Video, The Origins of the Universe - Has Hawking Eliminated God?

I have some of my own thoughts on this video, but one thing that really stands out is how Craig uses logic and reason and philosophy to show how Hawking and his co author have utilized the very thing they say doesn't exist any longer. That being, Philosophy.

It is recommended watching, and paying attention to whether or not Bill Craig's points are fair or not regarding Hawking's book. He asks good questions, and is very fair in my estimation. Even if you disagree with Craig, you can't disagree that he doesn't make fair points in a way that is understandable and reasonable and fair.

These are huge points that matter to us. I found it interesting too that they touch on newer talking points in these circles of atheism, materialism, christianity, etc. He shows how some of the ideas Hawking uses don't work out. As usual, Craig doesn't ask that you just take his word for things. He shared his points and gives good reasons for having them. This is true also for the items he disagrees with.

I noticed the dark haired, younger gentleman that proposed a question about there not being any evidences, behaved in way that I see far too often. He was trying set the evidence for himself, very high, unattainable and unreasonable, while not listening to the arguments he was being given. This is very easy to do, and just keep on repeating oneself, and saying, "but no evidence." He, for example, doesn't want to take what we do see in the universe, and ask what best explains it. He wants God in an observable test tube, so to speak. Or, he is working from merely a materialistic worldview, when we know for a fact, the thing responsible for the creation of material things, is outside of the material realm, and the time space continuum. He was a bit ambivalent, and already knew the answers to some of his questions.

It would have been better perhaps, to just say, "I don't want to believe as you do, after the given arguments have been made." Or, he could have given better explanations for what we see, or even just showed how the arguments made by William Lane Craig failed. He didn't. He just kept on repeating himself only. Would this kind of fellow be open to the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus? Or, has he already made up his mind? I have a feeling which way it would go, but then again, I can be wrong.

The last commenter brought up a good point, that could it be a heart issue as Proverbs states, that people want to just blame God for the evil or bad things that happen in the world, while not thanking him for our very breath and all the beauty on earth? Craig answered that often an atheist or other person will try to put a theist in a box by blaming God for evil in the world, and trying to paint a dilemma where there isn't one. There is an answer in the Bible no less, an explanation. It an added emphasis on the negative, while ignoring the mass amount of positive in the world, at the very least. Extreme "glass half empty" mentality, then applying it to God, when there are other reasons, and very likely more going on.

My Thoughts on the Debate Between Sam Harris and William Lane Craig in April of 2011, Notre Dame

In this post, I will reiterate what I said in the other, as well as include the video itself again. Often, I will point out at which point I am at in the debate, so it can be looked at in depth.

At twenty minutes into the video, Craig is pointing out a tautology, or how Harris is talking in circles. He doesn't just say so, he points out how he does so, which I appreciate over just making an accusation. Craig says that Harris has solved the value problem for himself simply by just redefining terms. On Harris' definition, it would be like asking, "why is maximizing creatures well being, maximize creatures well being?" Its just a tautology. Assuming all the people involved and watching such a debate, care about the finer details like this is I think, a fair assumption. You want to believe things for good reasons, not for poor reasons.

One can try to redefine terms in order to tweak words to such a degree, that it looks like one has an upper hand, but do they really? Logical and deep thinkers care about things like this. Forgive me, but it seems that Harris perhaps hoped no one would notice.

Making points about how science contributes to the flourishing on this planet misses the points of the debate. Though no one would argue that anything that contributes to the flourishing of conscious creatures on the planet is a good thing, so why the emphasis? Its not taking the opposing view to Craig, is my point.

It is pointed out, that highs and lows of human flourishing is not a moral landscape. No matter how eloquently presented, no matter how much intensity and assertion is applied, it will never be a moral landscape, and doesn't weigh in on the value problem that Craig and Harris are talking about. Going on about atrocities, extremism and human flourishing doesn't touch on why objective moral values exist at all, and especially not with atheism. There were semantics at play. People see this.

