Tuesday, February 26, 2013

If you attack something, you have to defend your attacks

Papalinton: Dawkins showed more than a modicum of wisdom when he intelligently noted, in paraphrase, "It [a debate] would look good on his CV but not on mine." Why give unwarranted oxygen to an aficionado of implausible supernatural superstition?

VR: Because you went to the bother of attacking that superstition. If spend your energy attacking something, you then have to put your own view and the view you are attacking on a level playing field and follow the argument where it leads. You have to be ready to have it out with the leading advocates of the opposing view. Otherwise, you conducting a one-sided discussion, where only the ideas on your side are considered. You may conclude that the public-debate format in which Craig thrives is a bad format. Fine, find another format.

I have never had a public debate with a Mormon apologist. But, if I wrote a book called The Mormon Delusion, and a Mormon were to reply to my objections on behalf of the LDS, then I would have to be prepared, in some format or other to engage that defender of Mormonism, and if several Mormons were to respond, then I should at least engage the best people on the Mormon side.

If Christians aren't important enough to debate, then they're not important enough to attack. Craig is one of the world's leading defenders of theistic arguments. If your thesis entails that theistic arguments are no good, then you have to respond to advocates of those arguments. From what I can see, Dawkins doesn't even know how to state Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument, much less refute it.




19 comments:

unkleE said...

"If you attack something, you have to defend your attacks"

Well, you don't have to, but if you want to be respected and respectable you do. If you want your viewpoint to stand because it is true rather than because you want it be true, you do.

Dawkins has long since ceased to be the "archenemy" to most christians, I think, so I don't feel any great reason to attack him. But it does seem as if even many of his fellow atheists (think David Sloan Wilson, or Michael Ruse or Thomas Nagel) feel that he is someone who espouses science and rationality but doesn't believe in them as much as he believes in attacking religion.

I think much of the atheist world has moved on, and probably we christians should do too - unless he writes another anti-God book!

Cale B.T. said...

What's the big deal? I thought that he already debated Craig?

So much for not giving him a platform.

Papalinton said...

Victor
" If spend your energy attacking something, you then have to put your own view and the view you are attacking on a level playing field and follow the argument where it leads. "

I will have to call Poe on this OP, Victor. It is difficult to assess where your comment is tongue-in-cheek or whether you really believe it.

' ..and follow the argument where it leads?' I don't think so Victor, particularly where WLC is concerned. Craig is on the record, pretty much having discounted the veracity of that proposition. There is always the 'mammoth in the room' get-out clause to all that Craig puts forward as 'evidence', a given preamble that one must be mindful of prior to any debate he engages in. Such 'evidence' contained in his debates his debates on two disowning premises, to the effect,

[1] 'It is my failure, my fault alone if I have not convinced you with my argument.'

[2] 'No matter the outcome, no matter the evidence, "the inner witness of the holy spirit" confirms I can never be wrong.' See HERE

And in mind of these abandonment clauses, Dawkins rightly questions, why bother?

So Victor, it seems pointless to even imply, let alone suggest, Craig takes the argument to its 'logical' conclusion, no matter where it leads. In effect he disowns and renounces the bases for all his arguments at the outset. His piece-de-resistance?:

“We know Christianity to be true by the self authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit.” What does he mean by that? “I mean that the witness, or testimony, of the Holy Spirit is its own proof; it is unmistakable; it does not need other proofs to back it up; it is self-evident and attests to its own truth.” and

"The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel. Only the ministerial use of reason can be allowed. [My bolding] ... Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." [My bolding] (p. 36; Reasonable Faith)

Cont.

Papalinton said...

CONT.

In the matter of the Mormon apologist example you raise, Victor, WLC has already responded to such a scenario:

A perceptive Christian asks him:
"[H]ow can a Christian and a Mormon gain any ground one way or another? Both would believe their Spiritual Witness to be authentic, and both would claim that since we only see in part, evidence cannot possibly rule their experience out. [Earlier] you gave an analogy of bottles labeled as water. You said that if only one of the bottles is water, and the rest is poison, that the truth of the correctly labeled bottle is in no way lessened because of the mislabeling of the others. But how can the person with the poison (false witness) know what he has isn’t water if he won’t listen to evidence based on his experience? In turn how can the person with the H2O (Real Holy Spirit) know they don’t have a mislabeled Bottle?...Can’t this argument also be used by the Mormon against a Christian who is certain of their own experience of the correctly labeled bottle or water?"

Craig's answer lies in his distinction between "knowing" Christianity is true and "showing" it's true. He knows it's true and that's all there is to it:

"My knowledge of Christianity’s truth, while supported by strong arguments, is not ultimately based on those arguments but on the witness of God Himself. If, therefore, I find myself confronted with a well-prepared and articulate Mormon who blows away my arguments and presents a case for Mormonism that I can’t answer, I should not apostatize, since I have the witness of the Holy Spirit to Christianity’s truth and so realize that although I’ve lost the argument, Christianity is nonetheless the truth (and I need to be better prepared next time!)...he [the Mormon] can’t justifiably remain Mormon by appealing to his experience, since he doesn’t really have a genuine witness of the Holy Spirit, but only a counterfeit experience."

