Civil and engaging debate on Christianity and religious issues

Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next

Reply to topic
MPG Recipient Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:39 am
Reply
The Cumulative Argument for the Whingdingdilly

Like this post


In a debate with Edwin Curley, William Lane Craig said in his opening statement, "These reasons are independent of one another, so that if even one of them is sound, it furnishes good grounds for believing that God exists. Taken together, they constitute a powerful cumulative case that God exists."

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-existence-of-the-christian-god-the-craig-curl...

In that debate he used three arguments:

1. Kalam
2. Teleological
3. Moral

The first obvious criticism is that the moral argument and Kalam have nothing to do with each other. There is no "powerful" connection between the cause of the visible universe and moral values. After all, they could exist independently of each other, theoretically.

And, neither require a God.

So:


1.

The Kalam argument:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The theist then slips in, usually, "This cause we call God".

Well, the theist MAY call it whatever they want, but that doesn't mean it IS God.

That is, I call it the Cause of the Universe, and it fits perfectly within a naturalistic framework.

After all, for the Cause to be called "God" the theist needs to prove the Cause is ALSO tied to other aspects of God in a sufficient and necessary way.

It's not enough to declare "we know the universe had a cause" (Something science has verified, which means Kalam is now redundant.) and use it for God if it equally applies to other explanations.


Craig argues, "If the universe has a cause of its existence, then [we find that] an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.”

I argue, “If the universe has a cause of its existence, then [we find that] an uncaused, Cause of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.”

My argument sounds like a plausible sketch of how an event like a vacuum fluctuation in quantum foam could explain the observable universe. (The quick analogy is that our universe is like a bubble in a pot of water, sans pot, and the water is the infinite sea of undifferentiated energy)

That is, by using Kalam, we both arrive at a proof for our beliefs. Craig, however, tries to add "intelligent" which is a poorly defined term and certainly only makes sense if there is a Mind, and Minds only make sense if there are Brains. Brains only make sense if there is matter. Matter only makes sense if there is Time and Space.

And Intelligence only makes sense if there is Time.

This is one of those examples that Craig tries to overwhelm the audience by piling on too much and hoping they don't recognize his addition of the things he REALLY needs to prove: intelligence or some personal aspect.

His argument for the personal aspects of God, are, again, not part of Kalam, but a separate argument all together; the neck of the Whingdingdilly.


2.
WLC then moves to the teleological argument. Well, this is one of the least used arguments used, but Craig being a great orator uses it to great effect on people who are already theists.

Here, I am going to counter this argument for the Whingdingdilly's hind legs and point out that there is scientific evidence that people may be prone to belief in God due to brain activity, and not because there is a God. (Similarly some people believe in ghosts, phantoms and other non-existent beings because of the sense of agency and other psychological states, as well as confusion over data we get from the environment and our inability to properly assess it.)

For example, pareidolia is common. You can do it yourself. Find a richly patterned wallpaper and stare at it for a while. You will see "design" of faces in it.

Of course, there was no design of faces, but our human brains evolved to recognize faces, so we are exceptionally good at finding them.

This is what Craig preys on - he is hoping people use this evolved trait to extend to the natural world; design and agency.

Clearly, there is a reason ID (which was the most serious push of the teleological argument to date) is not taught in schools or is a serious field of study.

I don't feel the need to continue with a rebuttal of the teleological argument since it is becoming less used by theists in scholarly circles for good reason.

If someone wants to press it, I will continue.


3.
The moral argument, or the Whingdingdilly's head, is not a serious concern either and everyone calls it Craig's weakest argument.

The reason it is weak is because he presumes: "if objective morals exist, then god exists".

This is clearly contradicted by deontology and the vast majority of philosophers.

And, if that's not enough to stop Craig's argument, it's enough to point out that saying "objective morals SEEM to exist, therefore they exist". Yes, there need to be arguments to explain this seeming truth, but it would have been a lot harder for Craig to argue his "killing children just seems wrong" in ancient times when it was a normal practice.

And, I might add, the world today kills millions of children in the form of abortion and has legalized it. If "killing children" is objectively wrong, then we, collectively, don't seem to realize it.

This means the objectivist must add certain qualifiers, which under deontology are perfectly explainable.

"It's wrong to torture babies for no reason". Well, but on naturalism, we have reasons not to do things for no reason, whether it's torturing babies, killing witches, or stoning children, or maintaining realms of eternal torture.



All in all, the arguments for God all seem to be flawed, and, even if they are persuasive in any one area, they don't seem to get us to the argument the the Whingdingdilly (God) exists.

That is, let's say the Moral argument works. It only shows, then, that there may be a God of Moral Values that was created when the universe was created.

Or, if Kalam is an argument for God, it only shows that the God that created the universe was capable of creating a universe, not making it appear designed (after all the Kalam God could be a Cause-maker, and he eternally pumps out causes that, in this one case, caused this universe).

