On Recent Debate Losses to William Lane Craig

Atheist Bloggers have been hesitant in recent weeks about recommending or promoting one of their own to debate Craig, given recent losses in Hitchens and even Carrier. Some of them have taken it personally, describing these losses as "our losses," and that "we've failed."

Knowing atheists and freethinkers like I do so well, who is the "our" in "our losses," and who is the “we” in “we’ve failed”? Herding us is like herding cats, right? Others failed. I didn’t. You didn’t. Atheists didn’t. I choose who speaks for me. So does every atheist. The media doesn’t choose them for me. Book sales don’t do it either. From these atheists I still haven’t seen any reasonable connection between "Hitchens lost" to "I lost," or to "atheism lost." I really haven’t. I think some atheists do though. That’s why they're hesitant to promote another debate against Craig so that THEY don’t lose again. Christianity will not be debunked in proportion to the degree with which atheists win against Craig anyway. Debates are both entertaining and educational. Like a boxing match we get to watch two people spar for the approval of the audience. But truth is not decided by debate. I think atheists know this, but the words they use say otherwise.

There is a liberalizing tendency with evangelicals over the years. It won’t be atheists that lead them down this road, which can and does lead to atheism. The liberals do this just fine without us. The real debate isn’t between atheists and evangelicals anyway. It’s just that both groups in America seem the most passionate about these issues. The real debate is between evangelicals and other conservatives within the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and Disciples of Christ churches, and so forth. Then the debate switches to the evangelicals against the liberals, and the liberals will literally clean their clocks. Ever wonder why Craig doesn't debate liberals? That's why I use the arguments of the liberals in my book so often. Further down the road the debate becomes one between evangelicals and every religion in the world. Evangelicals cannot even win the debate between themselves, much less with the liberals, and even less with the many other world religions. But as soon as they apply the same skepticism against their own evangelical faith that they use against other religious faiths they will become agnostics and atheists. This is what I think will happen if they apply my Outsider Test for Faith.

So relax atheists. Religion is here to stay, probably as long as there are human beings. In the meantime let's enjoy the debates and learn from them how to effectively debunk the Christian faith, since after all, that's the one we're most familiar with in the English speaking world.

34 comments:

gleatherman said...

Awesome. You're so positive, I really like starting my day with you and "The Good Atheist" podcast and Friendly Atheist. I get a warm, cozy feeling. A sense of community that has been missing since I ran screaming from the camps of the unreasonable. Thanks again, John!

edson said...

Ah, John, that was one of the funny posts of yours that I have come to read for sometimes on your site.

Funny in the sense that it look pathetic on your side of conceding that there is no way religion can be debunked. But you give no any concrete reasons why it cannot be debunked. At the same time you say you are hopeful you can win against Craig. So how do you define winning against Craig when you are not sure you cannot debunk Christianity? Remember that Craig loves to debate on the themes or points that do make or break Christianity and not just vague themes like "Is Atheism more probable than Christianity".

Notice also that liberals and consevatives tend to agree on these make or break points. Any disagreement on these will make one group a Christian the other not.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks gleatherman.

edson, one of the prerequites for arguing against me is to understand exactly what I wrote. You didn't.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Not sure what edson read, but I get your point, John.

Another thing I try to remember is that Christians could win every single debate they enter, but that can't make anyone experience God. I'm not an atheist because atheists have better arguments, though I think they do, I'm an atheist because I don't experience anything in my life that I would call God.

swizzlenuts said...

John, have you seen these posts? They could help when/if you ever debate Craig.

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-not-to-stage-atheist-debate-part-1.html

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-not-to-stage-atheist-debate-part-2.html

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/02/case-study-william-lane-craig-vs-bart.html

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-not-to-stage-atheist-debate-part-3.html

oli said...

Least it not be forgotten, Craig is a fearsome debater. Much like his apologetics, Craig doesn't set out to be right, he sets out to win. Truth be damned!

I saw Hitchens in a debate with Craig and a pair of other theists and Hitchens made some good points but while the others talked, Craig was keeping notes on which of the theists points Hitchens didn't address then he listed them all, right as the last comment in the debate. It was an excellent way to end by listing all the ways your opponent failed and without giving him an opportunity to retort. Of course, Craig didn't answer Hitchens points either but Hitchens didn't take him up on it and since Craig had the last word it very much felt like Craig had beaten him.

