Coming debates

It’s March 2011.  William Lane Craig is very soon to debate Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss.

I am certainly looking forward to the second debate, but not sure what the differences will be between these two men. Will they have anything to debate?

The other coming big debate is between Professor John Lennox for Oxford University and Leonard Mlodinow who co-wrote with Stephen Hawking in The Grand Design.

If you have additional information on these debates, please post the information as a comment.

UPDATES

John Lennox has his California speaking schedule here.

Here is Lawrence Krauss giving a lecture (1:04:52) on cosmology titled on one website “Debunking Christianity”). At 18:14 he even goes as far as to say that rare things happen all the time, including life. I wonder how he knows that?

Comments

    • Admin says

      You are kidding, right? Craig eats atheists for breakfast, and Harris is a joke. Douglas Wilson has shown that.

      I wonder if Harris will actually bother to read Craig’s materials before the debate? Craig will certainly read Harris…

      • waterandwax says

        exactly how has he ever eaten an atheist for breakfast? the cosmological argument? the moral argument? let’s just be honest here and admit that all of his arguments are based in incredulity. he doesn’t understand how a universe could be infinite so god did it. he doesn’t understand that morality is born naturally of contextual relationships within various animal groups, so god did it. what he needs to understand is that his lack of understanding does not make a valid argument.

  1. Oscar says

    Krauss is not a philosopher, but he can easily demolish Craig’s cosmological argument on scientific grounds. Harris is well schooled in philosophy and science. It will be interesting to see what approach he takes in demolishing Craig.

  2. Andrew Perry says

    William Lane Craig will do this: 1) Craig is going to attack atheism like it’s actually a thing. 2) Craig will fall back to the deist argument, which has nothing to do with Christianity. Sam Harris need only state that atheism is the lack of belief in a god, i.e. Christianity’s god; and also point out that deism (First Cause arguments) do not equate with Christianity. If Craig tries to get more specific, Harris is quite knowledgeable in Scriptures and quick-witted enough to counter anything Craig has to offer.

    • Admin says

      Andrew, with due respect, I think you are just continuing the atheist tradition on here and spouting off.

      1. Craig has a PhD in theology IIRC. Harris would therefore be quite out of his depth in this regard.

      2. Christianity is not deist as you state, however both deists and Christians argue AGAINST the atheist belief that there is no God.

      3. Yeah, I can hear the cries of “absence of belief…” but Craig has refuted that argument. IIRC he equates atheist lack-of-belief with his cat’s lack-of-belief. Basically I think he is says that “lack of belief” is intellectually pathetic.

      If atheists want to stop me believing in God, they should refute my arguments and make POSITIVE arguments in return. Lack of belief is intellectually pathetic and tries only to remove the burden of proof that the new atheists seem afraid to burden.

      • Alexander says

        Thanks for the reply. Found that details are still TBA.

        The Lewis remark was fair in light of my brash remark towards Douglas. Although, I would point out that declaring lack of belief as intellectually pathetic is equally as unjust (or snobbery) as my comment.

        • Admin says

          With due respect Alexander, claiming lack of belief is intellectually lame. It means the atheist does not need to provide reasons for his disbelief.

          This kind of thinking is hardly surprising coming from the “new atheists” as they have been roundly scorned by real philosophers.

          Prof. John Lennox from Oxford recently did a lecture in New Zealand and mentioned his recent trip to Germany. He mentioned Dawkins in a lecture he did there and was effectively laughed at and mocked for doing so. They appear to scoff at Dawkins in like manner to fellow atheist Michael Ruse who said that “The God Delusion [book] made him embarrassed to be an atheist”.

          When I was an atheist, I had various reasons to disbelieve there was a benevolent God. If you want to be intellectually respectable, you too should provide reasons and arguments

          • Alexander says

            I would first like to address that this is an odd behavior for an administrator to be taking. I would add that being an active evangelical site dedicated to the pushing religion forwards (or backwards), there is little chance in swaying one with evidenced reasoning. No matter how much I might offer.

