Atheism Philosophy Science

Oldie but goodie: William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins

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Here’s a clip from an old (1998) debate between William Lane Craig and atheist Peter Atkins. Atkins, after touting scientism, is lectured by Craig on five things that cannot be justified by science but are nonetheless rational to believe:

Beautiful! Here’s the YouTube link: click here.

14 Replies to “Oldie but goodie: William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins

  1. 1
    Bantay says:

    At least on par with Craig’s complete owning of Frank Zindler in their 1993 debate. Like Zindler, Atkins just doesn’t know how to concede gracefully.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Many times, after watching the genius of Dr. Craig in debates such as this one, I have thanked God for giving us Dr. Craig.

    OT: this is a very interesting tidbit just up from RTB:

    Earth’s Primordial Atmosphere Must Be Fine-Tuned – Dr. Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/earths-.....fine-tuned

  3. 3
    Collin says:

    Is the moderator William F. Buckley?

    Bornagain,

    I saw that too today from RTB. Just another thing for my atheist friends to ignore I suppose. They are satisfied with the attitude that Mr. Atkins has here, religion is just explained by anxiety and there are old fossils that show evolution therefore no god. (eye roll).

  4. 4
    Green says:

    I love this one 😀

  5. 5
    Jonathan M says:

    You gotta love Larry Moran’s comments on this: http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....ed-by.html

    Whateva!

    J

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Jonathan, Larry Moran’s faith that ‘science’, (Moran’s code word for his religion of scientism; i.e. atheistic materialism), ,,, that ‘science’ can explain things like math, truth, beauty and value is severely misguided. For instance notice the extreme difficulty that ‘science’ has in establishing the ‘value’ of even one human life:

    How much is my body worth?
    Excerpt: A great number of people have spent a great deal of human and financial resources calculating the composition of, prior to the decomposition of, and the worth, or worthlessness of, the human body.

    How much is my body worth?
    Excerpt: When we total the monetary value of the elements in our bodies and the value of the average person’s skin, we arrive at a net worth of $4.50!

    This value is, however, subject to change, due to stock market fluctuations. Since the studies leading to this conclusion were conducted by the U.S. and by Japan respectively, it might be wise to consult the New York Stock Exchange and the Nikkei Index before deciding when to sell!

    The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body, which breaks down as follows:

    # 65% Oxygen
    # 18% Carbon
    # 10% Hydrogen
    # 3% Nitrogen
    # 1.5% Calcium
    # 1% Phosphorous
    # 0.35% Potassium
    # 0.25% Sulfur
    # 0.15% Sodium
    # 0.15% Chlorine
    # 0.05% Magnesium
    # 0.0004% Iron
    # 0.00004% Iodine

    Together, all of the above (chemicals and minerals) amounts to less than one dollar!
    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia...../worth.asp

    Whereas in Christian Theism a single human life is valued as infinitely valuable. For God Himself has placed that value on a single human life through the redemptive work of one ‘Man’ on the cross for all of mankind. At least for all who will accept that priceless gift!

    notes:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove “mathematically” to be true.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

    Satirizing Scientism – MOCKING SCIENTISM, EVOLUTIONISM, AND THE ARROGANCE OF THE ACADEMY
    http://satirizingscientism.blo.....asino.html

    There Is More – Inspirational poem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102086/

    There Is More
    Once I saw a very old Godly man who, being very near death, had
    Become deaf, blind and invalid; Yet somehow he glowed happily
    Then it occurred to me…
    There is more to see than the light we see with our eyes
    There is more to behold than to watch setting skies
    There is more to hear than the airwaves of sound
    There is more to stand on than to stand on the ground
    There is more to feel than what we can touch with our skin
    There is more to all things, things that come from deeper within
    Then I saw a miserly old rich man who had angrily driven away his family
    Now he was in a coma, in his mansion, with no one around who loved him
    Then it occurred to me…
    There is more to the hurt of a word than to sticks and stones
    There is more to people than just skin and bones
    There is more to a home than bricks, steel, and lumber
    There is more to waking up than rising from slumber
    There is more to riches than having gold piled high
    There is more to living than just being alive
    Then I saw a Godly young woman full of compassion
    Working with homeless people helping them get off the street
    Then it occurred to me…
    There is more to loving than the warmth of feeling good
    There is more to understanding than a fact being understood
    There is more to work with than the tools of our crafts
    There is more to cleaning up than taking a bath
    There is more to freedom than having no prison walls
    There is more to poverty than having no stuff at all
    Then I saw a bitter old man who angrily didn’t believe in
    Miracles at all and thinks that this cold world is all there is
    Then it occurred to me…
    There is more to being dead than a body in a tomb
    There is more to being born than coming out of a womb
    There is more to heaven than all the stars above
    There is more to Jesus Christ than a distant example of God’s love
    There is more to learning than books teach us in schools
    And there is more to walking with God than keeping TEN rules
    Then I got home at the end of the day
    Went into my room and quietly prayed
    Lord, If there is more than a lesson to my heart You could teach
    Would You teach me to see spiritually to add depth to my reach
    And Lord, If there is more than a gift to this world You might give
    Would You give the miracle that in all hearts Your light would live.

