Showing posts with label "Debate Craig". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "Debate Craig". Show all posts

An Update On William Lane Craig's Policy Not To Debate Me

A friend emailed

I'd love to watch Dr Craig debate John W Loftus. Do you know if he has any plans to?



The response from the Executive Director at Reasonable Faith is below:

An Update on Why William Lane Craig Refuses to Debate Me

Let me update the reasons why William Lane Craig refuses to debate me. So far none of them make any sense at all. [Before commenting on this present post read that one]. When I was a student of his he told his class something I thought was odd at the time. This was back in 1985 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He said "the person I fear debating the most is a former student of mine." No one can speak for Craig, only he can. I'm not saying he fears me. He may fear my influence though, which is an extremely high recommendation given the atheist scholars he has debated over the years. My question is why does he single me out as the one person he refuses to debate who has a reasonable set of credentials? All I want is a reasonable answer. Again no one can answer this question but him.

So here's the update. Yesterday I got an email from a Christian who comments here at DC. He said he was going to ask Craig after a talk why he won't debate me. Later he emailed me back with Craig's answer. It doesn't make any sense either. Actually, I would really be pleased if after every talk of his someone asked him why he refuses to debate me. ;-) Listen, you would think that someone of Craig's scholarly credentials and intellectual prowess would be able to give a reasonable answer to this question. Why can't he? THAT'S MY QUESTION! And why is he offering so many different reasons? You would think he would stick to one story. But he changes his story so many times you know something is up. My honest guess is that he's groping to find a consistent way to exclude me while at the same time not excluding others he has debated, or plans to debate. He's having a hard time of it, that's for sure. Left unstated is the real reason he refuses to debate me. What is that reason? So here is his most recent answer.

Chris Hallquist: Does Dr. Craig Win All His Debates?

Chris describes himself as one having "a masters degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, but hates academic philosophy." I like that. From my experience there is either scientifically informed philosophy or there is scientifically uninformed philosophy. Scientifically uninformed philosophy is a crock, and that's my philosophy. The problem is that way too much academic philosophy is scientifically uninformed. That's why I don't place too much value on it as I've said. Now on to Chris on whether Dr. Craig wins all his debates:

If You Were To Debate William Lane Craig How Would You Go About It?

JohnnyP weighs in on this below. How would you do it?

William Lane Craig: Avoiding More Debate Opponents?

Recently Craig refused to debate me again. But not just me this time. He also refused to debate Robert Price, Hector Avalos, and Richard Carrier, three other contributors to the anthology to be released in April called The Christian Delusion. Maybe he ought to refuse to debate everyone who contributed to that book, right? Here's the story:

Dr. W. L. Craig Caught Telling More Untruths: A Case Study in Theistic Apologetics

Character Assassination by Theistic Apologists in the YouTube Era.

Theists repeatedly characterize atheists as having little or no regard for the truth. But over on YouTube a blogger using the moniker, “Drcraigvideos,” has posted a gem of a study in the theistic ethics of truth-telling---see
Craig Attack video

It is hard to count the number of untruths in this video, but the story gets even stranger when I confronted the website about these untruths. Since the website would not post my comments there, I decided to bring their unscrupulous tactics to light here. It is a study in how self-described professional evangelical apologists, such as Dr. Craig, use character assassination with little regard for basic fact-checking or fairness.

Calling for a Debate with William Lane Craig

Let me make a request to all skeptics as well as many Christians who visit DC. My request is a simple one. I would like skeptics and Christians alike to call for a debate between myself and Dr. William Lane Craig on the topic, Is Christianity more probable than atheism? Use your Blogs and websites to issue this call if you would.

Never mind for the moment that my friend and former professor Bill Craig has basically said he won’t debate me. If people were stopped so easily from pursuing their goals this world would be a different place. He can change his mind. People do all of the time especially when pressure is put on them to do so. On a recent poll many people think I would win such a debate, even if most think I will lose it. About that poll I wonder if some of the Christians who voted I would lose probably just think that since the skeptics are wrong then there is no way any skeptic can win a debate against any Christian apologist. And I wonder if many of the naysaying voters have read my book or seen me debate against David Wood on the problem of suffering, seen here, which most people think I won. Keep in mind that in the debate I had with Wood I did not know in advance how he would argue. But when it comes to Bill Craig I have been a student of his works and debates and I pretty much know his arguments inside and out. He would have to come up with something completely new to surprise me. But I think I could surprise him with a debate strategy I won’t reveal until the time comes to debate him, if it comes. I have watched Craig’s debates enough to know what to say and I want to surprise him with something so different he’ll be taken aback. I am sort of an expert on Craig. I’ve followed him for years, first as a student, and now as a skeptic. I probably know Craig and his work better than most other skeptics.

