Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Dawkins won't debate William Lane Craig?

Justin Brierley:
Tell me, what do you think ultimately is stopping Dawkins from coming forward?...The premiere atheist in the world. Here you are, coming to his hometown. Why won't he step up and debate you, Bill?

William Lane Craig:
I have been told by a person who is in a position to know, that the reason Dawkins won't debate me really has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the fact that he was really smarting after John Lennox took him to the woodshed in their debates, and he was frankly embarrassed by his performance. He didn't like the way it went with Lennox and basically determined at that time that he's not going to do these sorts of debates anymore because it's simply too humiliating.
(Source - begins at the 8:00 mark)

Personally, I'm quite glad that Dick Dawk has been evading Dr. Craig with all his might - a debate between them would be approximately as competitive as was the Craig-Hitchens debate, or the Craig-Atkins debate, each of which were massacres in Craig's favor.
I'm also glad that Polly Toynbee canceled out. Not because of her; I don't know much about her. I will say that generally speaking, what I've heard from female British atheists has not impressed me. However, the fact that Stephen Law is stepping in to the debate pleases me greatly. Though ultimately reduced to incoherency by SyeTenB in their recent conversation (which began around this post and following), at this time I have more respect for Stephen Law among the ranks of popular (and popularising) atheists than anyone else.


  1. For those unfamiliar with Polly Toynbee, she is an objectionable, vacuous champagne socialist. Her writing shows that she is not particularly bright, certainly the dimmest candle among her secular society peers.

    If Dr Craig had debated her it would have been like watching a stealth bomber dispatch a mud hut.

  2. it appears that Craig wins almost every debate - it was very revealing to see C. Hitchens almost shaking in fear in the News conference before he debated WLC. I almost felt sorry for him, but i remembered how much vitriol he throws at theism. on the basic assumptions so many of these debates rely on, no wonder Craig wins; moreover its clearly the case that God exists.

  3. What always strikes me is that there are always large numbers of atheists who always claim that their guy won the debate.


    Does anyone know of anyone who was atheist going into watching/listening to a atheist-Christian debate who then later became a Christian because of the superior arguments of the Christian polemicist which illuminated the self-refuting incoherency and foolishness of unintellectual atheism?

    I would be greatly heartened to read of such an account.

  4. TUD: im always surprised at how many atheists on blogs lament that their guy lost and remain militant anti-theists. i guess many of them just dont seem to like God.

  5. "TUD: im always surprised at how many atheists on blogs lament that their guy lost and remain militant anti-theists."

    That actually doesn't surprise me. It annoys me, but it doesn't surprise me.

  6. The thing is, debates are such that the format and structure of the debate are hugely consequential in who might get the upper hand, as is who gets to go first (which is to say, to frame the conversation) and who has more formal debating experience (i.e., ability to present arguments in near machine-gun fashion, manage time and rebut arguments (at least illusorily) with an economy of words. The relative merits of the positions involved are not the sole variable.

  7. J.N.: nonetheless it is interesting to watch the bravado of Dawkins melt in the face of a debate challenge from W.L. Craig.

  8. JN,

    Doesn't it get tiring to make the same excuse for why atheists lose every debate? It's not like they jsut lose public formal debates, they also lose written debates in journals. This notion that there's not enough time or that the debate format doesn't lend to a true fleshing out of ideas is just silly. It's an excuse. If atheist ideas are so strong, then you ought to find one guy who can come out there and make them accessible to the crowd and present them in a succinct way. Come on, man. Whining about the venue is kindergarten stuff.

  9. additionally, i can't recall Christians who have stated that they will not debate atheists; most Christians jump at the chance to debate non-theists.

  10. boss- who judges, ultimately, who has won or lost these debates? In my experience, atheists usually think the atheist won, and theists usually think the theist won. And as JN says, some people simply are more persuasive for reasons of skill rather than necessarily because their ideas were more logical or compelling.