April 23, 2009

Advice for Debating William Lane Craig, part 4 (answering Loftus)

Posted in Advice for Debating..., Atheism, Debates tagged , , , , at 1:14 pm by Andrew

In the comments section to part 3, John Loftus — who would like to debate Craig — weighs in again:

I’m wondering what is mean when you say that someone is ”not qualified to debate William Lane Craig,” since some people seem to misunderstand what you mean.

Sure. Here’s what I mean: when I say that someone is “unqualified” to debate Craig, I mean it in exactly the same sense that the very best high school baseball player is unqualified to play in the majors.

That prep star may have all the “tools” necessary to be a star in the major leagues; he might have a great batting eye, power, speed, you name it. But the one thing he’s missing is experience standing in against major-leaguers. That’s why even Hall of Famers start off in the minors and generally struggle for at least a little bit when called up to the Show.

Let me be clear: John, I love your book, and I think you’re exactly like that prep star. I think you’ve got all the tools to be one of the great ones. What you’re missing is experience, and I find it odd that you seem reluctant to take the necessary steps to get it.

Here’s my proposal to you: instead of inveighing against me, why not spend the rest of this year learning how to do a formal debate? Why not become our side’s William Lane Craig?

If you’re trying to issue an imperative that would prohibit non-qualified people from debating Craig, then what reason do you have for issuing such an imperative? Is it because you think non-qualified people who lose to Craig somehow do your position less than justice?

“Imperative” is a strong word. What I would like to see is for atheists who tackle Craig to be experienced with the practice of formal debates. The reason I have for it is really simple: I want my position to be reflected in the best possible light.

If so, what reason should a potential debater have for obeying your imperative?

Presumably, they share my objective of representing atheism well to theists.

Would YOU obey your own imperative if Craig emailed you and invited you to debate him?

Yes, of course. Remember that my “imperative” (as you call it) is no such thing. I’m not saying “don’t debate Craig.” I’m saying two things: (1) don’t debate Craig without doing your homework and getting the best possible preparation; and (2) you’re probably underestimating the kind of preparation you need to do (1).

John, if you have an .mp3 of a formal debate you’ve done and you want to email it to me, send it to evaluatingchristianity@gmail.com, and I’d be happy to give you a full critique and coach you on ways to improve. (I’ve checked the debate archive, and I can’t find one of yours that occurred in a formal setting as would be the case in any debate against Craig.)

What obligations does a potential debator have toward you if he wants to debate Craig, since it’s an honor to do so?

This is kind of silly rhetoric. I think it’s arrogant and stupid to pretend that Craig isn’t a very good debater. The obligation I think one has when debating a very smart, well-prepared, experienced opponent is to take that person seriously and do the kind of preparation necessary to make that exchange worthwhile.

Advertisements

32 Comments »

  1. Here’s my problem. You don’t know me and yet you’re telling me I’m not qualified to debate Craig. I would be satisfied with you just warning people who want to debate Craig to be prepared, but no, you seem to also to weigh in on me, that I should not debate him, yet. I would think that’s more than you have the expertise to comment on, and as such, you overstep your bounds. Now why should anyone listen to someone who proposes to be an expert on debating who obviously has spoken on at least one issue he has little knowledge about? I have never lost a debate, although there is only one you can find online against David Wood on evil. But you have not yet seen it, and you still think you can comment on my ability to debate Craig. It seems to me that because Hitchens got spanked and because Carrier lost that skeptics are now in a defensive mode discouraging better more qualified skeptics like me from wanting to debate Craig. Carrier even admitted in so many words that I have a better grasp of the issues. You don’t think I’m up to the challenge merely because you’re scared that your side will lose again. But there is no parity with what Hitchens or Carrier did with what I will do, especially when the debate issue I proposed has to do with Christianity vs. Atheism, which Craig has debated before. And there is no reason why people should not want to debate Craig even if they’re not prepared. Why should anyone listen to you if they are invited to participate in a debate? It’s an honor. Carrier debated Craig even though he admitted he expected to lose. Is that what you mean? That people should not debate Craig if they expect to lose? I do not expect to lose, okay? But even if I did I see no reason to turn down an invitation to debate Craig like Carrier agreed to even though he expected to lose. Again, what reason should anyone care what you think when invited to debate Craig even if they expect to lose? Is it because you might be embarrassed for us? Why should anyone care, seriously? Is it because your cause will suffer? How will it suffer exactly? Do debates settle the truth? I’ve argued that debates are entertaining and educational, and that’s probably it! Is it because losing a debate with Craig means skeptics don’t have the arguments on our side? I don’t see how that follows at all.

