William Lane Craig 5 arguments for god debunked
Excerpts of Craig’s essay will appear in italics below and I will be addressing his points in turn below each italic section, in separate paragraphs outlining problems with his arguments. He kicks off with the Cosmological argument after a short foreword from himself The full essay can be read here
William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He has authored over thirty books.
It’s perhaps something of a surprise that almost none of the so-called New Atheists has anything to say about arguments for God’s existence. Instead, they do tend to focus on the social effects of religion and question whether religious belief is good for society.
Straight off the bat Craig presents an untruth. Atheists for centuries have been attacking the arguments for god. Thomas Aquinas presented his 5 proofs of god in the 13th Century in his Summa Theologiea Aquinas. Critical thinkers have demolished his arguments for 8 centuries. Craig here relies on his readers not being versed in such writings and subsequent debunking which followed from skeptics and critical thinkers of the time through to present day. I have not read Craig’s paper and am writing my refutation line by line as I make my way through it. I hope his initial dishonesty does not manifest in further passages or this is going to be no fun at all.
Darwinism, for example, has certainly had at least some negative social influences, but that’s hardly grounds for thinking the theory to be false and simply ignoring the biological evidence in its favor.
I am going to go to Merrian and Webster online dictionary for a definition of Darwinism`:
Simple Definition of Darwinism:
The theory of Charles Darwin about how plant and animal species develop.
This is akin to saying the theory of gravity has had a negative effect because people will be disappointed to know that they can not jump over the Statue of Liberty unaided. To think that describing a naturally occurring phenomenon can only be seen as bad for society by someone who’s worldview is challenged by it being true. If his religion/dogma said if men truly attained a relationship with their god they could jump over the statue of liberty he would find a way to criticise the laws of gravity set out by Newton. That would however be pointless as is attacking the modern model of the theory of evolution.
I think at this point I should also mention that the theory of evolution has not been Darwinian for around 100 years. Charles Darwin made some fantastic discoveries, and made some amazing predictions considering the little data he had to work with. He did get some things wrong and creationists love to jump on his speculated errors, however a scientific theory can be added to and adjusted as time goes by and new evidence is discovered. Attacking the Darwinian model of evolution is pointless and I am sure as a man of science Craig is fully aware of this however again he relies on his readers not actually knowing how the theory has progressed since the publication of Darwin’s, On the Origin of Species.
Why? Because charlatans like Craig and Naik rely on people’s scientific ignorance to sound authoritative. Here is a short article I wrote a little while ago regarding the difference between science and pseudoscience – Click here
Perhaps the New Atheists think that the traditional arguments for God’s existence are now passé and so no longer need refutation.
Perhaps Craig should stop making silly assumptions. I myself love refuting these tired arguments and do so daily in web based debate groups along with thousands of other atheists. The internet is awash with recently published refutations of these old arguments. Watch an Amazing Atheist or 2 or Matt Dillahunty’s Atheist Experience and you see it is very much not what Craig states, but the truth never seems to be a big part of his game!!
I will scoot down to his first argument as I am just getting hung up on his initial dishonesty and could write an entire piece on that alone.
The Cosmological Argument from Contingency
The cosmological argument comes in a variety of forms. Here’s a simple version of the famous version from contingency:
- Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
- If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
- The universe exists.
- Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).
- Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God (from 2, 4).
Now this is a logically airtight argument. That is to say, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t like the conclusion. It doesn’t matter if we have other objections to God’s existence. So long as we grant the three premises, we have to accept the conclusion. So the question is this: Which is more plausible—that those premises are true or that they are false?
Ok, according to premise 1, there are two kinds of things: things which exist necessarily and things which are produced by some external cause.
Maybe back in the days before we had exposure to particle physics and the LHC this may have been necessary to have to consider but we have now observed virtual particles popping in and out of existence with no observable cause or stimuli. Until we show these particles are created by the hand of a deity we CANNOT assume they are caused. As far as we know they appear spontaneously. Premise 1 does not stand as presented.
Craig historically has criticized Sye Ten Bruggencate and other such debaters for being presuppositionalists, that being that only the Christian worldview can account for logic, morality, science, induction, consciousness itself, and peanut brittle, and that all other worldviews are absurd. Yet in premise 2 he presupposes a creator god thereby loading the premise with something untestable and unverifiable. Dismissable on that alone, however I will go one more step and say that we have other explanations. If it could be a god then we can stretch the imagination to it being undetectable spirit type aliens from an undetectable universe. Craig is not giving all the options. Also from the comments I made refuting premise 1 I mentioned virtual particles. Recently a theist professor from Toronto University showed how it is possible using proven theories that a universe could expand from just one tiny tiny tiny virtual particle – Click here for article.
I will conclude that at the time of Lane writing this essay that the information regarding virtual particles and inflation and expansion of the universe could account for its existence was not available so we can forgive him for that, however he could have postulated other causes but that would not have suited argument. Withholding such things is tantamount to lying to further his cause. So again the virtual particle and spirit aliens mean we need not consider premise 2 to be the only possible cause and we have also shown the universe could exist from a spontaneous natural and observed occurrence so that’s 2 premises shot down
Premise 3. This is the first honest thing Craig has said so far. I will not be attempting to offer a refutation to this premise
From these three premises it follows that God exists. Now if God exists, the explanation of God’s existence lies in the necessity of his own nature, since, as even the atheist recognizes, it’s impossible for God to have a cause. So if this argument is successful, it proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe. This is truly astonishing!
2 of the 3 premises were shown to be faulty – We can dismiss the argument.
“ since, as even the atheist recognizes, it’s impossible for God to have a cause.”
I would disagree with Craig here. Of course a deity could have a creator. Once you step into the woo woo realm of metaphysics you leave yourself open to anything been put forth, so I would say to Craig that if we considered that, then we must also consider that this god had a creator, but he was a meek humble god that didn’t want praise or adoration and wished to stay out of the spotlight, so he created Craig’s god with a memory that was not real. So as not to be troubled he programmed Craig’s god to believe he was the creator of all and had no beginning and no end. He made the memory say Craig’s god was omniscient, but he omitted the details of himself and the creation of Craig’s god. And sure why not?? Anything is possible in the woo universe!!