Religion Debates

Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:06 pm

David Franks wrote:...you appear to have forgotten to provide him with a link to "Abortions Highest Where Religion is Highest".


Easily remedied.

If you nose around his site you will quickly see that he is not the type of fellow that absorbs *any* information that doesn't line up perfectly with his misconceptions and bizarre religious prejudices. If I had looked at the caliber of his squirt gun before responding to him, I probably wouldn't have even bothered to give him a poke.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Doug » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:51 pm

See here.

American Evangelical theologian William Lane Craig is ready to debate the rationality of faith during his U.K tour this fall, but it appears that some atheist philosophers are running shy of the challenge.


Fox News says that William Lane Craig is ready to debate but finds few opponents, that atheists are running away from him.

Yet he has backed out of 3 debates that Christians tried to arrange between the two of us.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:26 am

Doug wrote:Yet he has backed out of 3 debates that Christians tried to arrange between the two of us.


Doug, you should contact the FOX News people who ran this story, with the details and dates.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby David Franks » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:31 am

From the article linked in Doug's post of Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:51 pm:
Craig argues that science and faith are connected. In his writings, he states: "I think we are living in a time in human history where physical science is more open to the existence of a creator and designer of the universe than at any time in recent memory."

We are also living in a time when American leadership in education-- particularly science education-- is long gone. Coincidence?
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:24 pm

John Brummet has an article about "Preachy Peacocks" and a local fundie school getting half a million dollars of state money. It's online here.

I took The Big Paddle to a fundie in the comment section. I'll post a copy here:

****
Speaking of preachy peacocks, along comes hbcark! I am going to give careful consideration to his claims.

HB: "First we are all hypocrites...">>


Speak for yourself HB. It's the super-righteous ultra pious politically conservative Christians who make hypocrisy into an Olympic caliber event. To put it plainly: it is those of your ilk who consistently try to use the state to impose your religion upon everyone else, who try to hijack public events in order to force a captive crowd to pray to your God (and in this example try to get paid for doing it) and who peddle hypocrisy by the boatload. The only thing your preachers like more than praying and braying in public, is when they can get a check from the government for doing it.
Let's just consider the prayer issue, because of the hypocrisy. Did Jesus ever instruct his followers to lead crowds in public prayer? Did he or his followers ever act like this? No, he specifically said to *not* to do that. He called those who do this, *hypocrites.* He didn't forget to give instructions on how to pray, he specifically said to go in a closet and do it in private (Matt 6:6). Yet, what do we see, conservative Christians bending over backwards trying to impose public prayer at secular events in direct opposition to Jesus' command and in doing so fulfilling the direct behavior the Lord they are praying to referred to as hypocrisy. This is breathtaking hypocrisy.

HB: "The Bible is one of if not the most proven antiquity known to man.">>


The Bible is brimming with well known historical errors. One doesn't even need to look outside the book to know this because many of these errors are internal contradictions. There are hundreds of them. See this book: http://fayfreethinkers.com/ourbooks/mirrorsample.shtml

HB: "The Establishment Clause does not separate church and state.">>


There are two main ways to consider your claim and neither one holds up.
a) the founders opinion
b) what the SCOTUS says

"B" is the one that rules but they are suppose to look "A" for their answers. What did the founders want? Let's ask Madison (CAPS mine):

MARCH 2, 1819
"The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the TOTAL SEPARATION of the church from the State."
--Source: Letter to Robert Walsh from James Madison. March 2, 1819.

Also:
"Every new and successful example, therefore, of a PERFECT SEPARATION between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together . . ."
--Letter to Edward Livingston from James Madison, July 10, 1822.

Also:
"STRONGLY GUARDED as is the separation between religion and Gov't in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents' already furnished in their short history..." --Source: Madison's Detached Memoranda.

So Madison wanted "total separation," a "perfect separation" and said this separation was "strongly guarded" in order to keep "Ecclesiastical Bodies" from "encroaching." He was referring to the Establishment Clause.

What did Jefferson want? A wall, as he famously said in his letter to the Danbury Baptists:
"the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

If you don't know that a wall means separation, you don't know what a wall is.

HB: "[Founders] wisely left the church state concept up to each state independently.">>


Of course they did not, see the establishment clause. We already covered what the founders thought but the SCOTUS says it means means separation as determined by the Lemon Test. Nicely explained here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_v._Kurtzman

HB: "The absence of God and the Judeo-Christian values in our government leaves but evil to govern">>


As has been shown to you before, more religiosity is associated with screwed up dysfunction societies, Christian or otherwise (see Iran). This is true at the state and international level. As states tend more secular, they have better functioning societies with objectively measurable superior results. See here:
http://physics.uark.edu/hobson/NWAT/09.08.29.html

And here:
http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/200 ... ional.html

HB: "our Founding Fathers and “one Nation under God, indivisible,..." ends our Pledge of Allegiance.">>


The founders never heard of that phrase. The pledge wasn't written until 1892 and the divisive God language was inserted in 1954 during the red scare of the McCarthy days. The Founders also never heard of the divisive "In God We Trust" motto either. They chose the inclusive and uniting "E pluribus unum."
It's a constant battle trying to keep religious nuts from hijacking government in order to promote their particular One True strain of religion. Sometimes they get their nose under the tent. For instance:

HB: "In addition two words,... atop the Washington Monument...">>


Yes, "Laus Deo." This capstone was installed in 1884, almost a century after Washington died.

HB: "By excluding God and Christianity from our public domain...">>


You have a tax free church on every corner, but that's not enough. You want state endorsement and if possible, direct funding. You can't have that.

HB: "By excluding God and Christianity from our public domain...">>


You have a tax free church on every corner, but that's not enough. You want state endorsement and if possible, direct funding. You can't have that.