            You mention Lennox and Ruse but I am unaware of your intended point. Having been in attendance of a number of lectures myself, there have been many occasions where laughs were given at either sides expense. If this is something new to you than your naivety is understandable.

            All things considered, reasons and arguments would not be enough for you. Especially in this format.

            • Admin says

              Alexander,

              Thank you for reading my heart. It is good to know that I am unable to follow the evidence wherever it leads. I was personally unaware of this fact until you came along, so your help is greatly appreciated

              Cheers.

              • Alexander says

                Admin,

                I am not reading your heart but rather your religion. Your religion demands it. It is a fundamental rule that any whom consider themselves faithful must adhere to. As a religious individual you MUST apply your faith to any and all evidence that is encountered in the natural world. As a result of this, I can fairly state that discussing my personal reasoning is futile on this point. Now if we happened to be within each others presence, I would feel that proper discourse would be more acceptable (while still worth little value to our differing views).

                I sincerely hope that I have illuminated my point. It’s not you, it’s your religion.

          • Andrew Perry says

            Calling atheism a lack of belief isn’t “intellectually lame”. Calling something “intellectually lame” is intellectually lame! If someone reads the texts, finds them to be ridiculous, and instead chooses not to believe it (something we do to every other religion), then how is that “intellectually lame”? If anything, that’s being intellectually HONEST.

            If someone is unconvinced by someone else’s argument, there is no need to defend that position. It does make sense to attack the other position, especially when it delves into politics and the like.

              • Andrew Perry says

                Correct. I don’t have an argument against a God like that described in deism. In fact, from a practical standpoint no one – not even a self-proclaimed “atheist” ought to care about deism or pantheism. They’re benign.

                I can produce an argument against personal gods like the Christian god Yahweh and His Son/Himself Jesus if you’d like.

  3. Alexander says

    Do we know if the April 7 event will be an event open to the public? I cannot seem to find tickets anywhere.

    Letting myself dabble in the comically small scale battle you two have going on, I might add that Mr. Douglas Wilson has brought absolutely NOTHING new to the table. I am more interested in what Mr. Harris has to say personally, as I feel it relates to a progressive stance. One that is intended to better the understanding of our rational world rather than merely inflate human ego. I also hope that nobody will be eating anyone for breakfast or tearing anyone apart. If I attend a debate I wish for it to be a good one, not a flaming.

    • Admin says

      No idea sorry Alexander.

      “…NOTHING new to the table…”

      I think CS Lewis called this chronological snobbery … as if new must be better..?

      I too am interested in what Harris has to say, but doubtful that he atheistic worldview contains anything more than the same-old wrapped in contemporary scientific language. I hope I am wrong…

      • waterandwax says

        there would need to be something new brought to the table to validate the proposition. it has long since been invalidated.

        “nothing more than the same old wrapped in new information” lol. contemporary scientific language contains new information. and remember, you just accused one of chronological snobbery and here you are doing the same exact thing only without new information on your side. do you accuse those who argue against flat earth as chronological snobs? i mean, just because it’s an old, outdated position doesn’t mean it’s invalid, right? it’s typical of c.s. lewis though and no more valid an apology than his “savior or psycho” false dilemma. well how about this, i think that calling out chronological snobbery is no better than a slick appeal to tradition.

  4. Mike says

    I don’t know why many of my fellow atheists are looking forward to Harris debating Craig. Craig is quite simply the best debater out there in these fields, he is always prepared, and his subject matter knowledge is extraordinary. I feel pretty confident that Harris will suffer a decisive loss. Also, per the comment above speculating about what Craig will do, I’m pretty sure the topic will be morality and its relation to science, not the existence of God. This would make sense, given Harris’s newest book.

