manicstreetpreacher hopes that this old chestnut can finally be put to rest.
Further to my report on the Intelligence Squared debate at Wellington College on 29 November 2009, someone has edited together a YouTube clip of Richard Dawkins being asked why he refuses to debate William Lane Craig with Dawkins replying that it takes more to persuade him to share a platform with someone than that person just being a “professional debater” and he is “busy”:
Well done, Richard! I have already given my thoughts here and here on Craig being a complete hack whose five “arguments” have been corrected repeatedly, yet he still continues to use them. The only aim of the apologists is for Craig to use every dirty trick in his arsenal to make Dawkins look silly and thereby discredit the man rather than having to face the burden of actually answering his arguments. As John W Luftus over at Debunking Christianity puts it:
Debates are like boxing matches. No intelligent person thinks that the issues are solved depending on who wins a debate. No one. But debates are entertaining and educational. The debaters are sparring, yes. We like to watch them. They want to win. We want our man (or woman) to win for our side. But they are like boxing matches. And Dawkins is the leading atheist in our generation. So Christians are acting just like the supremacists did back in Jack Johnson’s day. “Knock Dawkins out,” they’re saying. “Embarrass him.” “Show the world our Christian man is better than your atheist man.” “They’re a minority and so let’s keep them in their place.” In Johnson’s day it was a fight between the races. This is a fight between skepticism and faith.
Craig has a totally arrogant, patronising and belittling style at the lectern whose only desire is to make fools out of his opponents, as this clip from his 1998 debate with Peter Atkins (YouTube Part 1) attests:
The clip demonstrates most of Craig’s underhand tactics: dropping in too many points than his opponent can possibly answer in the time allowed, straw-manning said opponents’ arguments, gross scientific distortions (he’s dead wrong about the Special Theory of Relativity’s assumption of the speed of light; while we cannot observe it directly going at a constant from A to B, we can make many different predictions about what would happen if that were the case, and verify them which is how we know it’s true), placing the burden of proof on his opponent when he is the one making the claim, discrediting the scientific method (but only when it suits him) without providing any positive arguments as to how faith answers these questions any better and generally being a condescending tool to some of the world’s most respected academics.
Late conservative commentator William F Buckley Jnr being an utterly biased moderator doesn’t help, but Craig doesn’t actually humiliate Atkins at all. Like most of Craig’s opponents, Atkins is clearly dumbfounded by the idiocy of the man in front of him!
But even with such a wealth of dishonest tricks up his sleeve, Craig is very beatable as long as his opponent has done their homework (which, alas only a select few atheists bother to do!) and present positive reasons to reject belief in God.
I recommend watching and listening to Craig’s debate against Victor Stenger at University of Hawaii in 2003 for a clinical annihilation of his arguments for the existence of God (the video cuts out after first rebuttals, but Stenger comes out with some gems during cross-examination, closing statements and the audience Q & A). Bart Ehrman thoroughly debunked Craig’s arguments on the historical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, of which you can read the transcript while while watching or listening to the tape.
Tags: A C Grayling, Atheism is the new fundamentalism, bart ehrman, Charles Moore, debate, God The Failed Hypothesis, Has Science Found God, Intelligence Squared, Kalam Cosmological Argument, Misquoting Jesus, Peter Atkins, reasonable faith, richard dawkins, Richard Harries, the god delusion, victor stenger, Wellington College, William Lane Craig