HB: "If you want to exclude all religions from public schools, exclude secular Atheism as well.">>


If you want to speak about theism and atheism, then you ought to begin by learning what the words mean. A theist is a person who believes in a personal, living God (this archaic and primitive notion is dying in Christianity). An atheist, is a person who is not a theist. Because a school does not teach theism, and is not allowed to for reasons already addressed above, it does not mean they are teaching "atheism" or that atheism is a religion. That's absurd. As one person put it, "If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color."

HB: "[atheism] decries hatred, division, selfness, corruption, lies, anti-Christianity and covetness">>


Atheism has absolutely nothing to say about any of those things. That's just knee jerk nonsense you made up. The word "atheism" only does one thing: "not" "theism." That's it. Anything beyond that is made up.

HB: "Our government is extricating religion from both public and private environments.">>


I am so glad you brought this to our attention. Now just fill in the details and make your case and we will immediately inform the ACLU. They have a long record of fighting to support your individual liberty and right to practice your religion freely, as long as you don't do it at the expense of other citizens being able to so also. And this is of course precisely what you are devoted to trying to do because like all fundamentalists you have been blessed with having The One True variation of The One True Religion and everyone else is just eternal kindling for the Hell you imagine almost everyone is destined to roast in.

D.
------------
"Men have feverishly conceived a heaven only to find it insipid, and a hell to find it ridiculous." --George Santayana

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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:29 am

The Skeptic Money forum won't accept this comment for some reason (I've tried removing formatting, shortening it etc.), so I am posting it here:

***
MEX: "These were eye witnesses of Jesus miraculous deeds, His death, and His resurrection.">

No one who wrote a word of the NT met Jesus or witnessed anything. No one in Matt. Mark, or Luke even claims to be an eyewitness. Get informed, learn the difference between an eyewitness report, and hearsay.

MEX: "The Canon demands that for a book to be included in the Bible it must be by an eye witness, or someone who knew an eye witness.">

Which means, someone who claimed to have known someone who claimed to have been an eyewitness. This is second hand hearsay that Judge Judy throws out of court every day over a $50 claim. Worthless. And your hearsay is 1,900 years old, anonymous, and filled with whoppers, contradictions and extraordinary claims.

MEX: "Paul, not an eye witnesses?">

Hallucinations don't count. Paul clearly had a hallucination because he saw and heard things those with him did not (according to one contradictory version of the story).

MEX: "a vision that ended in his conversion.">

People convert to religions for lots of bizarre and false reasons.

MEX: "Well, Paul’s vision was real...">

Why should anyone believe that? People in mental institutions have visions that are real to them, all the time.

MEX: "Peter, James, and John were eye witnesses of Jesus transfiguration...">>

Let's check your claim:

PETER:
"First and Second Peter, the epistles allegedly written by the great apostle, are recognized forgeries. According to Burton L. Mack (*Who Wrote the New Testament*, pages 207-213) both epistles bear the unmistakable marks of second century authorship and erudition. Mack points out that these epistles fit well with other Christian literature of the mid-second century, and scholars have traditionally assigned them a date of between 124 CE and 150 CE. Peter is believed to have died about 67 CE (*Encyclopaedia Britannica*). --Louis Cable

JAMES
"Of authorship and date not much is known. The tradition that it was written by James the brother of the Lord has little support from ancient times. The indication of the letter itself--its excellent Greek with vivid metaphor and facile use of idiom, its apparent knowledge of 1 Peter and of certain letters of Paul--suggest a Hellenistic Christian as its autoer and a date toward the end of the first century." -New Oxford Annotated RSV (pg. 1469)

The works attributed to John came later and are also, anonymous.

MEX: "the NT is specifically a testimony of Jesus.">>

No, not only do we not have any testimony or writing from Jesus, we don't have testimony or writing from anyone who met Jesus in the flesh.

MEX: "The main purpose of it being written is as a testimony.">>

Then it failed, because there is no first hand testimony in the anonymous NT.

MEX: "No eye witnesses?">>

Correct, none, not one. Get informed. Your minister has been lying to you. Hence the emphasis on the importance of "faith."

MEX: "You mean, they [Jews] died in Nazi camps for nothing? Wow!">>

People die for false beliefs all the time. Over 5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses died for their specific religious beliefs in the Nazi camps. Does this make the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses correct? No. It just means people have strong beliefs.

MEX: "[Panetta is] Obama puppet.">>

Leon Panetta is the Secretary of defense. I have reason to believe that he has greater understanding and knowledge of what is going on in Iran, than you. Sorry.

MEX: This is my last reply... Go ahead with your little celebration. Declare yourself the winner.">>

There is no need for victory dances or to declare the winner. I am confident that those have read this exchange are quite aware of the situation.

D.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Sun May 20, 2012 5:17 pm

MrD pops his head up for another smack on the NWA online forum.

***

MrD: "...you contribute to the ACLU to that we have a right to free speech, etc,">>


That the ACLU does more than mere lip service with regard to the defense of free speech and the right to practice religion freely is part of the very well established and longstanding objective record on this. And you've been specifically informed of this fact before (Dec. 14, 2011), so you are either being thick or less than honest. Again:

"ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression"
Excerpt: "The ACLU vigorously defends the rights of all Americans to practice their religion. But because the ACLU is often better known for its work preventing the government from promoting and funding selected religious activities, it is sometimes wrongly assumed that the ACLU does not zealously defend the rights of all religious believers to practice their faith. The actions described below – over half of which were brought on behalf of self-identified Christians, with the remaining cases defending the rights of a wide range of minority faiths – reveal just how mistaken such assumptions are."
http://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religi ... expression

At that link see over 150 specific referenced examples backing up the claim.