One of the things I really appreciate about Craig is that when he says things that are tough to hear, he doesn't just say them, or accuse. He shows how the thing he said is true. He gives examples and comparisons, uses quotes and the like. I wish that Harris could have responded in kind, and shown how Craig was wrong, missing points, etc.

In short, Craig pointed out the use of non moral vocabulary, exactly what it was, and why it doesn't work. There are only so many ways to respond to this once its been done.

At the point of 21 minutes into the debate, the idea of objective moral duties is brought up. Does atheism have an answer for moral obligations that work across the board? Duties have to do with moral obligation. It has to do with what we either ought to do, or ought not to do. Its a problem for atheists to answer this, Craig points out. He not only says that, but points out how they can't answer this.

Craig points out that 1. Natural Science tells us only what IS, not what OUGHT to be the case. Science is about facts, not norms. It can tell us what we are, but can't tell us what is wrong with how we are. Science can't tell us to take actions which are conducive to human flourishing. 2. Ought implies Can...

At 27 minutes into the debate (27:40), I got a kick out of how Harris comes in and says that Bill Craig puts the fear of God into atheists. He then went on to defending how he criticizes religion. In this debate, I found him to be most fair to the religion of Islam, in regards to how he characterizes it, though he leaned on the more extreme forms of it. I do also, so I can't complain, and I also have studied it in detail to understand where these extreme beliefs come from. They come from their prophet, and their texts. To the rest of all believers in a God out there, for the most part I didn't see him characterize their views correctly. I just want to make it clear, that it is always going to be much easier to criticize the beliefs of Craig, when mischaracterizing his worldview or religion. That is what was done. No victory can therefore be claimed. In fact, its a loss. Craig spoke of atheism here and there, but I found his comments to be fair, or factually true to atheism.

I didn't like how Harris said that people come to the defense of God, not because of the proofs for God, (which isn't true, I know of people like this, like J. Warner Wallace and many others), but because they believe in this idea of God being the only explanation for objective morality. That also isn't true in my years of speaking with Christians, and in fact they don't often think about that at all. Not unless they are apologists or reading apologetic books, etc. Churches and pastors don't teach things that I have ever seen, unless its a very rare occasion. So I don't find his opening to be strong even in those regards.

I noticed how extremism in Islam, and strong emotional appeals through horrific stories are used to come up against what Craig believes in, which happens to be Jesus. Let us recall how Jesus wouldn't let a woman be stoned for being caught in the act of her sin, and also went to his own death, laid down his life for all sinners. Talk about mischaracterizing what he is trying to put down! These facts matter.

About 31 minutes in, we see the double standard with the Islamic woman Harris mentioned. He is pointing out extreme moral problems for Islam, something Craig would agree with him on, and said so a couple of times at least if I am recalling correctly. The only thing joining Christianity and Islam is their monotheism and Abraham. To focus so hard on the "war god of Abraham" over Jesus, was something interesting to observe.

Craig had made it clear, earlier, that the two greatest commandments summed up the commands of God, as shown in Jesus. Jesus came long after Abraham, to point out the flaws of the Old Testament ways, and the distortions, and to show a better way, a simpler way. Thus, we have two people debating issues that agree atrocities are bad.... What about the debate? The Old Testament also has laws against human sacrificing, saying a person should be put to death, but one wouldn't know that to listen to Harris.

Sam Harris goes on to introduce 2 concepts, consciousness and well being. I felt kind of bad for him here, as it appeared to me, especially after the second time of watching it, that Harris went on into what Craig had already refuted, from what I could see. It was good to hear the argument from Harris himself, and for him to expound upon it. The fans of Harris as well as others interested in these topics, can best know if he is having the better argument if we can follow the ideas carefully from beginning to end.

Critique and Review on the second God Debate - The God Debate II: Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig

I watched with great interest this debate, though not live. I have seen it two times now, because I respect the efforts put forth by both of the men, Sam Harris and William Lane Craig. Throughout my responses, I may put the corresponding minutes and seconds which will correlate with the video itself, if you care to go back and look. Its a good way to check and see if what I am saying below is true, or to check on why I say it.