Many skeptics are now hesitant to encourage debates with Craig because of the recent losses coming from Christopher Hitchens and Richard Carrier, who said: “As I had predicted, I didn't win the debate.” Carrier debated Craig even though he admitted he expected to lose. I do not expect to lose. At the very minimum I expect to hold my own, and I think I could win. I have a habit of succeeding when others tell me I cannot do something.

Eddie Tabash is actually calling for a debate between Craig and me even though he watched in person as Hitchens lost the debate with Craig. I’d like for others to join Tabash if you think one of the premier skeptical debaters on our age knows what he’s talking about.

When it comes to debate experience I think I’ve had more of it than most of the skeptics who debate Craig. Most all of the skeptics that Craig has debated probably never debated before, and some of them win, like most recently Shelly Kagan. The only skeptics who have had a great deal of experience in formal debates are probably Eddie Tabash, Michael Shermer, Dan Barker and Hitchens. So even though I don’t have as much formal debate experience as they do, it may not matter since I'm sort of an expert on Craig. Besides, I’ve been winning debates ever since I won an argument against my 7th grade math teacher and all of the other students in that class over a math problem. And I debate these issues every single day here at DC.

The reason I’m Blogging about this is to try to get Bloggers all over the web to call for this debate, from both skeptical and Christian Blogs. If you’re a Christian why wouldn’t you want to see such a debate? And if you think I’ll be trashed then why wouldn’t you want to see me eat my words?

The saying goes, “if you build it he will come,” and I think if you Blog it Craig will come around. Is he scared of me or something?

A Craig/Loftus Debate?

I’ve challenged my friend and former professor, Dr. William Lane Craig, to debate the merits of Christianity vs Atheism. Below you can see the results of a poll we did here at DC on such a debate:

A Craig/Loftus Debate?

It’s inevitable 31 (6%)

It won’t happen 85 (18%)

It would be exciting 121 (26%)

It doesn’t interest me 20 (4%)

It would be a tie 13 (2%)

Loftus by a lip 31 (6%)

Craig by a nod 21 (4%)

Loftus by a wide margin 39 (8%)

Craig by a wide margin 82 (17%)

Loftus would get trounced ;-) 106 (22%)

Craig would get trounced ;-) 44 (9%)


I personally like debates. While I don’t think debates settle any issues they can be both entertaining and educational. They can and do advance our understanding.

Dr. Craig has said he won’t debate me but I don’t think this is set in stone. If there is a demand for it I think he will debate me. This is not the only challenge I’ve issued, anyway. Since I personally like to be challenged I have issued several of them. Care to take up one of them?

Over at Evaluating Christianity there is a primer on debating Dr. Craig. There’s not much new in it. Besides, what he wrote is easier said than done during a debate.

On the subject of debates have you seen the wonderful movie The Great Debaters? The setting is the 1930’s when a debate team from a small African American college in Texas debated their way up to Harvard's team, and won! It’s both a moving and an informative story which I recommend very highly.

Dr. William Lane Craig: "I Will Not Debate John W. Loftus"

That's right. That's what he so many words.

I learned from DC member Darrin at the Carrier/Craig debate that Craig said he would not debate his former students. That's what he said.

I am now classed with a group of people, i.e., the people comprised of his former students. And Dr. Craig says he will not debate anyone in that class of people. Okay, I guess. But given the fact that I'm probably the only member of this class of people who wants to debate him he might as well have said: "I will not debate John W. Loftus."

I've heard him say this before about former students, so it’s not really like he’s singling me out, or is it?

While I was a student of his he said something I thought was odd at the time. This was back in 1985 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He said "the person I fear debating the most is a former student of mine." Keep in mind that Dr. Craig was on a High School debate team and has been debating these topics for probably just as long as I've been thinking about them. And he had only been teaching a few years before this to actually know of any student who might want to debate him. But that’s what he said. Again, he said "the person I fear debating the most is a former student of mine."

He cannot deny saying this, and I don't think he will.

Does he really fear me? I don’t know. But just maybe he does after all. He could change his mind though. I think a lot of people would be interested in this match-up.