I know Craig is wrong about much of what he says, i know he creates strawmen, takes things out of context and gets obscure so its hard to call him on it. But he'd wipe the floor with me in a debate, he has the skills, i don't.

This is the situation atheists usually face when debating him. While i could dissect one of his articles, its much harder to do on the fly.

Torcant said...

I think you are exaggerating Craig’s success and exalting him unnecessarily. Craig may be a good debater but he is not perfect and he didn’t win every debate. Yes, people on his side may think he won all debates but that doesn’t mean he really did.
And, to be honest, I feel you are giving him this excess credit to put yourself forward as the only qualified debater that’s left, hoping to draw attention onto yourself.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

John, I see your perspective but Atheism is as much a cohort as the Theistic community. Thus, in a popularist sense - Craig is to Theists as Dawkins/Hitchens is to Atheists. Additionally (Oli), the nature of a debate (as opposed to a panel discussion) presumes and proliferates the idea of a win or loss situation i.e. whose rhetoric will remain standing when viewed against a particular proposition. In light of the foregoing, it is inevitable that many Atheists will feel like they have 'lost' since the Hitchens/Craig debate.

John, as it relates to the particulars of what you are discussing, I think what you refer to as the 'real debate' is really moot. On the platform of defending or debunking 'God's Existence' I am not sure that debating with liberals on differences relating to the creation account,credal and doctrinal issues, hermeneutical approaches, etc is really relevant. Therefore, I definately think Edson was unto something here.

Mike, I like your perspective. It's not much different from a line in the Pat Boone song My God is Real that says "My God is real for I can feel him deep in my soul"

John W. Loftus said...

Torcant, I don't think Craig has won every debate, and I do not put myself "forward as the only qualified debater that’s left, hoping to draw attention onto" myself. I never even hinted at such things. I would just like to debate Craig, that's all. Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't want to do so?

With reading and critical thinking skills just displayed I can tell you're a believer. But then with those kinds of skills how do you ever hope to properly exegete the Bible or reasonably conclude God exists? You see, the same kinds of skills are needed.

John W. Loftus said...

Andre P. Llewellyn said... "it is inevitable that many Atheists will feel like they have 'lost' since the Hitchens/Craig debate."

They can be wrong if they want to be, as I've argued here. I didn't lose. Hitchens and i are both atheists but he does not speak for me. I actually like a few of his arguments but there is much to disagree with him about.

Besides, I doubt if there were any people who changed their minds even if Craig won. As far as I can tell someone can lose a debate and still make some great points. So Hitchens may have produced doubt in people even if he lost the debate. Debating Craig gave him a platform to produce doubt in people even if he lost the debate.

Torcant said...

John,

I read your blog and like the way you think through your arguments and express them clearly. What I don't like is the way you respond to criticism.
Mine was an open & honest criticism. I didn't attack you.
Instead you tried to make me feel humiliated by supposedly unveiling my "real" identity with your "superior" experience.
I don't blame you. English isn't my mother tongue. Probably I'm unlike anybody you've ever met. Maybe that mislead you about me.

And by the way, you're totally wrong. I'm not a believer and have never been one. (as opposed to you)

John W. Loftus said...

Torcant, if you presume to personally criticize me for something I did not say then expect me to answer you. You may not be a believer but then you are proof to me that skeptics don't have a corner on rationality either. I'm sorry about this, but you put your foot in your own mouth.

Lvka said...

For the believer, his failure is his victory. (Kierkegaard). -- Too bad You're not believers, I guess.

:-)

Scott said...

I think much of Craig's success is making possible inferences in areas we know so very little about seem plausible. For example, much of what Craig references as supporting his position is really based on interpretations which are in no way conclusive.

Sure, you could draw X conclusion from Y, but given that we really know little to nothing about Y, is reasonable to say X is really plausible? How could we know that X is the wrong conclusion?

For example, we could just as easily suggest that our universe is the result of a perfectly good God and his equally powerful, completely evil brother. In fact, one might suggest this is a far better explanation that a single God having some mysterious reason to allow children to die of cancer. Of course, this would also imply an infinite conflict in which neither good nor evil wold prevail. it's no surprise this is not a popular view which no one argues for.

In other words, does Craig's ability to create a ultimately positive, logically possible scenario that supports theism mean he "wins" a debate?

Raul said...

"Ever wonder why Craig doesn't debate liberals?"
Would this count?

mathyoo said...

