Science vs God episode iii: The man dawkins refused to debate.


William Lane Craig is widely considered the best Christian apologist living. Hitchens said that before this debate he received emails from fellow atheists, stating, “please don’t let us down.”

Dawkins has thus far refused to debate Craig, stating, “I don’t debate professional debaters.” But Hitchens is always willing to jump in the ring. It’s a long debate, so you’ll probably watch it in bits and chunks. But it’s a good one.

 

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13 comments

  1. Doug – Dawkins had a policy of only debating people of a certain level well before William Lane Craig started bugging him. I followed the whole thing back when I seriously disliked Dawkins (you can see it on my FB timeline, I said I liked Harris and Hitchens but couldn’t stand Dawkins) – There are plenty of people Dawkins wouldn’t debate b/c he doesn’t have time to debate everyone and many are looking to make names for themselves. You don’t come out and state it nor am I implying that’s what you meant, but Dawkins was hardly afraid of debating him. in fact they did athat indirect debate thing down in Mexico if memory serves. I used to be impressed with WLC before I really started digging inot the issue although I have to admit, from the get go he’s written some things that are pretty hard to defend – I’m glad you posted it but I don’t know for the life of me where he gets the reputation of being so strong at it comes from – I like the fact he shoots for it via logic, but he bungled quite a bit. I mean, Hitchens even calls him out on it at th send saying essentially, I’m not saying God doesn’t exist, I’m just saying there’s no evidence for him – how can you have listened to me for the last hour and still not understand that.

    I’m glad your posting these and even though I’ve seen all of the ones so far, they’re good enough to watch again several times. I’d be curious if you ever heard of Sye Ten Bruggencate? he was YouTube Famous with essentially a one trick pony routine him and Eric Hovind had – he tore out several prominent atheists until people figured out the game and then he went away, but even though I thought his arguments were pathetic, he really tripped up several people including the guys on the Atheist Experience. They were reduced to saying “you’re wrong” blah blah blah but could never say why – he legitimately had them for a while. If nothing else, I’d suggest giving any of his debates a watch – he’s not the Atheist killer by any means, but there are several of his debates where he clearly got the upper hand – from a philosophy POV (and I’m pretty sure you have a few other readers who enjoy philosophy – I know I bought a few books from one of them that wrote on Logical Fallacies – I forget his name other than he had two great books on logical fallacies, but had a last name I don’t think I could spell with a gun to my head)

    Anyway, this is a decent debate and glad you posted it – I just wanted to point out that Dawkins wasn’t ducking this guy for any fear of defeat and as a former fan of his – be careful what you wish for, if you research his writings you’ll see there’s a good bit you’ll likely want to distance yourself from.

  2. There’s another debate where Craig takes on Sam Harris.

    I don’t know, I think Craig’s arguments are strong. I mean when Hitchens says he’s only saying that there’s no evidence for God, not that God doesn’t exist, isn’t that just playing word games? I mean if I say there’s ZERO evidence for something, that implies I don’t believe in that thing. We could always ask Hitchens directly: Do you believe God exists? his answer would have been, “No.”

  3. Magus, why do you frame this debate as “Science vs. God”?

    Working scientists spend most of their time worrying about funding, and if they are fortunate enough to get in the lab once in a while they are mainly concerned with things like finding a leak in a vacuum system.

    The question of whether God exists is not a scientific question, and therefore lies outside the realm of science.

  4. I do not think that God lies outside science if we see science as man’s attempt to understand. Dawkins clearly doesn’t as he uses science to try disprove God’s existence. In a rationalist’s age, if you let people use science to try to disprove the possible existence of God, and one doesn’t use science to refute them, you will lose the argument. Yes it is true most scientists are working on more mundane things. But the main thrust against Christians is that they are anti-scientific. Many may not understand science, as most people don’t, but there are plenty that do. The arguments against the materialist view are the strongest evidence that there is a God, in my opinion. I’ll make some posts on that later.

  5. Also TJ, it’s scientists reflexive discomfort with God that is forcing them to accept Darwinism at face value. Scientism is damaging science.

    What would happen if science were forced to (hypothetically) see that Darwin was wrong? I say everything would change.

  6. Dawkins is no match for W L Craig, and Dawkins knows it. The arguments Dawkins uses only work upon those who don’t know very much about the philosophy of science. Like high school kids or those who have remained at that level of education.

  7. “if we see science as man’s attempt to understand”

    Magus, this is far too broad a definition of science. Religion is also “man’s attempt to understand,” but it is not science.

    The key feature of science as opposed to other forms of human understanding is the role of experiment. In science, experiment is the ultimate arbiter. Scientific theories should have predictive power that can be tested and falsified.

    String theory in physics has come under attack in recent years because many of its predictions are not testable.

    Religion, on the other hand, is a matter of faith. It is not falsifiable. It stands apart from science.

  8. TJ, I agree that I was imprecise in my language. It is true that the scientific process is the foundation of science, and thus can we agree that Evolution and Global Warming stretch the limits of this? Additionally, we can add together the findings of science with philosophy and history to come to logical religious conclusions. The New Atheists need to stop making religious people out to be stupid. They are no dumber than the average person. The Flying Spaghetti Monster trope is not helpful and is really just a form of elitism. Intelligent people can come to the conclusion there is something beyond the material, and look at the historical Christian experience and believe that there was something special about Jesus. Or we can go the route of Chris Hitchens and deny Jesus ever existed.

    Also, as you allude to, science cannot get at many of the deeper aspects of life. The fact that humans feel there is something deeper is telling to me.

  9. A powerful essay. I think Kaufmann leaves out the cornerstone of Christianity and it’s spread: That Jesus reportedly died and was seen alive three days after he was crucified. If this is not true, than Christianity is a farce. The gospels say it happened and it’s unlikely that Christianity would have spread like it did without something extraordinary to propel it. Islam spread because Muhammad used the sword. While Constantine did the same thing, Christianity had already engulfed the Roman Empire by that time. history tells us some of the apostles died because of their belief. they were imprisoned on several occasions. Without the apostles seeing Jesus alive again, they likely would have gone about their lives as before they met Jesus. They would probably not have dropped their earthly belongings and gone to spread Christianity. One of the ways the new atheists are trying to counter this argument is by simply saying that Jesus never lived. But they can’t get their stories straight either; Dawkins says Jesus was real, Hitchens said he wasn’t. Kaufmann also makes the argument, as did Hitchens, that people will not turn in to murderous maniacs without religion. Not all people, I grant. But even most atheists are encased in a society that makes them comfortable enough to never have to consider atrocity for gain. And Jesus himself said, when confronted about the fact that he hung out with “sinners” that doctors were for the sick, not the healthy. I need no further proof of Christianity’s transformative power then myself. I am not a rare case. There was something about it that changed me in ways in which I have no explanation. Within about two weeks of studying the Bible, for the first time in my life I enjoyed school. Things became easier. I remember taking a spelling test during the week that I feel I became a real Christian. I scored 100%. Within another week, the students around me were wanting to cheat of my tests and asking me to help them with their school work. This was simply not me, as can be shown through multiple years of sub-par academic performance. I was the classic underachiever, scoring high on placement exams, but Ds in the classes themselves. I’ve fully admitted: Those who live life successfully without a vision of God are better than me. But nothing else could have changed me in this way, not science, philosophy, punishment or reward.

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