In any case, the stated reason why he won't debate former students is that he "fears" doing so. Yep. That's what he told me when the cameras were off before the thought crossed his mind that I would want to debate him and would use his words against him. Again, he fears debating former students. That's his only word as to why he won't do it. One more time. He fears debating me.

If that word gets out he may have to man up, as it were, and show his followers that he isn't afraid.


Dr. Hector Avalos Comments on his Debate with Dr. William Lane Craig

Atheism Sucks has a post deriding Avalos in his debate with Craig. Here is his response...

Have My Arguments Really Been Refuted?

Repeatedly I am told by some Christians in Blogsphere that I’m stupid, that my research is old, and that my arguments have been refuted a long time ago. They respect Dr. Paul Copan, and fail to realize that we both studied under Dr. Craig, that we both graduated from TEDS, and that we both attended Marquette University. We probably never met because he entered TEDS the Fall after I had just graduated. Paul will be giving the James D. Strauss lectureship at LCCS in October, which is a lectureship that as a student at LCCS with Dr. James F. Sennett we helped to set up in the first place! The only reason these Christians berate me and approvingly quote from Copan and Sennett is because they agree with them and they disagree with me. Sennett himself thinks it's an illusion that Christians have a rationally superior faith.

But such an attitude comes from Dr. William Lane Craig himself, so why would I expect anything different from his followers. I remember sitting down and talking with Bill Craig, at an apologetics conference. While we were talking he said to me “Hume has been refuted years ago.” To which I replied, “I didn’t know Hume could be refuted because he merely said that the wise man proportions his belief based upon what is most likely to be the case.” To which Bill admitted, on second thought, that I was right, “You’re right, Hume cannot be refuted.”

You see? Hume cannot be refuted. I repeat. David Hume cannot be refuted. There is no such thing as a refutation of Hume because his is an inductive argument with a more or less plausibility factor to it. And yet, here's Dr. Craig saying that. No wonder Christians will say that some of my arguments stemming from Hume have been refuted. Craig said it to me, and I suspect he still says it to others. I only called him on it. But Craig acts as if this is the case in his debates. I saw this when Dr. Craig recently claimed Dr. Ehrman’s argument was “mathematically fallacious.” This is a ridiculous charge. It is no such thing. This is rhetoric coming from Craig. Mere rhetoric. It catches the stupid off guard into thinking Craig won the debate.

But Craig repeatedly does this. Let me share what Mackie said about miracles, and then share what Craig said in response. The late J.L. Mackie in his book, The Miracle of Theism (Clarendon Press, 1982) argued against the belief in miracles, along with Hume. Let me quote from him: “The defender of a miracle…must in effect concede to Hume that the antecedent improbability of this event is as high as it could be, hence that, apart from the testimony, we have the strongest possible grounds for believing that the alleged event did not occur. This event must, by the miracle advocate’s own admission, be contrary to a genuine, not merely supposed, law of nature, and therefore maximally improbable. It is this maximal improbability that the weight of the testimony would have to overcome.” “Where there is some plausible testimony about the occurrence of what would appear to be a miracle, those who accept this as a miracle have the double burden of showing both that the event took place and that it violated the laws of nature. But it will be very hard to sustain this double burden. For whatever tends to show that it would have been a violation of a natural law tends for that very reason to make it most unlikely that is actually happened.”

Mackie then distinguishes between two different contexts in which an alleged miracle might be considered as a real one. First, there is the context of two parties in which “already both have accepted some general theistic doctrines and the point at issue is, whether a miracle has occurred which would enhance the authority of a specific sect or teacher. In this context supernatural intervention, though prima facie (“on the surface”) unlikely on any particular occasion is, generally speaking, on the cards: it is not altogether outside the range of reasonable expectation for these parties.” The second context is a very different matter when “the context is that of fundamental debate about the truth of theism itself. Here one party to the debate is initially at least agnostic, and does not yet concede that there is a supernatural power at all. From this point of view the intrinsic improbability of a genuine miracle…is very great, and that one or other of the alternative explanations…will always be much more likely—that is, either that the alleged event is not miraculous, or that it did not occur, or that the testimony is faulty in some way.” Mackie concludes by saying: “This entails that it is pretty well impossible that reported miracles should provide a worthwhile argument for theism addressed to those who are initially inclined to atheism or even to agnosticism.” (From chapter one).