I've watched several of Craig's debates, and frankly, I haven't seen a single one that I would call a win for him. I don't know that I'd call any of them a true loss, but all he seems capable of doing is throwing out every standard apologetic argument in his opening statement (all of which have been long and well refuted), then claiming victory in his closing statement when his opponent doesn't address each and every one in detail, which would never be possible in the time frame of a standard debate. He's good at debating in the sense that any good high school or college debate team member is, and could probably take either side in any debate and "win" by virtue of throwing out too many arguments to refute then claiming victory because his opponent didn't answer him, all while ignoring any arguments his opponents raise.

However, I have not heard him step outside his carefully prepared answers and actually defend his arguments or refute those of his opponents.

Ashraf said...

Folks, try reading this article, it really is a great one and it expressed something I was about to ask, "if Craig's argument is true, does that mean a force like gravity is intelligent?" though it is simple, but it captures the essence of this rebuttal to Craig's argument:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/greg_scorzo/kalam.html

Harry McCall said...

Until apologist William L. Craig debates such secular scholars as New Testament specialist as John Keith Elliott, Eldon Jay Epp and Hebrew Bible specialist William H.C. Propp and John J. Collins over the theological truthfulness and historical claims of the Bible, the evangelical Biblical defense has not even really begun!

Annoyed Pinoy said...

John (L.),

If it were taken as a given that Christianity might be true even if the Bible might contains some errors, what would be the top 10 (or 20) evidences that you would offer that absolutely disproves the truth of Christianity (i.e. making it impossible)? Not merely the improbability, implausibility, or the unsavoriness of Christianity (which is person relative). I recommend at the top of the list showing internal logical inconsistencies.

Btw, to make your target even easier for you to hit, I'd prefer you attack Calvinistic Christianity (since I'm a Calvinist and Charismatic Christian). Yes, Historically, Calvinists hold to inerrancy. So, in one sense, you wouldn't be attacking "true" Calvinism in the challenge I've offered.

If you're wondering, I do hold to inerrancy, but not so centrally that I think it would disprove Christianity were a genuine contradiction/discrepancy/error proven. For a while now, I've considered W.L. Craig's views on the importance and place of inerrancy in Christian belief to have some merit.

Here's a classic example of his position on it. Which I assume you're probably already familiar with.

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2008/12/what-is-inerrancy-william-lane-craig.html

Steven Carr said...

Craig v Carrier A report on the recent debate.

Craig got hammered on the arguments.

'Craig points to multiple sources, but what this really means is multiple versions of the same story. There are multiple versions of Hercules myth, but this doesn't make the claims reliable.'

Only a Craig would claim that contradictory reports are multiple, independent sources, because the contradictions mean one report is not derived from the other....

John W. Loftus said...

Annoyed, see here, and meet this challenge.

Cheers.

edson said...

Mike, you are an atheist because you've never experienced God, so you say?

That sounds convincing! It is by far a better reason than, say, Virgin birth is absurd or Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a myth or violence in the Bible. It also implies that once you experience something that you personally could identify as sufficient evidence of God, there is no turning back. That is an essence of a personal God. No wonder it becomes really hard to many christians to comprehend how could someone who has tasted the goodness of an experience of God but later turn away from for some asinine reasons I mentioned above.

And to John, I really understood what you wrote. If there is a single point I didnt understand from your article, it may be because you didnt adress it clearly. For example in your entire article there is nowhere you expressed that "Debating Craig could give a platform to produce doubt in people even if you may generally lose the debate", a point you raised later. For that I am with you on that one.

Andrew T. said...

John,

For the record, the comment that provoked this post was as follows:

-----
I think this is an excellent point. I view debates — from the standpoint of the atheist — as primarily an opportunity to conduct outreach into the larger community of folks who disagree with us. (It’s what I’m trying to do on the blog.)

So in that sense, when the atheist fails to respond to Craig’s misconceptions about cosmology, we’ve failed — not because Craig is right, but because the only people who know that are the people who already agree with our position.
-----

With all due respect, I think it's pretty clear what my objectives are in those two paragraphs. I'm not despondent over recent atheist losses to Craig, as you seem to think. I think that those of us with a voice in the atheist community who share the goal of representing atheism in a positive way to believers should try and work together to make that happen.

That's all I'm trying to do with my series on "Advice for Debating..." And I reiterate that my offer to help stands.

John W. Loftus said...

