The complete schedule of Dawkins’ non-appearances

William Lane Craig is really hyping Richard Dawkins’ refusal to debate him on-stage in Oxford. But, as Dr. Dawkins himself points out, this is not just Craig’s, um, “victory.”

In the interests of transparency, I should point out that it isn’t only Oxford that won’t see me on the night Craig proposes to debate me in absentia: you can also see me not appear in Cambridge, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, if time allows, Bristol.

I’m sure that believers ought to be able to find any number of opportunistic evangelists, in each of those cities, to stand up and boldly declare that they’ve out-argued the famous biologist on that night. Could be the most “successful” night apologetics has had in nearly 2,000 years.

And just by the way, is William Lane Craig as afraid to debate John Loftus as he pretends Dawkins is?


  1. mikespeir says

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t jump on this bandwagon. I read Dawkins’ item and I saw it as disingenuous. Call Craig a fool, but he’s no lightweight, to be dismissed so cavalierly. He does have the credentials. (Twice as many earned doctorates as Dawkins, unless my count is wrong.) That Dawkins pretends not to have heard of him is meaningless. Lots of really bright and educated people have.

    Now, I’m no fan of WLC. I think he’s wrong. I think he’s something of a bully. His little sojourn through the Isles comes across as a a tour de force for his ego. But he’s a debating machine who rarely leaves with a real loss. If I were Dawkins, I wouldn’t debate him, either. But I wouldn’t attribute my reluctance to any lack of qualifications on Craig’s part. I wouldn’t debate him because I could fairly well assume I’d come away with nothing to sit on. Which, again, doesn’t mean Craig is right. It means he’s built his life around becoming that debating machine.

    As to Loftus, I just cringe. Sometimes I think he’s been off his meds a little too long. Hey, I just ordered his latest book. He’s got good stuff to say. I drop in on his site regularly. But this baiting of WLC is sure to backfire. Eventually, Craig is going to take him up on the challenge and hand him his tail end. Then a thin scum of humiliation will creep across the atheosphere that’ll be hard to wash away.

    • DissectorMelonus says

      WLC has doctorates in which field mikespeir? Theological Philosophical Hogwash? Does the man have any real scientific credentials? I’ll answer that for you since your senses have apparently taken leave. No he does not! Richard Dawkins would not and should not waste his time. WLC has studied philosophy under the poorest and most limited conditions possible with holding attending a Muslim Philosophical University. Thought: Do these even exist and what would be the difference come to think of it? Anyways, that aside, what’s important is that WLC is about as aware of biology and evolution as the single celled organisms that Dawkins has spent much of his life studying. Earnestly studying I might add. Not posing or pretending to intellectually endeavor. WLC has as much business on the stage with Dawkins as Dawkins has on stage with Italian fashion designers debating the newest seasonal trends of Milan. And besides, if WLC were a debating machine (chuckles to self), he has been dismantled by Sam Harris long ago. WLC would just be recycled by Dawkins just like he recycles all of his musty and utterly boring arguments. Your assessment of the situation, mikespeir, is uninformed thus absurd and useless. Debating machine, lol, thanks for that one though. I love a good laugh.

  2. says

    Why do we count the number of doctorates that theologists collect? I seem to remember Jerry Bergman listing his umpety million doctorates when he and PZ Myers debated in St. Paul a couple of years ago, but he just wasn’t worth the space he took on the stage for those two hours.

    Bergman was flashing his own slides while Myers was talking, and I was astonished to find that Christians who had attended the debate commented that Myers was rude.

    The number of doctorates that Craig has irrelevant.

    With Craig, a debate is not so much as getting to a point, nor illuminating any sort of truth, but a forum for him to express his points while ignoring his opponents’ rebuttals. I would guess that Dawkins doesn’t want to share a platform with him because it just doesn’t interest him in the least, and it has nothing to do with fear.

    Craig doesn’t want to debate Loftus because Loftus knows his tricks.