Or, if teleological argument is true, it only shows that the cause of the universe may have caused something to design a universe...


So, my challenge to the theist is prove the actually Whingdingdilly exists, not each of it's attributes, which can be used to prove more mundane and naturalistic claims.

Yes, the elephant, giraffe, camel, rhino and reindeer exist.
The Whingdingdilly is what needs to be argued for.


So far I have not, to date, seen any theist argue why each argument must support the other. I have seen no argument the the "cumulative argument" is sound.

Can someone provide a logical argument for why the "cumulative argument" should be considered seriously?


Last edited by Ooberman on Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:50 am
Reply

Like this post
Well written.

Craig is deceptively effective in exactly the ways you describe.

He is among the theists best (if not "greatest") go-to orators for precisely his abilities to muddle, lump together, and confuse those not able to digest and individually refute assertions at that pace.

His followers are loyal and stubborn and in many ways hes kept the debate lively at least.

Recently someone tried to tell me he handled Sam Harris with ease.

I disagreed then and still do. Sam tore him a new one.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:19 pm
Reply

Like this post
Inigo Montoya wrote:

Well written.

Craig is deceptively effective in exactly the ways you describe.

He is among the theists best (if not "greatest") go-to orators for precisely his abilities to muddle, lump together, and confuse those not able to digest and individually refute assertions at that pace.

His followers are loyal and stubborn and in many ways hes kept the debate lively at least.

Recently someone tried to tell me he handled Sam Harris with ease.

I disagreed then and still do. Sam tore him a new one.



Good point. I have watched every Craig debate. He has done better in some rather than others, but if you go to his site, his acolytes constantly claim he destroyed is opponent.

For example, against Kagan his supporters claimed he won handedely, but at the same time said he didn't win because it was meant to be a discussion.

The glaring problem with this is that it was meant to be a scholarly discussion. If WLC can only show up with debate tactics, then he doesn't have scholarly material to draw upon.

He wasn't asked to throw the debate, or to leave important facts at home. He was asked to tone down his debate rhetoric - and it's clear without the debate tricks, he was lost. He wasn't able to control to the debate and win on the merits alone.

If WLC has a strong argument for God using the moral argument, he could have simply spelled out the facts and not used any debate tactics.

Yet, his followers still claim he won, even though they admit he lost... because they think his whole debate is really the one he uses during his rhetorical debates, not his scholarly discussions.



Also, not to sidetrack this to WLC alone, I find that all Christian Apologists use this cumulative argument - and it's fallacious.

I am hoping one theist can make a stab at creating a logical argument for the cumulative argument for God.

For example,

1. God can only exist if these* attributes are proven to exist
2. If these* attributes are proven to exist, then (x) proves God exists.
3. These attributes exist, therefore God exists.

(x) is some principle that connects all the attributes that sufficiently and necessarily connects all the sub-arguments into the conclusion that God, or the Whingdingdilly exists.

*(the particular arguments the theist is arguing)


(x) may be some principle or axiom of inference or something, but the theist needs to spell it out specifically.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:05 pm
Reply

Like this post
Im not sure your wishes can be reasonably met in that regard.

WLC, as annoying as I personally find his exhausting rhetoric, represents the "best" ive seen publicly at making the attempt. Which doesn't say a lot for the theistic side of public debate, but moreover speaks much about the idea being defended..

Dinesh, Ravi, John, etc. -- easier on the ears to listen to but nowhere near as "effective."

Ask a theist for his public debating show-pony im betting WLC comes out their mouth, and if he cant represent the theistic view in proving his god then two things come to mind:

He either isnt as good as christians need him to be..

Or..

It cant be done

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:19 pm
Reply

Like this post
Inigo Montoya wrote:

Im not sure your wishes can be reasonably met in that regard.

WLC, as annoying as I personally find his exhausting rhetoric, represents the "best" ive seen publicly at making the attempt. Which doesn't say a lot for the theistic side of public debate, but moreover speaks much about the idea being defended..

Dinesh, Ravi, John, etc. -- easier on the ears to listen to but nowhere near as "effective."

Ask a theist for his public debating show-pony im betting WLC comes out their mouth, and if he cant represent the theistic view in proving his god then two things come to mind:

He either isnt as good as christians need him to be..

Or..

It cant be done



Agreed, but I have to ask.... Wink

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:54 pm
Reply

Like this post
I understand mate.

I wrote a submission in search of strong christian apologetics and got 1 name that was unknown to me in 5 pages.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:57 pm
Reply

Like this post
I'm going to go with 'can't be done'.

It's not like the 'logical argument jury' is still out on TAG and Kalam.
How does WLC keep getting away with it?
By now any random atheist that's been keeping up a bit can destroy WLC's arguments. Does anybody know of a debate where this happens? Hitchens and Harris went way too soft on WLC's modus operandi imho...