Andrew, I'll cut to the chase. You said I was not yet ready to debate Craig. You have no right to say that. You don't have enough knowledge about me, my strategy, or Craig to say that. Who is the expert on Craig? Tell us all, okay? You're sticking your nose where it doesn't belong and you have offered nothing that I didn't already know about debates. No, I have not read the Lincoln-Douglass debates, but I have read descriptions of them. To me it's close to saying I shouldn't marry the woman I love, okay? Who are you to say so? Why should I care what you say? Like most lawyers I've encountered on the web I consider you to be arrognat beyond your means. So I'm telling you to relax; you personally!

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

edson, the absurdities of religion are just icing on the cake for me. ;-)

I don't think it's likely that I'll run into this God fellow, but ya never know.

I understand the difficulty Christians have in believing someone would leave the One True Faith, because I had that same difficulty for 20 years when I was a Christian. Now I understand.

Lee Randolph said...

After hearing many debates, and seeing many atheist arguments, in my humble opinion, atheists would make greater inroads if they'd attack the roots rather than the weeds.

they should attack the quality of the information which is the pillar that every single apologist argument rests on, and press the issue that they are using poor quality information to derive conclusions with and never relent.

Attack the ambiguity involved in deriving Jesus Divinity from what he is quoted as saying in scripture.

Look, the source of scripture is unknown, it is inconsistent, and has all the flaws typical of non-divinely revealed information.

How many iterations did the information go through before it was finally recorded?

Was the source in a position to know?

If it was so important and divinely revealed, why wasn't it captured at the moment and divinely protected?

Where is the divine quality assurance?

Where is the divine due care and diligence that a merchant or record keeper had in the same time frame?

He revealed his word and let it be inconsistent with what he previously put out?

He revealed his word but did not reveal how it should be cared for and maintained?

He didn't place it into our brains or "write it on our hearts" so we'd all know it before we ever saw it in print and be accountable for it from the first time we opened our eyes?

RIDICULOUS!

Gods losing his ass in his investment in people. He's only ever got up to 30% buy-in globally, and its because the quality of the information is terrible!

Some defining characteristics of quality information is verifiability, reproducability, concurrence with established knowledge, consistency and lack of ambiguity. Quality information has inherent characteristics that are quantifiable and measurable; Things that are intuitive. But from what I can see, atheists don't take advantage of them.

Annoyed Pinoy said...

John,

I just read both of the posts you recommended. In them, you listed standard alleged CDEs (i.e. contradictions, discrepancies, and errors). All of the ones mentioned I'm aware of.

I guess you didn't read my post very carefully, since I granted (for the sake of argument) that the Bible may have genuine CDEs. As you know W.L. Craig argues for the truth of Christianity even if there might be CDEs in the Bible.

It's a logical fallacy to assume that if genuine CDEs in the Bible were discovered (which I haven't found yet), that Christianity must of necessity be false. So I asked you for the arguments you would present to prove Christianity (specifically Calvinism) false if you granted that Christianity might be true even if the Bible might have CDEs.

That is, unless you believe that Biblical inerrancy is integral to the truth of Christianity. That Christianity stands or falls on inerrancy. If that's your position, what case would you make for that?

These questions are especially relevant since, if you want to debate W.L. Craig, you will have to virtually answer my questions since he too doesn't think that a genuine CDE disproves Christianity.

Btw, what do you consider the 5 greatest CDEs in the Bible? I'd be interested in knowing. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. :-)

P.S., not only am I a Calvinistic Charismatic, and inerrantist, but I'm also an "Old Earth Creationist" like Hugh Ross (if that makes a difference).


If anyone is interested, here's a link to an mp3 of a debate between two young earth (Biblical) creationists and two old earth (Biblical) creationists.

http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/05/old-earth-young-earth-debate-mp3-audio.html

Harry McCall said...

Lee,

You makes some great points!

As far back as 150 CE the Christian apologist, Titian, was troubled by the contradictions and problems in the four Gospels and sought to solve this embarrassment by editing the Gospels into a continuous harmonious narrative called the Diatessaron (Dia = through + tessaron = four) which was completed in 160 CE.

Tatian's Diatessaron published by EJ Brill is out standing.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

For $343.00 it better be outstanding. ;-)

Ahhh, here's a better price: The Diatessaron Of Tatian: A Harmony Of The Four Gospels Compiled In The Third Quarter Of The Second Century (1888) (Hardcover)Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out.

smalltalk said...