    I am, however, looking forward to hearing what a physicist has to say on the cosmological and fine-tuning arguments, assuming they will be presented. I don’t know that we could expect a “win” out of Krauss, but it should at least be a more interesting interaction than hearing a philosopher’s opinion of cosmology.

    • Admin says

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the polite and balanced comment.

      I too am really looking forward to the Craig-Krauss debate.

      This is an interesting comment from Krauss:

      The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is imply incorrect, or maybe it’s telling us there’s something weird about the microwave background results and that maybe, maybe there’s something wrong with our theories on the larger scales. And of course as a theorist I’m certainly hoping it’s the latter, because I want theory to be wrong, not right, because if it’s wrong there’s still work left for the rest of us.

      Source: www.edge.org/3rd_culture/krauss06/krauss06.2_index.html (last paragraph)

      Cheers.

    • waterandwax says

      just because he can string a sentence together eloquently doesn’t mean his content is worth anything. he doesn’t have one argument that hasn’t either been around and invalidated for quite some time or that doesn’t rely on a quote mined out of context.

  5. Admin says

    Admin says (s)he had various reasons to disbelieve there was a benevolent god.

    What were these reasons that Admin had to disbelieve there was a benevolent god?

      • waterandwax says

        first of all, there is no such thing as darwinism. it’s a label created by christian apologists to attempt to compare evolutionary science to religion. using it means you lack scruples.

        — snip —

        • Admin says

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism

          “The term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in April 1860, and was used to describe evolutionary concepts, including earlier concepts such as Malthusianism and Spencerism. In the late 19th century it came to mean the concept that natural selection was the sole mechanism of evolution, in contrast to Lamarckism.”

          You, Sir, need to go back to school.

          • waterandwax says

            from your link –

            “The meaning of “Darwinism” has changed over time, and varies depending on who is using the term.[4] In the United States, the term “Darwinism” is often used by creationists as a pejorative term…”

            “While the term has remained in use amongst scientific authors, it has increasingly been argued that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[7][8][9] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of Gregor Mendel,[10] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of yet more recent developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift for example.[11]”

            you sir need to get off your power trip, quit snipping my posts and own up to the way in which you used the term. yes i was wrong in general that there was no such thing and that christian apologists made it up. i should have said that they use it as pejorative as you clearly are. why is it that it’s christians like you who are so lacking in integrity and the gonads to admit when you’re wrong? seriously, are you so weak that you must butcher my posts and ignore it’s obvious implications just to make your point? why can’t your argument stand on it’s own without the power lust of admin editing creeping in? i admitted i was wrong, can you?

            • Admin says

              And you, Sir, need to focus on the topic at hand. When you get basic things 180 degrees wrong as you did above, then why should I trust your other comments?

  6. Ben says

    I just read all of the comments so far. I understand what Kraus means that he hopes the theory is wrong. I’ve seen several lectures and other videos from a few physicists who feel the same way. If they figure out a unified theory that explains everything in a few simple elegant equations then it would be kind of boring after that. The theoretical physicists fear they wouldn’t have much to do after that probably.

    Regardless of what happens I think all of the believers will think Craig wins and all of the atheists will think Harris and Kraus will win. lol

    • Admin says

      Ben, nice comments!

      Isn’t it a great time to be alive with all the developments in science and the unlocking of so many mysteries within the last ~100 years. Very exciting.

      Krauss is an entertaining fellow so should make for a fun and lively debate. He probably won’t get away with the cheap shots used in the video lecture so hopefully he takes Craig seriously and we can sit back and say “wow” at the end.

      I have watched a few videos recently of the new atheists preaching to their flocks and they spend a lot of time mocking, ridiculing, scorning, and just being downright nasty to Christians. It would be much better if they addressed the arguments :-)

  7. Ben says

    Yes it is a great time to be alive, but it is also a bad time to be alive. I think every generation said that and will continue to say that because there will always be new developments, bad or good. One thing you can count on in this universe is change :)

    Yeah the problem with these debates is that nobody really wins or loses, because there is no standard agreed upon rules that decide the winner like in every sport. I wish they would have it like I saw in Britain where they poll the crowd at the beginning, middle and end. Anyway, it will definitely make for two entertaining debates. I think all 3 speakers are entertaining.

