01 March 2013

The ten worst objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument – a response to William Lane Craig (part 1/10)

It's rather annoying, and probably telling, that Youtube user "drcraigvideos", whose channel basically acts as a soundboard for all things William Lane Craig, rarely if ever allows comments on videos s/he posts. I mean golly, we wouldn't want something like discussion getting in the way of perfectly good religious proselytizing, would we?

The video I'm going to talk about in this series is from a lecture Craig did at Biola University in 2010 called, "Objections So Bad I Couldn't Have Made Them Up!", which is a response to various objections to the Kalam found on Youtube. Stifling of dialogue aside, drcraigvideos was kind enough to post each of the ten objections in a playlist, so to keep these posts short and readable I'll just have one for each of Craig's responses. Are these objections really as awful as Craig thinks they are? Are we unsophisticated village atheists being schooled by Craig's profound knowledge again? Or is Craig glossing over some important information and using wordplay to craft persuasive-sounding but ultimately unsound arguments? And who wants to take three guesses at which of the two I think is the case?

Anyway, here's the first mercifully short video.

This isn't really an objection to the Kalam; it's more of a commentary on Craig's intellectual integrity. Craig, in one of his debates, used the word "cocksure" to describe the supposed certainty of atheists. Funny. Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, clearly delineates himself as an agnostic atheist; he even uses a handy seven-point scale, which he calls the "spectrum of theistic probability", and rates himself a six: "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

Craig, on the other hand, claims that no amount of evidence can undermine the "Witness of the Holy Spirit". On his website, he says,
... even in the face of evidence against God which we cannot refute, we ought to believe in God on the basis of His Spirit's witness.
What could possibly be more "cocksure" than any position that by definition is not amenable to evidence or argument? What could possibly be more arrogant or narrow-minded than a failure to concede even the possibility that contrary evidence could undermine the validity of one's beliefs?

This doesn't address the Kalam, but it certainly makes me wonder why Craig bothers debating atheists. What's the point in engaging in discussion and debate if you've already decided that nothing your opponent can say can even in principle cause you to question your beliefs? It makes the whole charade seem rather masturbatory, no? If you want a platform for dogmatic monologues, better to skip the facade of a "debate" altogether. 

Next: Part 2

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