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pw201's Avatar Joined almost 7 years ago
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Go to: Why Dawkins disappoints

pw201's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by pw201

Let's make no bones about it: Craig beat Hitchens, and Ehrman. He generally beats atheists (see also Common Sense Atheist Luke's advice on how to beat him and Evaluating Christianity, which did a series on the topic). Given the debate format preferred by Craig, if RD were to debate with him, RD would probably lose. Lose in the technical scoring sense used to judge these debates as a sport, and, because that technical sense is aligned with sounding convincing in that format, lose the battle to convince those people in the audience who weren't already convinced.

Craig is good: he is well prepared (unlike many of his opponents who seem to just assume that any Christian is stupid); he makes valid arguments from plausible premises, and in his rebuttals he points out where his opponent has not answered his arguments; he composes his arguments so they're brief and to the point (important when working against the clock).

If a victory in this format has little evidential value, then we as atheists should be careful about it: careful not to participate in such debates, yes, but also careful not to become more convinced atheists each time we see an atheist win such a debate. If formal debates are a bad test, they're a bad test when our side wins, as well.

I think RD should take on Craig, online. Ehrman and Tom Wright did this on the problem of suffering (the category link is currently not working, but here's some of it). If Craig's success relies on his skills in a stand up debate, an online debate would level the playing field.

Wed, 25 May 2011 10:06:27 UTC | #630679

Go to: Dealing with William Lane Craig

pw201's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by pw201

Debates are a game where you win by putting your argument across convincingly and rebutting your opponents' arguments. Craig does this exceptionally well. As Luke over at Common Sense Atheism tells us, Craig wins most of his debates against atheists.

In fact, most of Craig's opponents tend not to do very well at all. I'm not sure why: either they think that no Christian can possibly be anything other than a fool, or they do some preparation but are then outclassed. Luke has his theories about how to beat Craig and on why atheists lose debates.

I haven't listened to Krauss vs Craig so I can't comment on how Prof Krauss did, but in general there's no point pretending that Craig doesn't win merely because we're not on his side.

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:24:56 UTC | #612325

Go to: The abuses of science

pw201's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by pw201

I know Dawkins and Midgley don't get on, but you don't really expect to see this sort of carelessness from a professional philosopher.

So, yes, it's an argument made of straw men.

First straw: evolution does not disprove the existence of God. However, it does do away with what was once considered an important piece of evidence, namely, the argument from design as advanced by people like Paley. Reading Dawkins's books, that's what I understood his argument to be.

Second straw: it is not only those American fundies we all like to laugh at (plus their unfortunate British counterparts who only turn up on CIF threads) whose beliefs are threatened by evolution. There are more reasonable believers who hold to theistic evolution, say, but their ideas are redundant, unless they can provide evidence that their theory does some work which non-theistic evolution does not (Francis Collins thinks that non-theistic evolution cannot explain altruism, so at least he's trying to find some way to distinguish the two theories). A redundant theory isn't quite as bad as one which is contradicted by the facts (such as young Earth creationism), but still provides us with no positive evidence for God.

Final straw: I doubt that the "new" atheists regard their worldview as infallible.

Serious attempts to answer it need, therefore, to acknowledge that wisdom. They must try to show ways of combining it with more modern thinking.

I'm not sure what this has to do with the relationship between God's existence and evolution, which is what the article started off being about. Does a response to the wisdom found on the Bible have to include believing in God?

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 21:34:19 UTC | #479739

Go to: Richard Dawkins on Minnesota Public Radio

pw201's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by pw201

I didn't think the interviewer was rude or aggressive. Her directness and RD's produced an interesting discussion, I'd say.

Wed, 04 Mar 2009 15:31:00 UTC | #333035

Go to: Jerry Coyne's 'Seeing and Believing' with responses

pw201's Avatar Jump to comment 481 by pw201

So, I attempted to continue on Sam Harris's joke at my blog and got a comment from someone I think might be Jerry Coyne, who appeared to think I'd taken Harris's "conversion" seriously. I'm mortified. I can't find a public email address for Professor Coyne, but if anyone here knows him, please assure him I'm not an idiot :-)

Wed, 04 Feb 2009 17:05:00 UTC | #319103

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