    Listen, I am an expert in apologetics and I am an expert in Craig. I’ve followed him for years, first as a student, and now as a skeptic. Please do not discourage me from this. To say that I should debate others first is an interesting suggestion, of course, and it will probably happen. But again, I probably know Craig and his work better than any other skeptic, so I am most prepared to debate him, not someone different.

    • Jonathan said,

      I don’t know you, or anything you have written, but I do know that every single time WLC has debated any atheist about the existence of god for the last couple of decades, he has used the same EXACT 5 arguments, and not one of the atheists have ever prepared for those arguments, or even come up with concise rebuttals or even attempted to address ANY of his points, much less any of the strategy that Andrew is talking about. Seriously, WLC used the same EXACT arguments in his 2009 debate with Hitchens as he did in his 1998 debate with Atkins. In neither debate did the atheist even articulate anything that could be considered even a response to his questions. All Andrew is saying is that the atheist community deserves someone to actually take Craig SERIOUSLY!!!

      If you are offended by that, then go cry somewhere else.

      Or you could listen to his advice and actually do something no atheist opponent of Craig’s has yet done, PREPARE!!!

      The only reason we need this is I am tired of seeing all our great white hopes get completely mauled by WLC.

    • Keith said,

      The facts are this, the reasons dawkins won’t debate Craig, and nobody defeats him are two fold. First of all Craig knows his side better than you and your side better than you. Secondly their really is no good reason for athiesm, an athiests sole reason for maintaning intellectual integrity while keeping their belief set is the faulty crumbling theory of evolution. Modern science are beginning to come to the conclusion that the theory will have to be completely rewritten because it doesn’t explain origin of systems, just adaptive features on systems, their is far too much spontanious generation in the fossil record, evolutionists can continue making baseless assumptions to put together the broken pieces, but that is rapidly being exposed. Furthermore this athiestic ideaology which essentially presumes nothing made nothing has lead to a complete lack of value for human life and his arguably caused more destruction than any OTHER religion. Evolution suggests survival of tge fittest which spawned eugenics and multiple cases of ethnic cleansing like nazi Germany and early communistic Russia. Those were mass genocides caused directly by athiesm. Their is absolutely no way to defend that if you want to get in to a thiesm vs athiesm who has done worse for the world debate. Athiests certainly have no leg to stand on when itcomes to a which group has done more positive for the world argument except for brainwashing people to hold little regard for life and have no standard of objective morals because nothing happens when you die. Think about how silly athiesm is, nothing caused by nothing formed something with the perfect atmosphere for human existence and by chance the right amount of elements combined with some random lighting, that is assuming the atmosphere is what we thinkit was 4.5 BILLION years ago created amino acids and after hundreds of millions of years of rain these amino acids became cells and after a few hundred million more years in this supposed stew a fish was formed that after a few hundred million years this fish squirmed on the earth and survived long enough to begin the GRADUALevolution process a few hundred million years later to man. An athirst has to completely disregard the enormous complexity of the single cell and the fact the not a single legitimate transitional fossil has been found and they have to completely disregard irreducible complexity and pray (lol) that all these completely random chance based things had to go exactly right and also thst we have had at least a couple population wiping out disasters to account for the fact thst our population according to the human growth rate formula is a fraction of what it should be if the evolutionists time scale is correct. Wow sitting back and reading all thst I realize why intelligent design is taking steam any sane person would recognize that their is no way in he’ll ( lol) that all thst could of worked out but wAit a minute maybe they can create another baseless assumption based theory to serve their agenda like we live in a unprovable multiverse. I’m no Craig but you guys don’t stand a chance because your WRONG

  2. […] has put up some excellent posts of advice on how to debate William Lane Craig (one, two, three, four). The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are sound, but […]

  3. Luke said,

    John,

    Neither Andrew nor I have been saying you shouldn’t debate Craig. Rather, we’d like any atheist going up against Craig to learn not just the arguments (which, as you say, you are quite qualified to engage), but also to learn debating skills.

    The reason I suspect you could use some debating practice is because I have read your (excellent) book and if you have extensive experience with formal debates I would expect that to be mentioned in your book. Hence, I conclude that you probably have not been doing a half-dozen formal debates for 40 years like Craig has. On that basis, I recommend to you – and everyone who wants to debate – to not just study the arguments but also to become skilled at debating. A debate is an extremely rapid affair, and you often need to get every minute right in order to “win” – especially when debating somebody like Craig.