Hmm... I've seen a lot of atheist vs religion debates. Most of them are claimed to have been one by the religious person. However, after watching them I never feel like the religious side one.

I think the main point from my view is that all of the religous arguments are bogus. They are nicely packaged but when closely analyzed their arguements are hogwash.

Athiests have a sever disadvantage due to the complete wrongness of the religous arguments. In order to prove their arguments bogus, you have to break down to such a fine degree their words and sentences that it would take almost hours to debunk a single sentence. to me that is the big problem.

Take a look at this. There is so much wrong with their 'proof' its almost impossible to debunk in a debate. It would take hours of continual talk.

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/how-to-defend-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-just-like-william-lane-craig/

smalltalk said...

Speaking of CDE's. Here is a nice Easter quiz.

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/EasterQuiz.htm

George Chua said...

I've watched several William Lane Craig debates on YouTube and Google Video.

Quite frankly, I fail to see why William Lane Craig is widely regarded by many evangelicals as a formidable defender of their faith.

His offers nothing but tired old arguments drawn from the wastelands of Christian apologetics. He barrages his opponents with so many points that it's plainly impossible to rebut them in the limited time provided. He then accuses his opponents of not refuting his assertions and claims victory.

When Craig's points are rebutted, he simply sticks doggedly to them until his opponents tire. Witness Craig's debate with Dr Peter Slezak, in which he kept insisting that "something cannot come out of nothing" as the metaphysical principle to justify the Genesis account of the creation of the cosmos. But Dr Slezak had already pointed out earlier in the debate that our everyday intuition about concepts such as "something", "come out of" or "nothing" completely breaks down during the singularity that was the initial conditions of the universe.

We can make very little positive statements about those initial conditions, much less use them to "prove" that God exists. In any case, even if we allow Craig's fallacious arguments, why don't they prove the existence of Zeus, or Ra, or Thor?

Anyway, you get the idea. We give William Lane Craig more respect than he deserves.

J Wood said...

I'm relatively new here, and relatively new to tracking these debates and Craig's claimed dominance. But there are a few things I've noticed that seems to predetermine his debates.

Since he always goes first, the skeptic is always in the position of trying to field his tommy-gun-spray of what he calls facts. However, the definition of "fact" is never established, and it seems Craig is working with a functionally different definition than his opponents.

Hector Avalos, it seemed to me, came the closest to calling this out: The historical object under contention aren't the facts of an empty tomb/resurrection/Jesus-spotters/risk-taking disciples; the historical objects under contention are actually the stories surrounding those events. Craig never faced this down; he simply re-asserted the stories as facts. What's his distinction between written literary remembrances documented well after the event and a fact itself?

A well-attested story doesn't make something a fact. When I was in college, I had an ugly star-shaped puncture scar on my side from a biking accident. I had fun with it and told people at parties I was shot. I changed the story a little each time. People told the story they heard to other people. By the time I graduated there were maybe 9 different stories floating around about how I got shot in Chicago. I'd meet people for the first time through mutual friends, and they already heard the story, but it was yet a different account -- the telephone game and all.

Because there were so many people attesting to the story of my being shot, does that make it a fact? And now that I have no contact with most of those people, will that story always remain a fact? All we can really attest to is that a story was put out there. No one saw me get shot. Two people saw me get in the accident, but never challenged the story (they enjoyed it). This isn't to say the Jesus story was a joke, but just to point out the difference between a well-attested fact and a story.

There's also the line Craig always throws out about how the "Jewish mind" just couldn't conceive of someone being resurrected individually before the general resurrection occurred. I just fail to see how this makes sense. First, how does Craig know what the Jewish mind is/was? Second, we do know that there were numerous Jewish sects during that part of the axial age: Pharisees, Saducees, Sicari, Zealots, Essenes (I've heard recent arguments that they may have been a literary construction), and general radicals like John the Baptist.

Which of these constitute the Jewish mind that can't conceive of an individual resurrection before the general resurrection? Are they genetically incapable of doing so? Are they all brainwashed Manchurian-Candidate style? Are they completely incapable of being influenced by the dying-and-rising god motifs that existed in the myth traditions surrounding them? (Hence the women at the tomb, which seems to be a common motif in dying-and-rising god myths.) His Jewish mind assertion is another one that I don't see challenged (and it's a vaguely racist assertion at that).

(And now there's that Dead Sea tablet that predates Christ and, whadaya know, it mentions a messiah that will rise from the dead after three days. So maybe the Jewish mind could conceive of such things. Can Craig's mind?)