    ———–

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

  7. 7
    kornbelt888 says:

    Yes, I love it. Sanity vs stupidity. But still it’s words words words. You can’t make love with words and you can’t know God with words. People don’t need words only. That’s merely the Outer Court. They need the presence of God. That settles the matter. That’s what the audience really needed to hear.

  8. 8
    GilDodgen says:

    This is a classic, with which I was already familiar. Atkins is so outclassed by Craig that Atkins should just crawl in a hole and not embarrass himself with his intellectual vacuity any further.

  9. 9
    Ilion says:

    I simply can’t stand listening to the prissy little voices of the educated-beyond-his-capacities Englishman (any more than the affected gutter-talk of a pseudo-Cockney like Mick Jagger).

  10. 10
    elmore_tom says:

    What really bugs me about comments on sites/videos like this is that each side of the argument (which should really be a calm collected discussion) gets very aggressive toward the other point of view and clings to superficial ‘victories’ as if they have any bearing on objective truth (if that is indeed a meaningful concept).

    The argument for theism trounces the argument for atheism here because the atheist has decided unwisely to believe that science already knows everything and that everything in science is fact. This is actually a very unscientific stand point.

    I don’t think any of the five things listed is incompatible with the scientific method – even subjective beauty. Psychology and neuroscience would suggest some answers (emphasis on the word ‘suggest’). Personally I dont think a scientific explanation of my emotions or ability to discern beauty degrades them at all. My experience remains the same and just as important.

    I would urge any atheist to investigate the scientific method before making an assertion like the one in the video and I would also urge any theist to actually think about what is being said in the argument before standing behind it and shouting “we win”.

    Every one of us is (i assume) looking for a measure of truth about life – why not discuss things rationally. If you are not capable of that you have already made your mind up and entering into a discussion is really a waste of everyones’ time.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    If Atkins or Moran think value and beauty can be reduced to the atheistic/materialistic framework, perhaps they can start with these songs;

    Celtic Woman – Fields Of Gold
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXPqCv9dV6g

    Celtic Woman – When You Believe
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4-rBF1UM3o

  12. 12
    wombatty says:

    Two more complete clip of this part of the debate can be watched here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    and here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    The relevant portion begins at 7:00 on the first video and ends at 2:13 on the second video.

    Larry Moran glibly asserts that

    I’d probably have the same look on my face as Peter Atkins. It’s not that these five things are devastating arguments against the power of science, it’s that each one would take at least an hour to explain. The audience isn’t going to wait that long so you know you’re going to have to pass and leave Craig (and Dembski) to smugly assume that he’s won.

    It’s typical anti-science trickery and Atkins probably wasn’t expecting such a cheap shot in that environment.

    Moran ‘smugly assumes’ that the look on Atkins’ face is one of amused incredulity as opposed to one of genuine stupefaction/dumbfoundedness. Atkins’ bunbling response,as seen in the videos above suggests otherwise.

    I haven’t had a chance to watch the entire debate yet, so Atkins might get back to responding to Craig’s points here; but if his ‘rebuttal’ here is any indication, I wouldn’t be as smug as Moran is about it.

    Incidentally, since Moran insists that ‘…these five things are devastating arguments against the power of science…each one would take at least an hour to explain’, why doesn’t Moran point his readers to a source that takes the time and does the explaining? If the rejoinder is so easily to be had, surely Moran could have directed those interested in the right direction.

  13. 13
    bevets says:

    wombatty

    Incidentally, since Moran insists that ‘…these five things are devastating arguments against the power of science…each one would take at least an hour to explain’, why doesn’t Moran point his readers to a source that takes the time and does the explaining? If the rejoinder is so easily to be had, surely Moran could have directed those interested in the right direction.

    God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance.

    And I will add this point of merely personal experience of humanity: when men have a real explanation they explain it, eagerly and copiously and in common speech, as Huxley freely gave it when he thought he had it. When they have no explanation to offer, they give short dignified replies, disdainful of the ignorance of the multitude. ~ GK Chesterton

    Atheists are usually quite fond of Occam’s Razor — but not this time.

  14. 14
    Answering says:

    #3, and #4 are provable by science. The difficulty is that people refuse to agree on a definition for any of the terms. To say that they are “accepted by everyone” makes no sense. If they were accepted by everyone they would be provable. It’s the inability for everyone to accept them and agree upon a definition that leaves them unproven.

    Saying that true is true and false is true isn’t an argument against science. It’s an argument against your ability to make an argument.

    My personal argument against God:
    Suppose God were to have an impact on the world. Such impact would alter the world and would be discernible. Since no impact has been found, until such impact has been I will assume the simpler situation that there is no impact.
    If God does not have an impact, or at least does not have a discernible impact, what purpose does faith in him serve? If God does not have an effect on the world then my choice to not believe him won’t cause any effect either.

    Either God is scientifically provable or he is not worthy of faith.

    This is the same reason for my belief in the external world. Either the lack of an external world is provable or the lack of an external world is inconsequential.

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