    BTW, Christians do the same mocking/ridiculing, scorning to atheists too. It is the whole us against them thing. Just like UCLA vs USC lol. Democrats vs Republicans hahaha.

  8. Nick Polvora says

    OMG – I’ve always listened to William Lane Craig and thought his debates were awesome. But against Lawrence Krauss the physicist, Craig seemed way out of his league. Seriously, I’ve been hoping apologetics can defend against science and secularism, but what Krauss says makes sense.

    First, Krauss didn’t take Craig’s bait, which is usually arguing atheism. Instead, Craig had to argue physics … AGAINST A PHYSICIST!!! For a theologian to tell a physicist that physics is wrong is crazy.

    I admit I’ve been on the fence for a while, but this debate did it. Craig, who has always been so confident, even appeared baffled.

    I’m not saying there is no god, but the specific gods of religions – that’s another thing entirely. Wow, and I hear he’s debating ANOTHER scientist! Craig should stay away from scientists if he’s to have any credibility left!

    • Admin says

      Nick,

      First, Craig was debating as a philosopher, not a theologian.

      Second, is Krauss omniscient when it comes to physics? If not, then why is it wrong or crazy for Craig to take him to task? Krauss, as a scientist, should be pleased with that happening.

      Third, I think you should let the dust settle and study the debate again. Personally I thought Krauss did pretty well in the debate but the arguments put forth by both sides need a closer examination as far as I am concerned.

      I would read this and then read Craig’s response (I’m sure there will be one) in due course.

  9. waterandwax says

    craig does not understand what evidence is. he quote mines deceptively. he falls back to philosophical arguments that have long since been discredited. there is no current cosmological argument for the existence of god that works. there is no current moral argument for god that works. his attempts to validate mythical stories from the new testament based on the “evidence” of probability are laughable at best and intellectually lazy and dishonest at worst.

    • Admin says

      Sir, your comments sound almost identical to so many other comments from “new atheists”. It is almost as if you guys are reading from the same Bible. Was it Dawkins (he’s the guy who is too scared to debate William Lane Craig)?

      Perhaps you could list for us all the books you have read and studied in the areas you mention… and then tell us why we should believe your comments rather than Craig’s numerous publications…

      • waterandwax says

        it’s quite simple really. evidence must be falsifiable. none of craigs claims are falsifiable. not even his probability claims. this was highlighted expertly by krauss when he brought up the percentage of scientists who understand this material and believe it yields evidence for god and those who do not. that is a falsifiable bit of evidence based on probability.

        i’m not an atheist btw but don’t let me stop you from shooting from the hip with ridiculous labels that attempt to paint rational skepticism with the same shades of fundamentalism that religion enjoys. it’s kind of like holding a gun to your stomach and shooting through it to hit me and it makes me grin.

        • Admin says

          Honestly… if science could show a basis for objective morality, or a testable model for the beginning of the universe, or a better explanation of the resurrection, then Craig’s claims would probably be falsified.

          Until then, his arguments appear to provide the best explanations.

          • waterandwax says

            better explanation for the resurrection!?!?! are you kidding me? it’s a story and a copy of who knows how many copies before it. that is the best explanation there is. to deny that requires placing your faith before reason, working backwards so to speak, trying to make the “evidence” support the conclusion that’s already been made.

            as for a testable model for the beginning of the universe, what do you mean, “testable”? as in, being able to try and create another universe? ridiculous. we have a few models that work and that could be falsified already. god of the gaps can’t and never will be falsifiable due to the defining constraints that inherent in the nature of most(including your) god concepts.

            morality is objective by default. it’s born of and necessary to relationships between certain sentient, social beings. that’s unavoidable. we are learning more and more about this all the time. have you heard of mirror neurons and empathy?