    Please don’t take all this as a personal attack, John. It wasn’t meant that way. Both Andrew and I respect your work and your grasp of these issues. We’re just recommending that you (and others) actually PRACTICE debate for at least ONE year (that is, at least 1/40th of the time Craig has been practicing debate) before trying to debate Craig.

  4. Fair enough Luke. But usually advice is given out when there’s a problem. So what’s the problem you and Andrew are addressing? If it’s the recent failure of Hitchens and Carrier to win against Craig then that’s the same problem I’m addressing. But why is their failure my problem? I just don’t get it. My solution is for people like you to call for a debate between Craig and me, but you refuse, timid and fearful, I suppose. And I don’t blame you for you’d need to see me in action before you’re confident to do so. So I don’t need for you to call for a debate. Just stay out of it. Let me do it.

    The whole reason I want to debate him first is that I have watched his debates enough to know what I need to say in my opening statement and I want to blindside him with something so different he’ll be taken aback. If I use the same debate tactic in previous debates then Craig will be able to study my debates to know how to respond to me, and I think that’s giving the game away. Do you understand this?

    Besides, if no one should debate Craig until they have had 1/40th (your ratio) of Craig’s experience then who could debate him at all? As far as I know the only three skeptics who could claim that kind of experience are Eddie Tabash, Hitchens and Dan Barker. The first two skeptics have already debated him. Tabash is actually calling for a debate between Craig and me even though he’s never seen me in action and was at the Hitchens debate just like you. Why don’t you join Tabash? Don’t you think he knows what he’s talking about? I am an expert on Craig’s methods, his apologetics and his debates. I have watched and/or listened to most of them. I don’t even need to justify this to you for if Craig accepts I will debate him without your permission.

    You two can give all of the unasked for general advice you want to but I bristle at you giving ME unasked for advice in a public forum like this. As I have said, I have a habit of succeeding when others tell me I cannot.

    I’ll get over this since we all share the same goals and I like what I see on both of your blogs very much. It’s just that this is personal with me.

  5. Luke said,

    John,

    You talk about blindsiding Craig. I feel blindsided by your hostility:

    “you refuse, timid and fearful, I suppose”
    “Just stay out of it.”
    “I bristle at you giving ME unasked for advice”

    Why the hostility? Why is giving public advice so offensive? How many times do I have to repeat that you (obviously) do not need my permission to debate Craig? How many times do I have to repeat that I WANT you to debate Craig?

    Maybe your unexpected reaction is explained by your statement that “this is personal with me.” That sounds scary. Making it personal probably corrupts the debate, besides whatever else it means to you.

    Also, since I DO want to see you debate Craig, what does it mean to “call for” you to debate him? Should I contact Craig? Write a post about it?

    And, are you sure a “surprise attack” on Craig is the best way to go? Don’t you think you can win by plain argument? Why launch a surprise attack? Craig almost always likes to exchange opening statements before each debate, anyway.

  6. nal said,

    Here’s a Loftus-Wood debate:

    Problem of Evil

    I watched the first part of it. John reads his arguments. The hat has got to go.

  7. Luke I have long said that skeptics do not have a corner on rationality. When I said “this is personal with me” you don’t realize that what I meant is that when someone presumes to offer unasked for advice in a public forum that I need to be better prepared when you have no clue how prepared I really am then I take it personally. But like most theists whom I argue with on a daily basis you will probably not get the point but argue against me anyway.

    Fire away. I said I can get over this but then again, maybe not.

    • Andrew said,

      John: isn’t offering “unasked for advice” pretty much the definition of the Internet? 🙂

      I’ve meant to weigh in here, but Luke keeps saying everything I was going to say, anyway. I just don’t understand your hostility, as contrasted with (for example) the gracious response by Richard Carrier. To each his own, I guess.

      I’ve listened to and diagrammed (it’s called a “flow”) the Loftus-Wood debate and will post on it shortly.

  8. jaki said,

    John, a little humility might be useful. It really seems like you’re bitching – and I don’t mean to offend – but that’s how it comes across to me. These guys are actually offering you CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, and yet you are SO angry with them. Cool down. If i were you, I would appreciate the interest these guys have taken in helping current and future atheist debators with pointers on how to beat Craig. Swallow your pride, and see if you can learn something from these guys. Andrew and Luke are making VERY good points, in my opinion. Thanks to their efforts, we might soon see a new generation of atheist debators emerge who’ll be able to give Craig the decisive smack down he so richly deserves. You could be that guy – so don’t shut yourself from constructive criticism, and useful pointers.