MrD: "no one would be happier than you and your atheist friends if every house of worship were burned to the ground and all Christian believers died...">>


This is, as surely everyone knows, a most heinous and dishonest smear. I have never known anyone to believe or express such a sentiment nor would I associate with anyone that did. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that there *is* someone who believes the vast majority of humanity will not only be burned once but burned "deservedly," forever. And that someone would be you. So perhaps you are projecting your beliefs onto others, again.

MrD: "your obsession to wipe out Christianity.">>


Neither I nor anyone I know has this desire. Had you attended my lecture (Freethinker Bible Study) at the U of A a couple of months ago (you were invited) you would have observed me spending the entire portion of my conclusion going on with praise about our local Episcopal priest Lowell Grisham who in my mind lives and breathes Christian principles in such a way so as to form a most excellent and praiseworthy example of how one can follow the teachings of Christ, (and have a modern accurate understanding of Bible scholarship), while accomplishing the very highest and most exemplary goals of what humans are capable of achieving. I had several freethinkers and unbelievers come up afterward and thank me for making that specific point.

As your post above again unfortunately demonstrates, this stands in stark contrast to the example of behavior you provide which is completely different from his and many other fine Christians who must be disgusted by your disgraceful practice of constantly smearing others with outright, vile, falsehoods.

cont...

MrD: "you hate Christianity, church, or anything connected with it.">>


More lies. It's quite likely that I have spent more hours in church and more hours studying the Bible than you have. And I have no problem with Christianity whatsoever. I am very proud of the fact that the ACLU has on hundreds of occasions stood-up and at great expense defended the right of Christians to practice their religion freely. I do have a problem with people who use an antique, inaccurate, unschooled and completely unscholarly distortion of Christianity to find reasons to illegally usurp the power of government to endorse, support and promote their bronze age misunderstandings about religion.

MrD: "Your] feeble attempt to disguise your intentions by picking something like church and state not mixing.">>


If my attempt was feeble rather than effective, it wouldn't make you so furious that you again find it necessary to poke your head up for another bonk with the Big Truth Stick of No Mercy.

MrD: "Since the United States was formed when has the church harmed anyone?">>


Here are several dozen specific referenced examples:
http://whatstheharm.net/religiousfundamentalism.html
Thousands more could be provided.

MrD: "Is there any evil in the 10 commandments?">>


Yes, lots. But that would require a few posts to explain. If you have the courage, post this question on our forum and I'll walk you through it. But before you even begin, you need to figure out which is your list of the Ten C. Learn about this problem here: http://fayfreethinkers.com/tracts/tencommandments.shtml

MrD: "People with a conscience knows what is right and wrong for the most part.">>


Is that why Christians with consciences can't decide on what is right and wrong? Many examples here:
http://fayfreethinkers.com/tracts/moralvalues.shtml

D.
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Integrity and honesty, not objectivity and certainty, are the highest virtues to which the theological enterprise can aspire. From this perspective, all human claims to possess objectivity, certainty, or infallibility are revealed as nothing but the weak and pitiable pleas of frantically insecure people who seek to live in a illusion because reality has proved to be too difficult. Papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy are the two ecclesiastical versions of this human idolatry. Both papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy require widespread and unchallenged ignorance to sustain their claims to power. Both are doomed as viable alternatives for the long-range future of anyone."

"They amuse themselves by playing an irrelevant ecclesiastical game called "Let's Pretend." Let's pretend that we possess the objective truth of God in our inerrant Scriptures or in our infallible pronouncements or in our unbroken apostolic traditions." —Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, John Shelby Spong. Resurrection: Myth or Reality?, HarperSanFrancisco, (1994), (pg. 99-100)
***
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby fayfreethinker » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:41 am

Longer response to Isaiah 7 prophecy claim, regarding nwaonline discussion here.

Virgin birth, assorted scholars (Krueger)

Subject: Biblical Scholarship

Here are a few facts regarding modern biblical scholarship from
STANDARD sources and/or reflecting standard views on biblical scholarship.

Regarding the virgin birth:
Contemporary scholars recognize that the virgin birth is a late
addition to the Jesus legend, especially because the purported event is
supposed to be the fulfillment of a prophecy-- but there is no such
prophecy.

As I mention in my book, Isaiah 7:14 is often taken to prophecy
the virgin birth of Jesus: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a
sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his
name Immanuel." However, scholars are well aware that the term translated
here as "virgin," the Hebrew word almah, is best translated as "young
woman," who may or may not be a virgin. The Hebrew word bethulah means
"virgin," but that is not the word used in the Isaiah verse. The gospel
writers usually used the notoriously error-filled Greek Septuagint
translation of the Hebrew when citing the Old Testament. Some modern
bibles, such as the Revised Standard version, use the correct translation
of this passage and do not use the word "virgin." Furthermore, the Hebrew
text is in the present tense; the verse states that a young woman is
pregnant, not that she will become so. Further, anyone who takes the
trouble to read the verse in context will see that the event in question
was not a prophecy about some event in the distant future. It was
intended to be a sign to King Ahaz of Judah, the king who asked Isaiah for
help. The birth of the son was supposed to be a sign to the king that an
attack by a hostile alliance, which included Israel, would be unsuccessful
against Judah. Isaiah also admits, in 8:3-4, that he "went unto the
prophetess" just to make sure that she was pregnant. The verses in
7:15-16 make it clear that the sign was supposed to be of events in
Isaiahs day, since these state that the alliance would fail before the
child was old enough to know good from evil. Clearly, none of this has
any relation to Jesus or xianity. As a prophecy about Jesus, it isnt one.
The prophecy also failed in Isaiahs time, since the attack on Judah was
successful after all (2 Chronicles 28:1-5).

