Refuting William Lane Craig’s five “arguments” for the existence of God

manicstreetpreacher hopes a few of Craig’s future opponents cop a glance at this!

I have referred to Lukeprog over at Common Sense Atheism as a “fawning Craigophile” more than once on this blog.  I mean, it’s just not normal for an atheist to heap so much praise on a complete fundamentalist hack who continues to use the same flawed reasoning, despite having been corrected ad nauseum.  Nevertheless, Luke redeems himself on occasion by posting some cracking refutations of Craig, and this is one of them.

Th1sWasATriumph has compiled the following YouTube playlist refuting each one of Craig’s lame “arguments”, skilfully demonstrating the shambolic logic and hopeless contradictions in Craig’s reasoning with more than a dash of good old fashioned British irony that frequently strays into the wrong (i.e. the right, when Craig is concerned) side of contempt.

1.  Kalam Cosmological Argument

2. Fine Tuning Argument

3.  Objective Moral Values

4.  Resurrection of Jesus Christ

5.  Personal Experience of God

Sheer genius!

The videos are culled from Craig’s opening statement during his debate against British, then an atheist now a deist possibly due to old age and senility, philosopher Antony Flew.  You can listen to the audio or watch the videos, which start below.

At the time of publication, I hadn’t watched the full debate for myself.  I can’t bear watching Craig any more than necessary and to compound the agony, hardly any of his atheist opponents actually do their homework properly and try to beat him.  I’ll have to go off Lukeprog’s fawning opinion that instead of rebutting Craig’s arguments, Flew goes on a weak, rambling rant about how we can’t know about things outside the universe, about how eternal torture is bad and his talks are so confused he seems downright senile.

Would explain a lot regarding Flew’s subsequent conversion to deism…

About these ads

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 Responses to “Refuting William Lane Craig’s five “arguments” for the existence of God”

  1. Shmoe Says:

    Is Dan Dennet senile now?

    http://www19.zippyshare.com/v/85071956/file.html

    I advise you to listen to whole thing, and not just skip to the end to hear Dennet’s response. It is, so far as I, and Dr. Dennet, can tell, sound analysis. Craig may take his conclusions too far, and be dead wrong about others, but he’s no fool, nor a crackpot. It’s foolish too dismiss any opponent out of hand. I dislike your tone and your reflexive ad hominums; you give the irreligious, like myself, a bad name.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      As I wrote in my main post, I hadn’t actually listened to Craig’s debate against Flew, but was going off Lukeprog’s remarks about Flew sounding senile. I am now listening to the debate. Thanks for inflicting more Craig on me.

      Dan Dennett is very much compus mentus and he correctly points out that Craig appeals to our common sense and everyday intuition and then applies it to things of which we have no direct personal experience and calls on us to reject concepts that are just too “mind bogglingly”.

      Apologetics FAIL! Whatever the truth is, Bill, it will be unbelievable.

      You say I make ad hominems. Where in my post do I attack Craig’s personality? I am attacking his appallingly bad reasoning and quote-mining of prominent atheist thinkers which have been corrected on numerous occasions yet he still continues to use the same “arguments”.

      I suggest you read my analysis of Craig’s debate against Victor Stenger and scroll down to Stenger’s recent lecture where he accuses Craig of “lying” to his scientifically ignorant audiences for using the Kalam argument and quote-mining Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.

      In the Dennett lecture you linked, Craig quotes Hawking as writing, “nearly everyone assumes that the universe started with a Big Bang singularity.” However, the very next sentence Hawking writes, “It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe – as we shall see later, it can disappear once quantum effects are taken into account.” (p. 50)

      I recently commented that Richard Dawkins was absolutely right to refuse publically a debate against Craig. Hitchens lost his debate against Craig partly through lack of preparation and partly because he had bought into the Craig hype and was far too respectful.

      Part of Craig’s strategy is to bully, belittle and ridicule his opponents into submission as well as dropping in far too many points of mis-information and distortion than his opponent can possibly refute in the time they are allotted.

      While I disagree with the stance of people like, say, John Lennox or Richard Harries, they are at least sincere in what they say (although Lennox went on shamelessly to quote-mine something Dawkins said at their Oxford debate in October 2008 at a lecture a few nights later).

      Craig on the other hand has been caught banged to rights telling lies for God and I make no apologies for nailing him for it.

      MSP

  2. TheTrueScotsman Says:

    I think Craig is a master debater, I’ve listened to many debates and Luke is right in that he does state his arguments skilfully and with smooth skills. Much as Hitchen’s erudition is his strong point, Craig’s appeals to authority and his assertions that he is the one being logical are his techniques.