[From, Reasonable Faith: Q & A with Dr. William Lane Craig] The rest can be read HERE

Victor, the man is not open to reason and logic. He is, as I say, an aficionado of supernatural superstition. Invoking supernatural superstition is by its very nature impervious and impenetrable to logic and rational argumentation. As Hitchens so elegantly noted: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

There is no value or worth in Dawkins debating a spirit channeler.

Cale B.T. said...

"There is no value or worth in Dawkins debating a spirit channeler."

Paps, he's already debated Craig. Or has he? Read the link I posted.

Papalinton said...

Cale B T
""Paps, he's already debated Craig. Or has he? Read the link I posted."

Yes Cale, I saw you comment. Indeed I watched it a year or so ago, a sort of debate in which each speaker hopped into a boxing ring to 'deliver their punches'. It was a 'tag team' event. Quite amusing, and I suppose you could call it a debate, but not in the usual sense of the meaning of the word.

And entertaining I might add albeit a little tongue-in-cheek with the boxing analogy. It's HERE if you haven't watched it. This is the English version, even though the intro and comments between are delivered in Spanish.

Cheers

Maths Tutor Wirral said...

In other words, Dawkins has debated lots of Christians.

But he refuses to debate people who defend genocide but will talk to people like Lennox, or McGrath.

As a result, Christians feel they have no choice except to elect defenders of genocide as their spokesmen, because that is the sort of person Dawkins does not debate.

Craig was welcome to reply to Dawkins article in the Guardian.

But somehow, it seems he could not get a national newspaper in Britain to put his side of the morality of killing children if they have the wrong religion.

Baffling, isn't it?

Maths Tutor Wirral said...

Even Christians like Randal Rauser baulk at
watching Christians defend genocide.

But hatred of Dawkins is so great that even allegedly reasonable people will elevate defenders of genocide from 'the kinds of fundamentalists Dawkins always bashes' to 'great Christian thinkers', as soon as Dawkins stops bashing them.

BenYachov said...

@Maths Tutor Wirral

>Christians feel they have no choice except to elect defenders of genocide as their spokesmen, because that is the sort of person Dawkins does not debate.

>But somehow, it seems he could not get a national newspaper in Britain to put his side of the morality of killing children if they have the wrong religion.

You amaze me. Dawkins is friends with & publicly praises Peter Atkins who advocates parents having the right to kill their own children up to a month after birth if they are handicapped or unwanted.

(Speaking for myself as the Father of three mentally handicapped children I hold such human shit as Dawkins & Atkins in complete contempt).

Fundie Atheists like yourself Math are always telling believers the Bible is full of stories.

If so then Craig defending Haraam against the Canaanites is morally no different then him defending Grand Morf Tarkin blowing up Alderaan.

But the Atheist Atkins wants parents to have the power to kill real children not "fictional" ones all the time. Not just under special circumstances by the Command of a Deity.

(Oh & BTW the Church Fathers and even the Reformation Theologians in general teach only a Public Divine Revelation can authorize Haraam. Of course with the death of the Last Apostle John there can be no public revelation till the Second Coming & then there can be no Haraam since it will be judgment day. So it is a non-issue for Christians where as hypocrites like Dawkins support jerk-offs who want to kill real children today who are either unwanted by their parents or handicapped).

Explain your inconsistency here.

BenYachov said...

CORRECTION:

It's Dawkins' friend Peter Singer who advocates killing handicapped Children no Peter Atkins.

My most sincere apologies to Mr. Atkins where ever he is.


Of course my point still stands.

Steven Carr said...

'It's Dawkins' friend Peter Singer who advocates killing handicapped Children no Peter Atkins.'

No your point does not stand.

A)Mr. Singer's words are not help up a the Ultimate Source of Morality
B) If a child is born without a brain, your god will see to it that he dies soon enough anyway, without medical help.

Steven Carr said...

And there is a big difference between killing children born with no brain or stomach and killing children that have the wrong religion, as Craig defended.

Both are wrong , but Craig thinks a small child should die if it interferes with his hypothetical god's plans.

'God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.'

Steven Carr said...

And, of course, Ben Yachov has the good old fashioned Christian 'guilt by association' thing nailed down pat.

If you can't get a good ad hominem against somebody going, try to get in an ad hominem against somebody he once interviewed.

It's called 'Christianity' - and shows how much you reflect Jesus.

BenYachov said...

@Steven Carr

You are a big hypocrite.

>A)Mr. Singer's words are not help up a the Ultimate Source of Morality

Who cares? The point his he treats Singer's advocacy of real child murder one way vs Craig's advocacy of fictional child murder another way.