The debate is between an atheist and a evangelical Christian, and their views weigh in heavily in the debate. I am going to jump right in, to about 14 minutes into the debate, where Craig is still opening up. Bill Craig gets the first word, Sam Harris gets the last word.

Craig is speaking at 14 minutes into the debate, talking of his second contingent. My question I have is that what IS the basis for objective morality, if not God? Craig does an excellent job of laying out his point of the debate and his two contingents. He explains his points in a way that is easily understood by all involved, so hard to deny and easy to knock down if they are able to be knocked down.

Bill Craig asks so many questions that need to be answered for his opponents view to stand. You can decide for yourself, but most of these questions went unanswered, and we just don't know whether or not they were ignored, or unable to be answered. Regardless, that is one telling point from Harris for his side.

You will find Craig continuing to give many quotes and examples throughout this introductory time, the first twenty minutes of the debate, in which Harris is soon to respond. At one point in the debate, Craig pins Harris on something that is very key, and it wouldn't have been right to let this go unnoticed. That is, the redefining of what they mean by good and evil, into non moral terms. Craig is pointing out how Harris has done this redefining of terms, and why it doesn't logically work out for him. For instance, when Harris suggests we define good as that which supports the well being of conscious creatures, we can agree that the well being of conscious creatures is a good thing, it doesn't define good at all. Harris has defined the word good to MEAN the well being of conscious creatures. In my experience, I have often seen similar tactics used by atheists, and its a tricky tactic because it takes a well trained eye and mind to see and then point these things out. I think many of the followers of Harris either don't care he did this, or didn't see it for themselves. Its a tough call to even make, because its a sort of pointing out of something Harris probably didn't want pointed out. Yet it needed to be done. One of the things I appreciate most about Craig is that he is not easily fooled.

Sometimes, a good debater has to keep the other side reminded of the points at hand, keep their feet to the fire, and not allow the distractions to distract. It was after all this I really saw Harris kind of go after other beliefs that differ from his.

It was pointed out that morals and values are valid regardless of human opinion. From what I saw, they both tended to agree on this. Harris never really addressed this though, from what I saw. The horrible topic of genital mutilation was brought up, as were many other things from Harris' book. Both Harris and Craig agree on this, pretty much all people do except for those that practice or support it. (Small portion of the total population, I am sure.) The biggest question for grounding of morality, and whether or not its subjective or objective, begs this question.... What is the best reason for why it is wrong?

Bill Craig expounds on his two contingents, the first of which is, "If God exists, then we have a sound moral foundation for objective moral duties." How much more fair can Craig be? To be an opponent of his, the other side clearly is taking the opposite of the views he holds, in this case the two contingents. Craig goes on to share how the two great commandments sum up God's commands. To love God with all your heart, soul mind and strength (which doesn't encourage mindless belief, by the way), and also to love your neighbor as yourself. It is a good thing to point out here, that to do those two things, would help many societies over the course of history, despite how tightly Harris and others want to believe that belief in God encourages war, slavery and genocide, etc. The exact opposite is actually true, and seen in the very words of Jesus. Sam Harris and Jesus would actually agree on very much. The facts on all sides here, are why I say this.

Craig points out how the 2 greatest commandments support love and good, and rejects selfishness to evil and others. Which also equals a much better world for all people. He points out that objective morality exists, could exist with God, regardless of human beings even existing! We do see that objective moral values do exist, without a doubt. I observed from Harris, that he never addresses anything having to do with what Craig believes, in the light of the two greatest commandments of Jesus. Its as if the measuring tool he ought to be using against Craig, is not an option, as I observe he likes to use the most extreme religious and atrocities to be the measuring tool of choice. That term, "weighing a chicken with a yardstick" applies here, and I wanted to make sure that Harris knows others see it. Its kind of not playing fair, to use things we all already agree on that are atrocious, to try and get extra points.