The above analysis is, in its main content, identical to that
given in The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford University Press,
1993). This is a standard reference work. We find on page 790: "Isaiah's
intent in discussing this child [in Isaiah 7] is clearly to set a time
frame for the destruction of Israel. There is nothing miraculous about
the mother or the conception process."

In The Unauthorized Version (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992),
Oxford historian and Bible scholar Robin Lane Fox says this about the
Isaiah 7 virgin birth "prophecy": "it did not concern Jesus nor did it
concern a virgin" (pg. 339). Fox also states that "among all these
proof-texts and old prophecies, the clamour of fundamentalists and the
talk of new keys to the Old Testament, it is hard to hear the Hebrew
prophets on their own terms. What, in fact, had they predicted about
Jesus Christ or Christianity? The answer is extremely simple: they had
predicted nothing" (pg. 340).

Gunther Bornkamm, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies at
the Rupert Charles University of Heidelberg wrote the following in the
article about Jesus for the Encyclopedia Britannica (another standard
reference work): "The widely differing genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke
3 also belong in the context of the doctrine of Davidic descent of the
Messiah (Christ). They are the only New Testament evidences for
genealogical reflection about Jesus messiahship. The two texts, however,
cannot be harmonized. They show that originally a unified tradition about
Jesus ancestors did not exist and that attempts to portray his messiahship
genealogically were first undertaken in Jewish Christian circles with the
use of the Septuagint (Greek translation) text of the Old Testament. BOTH
TEXTS HAVE TO BE ELIMINATED AS HISTORICAL SOURCES. [Emphasis added.] They
are nevertheless important for the devolopment of Christology (doctrines
on the nature of Christ), because they reveal the difficulty of
reconciling the genealogical proof of Jesus Davidic descent WITH THE
RELATIVELY LATE IDEA OF HIS VIRGIN BIRTH. [Emphasis added.]" (Britannica
vol. 22, pg. 364.)

The Oxford Companion to the Bible states: "The birth stories in
Matthew and Luke are relatively late" (pg. 356).

Paula Fredriksens book states, "Jesus was born
in Nazareth in one of the most turbulent periods of Jewish History" (From
Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1988, page 127). Regarding the virgin
birth, she, too, gives the analysis of the Hebrew words which I used above
and states, "Matthew chooses innumerable passages and verses that in
their original context had nothing to do with a messiah, and by applying
them to Jesus makes them seem to" (Ibid., pp. 37-38).

Spong also notes that in relating the virgin birth prophecy
Matthew deviated from the Septuagint, and perhaps the Septuagint, with its
erroneous translation of Isaiah 7:14, was not Matthews source. Spong
says, "He [the author of Matthew] deviated from the Septuagint in two
interesting places: Matthew said the virgin "will be with child" (hexei)
when the Septuagint said the virgin "will conceive" (lepsetai). Matthew
said "they" (third person plural) will call his name Immanuel, while the
Septuagint said "you" (second person singular) will call his name
Immanuel. Both Matthew and the Septuagint differ from the Hebrew text,
which said "a young woman is with child and she [third person singular]
will call his name Immanuel" (pp. 74-75). And: "It would be nonsensical
to think that the birth of a child seven hundred years later could somehow
given hope to King Ahaz in that particular moment of crisis. Whatever
else the Isaiah text meant, it had literally nothing to do with Jesus"
(pg. 79).

Spong also writes: "Is there any possibility that the narratives
of our Lords birth are historical? Of course not. Even to raise that
question is to betray an ignorance about birth narratives. Origin tales
are commentaries on adult meaning...What this means is that the birth
narratives of Matthew and Luke finally said nothing factual about the
birth of Jesus..." (pg. 59).

With no prophecy to fulfill, it is unlikely that Jesus would have
been born of a virgin simply to accommodate some later xians error,
perhaps intentional, in translation and interpretation. It is also the
case that the earliest xian writings, the letters of Paul and the gospel
of Mark, do not mention the virgin birth. It was added later in the
course of the development of xianity. This is the overwhelming consensus
of biblical scholars today, as Spong noted."
--Doug Krueger
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Cherryj » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:19 am

Darrel wrote:
David Franks wrote:...you appear to have forgotten to provide him with a link to "Abortions Highest Where Religion is Highest".


Easily remedied.

If you nose around his site you will quickly see that he is not the type of fellow that absorbs *any* information that doesn't line up perfectly with his misconceptions and bizarre religious prejudices. If I had looked at the caliber of his squirt gun before responding to him, I probably wouldn't have even bothered to give him a poke.



Sounds like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario - imagine that, coming from a Gish galloping, one-trick pony fundie who has been "proving" God exists for over thirty years by consistently using the same misquote of Islamic apologetics.

If you debate WLC, you legitimize him. If you refuse to debate him, then "you're chicken." You gotta love logic like that coming from a supposed philospher.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby TruthSeeker » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:12 am

I have to agree that religious proof via prophecy is just rubbish. It's impossible to prove.. and admittedly pretty entertaining to argue against.

I'd love to engage in a 5-round debate with a non-theist here. I believe that modern theism isn't as easily defeated as a lot of non-theists believe. I can defend Craig's 4 arguments.. I say 4, because his "statement from experience" isn't for non-theists. I'll choose Craig's since he doesn't appear to be well respected here.. and I think he's trained my mind well enough to adequately defend his 4 versions.

