Peter Boghossian's Challenge to William Lane Craig

If you want to know why I think William Lane Craig is deluded rather than dishonest, as atheists who lack a basic understanding of the deluded mind claim, it's because of this video:

To hear what might be considered a response to Craig, although not intended as such, watch Peter Boghossian's talk at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) National Convention:

Peter sent a challenge to believers along these same lines (via email):
In my talk at the FFRF’s national convention, I briefly noted that feeling states—sensations—do not constitute reliable evidence sufficient to convey warrant. In other words, what you feel about the existence of a divine entity cannot be relied upon to guide you to the truth of whether or not it exists. (William Lane Craig above, for example, calls the feeling he experiences “the witness of the Holy Spirit.”)

There are three main reasons why the feelings you have do not confer warrant upon belief in a supernatural entity: 1) It’s impossible to differentiate a feeling state from a delusion, 2) It’s not possible to connect the feeling state to the alleged phenomenon, and 3) We have the sincere testimony of people who have different feeling states about conflicting matters of fact (Mormons and Evangelical Christians).

If you believe that a feeling state is sufficient to convey warrant upon your belief in the divine, then I’d like to know how you know this.

Peter Boghossian


Anonymous said...

Hello, I have 2 points to make:

1) Let's posit for a moment that the supernatural does exist. It then follows that science, which by definition focuses on the natural, would have absolutely no means to measure it or detect it.
It could thus never serve as a method and no scientific protocol could ever be established to rule it out, regardless of how real the supernatural would be.

2)You quickly call the feeling a delusion, and yet have never experienced the witness of the holy spirit; which in my opinion, really does make one aware of God.
How do I know this? Because from one moment to the next, this feeling that I had never experienced in my life suddenly flooded within me at the exact coincidental moment when I prayed humbly to God and it has never disappeared since.
Is it a feeling? Yes, and that makes it quite difficult to accurately describe/quantify.

Could I be deluded on this basis? I presume all our feelings could be delusion, but on that basis, how could we ever trust any of our senses? I also assure you that we are all heavily influenced by our feelings every single day, including you. We use both rationality and feelings to make conclusions.

Case in point: Science cannot define love, and yet if I asked you how you knew you loved your wife, I hope you would tell me that it was on the basis of feeling, and not just because of some complex reasoning, no matter how logical a choice of partner she may be.


Anonymous said...

Well said anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Peter Boghossian needs to go to remedial epistemology school.

Unknown said...

Been there, done that.

Billions of people can attest to the same experience for thousands of different, mutually conflicting religions with any number of gods. Either nearly everyone is mistaken or everyone is mistaken. It's obviously not a reliable method for determining truth.

As someone who had a matching subjective experience but has subsequently been able to view my subjective feelings objectively, I can say that those feelings were delusions.

We can recognize the limits of our senses and the further our beliefs are beyond those limits, the more doubt we should have.

Science can define love actually.

I can explain my love for my wife in both subjective terms and objective terms. I can prove she exists, too, to the same certainty I can prove the world exists.

I can explain how one can love someone who doesn't exist by pointing to a Fighting Irish football player. Is the object of your belief any different in any material way?

Unknown said...

You forgot to mention where he's wrong.