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An Open Challenge: Disprove William Lane Craig

An Open Challenge: Disprove William Lane Craig
wlcgeek
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Posted May 25, 2012 - 11:23 PM:
Subject: An Open Challenge: Disprove William Lane Craig
For those interested in philosophy of religion and arguments for the existence of God, William Lane Craig is arguably the most notable and respected living Christian philosopher and philosophical apologist working in this area (though at the latter stages of his career now).

I invite people to an open challenge of trying to argue against WLC's five major arguments for the existence of God.
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Posted May 25, 2012 - 11:35 PM:

They've been shown to be nothing but pure sophistry time and time again both in written works by professional philosophers, biblical scholars, and by some of the very members here at PF. Even amongst religious philosophers he's brought nothing new to the table and merely rehashes tired arguments. He's more of a skilled debater than a notable philosopher.
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 12:29 AM:
Subject: hey geek...
You've got 108 posts, so you're not a newbie anymore, in which case why expect other members to do all the work on your thread? Why not at least outline what you think those 5 arguments are?
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 12:56 AM:

wlcgeek wrote:
William Lane Craig is arguably the most notable and respected living Christian philosopher and philosophical apologist working in this area
Far from it. Somebody produced a list on here recently of philosophers of religion ranked by citations, and Craig was well down the list, with several Christians above him. And that was only philosophy of religion - a narrow field of Craig's particular interest.

I will grant you that Craig is a clever guy and a very skilled debater. But I have little interest in verbal debates which are really just about rhetoric and point-scoring. The sad thing about Craig is that he has no interest in using his fine mind for the search for truth, just in searching for arguments that can be put up to support his preconceived notions. He has effectively admitted this in interviews (hedged in obscure terms of course). When he is gone he will soon be forgotten, unlike the great philosophers that have left us deep and insightful works that still challenge us today.
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 1:29 AM:

wlcgeek wrote:
For those interested in philosophy of religion and arguments for the existence of God, William Lane Craig is arguably the most notable and respected living Christian philosopher and philosophical apologist working in this area (though at the latter stages of his career now).


It's not even arguable, it's just not true.

I invite people to an open challenge of trying to argue against WLC's five major arguments for the existence of God.


Why not make a specific topic for the argument that you wish to defend? Or just find one of the many such topics on this forum.
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 1:54 AM:

wlcgeek wrote:
William Lane Craig is arguably the most notable and respected living Christian philosopher

"Arguably" indeed. The sheer laziness of the opening post makes me feel less bad about helping derail this thread to laugh at the audacity of this claim, which few if any leading Christian philosophers (Craig included) could take seriously. Rather than voice my own opinion, here are some of the views of philosophers on today's leading thinkers in the field:

Top Philosophers of Religion by Hirsch Number - The top 10 are Plantinga, Alston, Walterstorff, Flew, Audi, Swinburne, van Inwagen, Hick, DeRose, Hawthorne, Adams, and Stump. Craig ranks 14th, behind Fischer and Kvanvig and tied with Merricks, Tooley, Warfield, and Zagzebski.

Philosophers' Favorite Works in Philosophy of Religion - I count 8 mentions of Plantinga, 3 of Swinburne, 3 of Alston, 2 of van Inwagen, 2 of M Martin, 1 of Oppy, 1 of M Johnston, 1 of Earman, 1 of Bishop, 1 of Draper, 1 of Olson, 1 of Sobel, 1 of DZ Phillips, 1 of Stump, 1 of Q Smith, 1 of Wainwright, 1 of Trakakis, 1 of CS Lewis, 1 of Hume, and 1 of James (the latter few historical). 0 of Craig.


To give a broader view of modern philosophy, on a general ranking of the most influential 20th-century philosophers, of all fields, Craig never even receives a passing mention, in a list of the top 151 works (82 most influential books, 69 most influential articles). The only philosophers of religion that received top-tier attention in the 20th century, that I could find cited in this respect, were Whitehead (Process and Reality) and Plantinga (The Nature of Necessity). Whitehead had 4 total books mentioned (chiefly, of course, Principia), while Plantinga had a very respectable 5 articles mentioned (the 11th-most of any 20th-century philosophy, tied with Carnap, Foucault, Nagel, and Sartre).
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 2:40 AM:

I thought this thread was supposed to be about arguments?
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 3:15 AM:

Fine.

1. Cosmological Argument from Contingency

First, quantum mechanics suggests that not everything has an explanation -- we have deterministic knowledge of probability distributions, but absent a 'hidden variable' there is no reason events end up following the one probability path rather than the other. This suggests that necessary causation is more common than sufficient causation.

Second, if our universe does require an explanation, there is no reason to think that this explanation is an intelligence. Contingency on its own never implies intelligent design.

2. Kalam Cosmological Argument

Strictly speaking, most physicists doubt that the universe had a discrete 'beginning.' But even if it did, having a beginning does not imply an intelligent designer.

3. Moral Argument from Moral Value and Duties

Moral values grounded in divine decree would not be 'objective' in any sense that is relevant to or binding upon human beings; it would merely be subjective to a special subject, i.e., to God. Just as one can ask what justifies or grounds a man-made ethical code, one can ask what justifies or grounds a divine-made one, and there is no way to perform this justification in either case without begging the question. One is free, for instance, to define 'God' as 'goodness' or 'his decrees' as 'good;' but one is equally free to divine some human ethical code (e.g., deontology or consequentialism) as 'the good,' and in either case one is equally incapable of providing ultimate, non-question-begging justification. This is the general problem of Agrippa's Trilemma.

4. The Teleological Argument from Fine-Tuning

The fine-tuning problem can also be solved by positing a non-intelligent selection process. I.e., if there are multiple universes with randomly varying constants, we would expect some of them to have life; and we would expect the ones with life to be surprised by their existence, even though the anthropic principle shows that this is an artifact, a selection bias, since of course we could never have observed the many universes that are devoid of life.

5. The Ontological Argument from God's Possibility

We have no way of knowing that it is possible for a maximally great being to exist. If we don't know whether it's possible for such a being to exist, we can't conclude its necessity from its possibility. The same is true for, e.g., the idea of 'a necessary toaster' or of 'a 20,000-lb. bullfrog that exists in every universe if it exists in any.' Both of these ideas must either occur in all possible worlds or none, but no intellectually serious thinker can assume that they (or this version of God) exist in any world, merely from the fact that we can grammatically speak in terms of such ideas.


Bored now.
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 3:50 AM:

Most of the modern arguments for the existence of God are recicling for Thomas Aquinas and others like him (not that those are not good enough, but that is a different point) and I think Peter Kreeft has to be considered if we are talking about modern (living) Christian philosophers.
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Posted May 26, 2012 - 5:00 AM:

wlcgeek wrote:

I invite people to an open challenge of trying to argue against WLC's five major arguments for the existence of God.

The laziness of the OP in not putting forwards an argument has been mentioned, but I cannot see that anyone has commented on the naivety of expecting us to try to "disprove" Craig's arguments. As if there was any point in such an undertaking?
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