    I know you’re hurt because you think these guys are undermining your credentials, but that’s not what is going on here. They WANT you to win should you ever go up against Craig in a debate, and they are offering helpful advice. I find your hostility to their advice very distasteful, John, and your overconfidence might end up working against you, rather than for you. For a critical thinker, I’m surprised at how thin-skinned you are.

    I hope you’re not angry at ME now.

  9. Luke said,

    John,

    I don’t know what is so offensive about saying you don’t have 40 years of debate experience, and saying it publicly. As jaki said, I am indeed just trying to offer constructive criticism, and you’re taking it as insult, despite all the good things I’ve said about you and your work, and how highly I recommend your book to everyone.

  10. Carrier lost his debate so he needs your advice, that’s the difference between our responses, Andrew. My hostility, if this is how it sounds, and I’m sorry it sounds this way, is not that you offer unasked for advice to potential debaters of Craig, it’s that you named ME and singled me out by saying that I should not debate Craig, when you had no clue whether or not I am ready to do so.

    I look forward to your analysis of the Loftus/Wood debate though. I already know where I could improve from watching it myself. Given your claim that I am not ready to debate Craig I suspect you’ll try to find fault with my performance. If this is what you’ll do, and I hope not, remember that your claim was that I was not ready to debate Craig BEFORE watching it.

    I think I’ve said all I wanted to say here. Read what I wrote again if you need to.

    Cheers, my friends in our common cause.

    • Andrew said,

      My hostility, if this is how it sounds, and I’m sorry it sounds this way, is not that you offer unasked for advice to potential debaters of Craig, it’s that you named ME and singled me out by saying that I should not debate Craig, when you had no clue whether or not I am ready to do so.

      [Emphasis added]

      I did no such thing, and I defy you to point to a single post here on EC where I have called you out personally. Indeed, I don’t think I named you at all except to respond to things you’ve said.

      What I did was set out a list of criteria that I think should be met by anyone who wants to debate Craig. It’s up to you to decide whether you meet those criteria, whether you disagree with them, or how you want to respond.

      If you think, for example, that one need not have experience with professional/formal debates before debating Craig, then make that argument and we can discuss it. But “I don’t have experience with formal debates and I think I’m ready to debate William Lane Craig, so I don’t think that’s a valid criterion” isn’t really the kind of rigorous argument I’ve otherwise come to expect from you.

      • We may have a bit of a small disagrement here. You said: Let me be clear: John, I love your book, and I think you’re exactly like that prep star. I think you’ve got all the tools to be one of the great ones. What you’re missing is experience, and I find it odd that you seem reluctant to take the necessary steps to get it.

        I don’t disagree that I lack the experience in debating, but then who doesn’t? As I said, only Hitchens, Tabash, and Barker do. And I am emphatically NOT reluctant to take the necessary steps to get it! Where do you get that from? I explained why I want to debate Craig first. Do you understand why? It’s because he won’t know in advance how I will argue, an advantage Wood had with me that Craig won’t. Tell me this. Why is that NOT a good strategy? I’m all ears.

        The whole discussion is probably a mute one, and we all know it, because Craig will not want to debate me first anyway, if at all. It’s just that I see no reason to think this wouldn’t be a good strategy. All your talking about is debate experience. I’ve had more of it than most other skeptics who debate Craig. They don’t do debates at all, and some of them do very well against him, most recently Shelly Kagan.

        And please, don’t mischaracterize me. I emphatically am NOT making the case that one need not have experience with professional/formal debates before debating Craig. As I said, I have more experience than most skeptics have and I have more knowledge of Craig’s arguments than most skeptics have. Why won’t you admit this? And why do you refuse to see the advantage I would have in a debate with Craig if I debated him first?

      • Andrew, not ot belabor my point too much (and since I said I was done perhaps I am), I was hoping you would be able to explain why you think it would not be to my advantage to debate Craig first rather than have several debates under my belt where Craig can see how I argue? Why do you think it would be to my advantage if I first debated several people before I debated Craig, given that he would not know in advance my strategy and I would know his inside and out? If you cannot support or defend your contention then why not call for a debate between Craig and me? I would appreciate this from both you and Luke and others. In fact, that’s all I have wanted, and I think I’ve defended this well. I need to have others call for a debate all over the web. What’s so wrong in me asking for this and trying to get you onboard? I don’t think you would’ve had that much trouble doing so a few weeks ago before Hitchens and Carrier, but I do understand now.

