The Stenger/Craig debate

Well, ol' William Lane Craig is at it again, this time debating famed nonbelieving physicist Victor Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis, among others.

Craig basically trotted out the exact same arguments he's been trotting out for years, in every single debate he's ever had. He follows the predictable pattern of arguing for god's existence with the cosmological argument, the argument from design, the moral argument, and person experience.

It was nice to see Craig debate a physicist, for one reason: Stenger demolished Craig's abuse of the Big Bang as a support for his theological conclusions, as well as his false dichotomy of the universe either having a beginning or being infinite – an assertion no one who has so much as perused Hawking's A Brief History of Time would make. It's about freaking time. Overall, I thought Stenger presented far better arguments, and as usual was much more pleasant to listen to. I can't stand Craig's smarmy, near-shouting demeanor.

However, as usual with the guy on my side, I wasn't totally happy with Stenger. It's just the nature of these things. I'd like to see someone point out to Craig the inductive fallacies that all his arguments are rooted in – namely, using contingent, measurable, observed phenomena to make inferences about speculative, unobservable, immeasurable supernatural phenomena. I would have liked to see Stenger spend more time talking about morality, too, as Craig's "objective morality" argument is one of monumental face-palming stupidity.

Predictably, Craig's fans thought he had a clear victory, and Stenger's fans thought Craig got his clock cleaned. Personally, I thought this was a decisive win for Stenger, but of course I've never been impressed with Craig in the first place. The problem with debates is that everyone's always looking for a "winner", as if good debate skills somehow vindicates an argument. But even if one side clearly loses, it doesn't mean they were wrong; it just means they were unprepared. I enjoy watching debates, but I recognize that at best, they should stimulate critical thinking – not change minds.

Full playlist of the debate is here.


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