I grant this is a quick side tangent but very good to point out here, that to mischaracterize Craig's worldview is indeed being done. It was done almost throughout the debate. Craig avoids these points, and showed how they don't apply but notice Harris still got to try and put him down with things all the same, and it may have distracted his fans into thinking he was making valid points in doing so. It isn't scoring any real points, to miss the points of a debate, and using atrocious activities of extremists in the world, as points to be made when all agree on them anyway. It did not allow for Harris to get to address the real points fairly that Craig made and made again.

Building up emotional appeals ideas to the listeners doesn't mean that many don't see what is being left out in a debate. It does get some that are easily swayed by such appeals to think there are great points being made all the same. Craig could have used the same stories and shared his disapproval of the events, but then what about the debate?

Craig, at the point of 1:10 into the debate, points out the idea of presenting the problem of evil and unevangelized by Harris. In this rebuttal time, Craig shares his disappointment in the red herrings Sam Harris used. He brings up the perfect point however, in response to what Harris did talk about. Craig asked that if there is such a basis for Harris' beliefs, then what is it? (The point of the debate.) One can only try to keep things on task.

I will carry on this critique in my next post.

The God Debate II: Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig Video and Blog

I noticed the comments are disabled on this video on youtube, and I hope to maybe get into some opinion sharing and people's different thoughts on this video here in this blog. Please feel free to leave your comments and why you think one did better than the others, and the details that give reasons to support each side.

Something of Interest, Regarding a Leading Atheist

It has been said a few times now, that Richard Dawkins won't debate William Lane Craig. Anyone that has ever seen a debate between William Lane Craig, knows he is a very reasonable man, that sticks to the facts. It is part of why I made this blog. Bill Craig is an excellent thinker and philosopher, but not only that, his ideas are actually VERY brilliant ones. I think this is the core of why Richard Dawkins won't debate him. It has to be, and there are logical reasons to come to that conclusion.

If Richard Dawkins had good reasons for not debating Craig, then he would just stand up to the wrong points that Craig makes in a debate. Say Craig says something about the God of the Old Testament. Dawkins could just easily refute him with his better reasoning, if he had it. Better facts, better reasoning, counter and defeat poor "facts" and poor reasoning. We don't see him even want to try. We see excuses that don't pan out.

It is an incredible compliment then, not that different from a person that doesn't want to play in a sports game against an excellent player. Craig is a mental giant, and can easily squash poor ideas, and he should. I hope he always does, because in many of these cases morals are at play. This isn't "just a game", this is life and death and topics regarding the things that matter very much to every human being that has ever lived.

People don't want to "play" if they know they will lose.

Its one of the biggest complaints I have against atheists....the incredible amount of pride at play. It seems, that ANYTHING could be, has to be true, OTHER than the atheist just might be wrong about something. I see this all the time.

In an arena where ideas, philosophies and facts of life are at play, why are people so much wanting to deny what works, what is most reasonable, and logical? It seems more is going on of course. Its not a matter of poor ideas, bad thinking, and bad reasoning, or ability to debate or not. Its a matter that is explained by Christianity itself. Nothing else explains it, nothing.

A cop out, I don't buy it.

Some books I own that WIlliam Lane Craig Authored or Co-Authored

Below, are some of the books I own that William Lane Craig authored or co-authored. They are all great books, and I highly recommend them. These are not all that I have read from Bill Craig. I have also read many articles and heard him publicly debate as well. His website has a wealth of information.

Reasonable Faith - By William Lane Craig

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview - By J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig. A huge, fascinating book, and a great resource. I highly recommend it.

The Son Rises - The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. By William Lane Craig. A smaller book, excellent.

On Guard. Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. By William Lane Craig

Some links to Bill Craigs sites, etc

Click here to see William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith site

Click here to see Craig's site, debates, and articles for further information

This link takes you to Wikipedia's site. Learn more about William Lane Craig here.

A great Philosopher & Thinker

William Lane Craig, is one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of our time. This blog is dedicated to sharing some of what I have seen and learned from him over the last few years. I truly think that sharing what he believes, along with the great reasons he has for believing them, can be helpful to many people. We all can learn something from him and be challenged to grow intellectually and other ways as well.

Thank you for stopping by.