He is a hypocrite pure & simple & so are you for defending Dawkins.

>B) If a child is born without a brain, your god will see to it that he dies soon enough anyway, without medical help.

Singer advocates Parents killing handicaped or unwanted children like my children. Pure and simple.

Your rationalizations are no different then Christians who say "Well the parentless Canaanite children would have died of starvation anyway. This way it was quicker".

But again fictional children vs real ones.

Hypocrite much?

>And there is a big difference between killing children born with no brain or stomach and killing children that have the wrong religion, as Craig defended.

So what your are saying is some child killing is OK? Sorry you really can't compare an Omnipotent Infallible Being's decision to kill children from a fallible human like Singer.

Even still both are at best morally equal. So that is a problem right there for you.

BTW the Bible nowhere has a general command to kill those who belong to the wrong religion. If you are going to critique the Bible at least get it right.

>Both are wrong , but Craig thinks a small child should die if it interferes with his hypothetical god's plans.

Yet Dawkins doesn't hold either to the same standard and you seem to believe under the "right" circumstances it is in fact correct to kill a child?

That is not consistent.

>'God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.'

So given a good reason both Craig and Singer believe it is permissible to take the life of children?

Yet Dawkins treats them differently and so do you!

Of course God (unlike Singer)created the Children from nothing and sustains their existence from moment to moment which He doesn't have to do. So there is no moral equivalence between God vs Singer. God can also know the children's future infallibly. Singer does not know the future of any handicaped children he thinks should die.

Of course if you want to beg the question & say there is no God too order the deaths of these children that's fine. But then one must reject the Bible for being false not for moral reasons.

The issue is if God exists does He or does He not have the right of life and death? And what is the basis for such a judgment?

Don't bore the shit out of me with your Gnu non-sequitors.

Regardless Craig defends specific incidents of God ordering the death of innocents in what you must believe is a fictional document.

Singner wants to kill real children today like my children and Dawkisn has no problem with it & praises Singer as a great man.

That is hypocrisy.

BenYachov said...

@Steven Carr

>And, of course, Ben Yachov has the good old fashioned Christian 'guilt by association' thing nailed down pat.

Dawkins praises Singer yet condemns Craig. Yet there is at best no moral difference between them.

A smart Atheist would simply say "Dawkins is wrong to condemn Craig while praising Singer".

You Steven have never struck me as smart so you are going to continue to defend Dawkins. Someone smart like Jeff would know better.

>If you can't get a good ad hominem against somebody going, try to get in an ad hominem against somebody he once interviewed.

Dawkins' condemnation of Craig is an ad hominem & I have no problem turning his inconsistancy back on him. I do it with a smile on my face and song in my heart.

>It's called 'Christianity' - and shows how much you reflect Jesus.

Jesus called out hypocrites too.

Papalinton said...

"(Oh & BTW the Church Fathers and even the Reformation Theologians in general teach only a Public Divine Revelation can authorize Haraam. Of course with the death of the Last Apostle John there can be no public revelation till the Second Coming & then there can be no Haraam since it will be judgment day. So it is a non-issue for Christians where as hypocrites like Dawkins support jerk-offs who want to kill real children today who are either unwanted by their parents or handicapped)."

You have a very short memory, Ben. You seem to have forgotten THIS Call from the inner witness of the holy spirit, a Public Divine Revelation authorizing Haraam.

Quite extraordinary, the level of danger that religion poses to humanity. Islamic and Christian [an]nihilism at its most potent.

BenYachov said...

@Paps

Your an idiot.

Bush is not an Apostle nor Prophet & the "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" (whatever that is) is not a public revelation. At best it might be a private revelation but no private revelation can authorize Haraam.

BTW since when does mere War=Haraam?

Haraam is the Divine Command to totally destroy a people down to the last man, woman & child.

Not merely to wage War according to the rules of War which preclude harming non-combatants.

Bush didn't authorize Haraam (i.e. direct slaying of women and children) since that is against the public policy of the USA.

Even if hypothetically he where to do so any leading he thought came from the Holy Spirit would be false.

Private revelations must be measured by the moral and doctrinal Law of the One True Church.

Haraam can only be authorized by Public revelation. There is no public revelation with the death of the last Apostle.

Get over it.

BTW I note your fellow Atheist Uncle Joe Stalin didn't get revelations to murder population. He just did it to spread Atheism.

Papalinton said...

"Haraam is the Divine Command to totally destroy a people down to the last man, woman & child. ..... Haraam can only be authorized by Public revelation."

The dangerous mindset of the religiously deluded?
I rest my case.

BenYachov said...

@Paps

You have no case since as I said there can be no more public revelation. Thus no more Haraam commands.

But of course the godless have no moral code to prevent them from mass killing at will.

So clearly the Atheist mindset as the history of the 20th Century shows is more dangerous.

Live with it.