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1/16/09

Finally

I'm actually considering a visit to California for this one.

William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens will debate on April 4th.

Mark your calenders kids.

21 comments:

  1. Aw shucks, I'm going to miss them by a couple of months.

    On second thought, who cares? Hitchens is very glib and witty but not a very deep thinker, even when drunk; and Craig is the guy who thinks that God gerrymandered Creation so that all those who went to Hell because they were one village away from the missionaries would have rejected the Gospel anyway.

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  2. When did Craig say that? That sounds more Calvinistic in thought to me, for one, and Craig is not a Calvinist. More particularly however, I'm pretty sure I heard him say something of the exact opposite in his debate with Zindler, i.e. that he wasn't claiming you get sent to hell if you don't even have a chance to hear the message.

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  3. Oh, by the way I wanted to share this too: There's going to be a debate between Dan Barker and a guy named Kyle Butt at the Univ. of South Carolina on Feb. 12. Kyle Butt works for Apologetics Press.

    For more information, go here.

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  4. I gotta be honest and say i love Hitchens. But then again I love Mickey Rourke, so wattya gonna do?

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  5. I found out about this a week or so ago and grinned from ear to ear.

    Hitchens must be absolutely clueless as to who Craig is.....that is the only explanation I can think of for him accepting this debate.

    It is going to be a bloodbath.

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  6. Leslie: naturally Craig did not phrase it as baldly as I have, but that's what his Molinist view adds up to:

    God in His providence has so arranged the world that as the Christian gospel went out from first century Palestine, all who would respond freely to it if they heard it did hear it, and all who do not hear it are persons who would not have accepted it if they had heard it.

    (From Middle Knowledge and Christian Exclusivism- you might have to register to get the article)

    A more bizarre apologetic dance to reconcile eternal damnation for those who don't know Jesus, with a touchy-feely sense that God is just, is not known to me.

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  7. Zilch, I don't understand what is so unreasonable about that. The presuppositions of Molinism have been very influential and accepted by non-theists (see David Lewis: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~worc0337/modal.realism.html). Now, they don't accept Molinism per se, but all theists have done is tack on their particular views of God onto a philosophically accepted framework in a pretty coherent manner.

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  8. Debates might be good intellectual fun but for the most part they are pointless. The truth poorly spoken is still the truth, and error eloquently stated is still error. Plus the format of almost all debates leads to just a battle of zingers and soundbites.

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  9. I don't think that's exactly right. While the written word is usually freer from error, there are many benefits of live discussion. In fact, I'd say that there are tangible benefits from the (well-qualified) zinger, even if half the debate results in intellectual tomfoolery. But there will be many, many philosophy students in the crowd at the ready to pounce on an indiscretion from either side. This could be Buckley/Chomsky good.

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  10. "In fact, I'd say that there are tangible benefits from the (well-qualified) zinger,"

    Oh, so now you're all for zingers, although here, not so much. :-)

    "But there will be many, many philosophy students in the crowd at the ready to pounce on an indiscretion from either side. "

    Now I don't know much about Biola, but I have a nagging doubt that the crowd will be doing much pouncing on Craig. I think Hitch must be quite mad to venture in there. I have little hope that this will be a good debate - do these two chaps even speak the same language???

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  11. Ad,

    You'll notice that I said well-qualified zingers. They are never good on their own, but in conjunction with substance can be a good way to bring the point home. I had that very comment of mine in mind when I wrote that last post.

    And while Craig does have home-field advantage, Hitchens has his followers that will show up. It isn't as if San Diego is the Bible belt, so as long as it is open to the public it shouldn't be entirely one-sided.

    I do worry about what they will talk about. Obviously, Craig would out-philosophize Hitchens but Hitchens will out-pathos Craig. It could be really stupid or really cool. I guess we'll see.

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  12. "You'll notice that I said well-qualified zingers. They are never good on their own, but in conjunction with substance can be a good way to bring the point home. I had that very comment of mine in mind when I wrote that last post."

    Well, you're doing a little bit of judge, jury and executioner all by yourself here. I certainly think that the "zinger" there was eminently well-qualified, and you failed to address it - you deflected it to make it be about something else than its original meaning. The charge was that you are with respect to the existence of other Gods just as atheists are with respect to the existence of the Judeo-Christian God. You twisted this around to make it sound like the issue was one of having a teleological creation story, as if you would see no conflict with the creation stories of other religions so long as they are teleological..

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  13. Great, the "drunk" vs. the sociopath. (Check out the link given).

    Who are you gonna cheer for?

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  14. Josh: It might well be that Molinism has been "very influential" and "accepted by non-theists", and is considered a "philosophically accepted framework". And I readily admit that all I know about Molinism is what Craig and Lewis (in your link) say about it. I'm willing to read more, as time permits.

    But so far, all I can say is: so much the worse for my opinion of philosophy. That article you linked to is a great example of where philosophy can lead when fully decoupled from any facts about the real world: elegant, words-chasing-their-own-tails nonsense. For instance, here are three "central doctrines" of Modal Realism:

    * 1. Possible worlds exist -- they are just as real as our world;
    * 2. Possible worlds are the same sort of things as our world -- they differ in content, not in kind;
    * 3. Possible worlds cannot be reduced to something more basic -- they are irreducible entities in their own right.

    Does this mean anything at all? Are the Harry Potter books a "possible world"? Is the Bible a "possible world"? As far as I can see, this is just wordplay. If you can show me something more substantial, I'd be glad to look into it.

    I will agree with you on one thing: Craig's position on God's gerrymandering is not "unreasonable", given Craig's presuppositions: namely, that you go to Hell if you don't know Jesus, and that God is not unfair. But it is transparently ad hoc and bizarre. Read the whole article I linked to for more bizarreness: Craig's justification for bothering to evangelize, given the "fact" that God has already gerrymandered Creation. I dare you.

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  15. Great, the "drunk" vs. the sociopath. (Check out the link given).

    the drunk, every time.

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  16. In truth, I'd probably go for the "drunk" too. ;)

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  17. I can't for the life of me know where I read it (sorry), but I think WLC is due to debate R. Carrier later this year... does anyone know anymore on this?


    Peace

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  18. It's listed in the same table that Josh already posted, March 18.

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  19. Tickets for the Craig vs Hichens debate are on sale now so if you plan to attend it's suggested you get them early.

    Details Here

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  20. If you've seen the Craig-Peter Atkins debate, I fully expect a similar outcome - Craig will stomp on his face, nicely. Hitchens is a menace to my grandma and that's all.

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