    The trouble is, whilst anyone with any real training in logic or science can see these techniques for just what they are – debating techniques only – the vast majority of his choir think he is playing materialistic philosophers at their own game by using our weapons of logic, reason and evidence right back at us.

  3. Shane Says:

    Lane Craig’s arguments are good, rational arguments. Why oh why mere dilettantes on the internet think they have the necessary philosophical training to repudiate a professional philosophers works never ceases to amaze me. No one cares about your ‘rebuttals’.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      If Craig’s arguments are so good, then how come obnoxious atheist bloggers and Internet nerds are able to rip into them so humorously?

      I have never come across a website called “Skeptics Annotated Darwin” or “Skeptics Annotated Einstein”.

      The same cannot be said for the Bible. A book which Craig claims is inerrant.

      Go figure.

  4. Shane Says:

    >>>If Craig’s arguments are so good, then how come obnoxious atheist bloggers and Internet nerds are able to rip into them so humorously?<<<<

    They don't. That's the point I'm making: it's pure hubris to think some teenage blogger can 'rip' apart a professional philosophical argument.

    But look, it doesn't bother me at all – you can keep on deluding yourself into thinking you're rebutting these theist arguments and continue to beguile any other teenager that stumbles across your website; the important point is that nobody who reads and studies philosophy takes these seriously (let alone even heard of your 'arguments'). I'll stick to real philosophy by professional philosophers.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Shane

      Firing ad hominems with or at people’s academic credentials (or lack of) does not form a valid argument.

      Have you actually watched the tapes? Let’s see you refutations of our teenage nerd’s objections to the eminent Dr Craig:

      1. Counter the nerd’s objection to Craig’s fallacious premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause and that just because we don’t quite understand the initial conditions of the Big Bang today, that is no reason to give up and suppose that we never will and therefore leave a gap for The Thing That Made The Things For Which There Is No Known Maker to occupy.

      2. What about Craig’s specious appeal to improbability which forms part of the fine tuning argument? Most normal everyday events have a fantastically low probability if you assert specific event a priori and crunch the numbers back through calculus to the beginning of time. Your own existence is fantastically improbable. However, the type of event in question, i.e. the existence of a human being is extremely probable.

      3. As for Craig’s appeal to our inner feelings that morality is objective and therefore must come from God, this is disproved by taking one look at the varying standards of morality between societies, cultures and indeed religions. It’s all very well saying that subjugating women as chattel and veiling them causes displeasure in the eyes of the Lord, but why isn’t he making fundamentalist Muslims privy to these important moral facts? Your answer, if you please.

      4. Turning to the miracles of Jesus; why should we believe events written in an ancient text written decades after they supposedly happened by non-eyewitnesses when a modern-day illusionist like Derren Brown can recreate similar phenomena on camera well enough fool his subjects in the room, yet no one else believes that he has really converted a room full of atheists?

      5. And finally, Craig’s argument from personal experience of God is the kind of evidence-free “reasoning” that convinces the inhabitants of asylums that they are made of string. Imagine how we would all feel about Craig’s mental faculties if he took his argument one stage further and said that God was communicating with him by having the rain tap messages in Morse Code on his bedroom window sill. And it’s funny how God has revealed no more profound knowledge to Craig than a warm fuzzy feeling that there has to be “something more” beyond this veil of tears. If God had imparted a cure for his wonderfully designed and morally sufficient cancer cell, then I would be impressed.

      I look forward to your mature and scholarly responses.

      MSP

  5. Raphael Lataster Says:

    Hi fellow freethinkers!

    Like you, I am an atheist (a Christian atheist, naturalistic pantheist etc at that. think Robert Price), and would like to weigh in on the discussions about William Lane Craig. Here is my website where there will be a series of WLC related articles.

    http://www.pantheismunites.org/Articles/Debates%20-%20William%20Lane%20Craig's%20Five%20Points%20Refuted.htm

    http://www.pantheismunites.org/Articles.htm

    http://www.pantheismunites.org/

    The first is a quick refutation of WLC’s debates. I hope one day to use it in debating WLC. Check it out and let me know what you think.

    And keep up the good work! Would you like to exchange links by the way?

    Best Regards,

    Raphael Lataster

  6. Raphael Lataster Says:

    more on my refutation:

    http://www.pantheismunites.org/Articles/Debates%20-%20William%20Lane%20Craig's%20Five%20Points%20Refuted%20-%20Epilogue.htm

    There was a strong reaction to my refutation article on William Lane Craig’s “5 points”. Many thought it was brilliant, while some felt disappointed that I didn’t disprove the existence of god. This is not what I believe or set out to show. It is most likely impossible to do, and is an exercise in futility. It is often extremely hard (or even impossible) to disprove something. Whether that is god, fairies, dragons, or the flying spaghetti monster. We therefore must rely on proof, not “dis-proof”.

