Of battles and wars

17 02 2009

Christopher Hitchens will be debating William Lane Craig in April on the question: “Does God Exist?”

And the apologetics community is creaming its collective trousers. Craig is apparently a very skilled debater, so they’re expecting him to trounce Hitchens. Ergo more souls won for Jesus! Ergo more idiots rolling around on the floor speaking in tongues! Yea!

Hint: it doesn’t work that way. Perhaps it does work that way in the authoritarian-follower universe (call it the “argumentum ad D’Souzam“), but atheists don’t consider Hitchens their pastor or Pope, you won’t find Hitchens’ conversion to fundamentalist Christianity (should that eventuate) precipitating the conversion of the heathens en masse, and there will still be atheists around to scrutinise Craig’s arguments even if Hitchens is defeated. (Some would argue it wouldn’t be the first time.) An apologist defeating an atheist in a public debate only demonstrates that the apologist is a more skillful debater than the atheist. It does not constitute evidence that a deity exists. To paraphrase Al Swearengen, you may want to write that down and stick it over your one good fucking eye.


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4 responses

17 02 2009
Danny

What happened to WL Craig’s “no PhD, no debate” rule that he uses to weasel out of debating Doug Krueger and Richard Carrier afew years back?

17 02 2009
arthurvandelay

I think he’s debating Carrier later this year.

17 02 2009
The Barefoot Bum

I don’t think we need to start preparing so pessimistically for defeat.

Hitchens is an apologist for our imperialist wars in the middle east and a stone-cold misogynist. On the other hand, he’s a very skillful debater, and I think will not bend over backwards to give Craig the benefit of academic courtesy.

If Hitchens is smart — and he is smart — he’ll simply deny that a historical study of the Bible has anything whatsoever to do with any god. Craig admits — indeed he proclaims proudly — that he is making supernatural claims. No natural evidence can falsify a supernatural claim. No evidence he can present in a debate — natural evidence — can have any probative value for or against his claims about any god. Before Dr. Craig can present any specific evidence, he must show first how natural evidence can support supernatural claims.

It is only the philosophical ineptitude of most Biblical scholars and historians that allows Craig scope for continued participation in the academic community.

17 02 2009
arthurvandelay

I don’t think we need to start preparing so pessimistically for defeat.

I just wanted to point out that defeat wouldn’t be as significant as some of Craig’s supporters seem to be making out.

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