        The reason I’m arguing here is to try to convince one or two others to call for such a debate. If you do then I can convince others to do so, and still others. This also is part of my strategy, and I know what I’m doing and am confident in what I do.

        Cheers.

      • JB said,

        Holy shit you guys. Just let him debate Craig the Christian Super Hero and let it go. My God… you guys are acting like very intelligent school girls. I will look forward to watching this debate. Beg my pardon for interrupting this skirmish among sophisticated 2nd graders; the 5th grader in me could not resist.

        Peace,

        JB

  11. One last comparison. Debating David Wood on the problem of evil is a horse of a different color since I did not know in advance what kind of arguments he would offer. By comparison I DO know in advance what kinds of arguments Dr. Craig will offer in a debate on the issue I proposed. I know them very well, pretty much all of them, unless he throws in something new, which I doubt he can. You see, as I said, I’m an expert in apologetics and an expert on Craig and that makes a huge difference. This is the truth, which I doubt you’ll dispute.

    Again, cheers.

  12. Aren’t we in fact having a debate right now, a written one? And do I not do this every single day on the net? And am I not explaining myself quite well? Yes or no?

  13. Kriss the Sexy Atheist said,

    I love Debunking Christianity and would love to see “J” debate Craig. I was disappointed in the Hitchens debate and I haven’t seen the Carrier debate, but it is my understanding that he didn’t do as well as he had wished. I like your advice “A”. I’ve never debated, so anything I can learn about it is a good thing. I’ve always wondered why “we” lose against Craig. Is the guy so good that he can be convincing about things that are impossible ( like dead people living again)? Good luck to both of you and keep up the great work. I love both sites. Out.

    Kriss

    • Andrew said,

      Kriss,

      Thanks for the kind words. I too am a big fan of Loftus and I wish he could see that!

      I think the reason atheists typically lose against Craig is that Craig thinks strategically about every argument he makes — every word he says! — in the debate round, whereas most atheists do not.

      This means that Craig understands how to make arguments that require significantly more time to rebut than Craig spent making them.

      It means that Craig understands how to advance his points in the most word- and time-efficient manner.

      It means that Craig structures his rebuttals so as to emphasize the arguments that have been dropped or under-covered and drive home the point that the atheist supposedly “can’t answer” this or that point.

      It means that Craig can afford to lull his opponents into a false sense of security with humor and homey anecdotes because 99% of the rest of his time is spent efficiently, thus resulting in his opponents either (a) wasting considerably more time trying to match his folksiness, or (b) coming off as less likeable and less persuasive.

      All of these — and lots more — are well-known debaters’ tricks. All I am trying to do is raise awareness of what Craig does and how to counter it in the future.

      • Thanks Andrew, I do recognize and appreciate the fact that you’re a “big fan” of my work. I really do. And I look forward to learning from you as well.

    • Thanks so much Kriss, that is if you were referring to my blog as well as Andrew’s Blog. I second that recommedation of his Blog as well as for Luke’s Blog Common Sense Atheism. Daylight Atheism is another great one. Other’s are popping up all over, like Bruce Droppings.

  14. John Huey said,

    I am not a debater and am not qualified to remark on anyones readiness to debate. However, after reading this exchange, my one piece of unsolicited advice to Mr. Loftus is more of a warning : Pride cometh before the fall. You at one point in the exchange compared these posts to a debate – from this observers point of view (a naive debate audience member), you came off badly – both arrogant and defensive.

    • John Huey I suppose a relevant analogy would be something like this: Let’s say you were a starter in a college national finals basketball game and then afterward some pundit said you don’t have any experience to play in the NBA. I think you would bristle too, especially when you would like to play in the NBA. (analogies are not always exact in every detail though).

      • …or rather, the pundit (i.e. expert) said “you don’t have enough experience,” or “you’re not ready yet,” or “you are not doing what it takes to get into the NBA.”

      • ptah said,

        If you bristle like that and come off as an arrogant asshole here, the indication is that you will lose in a shoot-out against Kalamity Craig.

        Oh, and the hat has got to go.