Lastly, calling William Craig a "supposed" philosopher? He is well respected within the atheist academic community. He's been published hundreds of times in recognized journals, has devoted his life to philosophy, he's debated well-respected atheists who would give him much more respect than calling him a "supposed" philosopher, ... He values more respect even though you might disagree with his position.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Doug » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:21 am

TruthSeeker wrote:I'd love to engage in a 5-round debate with a non-theist here. I believe that modern theism isn't as easily defeated as a lot of non-theists believe. I can defend Craig's 4 arguments.. I say 4, because his "statement from experience" isn't for non-theists. I'll choose Craig's since he doesn't appear to be well respected here.. and I think he's trained my mind well enough to adequately defend his 4 versions.


Why don't you just get your feet wet and try to defend ONE of his arguments?

TruthSeeker wrote:Lastly, calling William Craig a "supposed" philosopher? He is well respected within the atheist academic community.


Craig is not as respected as you pretend. Craig is at times just outright dishonest in debates, as with his claims about a consensus about Biblical scholarship on the reliability of the Gospels.

TruthSeeker wrote:He's been published hundreds of times in recognized journals,


Yes, but a lot of it is the same Kalam argument stuff rehashed over and over again.

TruthSeeker wrote:has devoted his life to philosophy,


No, he has devoted his life to Christian apologetics.

TruthSeeker wrote:he's debated well-respected atheists who would give him much more respect than calling him a "supposed" philosopher, ... He values more respect even though you might disagree with his position.


A real philosopher does not resort to debating dodges, half-truths, and outright lies. Craig does.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:55 am

TruthSeeker wrote:I can defend Craig's 4 arguments... I'll choose Craig's since he doesn't appear to be well respected here.. and I think he's trained my mind well enough to adequately defend his 4 versions.
Lastly, calling William Craig a "supposed" philosopher?


Hello Mr. TruthSeeker. When Craig "adequately trained your mind well enough to defend" his material, did you manage to absorb some of the following examples of his reasoning? W.L. Craig likes to give lip service with regard to philosophy but in the end he admits he relies upon listening to voices in his head and he insists others must depend on this method too. Observe:

"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." --William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 36.

“Some people... say that reason can at least be used... at least by the unbeliever. They ask how else could we determine which is true, the Bible, the Koran, or the Baghavad-Gita, unless we use argument and evidence to judge them? Now I've already answered that question: the Holy Spirit teaches us directly which teaching is really from God...” --ibid, p. 37

“...the role of rational argument in knowing Christianity to be true is the role of a servant. A person knows Christianity is true because the Holy Spirit tells him it is true, and while argument and evidence can be used to support this conclusion, they cannot legitimately overrule it.” p. 37-8, ibid

"The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit." p. 38, ibid


Who needs to go with the good reasons, argument and evidence when in the end, the *real* reason a person knows Christianity is true is because they have a Holy Spirit whispering in their ear? If you think "[Craig] is well respected within the atheist academic community," you've been hanging around with the wrong crowd.

D.
----------------
Funny four minute bit on Craig, how little he is referenced and his blatantly dishonest defenders: Lying for Jesus
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby TruthSeeker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:37 am

Hey, guys. Doug, you want me to get my feet wet and defend one of his arguments. Quite literally, I have done this countless times throughout various debates. I have definitely learned to not take on a whole forum at one time, though. I work a lot. Is it ok for me to create a thread presenting the Kalam argument for just me and you to respond in?

Yes, but a lot of it is the same Kalam argument stuff rehashed over and over again.


He's had, I think, around 200 or so articles published in respected journals. I disagree that most are of the Kalam, though I'm not going to look through all of those articles.

The argument does get repeated A LOT. But.. why change that which, to be honest, has been pretty well perfected by Craig.

Craig is not as respected as you pretend.


Pretend? In the Craig vs. Harris debate, Sam Harris, one of the "four horsemen" of atheism, says that Craig is:

"the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists" (his opening speech, I believe)

Even after the debate when Harris gave a comment in his blog, though disagreeing with Craig's actions in the debate, he seems to have entire respect for the man. If Craig is, indeed, as horrible as some of you seem to believe.. why, then, are all of these highly respected atheist academics debating him and treating him to the contrary?

Check out Common Sense Atheism's response to the Craig vs. Hitchens debate. They refer to him as " flawless and unstoppable". Debunking Christianity refers to Craig as "the best debater of this generation" (4/08/2011 entry).

And these are pretty extreme critics of Craig.

Suffice to say, the guy values respect. That's my opinion. If you disagree, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

his claims about a consensus about Biblical scholarship on the reliability of the Gospels.


That depends on the detail regarding the resurrection. Outside of John Dominic Crossan and his handful of cohorts, I think that a good bit of liberal scholars would agree with certain details of Craig's resurrection argument. Norman Perrin, for example, would have agreed with Craig on the appearances. He admitted, "The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based" (The Resurrection According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, page 80).

Darrel,

Hello. You typed, "Who needs to go with the good reasons, argument and evidence when in the end, the *real* reason a person knows Christianity is true is because they have a Holy Spirit whispering in their ear?".

Most do, yes. I'm pretty big on evidence, though.. which is definitely why my faith has had its fair share of ups and downs.

"you've been hanging around with the wrong crowd."

Would it matter that JL Mackie is one of my favorite philosophers? Hitchens is far up on the list also. I've read more non-theist material than I have theist material. I began my faith in a pretty weird/critique sort of fashion. I weighed the arguments for and against. Some non-theist arguments were pretty appealing (gratuitous suffering, for example). In the end, the theist proofs won me over.

There is no crowd I hang with, though. I don't go to church, because I think that churches should present apologetic teachings just as much as worship. Look at me as the lone theist residing in Clarksville, Ar.. or so it seems.


Good day,

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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:36 pm

TruthSeeker wrote: Is it ok for me to create a thread presenting the Kalam argument for just me and you to respond in?


Of course. This is not to assume Doug has time for it.

DOUG
Yes, but a lot of it is the same Kalam argument stuff rehashed over and over again.


