Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Why would an atheist want to hear William Lane Craig speak?

Someone asked me the other day why I would be interested in hearing William Lane Craig speak if I'm a real atheist.

The suggestion was that most atheists are not really committed to their atheism and that we want to find ways to be 'saved'.


For a start, being committed to atheism is a concept that is slightly odd.   Would that require me to be 'committed to a lack of commitment'?  

The reasons we might want to hear someone like him speak include the following:

  • He's quite famous (or is the word 'notorious'?)
  • He unashamedly claims various lines of 'proof' that I find to be empty
  • In spite of that, he has a reputation for winning debates
  • Given the highly dubious material he has to work with its amazing that he achieves that, and
  • We might be interested to see for ourselves how he does it.

As 'Kriss' pointed out the other day (echoing a point that I obviously failed to make clear before), winning a debate is not at all the same thing as being right

To claim that is similar to claiming that courts of law are there to dispense justice, when in fact they are only there to examine just one possible line of that justice that relates to the person who is accused of the crime.  If it became clear during a trial that another person was implicated, the court could do nothing about it other than to find the accused not guilty.

Formal debates tell you much more about the skill of the combatants than about their line of argument.  In my opinion Craig is a great debater but also a great deluder of credulous people. I'm really quite keen to understand what power he has to carry the audience in that way. I'm interested to hear him speak live, even though his style irritates me immensely and the content is largely vacuous and old fashioned.

Is it surprising that atheists are often prepared to think about things and to hear the opposing arguments without sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting la la la la la?

Small note:  Being delayed at work this evening resulted in a nonsensical first edition of this post.  Sorry!  (Of course this version might not make much sense either.  Sorry again.)


krissthesexyatheist said...

I would go check 'em out if he came to my town. just sayin'.


Fil Salustri said...

If you do get to see him, I hope you'll report it here.

adamryan said...

This is so common to see from internet infidels. Vaguely casting aspersions on his arguments, hiding in the ambiguity.

So you believe he's a deluder? Why? Give us examples.

Plasma Engineer said...


Kindly scroll back to 24th Sept or follow this link.

and see a post later this evening about the fallacy of the 'Taxi Cab Fallacy'.

Mayson Inkpen said...


Yes - if you've been reading Something Surprising for a few days you can hardly claim that the 'deluder' comment is a surprise or that it is unsupported.

Derby Sceptic said...

@adamryan Not only has PE offered some evidence above, by contemplating attending they are looking for some first hand experiences upon which to base examples.