Thursday, January 19, 2012

William Lane Craig's Cambridge Union Society Debate


Christian philosophers William Lane Craig and Peter S. Williams debate atheists Arif Ahmed and Andrew Copson on the topic: This House Believes That God is Not a Delusion. It took place before a packed house at the Cambridge Union Society on 20th October 2011, as a part of William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith Tour 2011. Want to hear every audio debate by William Lane Craig? Check out the audio debate feed here.

Full Debate MP3 Audio here. (1hr 30min)
Enjoy.

13 comments :

Billy Squibs said...

Any sign of the other debaters doing the rounds during this tour? I'm thinking about John Lennox in particular.

Faith Monkey said...

I'm thinking Craig and Williams lost this one.

Neither Craig nor Williams defended their assertion that the cause of the universe must be God, just that it should be timeless and immaterial, but to take that and leap to deity is too far a leap. It seems easier to simply say that the universe has an external explanation of its existence, and at this point we simply don't know what it is.

Further, as Ahmed pointed out, where exactly is the contradiction in asserting that objective moral values can exist without God? Why can't they simply be brute facts?

-J

psykojojo said...

man thats too choatic for my taste, craig is a juggernaut, he so rhetorically gifted

winteryknight said...

Brian, thanks for posting this. I remember Craig's description of this debate from his newsletter, so I am expecting excitement.

truth4taiwan said...

Thanks for posting this lively debate!

This is the first time I've seen this format and I really enjoyed it.

Let's say a person were to hold that belief in God is a delusion. The question I'd like to ask the opposition would be: "What's the remedy?"

@Faith Monkey

I thought the atheist side insisted and implied that objective moral values don't exist, didn't they?

Sounds like a good excuse as any for me to relisten to this fast-paced debate... :)

Russell said...

Hi Faith Monkey,

you said "Further, as Ahmed pointed out, where exactly is the contradiction in asserting that objective moral values can exist without God? Why can't they simply be brute facts?"

If moral laws are simply brute facts, then why ought anyone obey them? What about those moral ideas that people disagree over? Who has the authority to enforce them, and where does that authority come from?

mhssu said...

Faith Monkey, I thought that they did defend the idea that the immaterial timeless cause of the universe must be a mind, and therefore a God.

They set up a dichotomy- it's either an abstract object, or a mind, concluded that it was not an abstract object, and therefore is a mind. You'd have to dispute the dichotomy, but somehow I don't think appealing to unknown unknowns is going to be very convincing.

LittleGoose said...

I think Craig and Williams had a tough time on this one but they did as well as anyone can. Definitely seemed like a strange debate format.

Anonymous said...

I think the first Ahmed/Craig debate was much better. In it, Craig made clear, bold arguments, and Dr. Ahmed easily dismantled all of them. In this debate, Craig seemed to be running scared: appealing to emotion ("Don't name call"), flip-floping between topics (existence of god, and god the delusion),blaming the Cambridge Union for not allowing him the last word, etc. This in addition to dumping the actual arguments on Williams, whose strategy seemed to be to present the arguments in an incomprehensible way to evade refutation. The theist's performace was really pathetic; not one of Craig's best moments. By the way, this debate format has worked at the CUS for neatly 200 years now, with debaters much more notable than Craig - like John Stewart Mill.

Hoops said...

Brian, I couldn't help but notice that Dr. Craig was shaking quite a bit while standing and speaking. Is he having any health issues we should know and pray about?

Anonymous said...

"In it, Craig made clear, bold arguments, and Dr. Ahmed easily dismantled all of them."

Why do you think Ahmed 'easily dismantled all of them'? Can you give any evidence to support your claim?

"In this debate, Craig seemed to be running scared: appealing to emotion ("Don't name call"),"

That is no indication of running scared, Anonymous. That is simply a rule of
thumb for any discussion or dialogue. Your comment seems to indicate that you advocate name-calling. Do you?

"flip-floping between topics (existence of god, and god the delusion),"

Craig did not 'flip-flop' between topics. The opposition was the one who decided to change the meaning of the resolution that was originally proposed by the House. I recommend you re-watch this debate (if you even bothered to watch it at all) more carefully.

"blaming the Cambridge Union for not allowing him the last word, etc."

Can you give any reliable source or reference for that claim?

"This in addition to dumping the actual arguments on Williams."

How did Craig 'dump' the arguments on Williams? The debate format requires the first member of the House to present the arguments. In any case, Craig would have to be the one to address objections, since the debate format does not allow Williams to do so!

"whose strategy seemed to be to present the arguments in an incomprehensible way to evade refutation."

In what way did Williams 'present the arguments in an incomprehensible way'? Can you provide support for this claim?

"The theist's performace was really pathetic; not one of Craig's best moments."

Again, can you please provide support for your claim? You have not said anything at all about the substance of the debate. You have only thrown around unsupported accusations and claims.

Brian Auten said...

Hoops:
I don't know of any.

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure the moral argument is sound, but I don’t think all of morality can just be a brute fact. Some of morality, maybe, but not all of it. The brute facts of this universe include things like the speed of light. Now in a different universe the speed of light could easily be something else, say half as fast. However, morality seems to make claims across all universes, not just ours. To illustrate this think of sciFi, say Star Wars. Could the moral facts of the Star Wars universe have been different such that Darth Vader was good and Luke evil? If morality is simply a brute fact, then it could be different in other universes. In some universe it could be not only good but your duty to torture little children. Morality, or at least some of it seems to me to be necessary. E.g. there exists some morality which has to exist in every conceivable world like abstract numbers. If someone could show me why morals can’t be brute necessary facts I might change my mind on the moral argument.

The real zinger in the debate I think was that the opposition decided to deny objective morals exist—e.g. they not only think god is a delusion, but that morals are as well. I doubt they are actually able to live their lives true to a belief that morals are a delusion.

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