Why do the big names in atheism freeze up when debating William Lane Craig?

I recently watched William Lane Craig's debates with Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris and in both debates, it was easy to walk away with the feeling that Craig won. Hitchens just kept saying "I haven't heard any convincing evidence..." Without refuting Craig's arguments. Sam Harris did something similar - instead of addressing Craig's arguments, he ignored them for the entire debate. Also, Lawrence Krauss, when debating Craig about A Universe from Nothing, missed an opportunity to counter Craig's (correct) assertion that the primordial soup of the universe is not nothing.

Now, I've heard refutations for Craig's arguments but neither Hitchens, Harris, nor Krauss used them and so it could seem as though they lost their debates with him. Craig even invited Hitchens to become a Christian while onstage, and was justified in asking - given their performances in the debate. Any ideas why they froze up in their debates against him?

I also noticed that Craig got first word in those debates, in which he was able to define the terms used in the debate, giving him an edge.

Finally, why doesn't Dawkins debate Craig?

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WLC is very good at debating. We have discussed this before and in order to counter his arguments you do need to be very prepared. He has been called a “Master Debater” here before and I cannot disagree with that sentiment. However his arguments are not as significant or as important as he would like to think. The Kalam Cosmological Argument which he refined and made his own is a worthwhile exercise in philosophical debate if you are so inclined. However it is basically a remodelling of the “First Cause” argument. The fact that the KCA is from Islamic tradition never leads him to deduce that Allah is this First Cause rather than his Christian god is never explained.

He is good at debating the KCA as he has dedicated the last 40 years to it. If something exists it must have been caused to exist. The Universe exists so it began to exist therefore his god did it.  This is a supernatural explanation to a naturalistic question.  One of his aides is a TA member and we have had a few good debates with him. However like all Theists they still assume that their Arguments for god are actually Evidence for his existence.

He also reworks the Ontological Argument. God is the greatest thing we can conceive of. Therefore gods’ non-existence is not possible.  Therefore the Atheist must reject something he knows must exist. So anyone denying the existence of god is contradicting themselves. This however as Schopenhauer says is only a “subtle play with concepts” and not an a priori proof of anything. Non-existence does not have any attributes and so is only a “fiction of the mind” to quote Kant.

His arguments need a fair degree of conceptual analysis and they tend to become metaphysical debates. This is his area. He is good at it and it may be difficult for the opposite side to stay with him because their grounding is in logic and reasoned analysis of the subject. It is easy to stray into such a place in a philosophical debate. He is highly qualified in this area. The study of philosophy is the introduction to philosophy, to quote Hegel. Many coming from a scientific background will not be able to switch to the WLC way of thinking which they need do in order to debate him. What they should do is to say “Ok the Universe did have a First Cause. We think it is the Big Bang because we have evidence to suggest that this is scientifically true.” ”Please refute our argument without playing your faith card.” Leave infinite regression arguments out on both side and see who makes more sense. I think he would leave the stage and the scientist would end up talking to his vacant chair. I can conceive of that scenario in my mind as being  “Perfect”.

RE: "the Ontological Argument. God is the greatest thing we can conceive of. Therefore gods’ non-existence is not possible."

Where does that leave people like me? I can't conceive of a god, which therefore ascertains that he/she/it cannot be the greatest thing of which I can conceive.The greatest thing of which I can conceive, is the unconditional love of a child, and ain't no talkin'-snake makin' god gonna top that!

you cannot conceive God, because you do not want do, or because its intellectually more compelling to you, to believe, we are the result of pure chance, or physical necessity ?

Or maybe it's because he's sane.

Thanks, k, but who's really gonna believe that?

Well, clearly you are unfamiliar with evolution, since there is no "pure chance" involved.
Also, we cannot conceive god because it is an extremely far fetched imaginary friend that goes against the evidence this world presents us with.

sorry, the theory of evolution cannot be applied to the origin of the universe, and life. There you have only the alternatives i mentioned. so what evidence are you talking about ?

your cited webpage gives evasive answers and makes superficial assertions</p for example :Where did the first cell come from? Many believers will argue that God magically created the first living cell. This, of course, is silly. The scientific principle that describes the origin of life is called abiogenesis. so what

@Angelo - RE: "your cited webpage gives evasive answers and makes superficial assertions" - I saw 60 proofs offered, how many did you read? Be honest now --

RE: "The scientific principle that describes the origin of life is called abiogenesis. so what" - let me finish that sentence for you, "so what has that to do with a magic god?"

No thanks necessary --

yes, the brother grimms also made up nice little fantasy stories for children. so what does that have to do with reality. just because someone came up with a fantasy story called abiogenesis, it does not mean that hypoteses is true. you need to learn a littlebit critical thinking. nobody has proven abiogenesis to be true. and there are many reasons to believe, life cannot arise  by chance. despite of this you believe it. why.

I notice you avoided my question: "I saw 60 proofs offered, how many did you read? Be honest now --"

The good Brothers Grimm were not the only ones who concocted fairy tales - others made up ones they called, "Genesis," "Exodus," "Leviticus," "Numbers" and "Deuteronomy," while still others invented ones they called, "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke" and "John." All, the products of fertile human imagination.

Of course there is evidence that supports abiogenesis, whereas there is none for the other nine.


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