Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

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Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#1  Postby Zwaarddijk » May 07, 2012 1:19 pm

The gazette of the Swedish-speaking diocese of the Finnish Lutheran church normally is a fairly inoffensive little, uh, gazette, except there's some occasional lunatics in the letters to the editor part.

Recently, though, the gazette ran a very fawning article on W.L. Craig, complete with claims like 'Dawkins does not dare to debate him'. I want to send a letter to the editor giving a less lopsided view of this idiot. However, I don't quite have the time to look up all the dumb stuff this idiot has said and done, and learning about philosophy-oriented things he may use does not really interest me.

Some clear fabrications/misrepresentations/misinterpretations/bullshit arguments of his along the lines of this could be helpful. Alas, the gazette limits letters to the editor to rather short things, so any thing along these lines will need to be short and concise.

Any help would be appreciated.

Regarding the gazette, it has the greatest circulation of any Swedish publication in Finland, reaching 110 000 households, 89% of the Swedish population. Mostly, dioceses pay for the subscriptions, although some non-members of the church also subscribe. Most public libraries also have it. Normally, it contains religion-related local news, Christianity-related global news, a sermon, some observations and reflections on things, reviews of Christian music, reviews of literature (not necessarily christian) and movies (though not action movies, normally), theatre, some personal profile of someone that's had some kind of impact on the religious scene in Finland, ... a fawning article on an apologist is an unusually strong thing for this newspaper.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#2  Postby Shrunk » May 07, 2012 1:26 pm

A quick reference to the fact that he advocates genocide might do the trick.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#3  Postby Zwaarddijk » May 07, 2012 1:29 pm

Shrunk wrote:A quick reference to the fact that he advocates genocide might do the trick.

That isn't really as damning as you'd like to think. Who I like to get to are the conservative Christians, and they'll shrug that off. A direct lie he's produced is kind of more powerful in that sense.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#4  Postby Shrunk » May 07, 2012 1:34 pm

I don't know, then. Maybe this? (Long but worth it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRn-mVPI ... 3B92DF3CB8
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#5  Postby Zwaarddijk » May 07, 2012 1:55 pm

His habit of misrepresenting arguments would be a good thing to point out, yeah.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#6  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » May 07, 2012 2:20 pm

The best criticism of William Lane Craig IMO is here, and you need to go no further. http://www.rationalskepticism.org/nonth ... 28952.html

If all his arguments were debunked he'd still believe his God created the universe because of his personal experience with the holy spirit. Imagine if a climate scientist said this? The media would be all over them, in fact, imagine if a fucking evolutionary biologist said this? William Lane Craig and other apologists for Christianity and intelligent design would be all over it.

He is an anti-intellectual and has absolutely no modesty, I mean who the fuck claims with certainty they know how the universe begun?
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#7  Postby Counter Apologist » May 07, 2012 2:50 pm

IMO, the best thing you can do very easily is point out that his arguments rest on taking a variety of assumptions and definitions on unresolved philosophical topics (the nature of time), and that despite his claims, science does not support his arguments, it merely doesn't outright disprove them, and he relies on quite literally "scientific unknowns" to further his case.

Specifically point out that his use of the work by Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin to show that any universe that is expanding could not have been expanding forever into the past does not support the idea that the Universe could not be infinite. It just means that the expansion of the universe could not have been happening infinitely into the past, it does not imply that literally all matter, time, and energy had to be created ex-nihilo as his arguments attempt to show.

Another good critical take on him was posted Here.

One last bit to point out - when it comes to debates, he will refuse to vary his format. See this video here by Bill Cooke, someone who debated him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbClnWrUF2Q

His public debates are effectively shows for him, where he can use the exact same well prepared script to present his side of the case, and his script is tailored to give him every advantage - the main one being that he can rattle off 3-5 "arguments" for god in his opening 20 minutes, and to debunk each one would take an equal amount of time, and doing a cursory "quick rebuttal" of each would leave many avenues for Craig to come back and give counters in his time, where it then takes more time for an opponent to show where he's wrong. In public literature, none of his arguments are compelling, and he admits this.

I'll try to find an article by him where he states as much, his goal is to merely give believers a way to reinforce themselves, and he admits that if one stays purely rational they'll end up atheists or at best agnostics.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#8  Postby Shrunk » May 07, 2012 3:14 pm

JHendrix wrote:Another good critical take on him was posted Here.