  15. jaki said,

    John, thank you for that introducing that NBA scenario. If I were that basketball player, and a pundit came up to me and told me I wasn’t ready to play in the NBA, I would say this:

    “Thanks for your feedback sir. You know, I really would like to play in the NBA someday, and as far as I know, I think I HAVE done, and I AM doing everything I need to in order to achieve this. In fact my freinds have told me I’m the best in the state. But hey, maybe I’ve missed something, so please tell me why you think I’m not ready. I gather you’re not a basketball player, but if you’ve watched was many games as you say you have, I might just learn something I didn’t already know. Maybe you’re aware of something I may have overlooked. Have you got time to talk? I really want to be the best, and to do that I know I have to learn everything I can. Here, have a seat. It’s OK, just lay it on me sir. Be brutal”

    If after this discussion, I found that this pundit actually said nothing I didn’t already know, I would say:

    “I appreciate your observation sir. Actually, I think I have given those points serious consideration before, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to be reminded again. Come to think of it, perhaps I should give them even MORE thought, just to make sure I don’t ever make those mistakes. And hey, if anything else ever crosses your mind, be sure to let me know, OK? Thanks for your interest in what I do”

    Be a good sport John, you’ll be surprised at how far you will go. Remember, we are on your side. Most, if not all of us here, admire and respect your work already.

  16. jaki thanks for your advice. I guess people would just respond differently depending on who we are as players, who the pundit is, how good we think we are at the game, what kind of press we want for ouselves, and how bad we want to play in the NBA.

    And if you’ve read my book you probably know I’m not that concerned with what others think of me personally. Sometimes I just don’t give a damn. But that has nothing to do with my arguments, you see. There are basketball players just like that too, like Rodman and Barkley while they were in the NBA. Mohammed Ali was a complete asshole during the time he was a boxer but we sat and watched him box, sometimes hoping he’d lose. The same went for John McEnroe in tennis. Sometimes these antics get people’s attention you see. Other times this is just who they were. Arrogant and flashy people get our attention and they get things done in the business world too. Sometimes bad press is better press than no press at all, right? Mamby pamby chip and dale powder puff eat humble pie till you get fat people can be safely ignored many times.

    In any case, sometimes I use places like this to see how well I can argue my case, and in the process I learn something, not just from the people who comment, but also how to best express my arguments. Then when I’m done I make my case on my Blog by putting together the best elements of what I said, which I’ve just done. Many of my Blog posts come from arguing on other sites like this. In this case it was personal with me, so in this regard it was different than merely making a case for something.

    Cheers.

  17. Curtis said,

    On the one hand I was surprised by this exchange, attributing it to a bit of misplaced ego at first. On the other I think it’s a profitable conversation to have. I’ve been following John’s blog for awhile now. I’m a relatively new visitor to this one.

    My take on the issue of debates is that Christians are far and above better equipped and experienced than almost any other category of opponent. This due to the training in such areas as homiletics, logic, and history all combined with many years of “pulpit” experience. When these debates are conducted from within a Christian/religious environment the language and bias is on the side of the Christian. It doesn’t matter if the topic is evil, meaning, origins or ultimate destiny the audience generally understands the side of religion much more than the non-religious perspective – and the background necessary to establish that perspective.

    Given the history, the culture, and the extensive experience of debaters such as Craig or any of the thinkers associated with RZIM I think any advice leaning toward caution, humility and preparation is always wise. After all, the debate has been raging for literally thousands of years and has involved some of the very best minds of history; It’s unlikely to be “won” by any of us today.

    Personally I favor a fact-based discussion that does not involve the philosophical underpinnings of religious thought. I care nothing for “first causes”; if there is a discussion to be had it should be conducted on a playing field that demands supporting evidence. Debates that involve the personality, the eloquence, and the wit of the debaters and dwell in the ethereal dwelling of postulates and analogy fail to drive home reality-based fact.

    As a Christian I followed the debates and listened to Craig and Ravi Zacharias as often as I could. I enjoyed the intellectual. I read Aquanias and Martian Luther. I always heard what I wanted to hear. It was when I was researching facts related to science that I truly got to thinking about the ultimate nature of truth. My rejection of the bulk of Christianity is not due to the outcome of these debates; my shift in my world view came from stumbling face to face with the blunt reality that this world is eon’s older than 6,000 years and that there are truths abundant that present questions never discussed in these debates.

    If John must debate (for whatever personal reasons he may have) the advice to come to the arena exceedingly well prepared is wisdom well heeded. The big advantage he brings is a first hand understanding of the perspective of Dr. Craig.

  18. Siamang said,

    “When these debates are conducted from within a Christian/religious environment the language and bias is on the side of the Christian.”

    Good point. In a forum where word economy means you can attack more than your opponent, the advantage is with the side of the debate the audience is most familiar with. Verbal shorthands abound for one side that the other must take paragraphs to unpack.

  19. […] put up some excellent posts of advice on how to debate William Lane Craig (one, two, three, four, five). The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: