Dios no existe y el Dr. Craig vence en el debate..felicidades por su capacidad pero si Dios existe...hay millones de cristianos orando para que el Poder del E.S. le respalde...y es algo que no toman en cuenta los ateos..

Anonymous said...

Just another comment re Craig's 5th argument from personal revelation. I said above, the 'argument' is often supplemented by Craig when challenged by him suggesting that unless you establish his experience is 'delusional' then he sees no reason to abandon it. His own words and the emotion with which he speaks them are strong evidence of Craig's emotional investment in his 'reasoned belief'and reason to conclude that his fervor is or borders on the delusional. Just listen to him in his debate with Kagan at 1:15:26 where he confesses that the thought of an ultimate end is "...just so depressing so awful that it just seems to put a ? mark behind everything we do, all our accomplishments all our deeds just seem so trivial in light of this cosmic doom that awaits us all."
It really shows this man is really invested in his absolute significance to the universe and simply cannot accept he is going to end up dust. That simply cannot happen to the great W Craig and as a result he will cling to anything/do anything to maintain the delusion of a reasoned conclusion that an eternal existence awaits W Craig. Craigs world it seems would fall apart if he cant maintain his belief.

bin said...

Sorry atheists but God allways win in the end!
Jesus was cruccified and since then he allways wins.
Only people who are not in Jesus side have fear.Craig will be very calm and confident in Jesus help ,but you ..only in your mind ,and you know how weak are human mind.

Ashdown Property said...

HI Stephen - your argument vs Prof Craig by postulating an evil god assumes evil could exist independently of good. As CS Lewis once said (no doubt one of your favourite writers): "A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist--in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless -I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality--namely my idea of justice--was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” Any response?

Stephen Law said...

Ho Ashdown property. That seems to me to be a variant of the "evil proves god" line that Craig took in his first rebuttal and which I dealt with in mine.

JOJO JACOB said...

Ashdown Property,

You are just playing semantics. Listen to the Craig Vs Arif debate. Arif demolishes your argument using an analogy.

Ashdown Property said...

Hi - not semantics: the only point I am making to Stephen is that the major contention in your 1st address was that there could as equally be an evil god as a good one as foundational to your belief that either is highly unlikely. But this to me seems flawed unless you are prepared to accept dualism - the Lewis quote points to a logical reason why it can't be so - please respond if you think Lewis is wrong. If not, your mirror argument is negated and I am left wondering what other objections you have to Prof. Craig's assertion of a good creator. Despite enough provocation you didn't respond adequately to the kalam argument, the moral argument seems to be presupposition - not sure you really want objective morality to be true as you said - and I think the UFO stunt at the end was kind of playground for someone with your background. Of course atheists can refute any leg of the Christian claim as rationally avoidable but the cumulative case seems highly compelling. Anyway, at least you turned up which is more than some, and I agree the debate was carried out in good faith (pardon the pun) and was an interesting session overall so thank you.

Maverick Atheism said...

Dr. Law, have you considered using William Lane Craig’s own debating style against him? To illustrate, here’s an article on the argument from evil that I made (I know, shameless plug) that uses the sort of debating style William Lane Craig does.