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:26 pm
Reply

Like this post
Inigo Montoya wrote:
Recently someone tried to tell me he handled Sam Harris with ease.

I disagreed then and still do. Sam tore him a new one.

What I said what that Harris neither effectively countered Craig's affirmative case (that theism allows for objective morality) nor supported his own opening stance of objective morality - something more than merely "piggybacking" on evolutionary developments to use his phrase.

Harris eloquently described the problem of human suffering, adequately critiqued biblical literalism and conservative Christian salvation doctrine, and proposed a 'scientific' or epistemologically objective approach to subjective moral values.

----

Dantalion wrote:
How does WLC keep getting away with it?
By now any random atheist that's been keeping up a bit can destroy WLC's arguments. Does anybody know of a debate where this happens? Hitchens and Harris went way too soft on WLC's modus operandi imho...

He' gets away with it' because he's good at summarizing his own and his opponents' points in a way which favours his views. He's very well organised and knows the ins and outs of each argument and counter-argument. Within the time constraints of a formal debate, his opponents are always going to have trouble communicating their views as effectively without similar organisational and rhetorical skills.

That said, I would be hesitant to judge Craig solely on the arguments which he uses in spoken debate. They may be the only ones he uses even in writing also, for all I know, but it's a distinction to bear in mind.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:39 pm
Reply

Like this post
Mithrae wrote:

Inigo Montoya wrote:
Recently someone tried to tell me he handled Sam Harris with ease.

I disagreed then and still do. Sam tore him a new one.

What I said what that Harris neither effectively countered Craig's affirmative case (that theism allows for objective morality) nor supported his own opening stance of objective morality - something more than merely "piggybacking" on evolutionary developments to use his phrase.

Harris eloquently described the problem of human suffering, adequately critiqued biblical literalism and conservative Christian salvation doctrine, and proposed a 'scientific' or epistemologically objective approach to subjective moral values.

----

Dantalion wrote:
How does WLC keep getting away with it?
By now any random atheist that's been keeping up a bit can destroy WLC's arguments. Does anybody know of a debate where this happens? Hitchens and Harris went way too soft on WLC's modus operandi imho...

He' gets away with it' because he's good at summarizing his own and his opponents' points in a way which favours his views. He's very well organised and knows the ins and outs of each argument and counter-argument. Within the time constraints of a formal debate, his opponents are always going to have trouble communicating their views as effectively without similar organisational and rhetorical skills.

That said, I would be hesitant to judge Craig solely on the arguments which he uses in spoken debate. They may be the only ones he uses even in writing also, for all I know, but it's a distinction to bear in mind.


I agree with you on his strengths, but it's really infuriating to see somebody 'win' debates with the same flawed arguments. WCL did worse against Kagan, if you take WCL out of the classic debate frame and into a more direct back n forth discussion, his tactics become a bit more 'exposed'

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:03 pm
Reply

Like this post
I think what bothers me is that his Apologetics, which I agree are the best Christianity has to offer, reek of propaganda and 'preaching to the choir'.

For example, in one debate he says "In fact, the existence of Evil PROVES there is a God!" and goes on to say if Evil exists, objective morals exist... etc.


In that debate his opponent (I think Law, but I might be wrong) corrects him to say that if you change "evil" to "suffering" that objection goes away.

WLC AGREED!

Then, in the next debate, only months later, he uses the same line 'In fact, the existence of Evil PROVES there is a God..."


It's snakeoilsalesmanship and listening to his latest rant against Islam, asking atheists and everyone to fight Islam, not Christianity, and how he thinks debates are the best way to beat Islam says to me all I need to know:

1. He is losing against atheists and is using fear-mongering to make people think Islam is the great evil we need to fight against
2. He's trying to get people to hire him more so he can make more money.

Now, I realize he may believe he is doing the right thing, but it's odd that Christianity has done just fine without such tactics and, despite the relative growth in the interest in debates, it's still a very minor source of entertainment.


And, after all, that's all this is: entertainment. It's not scholarship, and Talbot is not a serious institution.


After all, it's very telling that WLC debates people who aren't leaders in their fields of academia. Kagan was the most serious scholar, but the rest were authors of recent atheist books, and not leading philosophers or scientists.

And, I might add that while WLC is mentioned as a philosopher for some areas of the debate, none of his arguments are leading positions, but fringes (A vs. B time, etc.)


I think academic Christianity is dead. WLC is keeping the debates alive because of his ability as a debater, not because his arguments are good.

Personally, I think the debate is over. It's only a few loose ends of unknowns as we learn a little more about our universe, and now the hard work begins.

Prayer hasn't worked, it's the Age of Science and has been for a few centuries. We are in the infancy of a Science Age.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   

Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next

Jump to:  
Facebook
Tweet

 




On The Web | Ecodia | Hymn Lyrics Apps
Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version