I found this quote, from Stephen Law, interesting:

Notice that when pressed by Brierley, Craig actually admitted at the end of the debate in the QandA that his repeated insistence during the debate that I had conceded there was a God by not going after the cosmological argument was just “debate tactics”. He didn’t actually believe it.

I would never give an argument I believed not to be good just to win a debate. Craig and I go into these debates with very different attitudes. I am interested in truth. He’s interested in making believers of you, by any means necessary.


That confirms a point that I have made a few times here: Craig's reputation as a great debator largely rests on the fact that his "opponents" usually are not approaching the encounter as a debate, in terms of being a contest where the main goal is to win or lose. Rather, the other speaker is usually mainly interested in explaining there own point of view as lucidly and persuasively as possible, and would not deliberately say something he does not believe to be true. Craig, OTOH, is only concerned with "winning", so if there is an argument he himself does not believe is sound, but he suspects his opponent or the audience will think it is sound and have difficulty answering it, he will use it.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#9  Postby Onyx8 » May 07, 2012 3:24 pm

In other words, he's a lying shitbag.

There's a short criticism.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#10  Postby Counter Apologist » May 07, 2012 4:13 pm

This is the quote from Craig I was looking for:
The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/200 ... ml?start=5
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#11  Postby Shrunk » May 07, 2012 6:26 pm

JHendrix wrote:This is the quote from Craig I was looking for:
The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/200 ... ml?start=5


Unreal. I was convinced you had quoted that out of context or that Craig was speaking ironically or as a devil's advocate, or something. But looking at the entire article, I can only conclude that this statement's meaning is exactly as read. He really does believe that society has taken a wrong turn in adopting the values of "the Enlightenment", "modernism", and "scientific naturalism", and that his job is simply to make Chrisitian apologetics seem to conform to these values so that people are more receptive to the witness of the Holy Spirit. But he doesn't actually believe that reason and rationality are actually capable of revealing truth. It's just useful to pretend he does.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#12  Postby Counter Apologist » May 07, 2012 6:37 pm

Shrunk wrote:
JHendrix wrote:This is the quote from Craig I was looking for:
The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/200 ... ml?start=5


Unreal. I was convinced you had quoted that out of context or that Craig was speaking ironically or as a devil's advocate, or something. But looking at the entire article, I can only conclude that this statement's meaning is exactly as read. He really does believe that society has taken a wrong turn in adopting the values of "the Enlightenment", "modernism", and "scientific naturalism", and that his job is simply to make Chrisitian apologetics seem to conform to these values so that people are more receptive to the witness of the Holy Spirit. But he doesn't actually believe that reason and rationality are actually capable of revealing truth. It's just useful to pretend he does.


I didn't want to seem like it was out of context, but after reading the context enough times to make sure it was "OK", I came to the exact same conclusion.

Here is the whole context:

A robust natural theology may well be necessary for the gospel to be effectively heard in Western society today. In general, Western culture is deeply post-Christian. It is the product of the Enlightenment, which introduced into European culture the leaven of secularism that has by now permeated Western society. While most of the original Enlightenment thinkers were themselves theists, the majority of Western intellectuals today no longer considers theological knowledge to be possible. The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#13  Postby Shrunk » May 07, 2012 7:02 pm

JHendrix wrote:I didn't want to seem like it was out of context, but after reading the context enough times to make sure it was "OK", I came to the exact same conclusion.

Here is the whole context:

A robust natural theology may well be necessary for the gospel to be effectively heard in Western society today. In general, Western culture is deeply post-Christian. It is the product of the Enlightenment, which introduced into European culture the leaven of secularism that has by now permeated Western society. While most of the original Enlightenment thinkers were themselves theists, the majority of Western intellectuals today no longer considers theological knowledge to be possible. The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.


By no means did I mean to imply any dishonesty on your part. It's just quite a flabbergasting quote.

BTW, check out my new sig line. :mrgreen:
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#14  Postby John P. M. » May 07, 2012 8:01 pm

That is quite astounding. :eh:

But not really all that surprising, having heard him say what he's said about the Holy Spirit witnessing within him, and how a Christian only really needs to put forward the arguments he usually trots out, when faced with and witnessing to people who don't have that faith, because otherwise there would be nothing to differentiate the credibility of their claims from claims of people with other personal religious experiences.

