Monday, November 5, 2012

Commentary on parts of my debate with William Lane Craig

Someone was kind enough to take the trouble to make this video going through some of the exchanges between myself and Bill Craig in our debate.

17 comments:

James Urban said...
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Sketch Sepahi said...

Craig's disingenuousness in debate has always appalled me. This video only accounts for the tip of the iceberg.

Munashe the Cheetah said...

Dear Dr. Law, we really need to get more videos of you discussing various topics on the internet. Your a brilliant philosopher and I think people can learn a lot from you. The trouble is, you are in so few videos, and the time between appearances is rather large. Could you perhaps request when giving talks for places that it be posted online so it makes it on youtube?

Ryan M said...

For David's sake I hope that is an imposter. He will land himself back in jail and back on meds if he's caught doing this stuff again. Then again that is probably what he needs.

Simone said...

Actually Mr. Law, I made an awful mistake when making this video. I said the debate's topic was about the Christian God, but it wasn't, it was about Craig's definition of "God", which actually has all the attributes of the Christian God but does not state anything about its doctrine of revelation. This of course does not change any of my points, since the intrinsic quality of Goodness which makes the Christian God susceptible to the Evil God Challenge is still valid even in a Craig's definition of God, but still it's a pretty goofy mistake to make.

Simone said...

Still, I am trying to understand exactly why Craig felt it necessary to give an argument for the Christian God(the argument for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead) when that was not the debate topic. Shouldn't he have stopped at the moral argument and perhaps spent more time trying to refine his two arguments instead of trying to assign to his definition of God a particular theistic doctrine? Or perhaps Craig was trying to blur the debate topic? I would like to know your opinion about this.

Paul P. Mealing said...

A very good deconstruction, I thought.

I think the point about putting up an argument one knows not to be true just to win rhetorical points with the audience is a good one.

Regards, Paul.

Paul P. Mealing said...
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Stephen Law said...

Thanks Simone. True, the topic of the debate was not the existence of the Christian God. However, *in the debate itself*, Craig said this about the evil God:

"Now, first of all, it’s inaccurate to call this being an evil “God” because God, by definition, is a being which is necessarily good."

Hence if I can show there's no good God, I show there's no God, period.

I should have nailed Craig on this in the debate.

I think I mucked up on something after the debate. I think I said that Craig admitted to "debate tactics" when using the "evil proves God" argument, which he himself knows to be easily sidestepped and admitted as much in the debate. In fact his explicit admission of "debate tactics" concerned his saying I has conceded there's a God by ignoring the cosmological argument.

Stephen Law said...

Simone - I suppose an argument for the Christian God is an argument for a Craig-defined God, if not vice verse. Hence there's no problem Craig running such an argument in that context.

Had Craig dropped the resurrection he would have been down to one argument for a specifically good God, which would be pretty threadbare.

Interestingly, his response to the evil God challenge was to embrace skeptical theism, which is not only implausible and was not effectively argued for in the debate, but has the consequence that it actually undermines Craig's resurrection argument for the Christian God. Again, I should have nailed Craig on that in the debate. Craig plays the skepticism card selectively - being a skeptic about what we can infer about God on the basis of empirical observation when it suits him, dropping the skepticism when it does not.

Eric Sotnak said...

Craig is more concerned about rhetorical victory than sincere inquiry. This is because he doesn't believe further inquiry is really necessary; he already knows all he needs to know. His job is to bring others to Christ by whatever means necessary. It is massively ironic that Craig presses for moral realism but then gives epistemic priority to his "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" over any combination of evidence and argument. In doing this he proves he really believes that "Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions" -- so long as those are passions to promote Christianity.

The Atheist Missionary said...

I stopped watching this after 8 minutes when I realized the problem: we need a Law vs. Craig Round 2. Why? To understand why Craig believes his God is good. If any of Craig's minions happen by here, I invite them to contact Stephen and set up a time and place. I'll make sure Stephen gets there and is fed with beer during his stay. He knows how to reach me.

Simone said...

Dr. Law, I have a question regarding Dr. Craig's argument for the existence of objective moral duties. It seems to me that all of his basis for assessing such claim( when in debates) is our basic "sensation" that objective morality exists. Is my perception right or there is something more to it?

Stephen Law said...

It comes down to a gut intuition, yes.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Has anyone ever asked Craig how he discerns between the supposed truth of his gut intuition and deception by Descartes' demon?

Simone said...
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Sketch Sepahi said...

I'm more interested in what WLC means by 'objective' in that context, because whichever way he would care to define it, it doesn't seem to support his assertion that only the existence of God could support 'objective' morality. For instance, if WLC by 'objective' means mind-independent, then Divine Command Theory, being a mind-dependent metaethics, doesn't support objectivity. If, however, WLC by 'objective' simply means 'propositional' then any and all metaethics under 'moral realism' should have to be argued against before we can proceed - something WLC time and again shirks from doing. Of course, I have no idea what WLC means by 'objective,' since he's never cared to define it, but perhaps that's intentional on his part?