TS
He's had, I think, around 200 or so articles published in respected journals.


See the video clip on how many people are referenceing those articles.

In the Craig vs. Harris debate, Sam Harris, one of the "four horsemen" of atheism, says that Craig is:
"the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists" (his opening speech, I believe)


So Harris said something nice about him in the introduction to a debate. How appropriate. If you look hard enough you can find people saying nice things about him. A better question is, should a person who says: "Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse" [for not believing the thing that he has no good reason to believe...] be considered a respected philosopher? What could be more anathema to logic, honesty and the pursuit of wisdom and truth (philosophy)?

D.
------------
"...as long as reason is a minister of the Christian faith, Christians should employ it... I once asked a fellow seminary student "How do you know Christianity is true?" He replied "I really don't know." Does that mean he should give up Christianity till he finds rational arguments to ground his faith? Of course not! ...The fact is we can know the truth whether we have rational arguments or not..."
(Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill, first pub. 1984 Moody Press, revised edition 1994, p. 36-37)
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Doug » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:25 am

TruthSeeker wrote:Hey, guys. Doug, you want me to get my feet wet and defend one of his arguments. Quite literally, I have done this countless times throughout various debates. I have definitely learned to not take on a whole forum at one time, though. I work a lot. Is it ok for me to create a thread presenting the Kalam argument for just me and you to respond in?


Tell Craig to do it. He has been running away from debating me for a decade now. Three Christian groups have arranged for the two of us to debate, and each time Craig backed out when he learned of the identity of his opponent.

Tell your champion to gather up his courage and debate me. I've made mincemeat of enough Craig clones. It's time for him to stop running and agree to debate.
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby TruthSeeker » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:47 am

Doug,

Three Christian groups have arranged for the two of us to debate


Which Christian groups? And why would it matter that some Christian groups want it? I know some pretty crazy Christians who believe that the earth is just 6,000 years old. Maybe, they're in the group. ;)

Have you given a refutation of the Kalam at Craig's forum where he has a pretty good "debate team"? You should at least see if your refutation can last a few rounds there. If you've defeated so many of his cohorts, then that would surely include going to Craig's forum right? How many debates have you won at Craig's forum? Note that I do post there.

I'm not sure what a Craig clone is, though. If anything, I qualify as a Swinburne or Plantinga clone. ( :P ) all seriousness, I am my own man. You told me to "get my feet wet" and so I said that I would. Responding by indirectly calling me a clone is below your character (from what I've seen of your previous debates).

All I've seen is a lot of disrespect shown to a respected philosopher (even within the atheist camp as I've shown) and so I chose to defend that philosopher. If you want, we can pick a different philosopher, then you can call me his clone also. ;)

Or we can share some love for philosophy in a 5-round debate as I hope to prove the argument is not easily as defeated as you claim.

Darrell,

Of course. This is not to assume Doug has time for it.


I'm just responding to his request for me to defend one of his arguments. I've made it clear that I will not debate an entire forum on such a lengthy topic.

It's just 5 rounds. Heck, we can do a round per week. Hawking could make that.

So Harris said something nice about him in the introduction to a debate. How appropriate. If you look hard enough you can find people saying nice things about him


"Something nice"? He said that Craig has put the fear of God in many of his fellow atheists. That is a large feat for the sort of "William Craig" you guys are referring to. His own critics refer to him as the best debater of our generation.. his own critics typically admit that he wins his debates against his esteemed opponents. Again.. a huge feat, eh?

You're taking that too lightly. It doesn't take much searching at all. The fact remains that it is demonstrably correct that within the academic community of non-theistic philosophers Craig is treated as a class A philosopher. Even by his most extreme critics. They might disagree with him, but understand that he values respect.. he's not just a loon off the street.

Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse


If you really had read Craig's "reasonable faith" (see page 50) you would know that he's quoting the Bible there directly after mentioning a story of a seminary student believing without proof being given to him. You cherry-picked around those things, though. He's talking about two things here. (1) The seminary student who believed despite not having a grounding in rational arguments and (2) a person disbelieving due to poor arguments being shown to him. That would explain his "those who are given no good reason to believe".. the student was given no good reason to believe yet still did due to his personal relationship with Christ. Hence, why Craig closes the whole part with "the reason they do not believe is because they have rejected God's Holy Spirit".

Most people tend to poke fun at Craig's mention of the "Holy Spirit" rather than trying to pick apart and destroy a sentence that needs to be read in full context.


Well, good day, guys. I'll try to respond again tomorrow morning after work.. if not, then my old age has won me over for a day. :)


-TS
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Dardedar » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:29 pm

TruthSeeker wrote:Which Christian groups?


Standard mainstream Christian groups. Craig bailed on three of them. Then he said he would require a Ph.D. in order to debate a person (Doug didn't have his at the time, now he does). Then he promptly debated a guy with a high school degree and touch of college.

I know some pretty crazy Christians who believe that the earth is just 6,000 years old.


You're calling about 45% of your Christian brothers and sisters crazy? Cool.

I'm not sure what a Craig clone is, though.


Someone who peddles genetically identical Craig arguments. There are few in here: http://fayfreethinkers.com/debates/

You told me to "get my feet wet" and so I said that I would.


Then why don't you begin to get your feet wet by posting your arguments in a new thread?

I'm just responding to his request for me to defend one of his arguments.


Post it. Get your feet wet. Doug has a heavy teaching schedule, so I have no idea if he has time to give it a poke.

I will not debate an entire forum on such a lengthy topic.


It might be made much shorter than you think. The holes in Craig's material are rather gaping. The quotes I already provided reveal his is much more of fast talking faith based apologist than a person interested in pursuing wisdom and truth.

[Harris] said that Craig has put the fear of God in many of his fellow atheists.