Furthermore, he reminds me of... someone... who seems to defend these arguments for their philosophical eloquence and cleverness and careful handling of philosophical definitions of words and concepts, rather than for what real world application or truth value the arguments actually have. Word games.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#15  Postby Sityl » May 07, 2012 9:25 pm

JHendrix wrote:This is the quote from Craig I was looking for:
The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic.


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/200 ... ml?start=5


There should not be a single "debate" in which this toad is not repeatedly asked to explain this statement. I'm sure he's done the necessary mental gymnastics to pretend to himself that this statement (which is actually quite accurate), but I'm also sure that at least 80% of his viewing audience would NOT be comforable with this sentiment.
Stephen Colbert wrote:Now, like all great theologies, Bill [O'Reilly]'s can be boiled down to one sentence - 'There must be a god, because I don't know how things work.'


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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#16  Postby Calilasseia » May 08, 2012 12:41 am

The simplest way to get at these people would be to take one of his infamous quotes, and tell them what it really means. For example:

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.


In short, he's saying that whenever reality and doctrine differ, reality is wrong and doctrine is right. Post that and watch the stinging effect it has. :)
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#17  Postby Calilasseia » May 08, 2012 12:50 am

Also, there's this one:

Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God.


He's effectively accusing those who refuse to accept his assertions uncritically of wilful dishonesty, simply because they don't roll over and genuflect before his assertions. A disingenuous tactic in the light of the previous quote I provided, in which he effectively says "I don't care what reality says, I'm going to regard mythology as fact, even when reality says I'm wrong".

Oh, you could also point out that his assertion about being "agnostic" on evolution means he's being evasive. After all, he's a tenured member of the Talbot School of Theology, which requires all those who are thus tenured to conform to a doctrinal statement containing the following words:

The existence and nature of the creation is due to the direct miraculous power of God. The origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of kinds of living things, and the origin of humans cannot be explained adequately apart from reference to that intelligent exercise of power. A proper understanding of science does not require that all phenomena in nature must be explained solely by reference to physical events, laws and chance.


In short, that doctrinal statement requires those who conform to it to be creationists. Now, who is he lying to with his "agnostic on evolution" assertion? Is he lying to the various audiences attending his debates, who are thus lulled into thinking he is not a creationist, whilst adhering to a doctrinal statement requiring him to be a creationist? Or is he lying to his institution, by not holding creationist beliefs that the doctrinal statement I linked to above clearly demands that he should hold, in order to continue holding tenure? Inquiring minds would like to know the answer to this.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#18  Postby Lion IRC » May 08, 2012 1:19 am

Don't forget that Mr Craig has quite a resume including numerous (formal) intellectual debates with very well-credentialed opponents. And even his critics (I'm talking about prominent people like Victor Stenger) acknowledge that, in many of those debates, WLC was a worthy intellectual opponent. Hardly universal consensus among his opponents that he loses every single debate. :smoke:

If you're gonna bag the man the way some people around here spew invective on him like vomit, be careful not to get any on your shoes. It redounds quite badly on people like Lawrence Krauss. Fransciso Ayala, Bart Ehrman, Sam Harris, Kari Enqvist, etc. that they would..."stoop so low" as to debate "someone like him!"

...not to mention that those debates take place in venues like Oxford, Notre Dame, the University of Helsinki,
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#19  Postby byofrcs » May 08, 2012 1:30 am

Ah, I see the Fallacy of the Argument from a nice Venue has been brought up. This is where, if a position is expounded, then it is more true in proportion to how nice the building you present this argument in.

Fact remains, Einstein could have written his papers in a garbage dump and there would be more understanding about the god of nature from those than any number of debates by Craig in the hallowed wood panelled halls of higher learning.
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Re: Needed: short criticism of WLCraig

#20  Postby Lion IRC » May 08, 2012 1:49 am

byofrcs wrote:Ah, I see the Fallacy of the Argument from a nice Venue has been brought up. This is where, if a position is expounded, then it is more true in proportion to how nice the building you present this argument in.

Fact remains, Einstein could have written his papers in a garbage dump and there would be more understanding about the god of nature from those than any number of debates by Craig in the hallowed wood panelled halls of higher learning.



A person lecturing me about argumentative fallacy using what? Fantasy speculation.

Good one!

"...Einstein could have....?
but he didnt!

"...there would be...?
soothsaying here at the lifeboat for rational skeptics. (By a Moderator no less!)

Shame on you :oops:

"Fact remains..."

Wot a joke!
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