    Here is a summary of what I’m saying in regards to WLC’s 5 points:

    – Cosmological and teleological arguments: He has made a number of assumptions here; putting words in the mouths of atheists, that we believe the universe came ex nihilo for example. My main point here is that even if these arguments pointed to a designer, he has provided no evidence that it is Yahweh. It could be Zeus. Or Vishnu. Or even a deistic god. It is not up to atheists to disprove nonsense. It is up to believers to prove their belief. In proving Yahweh, WLC has failed miserably. Before criticizing WLC’s atheistic opponents, we need to realise that. It’s not their job to disprove him. Then we may as well all work on disproving fairies.

    – Moral argument: WLC again makes assumptions such as the existence of an objective morality, as well as absolute good and absolute evil. These things have not been proven. And not all cultures have seen rape and child torture as wrong – especially not the land from whence his Bible came. And once again, even if successful, this argument does not point to his god (Yahweh).

    – Resurrection of Jesus argument: ALL of WLC’s arguments here come from the Bible. We KNOW for a fact that the Bible is unreliable due to allegorical and ambiguous language, variant texts, and numerous contradictions with itself, history and archaeology. To believe then what the Bible says about miraculous events is madness – it can’t even be trusted for more mundane events.

    – Warm fuzzy feeling inside argument: This appeal to emotion is completely subjective and has no place in a discussion of evidence. I feel embarrassed for him. He looks less like a serious academic, and more like a Jesus salesman.

    Once again, from his 5 points, 4 of them (1,2,3 & 5) could refer to ANY god. This makes his argument incredibly weak, as he must prove the existence of HIS god, not Osiris. Only point 4 (itself incredibly weak, as the Bible is extremely unreliable as a source for historical evidence) makes it obvious that we’re discussing Christianity, but even then doesn’t make it obvious that we’re discussing Yahweh. Many Gnostic Christians for example hold that Yahweh is the bad guy of the New Testament, while Jesus is the son of the “true god”.

    So why praise WLC and his terribly ineffective arguments? Why be so harsh on atheists? Do you know what atheism is? Atheism is not an ideology – one of WLC’s biggest errors! He shifts the burden of proof onto atheists, as if they need to prove their point. But atheism needs no proving; it is not a religion, ideology, belief system etc. It makes no positive assertions. It is simply a rejection, or (I like to stress the passive nature of it) the NON-ACCEPTANCE of an idea. Indeed, we are all atheists. He is an atheist towards the 330 million Hindu gods for example.

    Before we praise WLC, look for all the nasty and ignorant things he says in his debates. I nearly fell off my chair when he criticized Christopher Hitchens for acting as if atheism meant some sort of a-theism… As Hitch rightly pointed out, that’s what it means! WLC doesn’t even know the meanings of the words he uses (note: WLC is not a linguist). Atheism is not a positive assertion that there is no god (which is what WLC wants atheism to be, allowing him to shift the burden of proof). And the atheists that do say this are at risk of being labeled dogmatic. We ought to be OPEN to the existence of some sort of god (be it theistic, deistic, pantheistic, or something else), but must not accept someone’s idea of god without evidence. Heck, I’d like there to be a god, some sort of quasi-deistic god would be nice. But there’s just no good evidence to believe in any sort of god. Except of course the god of my naturalistic pantheism – a synonym for the universe.

    William Lane Craig also confuses the terms science and atheism. He points to (what he believes are) erroneous scientific ideas and says, “See, atheism is wrong!” Once again, atheism is not an ideology, it has no beliefs, and it makes no positive assertions. Even if science got something wrong, atheism hasn’t got anything wrong. Science and atheism are not interchangeable terms. While many atheists are scientific, and most scientists are indeed atheists, the theories of science are not the doctrines of atheism.

    The onus isn’t upon us non-believers to disprove anything. That’s shifting the burden of proof.

    Furthermore, WLC or any other Christian debater will only have succeeded when they:

    a) Prove the existence of a god

    b) Prove the existence of the Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh

    c) Prove that Yahweh is the supreme god as they claim

    I highly stress c). Even if a) and b) were proven true (though thousands of years of trying has yielded no success) we still need to know whether Yahweh is indeed the supreme god, before we all change our lives for him. Keep in mind that Semitic and Gnostic mythologies both agree that Yahweh is a lesser god. The Bible itself hints at this. Semitic mythologies show Yahweh to be one of 70-odd gods under the higher god El, while Gnostic mythologies portray Yahweh as the demiurge, an imperfect god who created an imperfect world. And this demiurge is the bad guy of the New Testament (Satan!) who opposes the son, or manifestation (Christ), of the true Almighty God.

    So far, after thousands of years of trying, we still have no compelling reason to believe that Christianity is true.