Boilerplate introduction chatter with a big dollop of fluff and flattery. I don't care what Harris says or what he thinks of Craig.

critics refer to him as the best debater of our generation..


That just shows how low the bar has been set in evangelical circles. Set aside the Craig fawning for a moment eh?

[Craig]...critics typically admit that he wins his debates against his esteemed opponents. Again.. a huge feat, eh?


Nope. Oral debates are a public performances. Craig memorizes his stuff and burns through it. Kent Hovind could do that too. Philosophy, like science, isn't done in public debates. Debates are theater.

Craig is treated as a class A philosopher.


The competition on his team is that weak.

My question, again:

Should a person who says: "Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse" [for not believing the thing that he has no good reason to believe...] be considered a respected philosopher? What could be more anathema to logic, honesty and the pursuit of wisdom and truth (philosophy)?

If you really had read Craig's "reasonable faith"


I have.

you would know that he's quoting the Bible there directly after mentioning a story of a seminary student believing without proof being given to him.


That's nice. You're ducking. Let's try a comparison since you are apparently going to have difficulty responding to a critique of your favorite religion. If a philosopher says:

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of [Ganesh] to the fundamental truth of the [Hindu] faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." --Craig

Is this kind of reasoning the sign of a competent philosopher? Again, translation:

“Some people... say that reason can at least be used... at least by the unbeliever. They ask how else could we determine which is true, the Bible, the Koran, or the Baghavad-Gita, unless we use argument and evidence to judge them? Now I've already answered that question: the [Ganesh] teaches us directly which teaching is really from God...” --Craig

Is this kind of reasoning the sign of a competent philosopher? Again, translation:

“...the role of rational argument in knowing [Hinduism] to be true is the role of a servant. A person knows [Hinduism] is true because [Ganesh] tells him it is true, and while argument and evidence can be used to support this conclusion, they cannot legitimately overrule it.” p. 37-8, ibid

Is this kind of reasoning the sign of a competent philosopher? Again, translation:

"The [Upanishads and Veda] says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected [Ganesh]." p. 38, ibid

Is this kind of reasoning the sign of a competent, class A philosopher?

You cherry-picked around those things, though.


You can add a whole fruit bowl, you can't spin your way out of the blatant illogical appeal to unreason and Class A disdain for logic demonstrated in those comments by Craig.

the student was given no good reason to believe yet still did due to his personal relationship with Christ.


And reasons not to believe. And he still, upon this philosophers advice, he says to go with Ganesh whispering in the ear, err, I mean Christ, or the Holy Spirit. This is reason and philosophy? No, it's faith based religion.

Craig closes the whole part with "the reason they do not believe is because they have rejected God's Holy Spirit".


Right. Craig closes with an appeal to a spiritual being he can't begin to show exists. And this ghost whispering in the ear, is supposed to take precedence over actual argument and evidence.

Hey, works for any religion. Just plug in and change the names of the spirits involved. This is philosophy? This is reason? This is logic? Give me a break.

D.
------------
Bonus translation:

"...as long as reason is a minister of the [Hindu] faith, [Hindu's] should employ it... I once asked a fellow seminary student "How do you know [Hinduism] is true?" He replied "I really don't know." Does that mean he should give up [Hinduism] till he finds rational arguments to ground his faith? Of course not! ...The fact is we can know the truth whether we have rational arguments or not..."
(Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill, first pub. 1984 Moody Press, revised edition 1994, p. 36-37)
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby David Franks » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:42 pm

TruthSeeker wrote:His own critics refer to him as the best debater of our generation..

I'll bet it sounded like they said he is a "master debater".
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby TruthSeeker » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:33 am

Hey, Darrel. Can you provide details. Which three did craig bail on? As for the Ph.D. this is a rule that Craig has had for many many years. It's a way to sieve out the countless offers he gets. Which guy did Craig debate that had just a high school degree and touch of college?

You're calling about 45% of your Christian brothers and sisters crazy? Cool.


I would tell them that it is pretty crazy/senseless to their face. Typically, YEC's believe because their pastor or dangerous evangelists like Hovind tells them to. They typically have never studied the scientific evidence for an old earth.. or the biblical evidence for one. That is pretty crazy.

Someone who peddles genetically identical Craig arguments


All theistic arguments have the same flavor. Craig's arguments look like JP Moreland's, Plantinga's, and Locke's. They aren't all clones of each other. It's just different people providing the same reasoning with a touch of personal difference to each argument. There is only so many ways that you can present a classical argument.

Then why don't you begin to get your feet wet by posting your arguments in a new thread?


I will not take on an entire forum. To ask me to do so appears pretty pointless.. it's am almost impossible task to keep up with considering the fact that I do have a busy life.
This forum is full of intelligent skeptics. I'd love to respectfully debate one person in a 5-round fashion.

If Doug doesn't want to debate, then he shouldn't be telling me to "get my feet wet" and post an argument that he doesn't plan to respond to due to a busy schedule. I like Doug's style of debate, though. I would love for him to consider a 5-round debate that has no time constraints.. meaning he can take a week per round, if he wishes.

The holes in Craig's material are rather gaping


I don't want to appear prideful, but you haven't debated against me within a topic of simply "defending Craig". It's different debating someone who hasn't read many (if any) of Craig's vast number of articles and debates, and debating someone who is well learned regarding theistic philosophers.

Then again, this is my "trap" position. Just because I decide to defend a guy who values a defense in this forum, I then must be a "Craig clone".

You engage in a lot of denial regarding the amount of respect Craig is given.. not by those within the theistic crowd, but those who are within the crisp academic non-theist community. You say it is because of "low bars" and basically 'what Sam Harris says doesn't matter'. The fact remains, though, that the vast majority of non-theist philosophers has much more respect for this "horrible philosopher" than those within this forum. It's just a fact that I wanted to point out.
What you think of Craig is irrelevant. You're entitled to your opinion that we'll just have to agree to disagree on. :)

Craig memorizes his stuff and burns through it. Kent Hovind could do that too


Admittedly, though, Craig gives the same stuff most of his debates.. it's the same old presentation. So, his opponents know exactly what he's going to say and what's he's going to say in the 2nd round also (maybe 3rd too). Whether he "burns" through it or not doesn't matter.

Kent Hovind picks his opponents wisely. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he hasn't debated any top-level evolutionist thinkers.. it's mostly teachers who are more prepared to pass out papers to the audience than go into a verbal battle.

Either way, he's a million miles from Craig. If you feel otherwise, then I'm sorry you feel that way.

You're ducking. Let's try a comparison since you are apparently going to have difficulty responding to a critique of your favorite religion. If a philosopher says:

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of [Ganesh] to the fundamental truth of the [Hindu] faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa."


I'm not ducking at all. You gave a cherry-picked, out of context quote that is highly misleading until you take it all in. You completely left out my explanation and just repeated what you previously typed, though in a different format.

Craig uses the example of a seminary student who believes due to reasons other than evidence. That is the basis for his "even those who are given no good reason to believe... have no excuse". I typed, "the student was given no good reason to believe yet still did due to his personal relationship with Christ. Hence, why Craig closes the whole part with "the reason they do not believe is because they have rejected God's Holy Spirit"."

You didn't give the full quote, though. It looks a lot different when you do.

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of [Ganesh] to the fundamental truth of the [Hindu] faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." --Craig

Is this kind of reasoning the sign of a competent philosopher?


Again, you're giving a clipped quote that I've seen all over anti-Craig sites and writings. Literally just after that quote, it reads,

"Some people disagree with what I've said about the role of argument and evidence. ... They ask how else we could determine which is true, the Bible, the Qur'an, or the Book of Mormon, unless we use argument and evidence to judge them. The muslim or the mormon also claims to have a witness of God's spirit... But how is the fact that other persons claim to experience a self-authenticating witness of God's Spirit relevant to my knowing the truth of Christianity via the Spirit's witness? The existence of an authentic and unique witness of the Spirit does not exclude the existence of false claims to such a witness. How, then, does the existence of false claims of the Spirit's witness to the truth of a non-Christian religion do anything logically to undermine the fact that the Christian believer does possess the genuine witness of the Spirit? If a Mormon or Muslim falsely claims to experience the witness of God's Spirit in his heart. that does nothing to undermine the veridicality of my experience".

There's much more to read on it.. I'm not going to type his whole book. See pages 49-50. In the end, it's about checks being put on arguments/evidences.

I don't know how much afterlife experiences are true or not, but they make for a good example here. Assume that a guy named Jones has died for a temporary amount of time and gains an actual, true afterlife sort of experience before doctors are able to bring him back to life. In this experience, he gains knowledge that particular factions will be warring with one another. Assuming that his afterlife experience was a true one, I believe that his experience of it should come before an argument or evidence pointing out that those factions aren't currently warring with one another. Remember that his afterlife experience was a true one.

As for Christianity, if you assume that Christians are having real experiences with God, then it would make sense to use that experience in a "checks" sort of fashion when comparing it against arguments or evidences. That does not mean at all to ignore the arguments completely.

You can add a whole fruit bowl, you can't spin your way out of the blatant illogical appeal to unreason and Class A disdain for logic demonstrated in those comments by Craig.


I'm not spinning at all. I do find it pretty amazing that I'm having to provide full quotes for your cherry-picked, cut ones which point towards a different conclusion when read in full. You make it seem like Craig is saying that arguments don't matter, which isn't the case at all. In Reasonable Faith, Craig defines faith as "placing hope in that which you [reason] to be true". He doesn't define it as "placing hope in that which you experience to be true". Craig has repeatedly challenged preachers and pastors to teach those participating in the church about defending the faith with arguments.

this ghost whispering in the ear, is supposed to take precedence over actual argument and evidence


The quote is for Christians, so I can see why you wouldn't like it much. If I were you, I'd probably be poking fun at it also. We Christians do believe that we can experience God, though I wouldn't describe it as a "ghost whispering in the ear". If it is true that these experiences are true, then they should be used in a checks sort of fashion against arguments and evidence. They can't just be ignored, Darrel.

Good day, Darrel.

-TS
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Re: Religion Debates

Postby Doug » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:59 am

TruthSeeker wrote:Hey, Darrel. Can you provide details. Which three did craig bail on?


One at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and one at Boston College.

TruthSeeker wrote:As for the Ph.D. this is a rule that Craig has had for many many years. It's a way to sieve out the countless offers he gets.


How odd that the Christian groups trying to set up debates didn't know anything about this rule until my name was mentioned.

TruthSeeker wrote:Which guy did Craig debate that had just a high school degree and touch of college?


Ron Barrier of American Atheists. Only a high school diploma. When he agreed to debate Barrier, I told the Secular Web folks. One of them contacted Craig and said he should either cancel the Barrier debate or agree to debate me at some point. Craig did neither, saying that his hands were tied and it was not up to him who he debates. So much for his earlier excuses for canceling...

TruthSeeker wrote:I will not take on an entire forum. To ask me to do so appears pretty pointless.. it's am almost impossible task to keep up with considering the fact that I do have a busy life. I like Doug's style of debate, though. I would love for him to consider a 5-round debate that has no time constraints.. meaning he can take a week per round, if he wishes.


Why should I? Who are you? I've debated and demolished Craig clones already. Why should I agree to do it again?
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