  3. sunnydale75 says

    I’m not sure I’d want to debate with anyone, no matter how many doctorates they have, if they believe in creationism. They’re still going to use ridiculous pretzel logic to “prove” their points (only this time, I think the doctorates mean there will be cheese with the pretzels, making it much more enticing).

  4. Compuholic says

    IMHO Dawkins is completely right not to debate him. If I was in his position I wouldn’t either.

    1. Craig is a very dishonest debater. He is not interested in what is true. He just wants to “win” the debate. I’ve seen some excerpts of him on Youtube. His favorite tactic seems to be to move the goalpost.

    2. As already pointed out: He is a creationist. And I can totally understand that Dawkins doesn’t want to give a creationist status.

    I also believe that he is fully aware that his “arguments” don’t hold water which would make him a fraud. As already pointed out: He is not stupid.

    One time I saw him trotting out the “probability of us being here”-Argument which is stupid on so many levels. It is so stupid that it is hard to believe that Craig isn’t aware of it.

    And since his favorite “argument” is the Kalaam Cosmological Argument (which he only dresses up nicely so the logical problems are not immediately obvious) I find it hard to believe that nobody ever told him why his logic fails.

    And when you use those arguments even if you are aware that they are not arguments at all that makes you dishonest.

    It’s also very telling that he always insists on a debate. If he had something of substance to say he could always write a paper. The fact that he doesn’t do that tells me that his success doesn’t rely on sound reasoning and that he is fully aware of this.

  5. mephistopheles says

    Mikespeir, over at Pharyngula, The Horde pretty well tore WLC a new one a few days ago, both for his credentials, and intellectually dishonest debating tactics. Suggest you check it out. Thoroughly enjoyable reading.

  6. AussieMike says

    I know Dawkins doesn’t have the time but I am fully committed to being in Brisbane, Australia to not watch him appear as well. I cant wait!

  7. Gordon says

    Craig is a lightweight though. A chatbot could fill in his side of any “debate”. There is no substance to what he has to say.

  8. mikespeir says

    I didn’t expect to make friends with my comments above, and I sure don’t have the stomach to try to defend Craig too far. So, let me make this one little stand and be done with it.

    First, Craig’s doctorates are legit. One is a PhD. The other is a ThD. Yes, a ThD is theological, but don’t confuse it with a D Min or the like, that’s printed on the back side of the label off a soup can. It’s considered the equivalent of a PhD. (And, no, mephistopheles, I don’t even need to step through PZ Myers’ door to know what the “horde” over there is going to say.)

    No, he’s no lightweight. I don’t even know a definition of “lightweight” that would fit him. In what way would he be? He certainly has the credentials. That he doesn’t have the reputation? Really? Among whom? Who gets to decide which group’s respect makes one a heavyweight? Yes, he’s a Creationist. But it’s Creationism we’re trying to battle, isn’t it? How do you win battles without engaging the enemy sometime, somewhere? WLC is one of the enemy’s generals. You’d think we’d be especially eager to take him on. (Assuming, of course, debate really resolves anything, and I don’t.)

    Is he dishonest? Frankly, I think so. I know John claims he really believes what he says he does, but I’d love to be a fly on the man’s wall. I think I might catch him in a moment of candor admitting he doesn’t quite buy all the crap he spews. But he’s a gamer, this is a war, and “All’s fair…” and whatnot. He, apparently, has no qualms about doing what’s necessary to win. And win, he does. Consistently. That alone makes him one of the opponents we most need to beat, and that’s enough to qualify him as a heavyweight.

    Finally, as to John knowing all his tricks? Don’t kid yourself. John has lost against much less worthy opponents. One of the problems with debating Craig, it seems to me, is that you can’t define ground rules he can’t take advantage of. Any rule you make becomes “his” rule once the fight is on. Face it, the man clearly has a gift for manipulation. I just wish we could find something more useful for him to do than argue for ancient fairy tales.

    Okay. Enough. I feel sick as it is.

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