    Stay tuned for more of my WLC-related articles, where I rip into his numerous logical fallacies.

    Keep up the great work guys! Yes I too am disturbed by fawning Craigophiles…

  7. There is scientific proof of a creator. Evolution can be disproved Says:

    [...] [...]

  8. InnocentBystander Says:

    Manicstreetpreacher,
    I very much appreciate and admire the passion that you bring to this debate.
    My personal views being irrelevant, I’m just curious as to why you take the time to not only maintain this blog, but also to research WLC, watch his debates, read other blogs, etc, when in the end in doesn’t really matter. If Craig or anyone else wants to believe in an invisible almighty friend, who are you to worry about him? It’s obviously making him happier, and in the end we’ll all die anyway. Why should his fantasies bother you?

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my blog, innocentBystander.

      I am not interested solely in destroying people’s fairytales, which is why I don’t spend any time trolling astrology websites. However, I am passionate about the truth and preventing unnecessary harm.

      Craig’s work is harmful and degenerate in that it is attempting to put an intellectual facade to Christian fundamentalism. As our atheist video blogger nicely exposes, he mines and distorts respectable scientific sources (most of them atheists) to support his presupposed dogma.

      Furthermore, Craig’s brand of fundamentalism is burning important political oxygen as America debates whether gay marriage is the great moral issue of our time, preventing potentially life-saving stem-cell research from receiving funding at the federal level and denying women the free choice of what they do with their own bodies.

      I could go on, but if you read a few more of my posts, I’m sure you’ll get more of a flavour the evils religion can cause.

  9. corey Says:

    Comments like Shane’s (above) are about the most annoying thing a “philosohper” might ever read.

    For one, if you are going to appeal to “what real philosophers think” as your paradigm for truth, and whether someone has grounds to debate one such “philosopher,” then certainly the opinions of the mass of those “real philosophers” should matter. In this case, Mr. Craig is a “professor” at a theological school while the vast majority of “real philosophers” in real academia outright reject Craig’s Christianity. Christians like Plantiga make the cut, because they have actually contributed to philosophy in some small way (in plantiga’s case, the discussion of epistemology, specifically), albeit in ways that most “real philosophers” not only disagree with, but can debunk in their sleep, such as Plantiga’s “Properly Basic Beliefs” which actually allow for all kinds of clearly false beliefs to qualify as properly basic according to St. Alvin’s criteria. Then there is the ontological bs, which “proves” that a maximally great being must exist. Problem is the christian god is demonstrably not a maximally great being, and we can use the ontological argument’s own criteria to “prove” this. How? Just imagine a being that doesn’t permit genocide or use ultimatums or need blood to fix the universe or is able to communicate clearly to her followers, and there you just ontologically “proved” the existence of an even more maximally great being. But Craig hasn’t even contributed THIS much to “real philosophy.”

    The other problem “real philsophers” will have with Shane’s shoddy appeal to authority is that pretty much all modern philosophers operate on the assumption that the arguments matter ON THEIR OWN, no matter who makes them.

    Maybe Shane should study some real philosophy.

  10. corey Says:

    I would also like to add that, as “more of a Wesleyan,” most Christians in fact reject Craig’s christianity. But they’ll ignore that because he is the only one that can debate atheists.

    Craig believes in faith and works. Most Christians recognize this as a potentially damnable “lack of faith” in christ. Just ask REAL CHRISTIANS like Paul Washer, Mark Kielar, Don Piper, and of course don’t forget those fathers of american protestantism: Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, etc….

  11. REFUTATIONS OF THE USUAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD | Atheist Survival Guide Says:

    [...] *  http://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/refuting-craig-five-arguments/ [...]

  12. Grubbsey Says:

    William Lane Craig is a professional debater – he is well-trained and very experienced. He is also well-prepared. But, he is just a debater. I believe he could take the opposing side and convince you that God did not exist and the Bible is primarily a fable.
    As someone pointed out, if an equally skilled and prepared debater took him on – one with up-to-date knowledge of cosmology and also well-prepared to refute Craig’s worn-out, but convincingly presented arguments – then Craig would drift into academic obscurity.

  13. The burden of proof in absolute/objective religious morals | manicstreetpreacher Says:

    […] that a pre-determined objective or absolute moral standard.  As Th1sWasATriumph puts it in his videos debunking William Lane Craig’s five “arguments” for God’s existence, “morality is an infinite spectrum of grey […]

  14. Jesus, God, or Nothing? » Skepticality Says:

    […] and amount of writings about Jesus. – You can check out Raphael and some of his writings about William Lane Craig and his claims, as well as much of his other work as his website. Outro Music [31:45] – Outro music donated by […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers

%d bloggers like this: