Questionable Motives

October 27, 2011

Why is William Lane Craig not worth debating?

Filed under: apologetics,Dawkins,Debate,Morality,William Lane Craig — tildeb @ 9:44 am

Because it’s the wrong thing to do…. some might even consider it immoral.

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle over Dawkins’ refusal to ‘debate’ William Lane Craig on the basis – so Craig and his supporters insist – of intellectual cowardice. This is just too rich.

Dawkins has explained why he won’t debate Craig only to met with many times with this kind of typical journalistic dribble… widely accepted by apologists to fairly represent the legitimacy of Dawkins’ intellectual cowardice.

What I don’t see (other than on atheist websites like those found here, here, and here) are many apologists appreciating why Craig’s line of thinking is so dangerous and flawed. Sure, if we hold the man to the same standard as he would have us hold for Dawkins, he is at least as cowardly so that’s not it. I think those who endorse Craig’s stance as an apologist of intellectual heft need to be shocked back to reality. And the way to do that is to show that there is no difference between Craig’s line of thinking and that used by oneof the architects of the Nazi genocide: Himmler.

Craig is using the same line of reasoning as Himmler did, and that this fact should concern apologist supporters far more than it apparently does.

Here’s Craig:

“So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.”

Here’s Himmler addressing SS troops in Poland in 1943:

“Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet – apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard. This is a glorious page in our history that has never been written and shall never be written.”

Cruelty does not become something else, just because it is imagined to be the command of a god. Yet supporters of Craig call this kind of thinking reasonable and I guess intellectually courageous when it clearly is neither reasonable not courageous at all. It is a rationalization to excuse the content of an atrocity – real suffering of real people in this temporal world – on the basis of the assumed sanctity of its source: scripture. This – what’s called the divine command theory – is what Craig is saying, what he is promoting, what he is proselytizing, and no ‘debate’ in the world will alter his position one iota because the line of reasoning he uses is demonstrably NOT reasonable. It is NOT intellectually courageous. It is immoral. Yet support for it is locked into position in Craig’s mind and those of his supporters as a matter of immutable faith, which is the mental groundwork necessary for atrocity to be done and called holy.

It’s the thinking Craig uses that is broken and it is broken across the board in his presentation because it is intellectually dishonest. No matter how much effort people put into correcting Craig’s broken line of thinking with fact – in his erroneous physics, in his erroneous mathematics, in his erroneous conclusions built upon these errors – he rejects factual correction and moral considerations of imposed cruelty and continues to spout the same intellectual garbage at every debate. He has immunized his mind from reality’s corrective input, and here his supporters continue to cheer him on while deriding others who exercise intellectual integrity for not helping this supporter of genocide draw crowds.


  1. The bus ad makes me smile. Is WLC not familiar with the idiom, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” which defines as “To imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment — often an unintended compliment.”

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — October 27, 2011 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  2. Craig wants respect in a field he is not in. He is in the philosophical (speculation) field. Dawkins is in the science (demonstration) field. Craig, wants people to accept his speciulation as science. If he wants to get involved in the science field, he should write articles for science journals and submit them. They can then be peer reviewed and perhaps published if he has something of value to offer. There is no reason to “debate” him.

    Cheers! RichGriese.NET

    Comment by Rich Griese — October 28, 2011 @ 7:11 am | Reply

    • I think Craig is an excellent debater and far too many underestimate his effect when he is allowed to present his arguments on the metaphysical grounds of his choosing. It is very difficult to dismantle his arguments in the debate format without losing the audience’s interest and support. Just as it is very difficult to prove why an invisible elephant doesn’t live in your bathtub, so too is it difficult to prove why Craig’s five arguments are disingenuous distortions, simplifications, and outright lies in the context of a debate. That his arguments are disingenuous distortions, simplifications, and outright lies is not open to debate, as Krauss explains here and I don’t think it is because Craig is trying to be something he is not – a scientist and mathematician; he needs to be challenged on the basis of him proving that what he argues is, in fact, true. When the preening is done, Craig needs to be exposed for the apologetic charlatan he is, and I think the way to do that is to show that being sympathetic to Craig’s arguments aligns you with morally corrupt people like Himmler who demonstrably used the same arguments. That makes his supporters squirm in discomfort because it is a simple and easily understood comparison backed by evidence and forces them to try to explain this unholy alliance with genocidal maniacs is somehow theologically okay. Obviously, it isn’t. There has to be something wrong with any argument that places you on the side of supporting genocide. Now let’s let the theists come looking for answers to this moral dilemma of their own making.

      Comment by tildeb — October 28, 2011 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  3. “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

    ― Mark Twain

    Dawkins read Twain.

    Comment by G. Snyder — November 10, 2013 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  4. […] as an important intellectual or authority”, since he “is kind of a nobody” who is “not worth debating” [12], because “his academic career is embarrassing”, and “his significance in the […]

    Pingback by To Debate or Not Debate William Lane Craig - Hillside — November 11, 2015 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

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