Oxford Atheist Calls Richard Dawkins "Coward" for Not Debating William Lane Craig

(Alternate cut of "Empty Chair" with updated news and views). Will Richard Dawkins finally engage in a scholarly one-to-one discussion with William Lane Crai...

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Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 19, 2011 at 11:54pm

What's the Dawkins forum letter, Skycomet? Haven't heard about that...

Comment by Chris on August 20, 2011 at 12:45am

Public debates are beauty pageants. The superficial and the con has the edge at all times. If the debate were instead a moderated conversation with no audience, that might be worth a look. Otherwise, it's nonsense to bother. If that makes Dawkins a coward, fucking more power to the cowards.

Comment by Jeremy Lester on August 20, 2011 at 3:17am

Lil Rome, i can see what you mean. I can't seem to get past that "no evidence" thing myself. lol.

Comment by justin gold on August 20, 2011 at 9:43am

I just think Dawkins thinks whats the point in debating Craig,there's thousands more blind supporters of Craig,who even still say Craig won,when in fact he loses  the argument convincingly,the last Harris v Craig is a prime example, I've watched that a few times now and if people cant be truthful enough to see that Harris won that out right,I can definitively see why Dawkin's thinks whats the point.Plus some of the philosophical arguments that Craig use's in his talks don't stand up to the discovery's scientists are making,especially in the field of quantum mechanics,which blow's holes in his logical arguments to which Craig is not versed.

Comment by Artor on August 20, 2011 at 2:26pm

Isn't Craig the guy who says all the examples of genocide in the Bible are okay, because God said it was okay? Having Dawkins debate him makes about as much sense as Obama debating Glenn Beck. Why would he want to? The guy alters reality to fit his own absurd notions; what's the point of debating him? The most he could do is dignify Craig, who could then say "I've debated Dawkins and won!" Even though it's a foregone conclusion that Dawkins is 100X more rational and honest than this amoral huckster.

Comment by Albert Bakker on August 20, 2011 at 3:26pm

Dawkins I think correctly identifies Craig's motive as that of self-promotion. There is nothing lost for either of them, but there is nothing to be won by Dawkins as debating Craig adds nothing to his resume, gains him nothing. But Craig can claim he debated Dawkins and held his own with his fingers plugged in his ears, rattling off his repertoire and using his rethorical skills to score points with his fanbase over the head of Dawkins in total disregard of the actual arguments being made.

Craig's approach to these debates is like a performance in a circus. It has nothing to do with who has truth or the facts on his side or who has the better arguments. It is about pleasing your audience and letting them run with it. Craig doesn't have to convince anyone, and he won't. He has but to score points, interrupt a couple of times, see if a gotcha opportunity comes up and strike, make a few funny remarks here and there to get some laughs and busy some philosophy lingo, preferably brought with a frown or a mild smirk.

It is the same craft as Bill O'Reilly masters, yet his act is different. O'Reilly has a slightly different audience to serve. But only slightly.

So Craig wants to add a name to the poster and Dawkins isn't cooperating. Is that cowardly? Well you can call it that I suppose. Not wasting your time sparring with Kent Hovind if you have a brain might also be called that. But at minimum with equal right you can call it sensible.

Craig on his turn in the meantime might reconsider his refusal to debate Loftus, as by his own words: "the person I fear debating the most is a former student of mine" his motives to desire the one and avoid the other are apparently less ambiguous.

Comment by Araina on August 20, 2011 at 10:13pm

Even Dawkins has his limits on patience.  After watching him speak with that Debbie woman about creationism I couldn't believe his patience and tolerance for the incredible stupidity.  I wanted to punch her in the face.  It is impossible to debate with people that only apply logical fallacies.  Sometimes you just have to give up.

Comment by Araina on August 20, 2011 at 10:16pm

I remember him saying he was going to stop debating with creationist and fundamentalist Christians because debating with them was like arguing with a flat-earther, and giving them a platform gives them undeserved credibility.  Meaning, they aren't worth his time, I agree.  I'd much rather have him spending time educating us on evolution than wasting it arguing with idiots.

Comment by Trevor on October 17, 2011 at 12:31pm

There is something in the problem of not dealing with the strongest arguments of the people you disagree with.  Dawkin's athiest friend has a point when he says that Dawkins has been happy to speak to all kinds of pastors and creationists.  If he genuinely wants to move the discussion forward, I don't think he is helping things by refusing to debate the best proponents of theism.


As one person has said, debates are not the best place to form ideas but to test them.  I will be attending the debate in Oxford and I do sincerely hope that Dawkins changes his mind.  WLC is not a creationist in the sense of a 7000 year old earth or in denying all evolutionary process, he believes the universe is some 13 billion years old.  He has over 30 published works and is a doctor of philosophy and theology and a professor in his field.  WLC previously debated Antony Flew who was perhaps one of the world's foremost athiest minds, who of course then changed from being an athiest to a theist (but not a christian).  Dawkins ground for disengaging is very small.

Comment by Shabaka Tecumseh on April 26, 2012 at 6:36pm

There's only so much nonsense a persons mind can handle. Debate?  For what, for who?  Each debate just give religion more exposure as something that MAY be legitimate..I bet Dawkins is tired, frustrated and drained...


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