            • Admin says

              My friend, if you have nothing better to offer than hyper-skepticism, then I suggest you sign up on Richard Dawkin’s forum. You would be in good company there.

              You ravings are as poorly constructed and argued as your grammar. You appear to have no idea about the moral argument and moral ontology.

              “Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth…Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves…Nevertheless…such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction…and any deeper meaning is illusory…”

              The resurrection, as Craig stated, is accepted by most NT historians. Dr. Gary Habermas debated Professor Anthony Flew on this topic several years ago. The MP3s are available online, perhaps here:

              www.garyhabermas.com/video/video.htm

              “Faith before reason…” — think about it, we do this all the time. In fact it seems to me that the only way we can know anything for certain is by faith:

              “Faith is jumping the gap from evidence to certainty — Dr. John Warrick Montgomery”.

              • waterandwax says

                nice copy and paste. maybe you weren’t aware that posting a quote from “authority” does not count as a valid argument. claiming that i have no idea about the moral argument is a clever way of avoiding your own due diligence as well.

                “faith before reason” is an equivocation of the word faith, as you used it here. it surprises me that you would accuse me of poor argumentation and yet present this bit of laziness.

                the resurrection is not, at all accepted by most NT historians. scholars are still debating the origins of the narratives so how on earth could they come to a conclusion as to their historicity. ONLY literalist believers accept these narratives as truth and MANY NT scholars are not literalist.

                • Admin says

                  Sir, if your comments contained some substance perhaps we could dialogue. Otherwise they will be deleted. Please try adding to the arguments without throwing stones…

                  • waterandwax says

                    lol, dude, …deleted…

                    tell me, why on earth would you want to jump the gap from evidence to certainty if the evidence doesn’t build a bridge over that gap? what is good about that? how is that beneficial to you or anyone else?

                    • Admin says

                      Ok, here is a challenge for you. Excluding mathematics and the laws of logic, can you name one thing that you know for certain — just one thing that requires absolutely no faith whatsoever to know for certain is absolutely true…

                    • waterandwax says

                      *sigh* gotta love censorship. i didn’t even use “inappropriate” language, just challenged you on censorship and what do i get? more censorship.

                      i think a more important question is, what falls outside of mathematics and “logic”? i could name all sorts of things that are absolutely true and require no faith. and on the surface they might not seem to have anything to do with math or logic. for instance, it is absolutely true that if my head or the head of any other human is removed, that human body will die, it will rot and turn into earth. but that really doesn’t avoid the basis of math or logic, ie. identity.

                      and at the heart of your question is the same equivocation you used earlier. if you want to use the word faith to describe say, the mental relationship the we have with flipping a light switch and expecting or believing that it will turn on, then fine. you are free to use language how you wish. however, it’s not the same thing as having faith that jesus will come in the clouds someday. it’s a belief born of testable, repeatable, working data and real interaction with actual existing objects. and of course this is knowledge gleaned via math and identity but serves to highlight my point that your question is either too general or completely useless as identity is inexorably tied to actual, practical knowledge. unless of course you have a more specific example you’d like to share?

                    • Admin says

                      Oh, so you have scientific proof that there really are other minds out there? You have scientific proof that we are not part of the matrix? You have scientific proof that what happened in the past will happen in the future? You have scientific proof that nature will be uniform in that particular volume where the head is removed?

                      No, you take all of these things on faith. You are certain they will happen because you have stepped from evidence — via faith — to certainty.

                      Faith that Jesus will return is based upon the Scriptures which Christians believe (based upon evidence) is God’s revelation to mankind. We believe this is reliable and thus a solid foundation. As above, we take a step of faith based upon prior experience and revelation when we believe that Jesus will return.

                      “it’s a belief born of testable, repeatable, working data and real interaction with actual existing objects”

                      Really? How is the Big Bang repeatable?

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