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Fellow atheist again derides Dawkins for refusing to debate Craig

Daniel Came

In “Richard Dawkins’s refusal to debate is cynical and anti-intellectualist” (em>The Guardian, October 22, 2011), fellow atheist Daniel Came tells us, “Using William Lane Craig’s remarks as an excuse not to engage in reasoned debate is typical of New Atheist polemic”:

But whatever you make of Craig’s view on this issue, it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists. Hence it is quite obvious that Dawkins is opportunistically using these remarks as a smokescreen to hide the real reasons for his refusal to debate with Craig – which has a history that long predates Craig’s comments on the Canaanites.

Background: Dawkins finally came out with a reason for refusing to debate Christian apologist William Lane Craig; he claims Craig endorses genocide because of something he said about the Book of Deuteronomy (see here).

As a sceptic, I tend to agree with Dawkins’s conclusion regarding the falsehood of theism, but the tactics deployed by him and the other New Atheists, it seems to me, are fundamentally ignoble and potentially harmful to public intellectual life. For there is something cynical, ominously patronising, and anti-intellectualist in their modus operandi, with its implicit assumption that hurling insults is an effective way to influence people’s beliefs about religion. The presumption is that their largely non-academic readership doesn’t care about, or is incapable of, thinking things through; that passion prevails over reason. On the contrary, people’s attitudes towards religious belief can and should be shaped by reason, not bile and invective. By ignoring this, the New Atheists seek to replace one form of irrationality with another.

Note: Came blinked on our radar earlier, saying something similar. Here’s the vid.  It sounds as though lots of people t think that the point is, Dawkins hasn’t got the goods.

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11 Responses to Fellow atheist again derides Dawkins for refusing to debate Craig

  1. I’m enjoying this little dustup for one reason: it’s fun to see so many cult of Gnu members obviously, blatantly lying through their teeth. Hardly a one of them really believes Dawkins is avoiding a Craig debate for the reasons the man is giving, but a surprising number feel duty-bound to act like it’s believable.

  2. 2

    What do you expect from darwins bulldog other then being afraid of engaging in rational dialogue. Wlc has been on a tear lately going right through 3 of the 4 horsemen of new atheism, with the 4th being afraid of debate.

  3. Nullasalus, what makes it unbelievable is – as we noted earlier, when this first hit the air:

    Either Dawkins had thought Craig a supporter of genocide for many months. In that case, why did he not air his objection back then?

    Or he only recently discovered this line of argument. In that case, what has been his true reason all these months?

    It’s a good thing for him that his supporters are not in the habit of asking questions like that.

  4. I would expect “Darwins bulldog” to eagerly engage in a debate with WLC, or any other prominent theist / Darwin doubter. Huxley never shied away from such confrontations, but actively sought them.

    Darwins POODLE aka Richard Dawkins, is the very opposite. We may not agree with Huxley, but show him a little more respect than to compare him with Dawkins.

  5. Though I respect Came’s honesty to call Dawkin’s on his extremely flimsy excuse not to debate the existence of God with WLC, this comment from Came caught my eye:

    On the contrary, people’s attitudes towards religious belief can and should be shaped by reason, not bile and invective. By ignoring this, the New Atheists seek to replace one form of irrationality with another.

    But does not Came yet understand that reason itself, which he hopes to ‘win the battle’ against religion with, cannot even be supported by the Atheist’s very own materialistic worldview in the first place. Thus the only thing Atheists are really left with, to debate with, is either sheer irrationality, or bile and invective.,, Both of which UDers can testify to seeing plenty of from Atheists on the web, and even, to a certain extent, on this site;

    notes:

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Presuppositional Apologetics – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig On Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview (which begs the question of how he was able to come to that particular truthful realization in the first place if Darwinian evolution was true!);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    It is also interesting to point out that this ‘inconsistent identity’, pointed out by Plantinga, which leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to make absolute truth claims for their beliefs, is what also leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to be able to account for objective morality, in that neo-Darwinists cannot maintain a consistent identity towards a stable cause for objective morality;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Music and verse

    avalon – I Don’t Want To Go – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwAmWw-0rLY

    Psalm 119:160 –
    The origin of your word is the truth and all the judgments of your righteousness are for eternity.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)

  6. What does it matter if he debates Richard Dawkins? Dawkins is a bad philosopher, and a bad theologian(if he ever studied it a bit). What would a debate that tears him a new one prove? It’s like Dawkins who only debates extremist Christians. Words of wisdom for Craig would be to deal with people who know what they are talking about.

  7. It matters because Dawkins likes to open his big mouth as to why God does not exist, yet he won’t face his most challenging opponents on the matter.

    I think what will happen is that Craig will give a very informed lecture on Dawkins’ basic argument from his book “The God Delusion,” and Dawkins may or may not respond on his blog. It would be far more interesting if he were to show up in person.

  8. I dare say that some of the bishops that Dawkins said he would debate have some similar views to Craig’s own.

  9. Semi OT:

    Justin Brierley has posted an interview with William Lane Craig in the UK magazine “Christianity”. (H/T Mary)
    http://networkedblogs.com/oRrZz

  10. Careful, we have poodles, and I take the above comparison to Dawkins as an insult to our poodles. :)

  11. I don’t know why you guys are so obsessed with Dawkins. Personally I find him a rather bland speaker and I never bother to tune in to him. He may be a great biologist, I don’t know, but I don’t follow him. I have no interest either way in whether he debates WLC.

    What I saw with the other Dawkins post was an amazing amount of hypocrisy from the regulars over WLC’s moral position. The subject of that post became Craig’s morals – and all the arguments about how long Dawkins had known about his views on genocide, and how an atheist bases their moral position, and anyway, Hitler was really bad etc, became completely irrelevant given the simple question of – can it ever be moral to support genocide and baby killing? The squirming that went on to avoid addressing that question was very revealing. Once again, the façade lifted and the strong and visceral connection between ID and Christianity again was exposed.

    It was a relief when Timmaeus finally stepped in and some sanity returned.

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