Does God Exist? Michael Nugent Debates William Lane Craig

Michael Nugent sent me this link, thanking me for helping him prepare for the debate. I couldn't really detect how my advice helped him, but then that's the way it's supposed to work, lest someone merely use my words. Nugent did well. In watching debates we not only learn about the issues being debated but also how to better debate someone. This particular debate is very instructive in learning how to better debate (the thing I'm most interested in at this point). I have heard Craig's opener stay the same in most of his debates, and this one was no exception. It's polished, well-spoken, and adequately covers the important territory as Craig sees it. Nugent went second. To anyone who thinks the person who goes second in a debate is at a disadvantage I don't think that's true, not in Craig's case anyway. In Craig's case we already know what he'll focus on. Nugent should probably have briefly debunked the five points in Craig's opener because of that.

People claim Craig Gish Gallops through a ton of arguments so his opponents cannot possibly respond to them all. But I strongly disagree. Craig offered five arguments. His opponents have enough time to offer rebuttals to them. The real Gish Galloper in this particular debate is Nugent, which isn't anything bad in my opinion if the goal is to win a debate. I don't think any other opponent has done this in a debate with Craig (well, maybe Eddie Tabash, or Frank Zindler). So I was a bit excited to see how Craig would respond to Nugent's opener. To my dismay Craig responded to each one of Nugent's arguments, even if I think he may have lost his listeners from time to time in doing so. But because Craig did this, later in the debate he could say Nugent failed to make any of his arguments stick. When Nugent didn't defend one of these arguments, then in a subsequent rebuttal Craig would say Nugent's defense of it dropped off. This, folks, is how we deal with a Gish Galloper. I stand continually amazed at Craig's debating and rhetorical skills. The only way someone can be this good is by starting off young and constantly debating throughout life. Craig started debating on a High School debate team and has been debating all of his life. He's the best defender of that which cannot be reasonably defended I've seen.

One final note. Being the top ranked Christian debater Craig can decide who he debates, just like a champion boxer can choose who to fight. He won't debate me. There are others who won't debate me, like Michael Licona, who did debate Matt Dillahunty. Since I beat up on Randal Rauser in our co-written book God or Godless, Rauser decided to stop dealing with me and stick to philosophical argumentation with Justin Schieber in debates and their co-written book, An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar: Talking about God, the Universe, and Everything. [Justin, as it stands, is a community college student]. So it occurs to me that in some, and maybe many cases, Christians decide who they'll deal with. That is to say, they are in charge. There's nothing new about this. But I don't see any of them chomping at the bit to debate David Eller, for instance, who would tear them a new one (if you know what I mean). As Sargent Schultz in Hogan's Heroes would say, "very interesting."