When Craig argues for the existence of god (like with Austin Dacey), he lays out an argument for the beginnings of the universe, claiming since anything that comes into being has a cause, and the universe came into being, the universe had a case (god). I doubt there would be time enough to discuss abiogenesis as an anology (especially if Craig goes first), but if life can come from non-organic material here -- something from nothing -- why couldn't it happen in the universe?

But beyond that, he smuggles in a quick brainworm right after making that statement about the universe having been caused -- the cause must be beyond space and time, greater than the universe, and only two things fit that bill -- abstractions or an intelligent mind. Why just the two? Why not may intelligent minds, or non-intelligent forces combining in just the right way. I presume he limits it because you just run into the ever-vanishing god-in-the-gaps problem.

Then he makes a subtle definitional slide, and that timeless, spaceless mind becomes a personal being, shifting the mark from a possible deistic idea to a clearly theistic one. Where is his evidence that the cause of the universe is a personal being? Is it just based on the claim that the universe couldn't be brought to you by the number 7 and the letter E? If it's a being, why is it personal, and what does he mean by personal? Trying to conceive of a being that exists beyond all space and time, yet is personal -- and persons/personality/personhood all exist within the limits of space and time -- seems shifty. It seems he's artificially limiting the parameters and stacking the deck. I've not seen him challenged on that. (But again, I've only seen maybe 8 of his debates.)

In that Dacey debate, he then moves to arguing "we've already seen one reason that this cause must be personal; let me give another." Wrong -- we've seen one assertion that the cause is personal, and it wasn't backed up; we've seen no reasons why the cause must be personal, and no evidence backing up the personnl-ness of this being.

Then: "How else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe?" If the sufficient abstract conditions were eternally present, he argues, then the effect would be eternally present. Then he claims that only his personal timeless being could make the choice to create time. Something doesn't sit right here, either. Again, he offers no evidence for how a sufficient yet abstract or unintelligent cause could not give rise to a temporal universe, he just asserts it. My mind goes back to abiogenesis analogy again and how randomness can lead to an infinity of options. But what I'm still not clear on is if that cause is not abstract, why does it have to be a singular being, and a personal one at that?

Of course almost none of his assertions are challenged in the debates, as his opponents try to assert their own cases against theism or the resurrection. In the following rounds Craig then boxes his opponents ears for not successfully challenging his "facts," so he claims his facts stand and he wins. From an audience standpoint, it comes off like watching a teacher ask what the capital of Poland is, and a student answering kielbasa -- but the student was told this was cooking class.

Craig also isn't charitable about the opponent's positions; he did his best to make John Dominic Crossan look like milquetoast, even after the debate, but in the debate he stumbled some when they got to defining what being Christian is -- Crossan made it situational (a Christian is one who accesses god via the life of Jesus), and Craig reverted to his previous assertions -- facts, you see, facts, and you can't deny facts, so Christian is the only way to be.

And that's where it hit me; am I wrong here, or is Craig playing a very clever rhetorical shell game with definitions? When he smuggles an assertion back in as a previously-demonstrated definition, I want to pull a begging-the-question yellow card. It seems like many of his "facts" are never fully explained with what would constitute verifiable evidence, and that's where the definitional differences come in. As a scholar, I can't count outdated anecdote -- no matter how many times it's copied -- as established fact. His Craigian facts are then later recycled as evidence for other facts (Example: Like saying how many historians agree about resurrection details, without letting on that they're agreeing on stories about those details, not that the details are historically verifiable).

It comes off like a rhetorical Ponzi scheme, and a well done one. I'm no debater, but it seems to me that for a skeptic to do well against Craig -- to at least throw him off his game -- the skeptic would either have to go first, asserting lack of belief is the most reasonable way to go and Craig has to argue it isn't, or the opponent has to zero in on Craig's cute use of definitions and argue that his facts can't be challenged because they don't meet the standard criteria of fact. Then offer that standard and show where his facts fail.

Julio César Fernández said...

I think the debate about religions existed and will exist siempre.En my case I'm closer to the Catholic religion for culture, education and formación.No why I close to what I think in otros.También think atheism is religion: the which have a definite idea of what they believe and which not. Some within the last or first do so for convenience, drop by to say easier egoismo.Es am an atheist and divorced from any moral thing to come to accompany this and this I am not talking about religion but about the person.