Do you know what Craig said about Mackie's argument? Dr. William Lane Craig wrote in the introduction to the Truth Journal that "Mackie's critique of miracles is “particularly shockingly superficial.” Yes, you read that correctly, coming from the same man who claims Hume has been refuted and any such attempt to refute Hume is "mathematically fallacious." The fact is that Mackie’s argument is not superficial at all. It is very persuasive to me.

Craig claimed this about Mackie's argument when he was commenting on Alvin Plantinga’s critique of Mackie’s book, The Miracle of Theism . So I re-read Plantinga's essay, “Is Theism Really a Miracle?,” in Faith and Philosophy, [April 1986]. And as I was doing so, I thought to myself that this was superficial too, from my perspective. I'm serious! It's obvious that Plantinga critiques Mackie from a theistic perspective. He even says so. Plantinga refers repeatedly to the phrase "to me," "my evidence," "my experience," or "our evidence." Take for example this sentence: “as a matter of fact it could be that what is in fact a violation of a law of nature (a miracle) not only wasn’t particularly improbable with respect to our evidence (emphasis mine), but was in fact more probable than not with respect to it.” What kind of evidence is he speaking to that is specifically his? He’s debating Mackie from within a viewpoint Mackie doesn’t accept. That is, he totally ignores Mackie’s distinction between the two contexts in which an alleged miracle might be considered as a real one. Mackie’s debate is inside the second context where it’s a “fundamental debate about the truth of theism itself.”

Plantinga asks the following question: "why should we think it is particularly improbable that a law of nature be interfered with?" "I have no reason to suppose that the world is not regularly interfered with. Why couldn't interferences with nature be the rule rather than the exception?" But to people who disagree with Plantinga, that's not a very bright question at all. How often has anyone ever seen a real miracle? Science has progressed on the assumption that miracles don't occur in the laboratory. Plantinga debates with modern science here. Now to those of us who question the believability of miracles, that just seems superficial to us. It really really is superficial to us.

Why? Because it's all about "seeing." I simply see things differently, and I will argue that I see things better. But I can no more refute Craig and Copan and Sennett, than they can refute me. It's not about refuting. It's not even about scholarship (Oh, I agree with him, so he's a scholar, although Sennett calls me a "scholar"). It's about seeing. I see things differently, that's all. I have also offered reasons why I see things differently when I wrote about the Outsider Test For Faith. Just go here and read the posts about that test. While you're at it read some of the other ones that interest you. I see things differently, that's all, and there is no way anyone can refute what I believe.

Again, it's about "seeing."

I try to help Christians see things from my side of the fence. The more clearly I can help them see this, the more they may consider seeing as I do. They are trying to make me see things from their side of the fence. But I've been there as an apologist, and from their side of the fence it's ugly.

Sometimes Christians are simply motivated by fear of change to allow themselves to see things differently. There are a lot of other fears: fear of dying, fear of hell, fear of God's wrath; fear of being kicked out of the safe Christian community, fear of a loss of income (those in the paid ministry), fear of what it'll do to your family when they learn, fear of rejecting everything you have studied for too long, fear of knowing how to act and behave ethically in a world that has no absolute guidance, fear of being alone in the universe with no guidance from outside, fear of becoming what I am with misguided notions about how we atheists are evil people who cannot be trusted and are perverts (which just isn't true).

What Is The Goal In A Debate?


I’ve been in several debates over the years. They’re sort of fun, and they help to bring the best out of the debators. Recently there have been a few debate challenges issued in the comments sections here and here.

I’m not opposed to debates. I’m having one in front of an audience with David Wood of Answering Infidels on the problem of evil this coming Fall. I know Dr. Craig and Dan Barker do them often too.

But sometimes it just seems to me that debate challenges are motivated by the desire to be the top dog, or something like it…that is, “who knows the most about the topic at hand?” Is it true that only the most informed person on an issue has the right to believe or not to believe? Surely that cannot be!

This Blog is a debate challenge. Every post of ours is an ongoing debate about some aspect of Christianity. We ask for relevant comments to sharpen our understandings, and this happens on a daily basis. We’re thankful for any intelligent, non-demeaning and relevant comment.

But my unbelief does not depend on winning a debate; just like my opponent's faith does not depend on winning a debate, either. So, what are the specific reasons for having a special one-on-one debate, and why do people issue these debate challenges so often?

I'll share some of my observations later.