Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Debate: Is there evidence for God? William Lane Craig vs Lawrence Krauss

Another day, another debate. This one is William Lane Craig vs Lawrence Krauss, arguing the toss over "Is there evidence for God?" The topic, alas, is poorly framed. What kind of evidence? If we're talking about pretty poor evidence, then Craig has it sewn up. Indeed this was exactly the tack he took, though needlessly (and somewhat comically) dressing it up with a ridiculous equation. In effect he said, "I have some evidence. Not very good evidence, but evidence. Therefore I win."

As in his debate a few days later with Sam Harris, he succeeded in frustrating those who might have wanted him to get to grips with the important issues. Lawrence Krauss is one of the foremost scientists in the world today, and he has much interesting insight into the nature of the cosmos, and — because he's thought about these things — whether the cosmos has a god in it. But Craig simply repeated his painfully circular syllogisms ad nauseam, and the whole thing seemed like a waste of time.

Krauss, it appears, thought so too. In a substantial guest-post on P. Z. Myers' blog Pharyngula he explains why:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/05/lawrence-krauss-vs-william-lan/

But perhaps before reading Krauss's post mortem report you should watch the debate itself (but be warned — the audio on these videos is dreadful):

Part 1 of 6 http://youtu.be/71ZhJL56bdQ

Part 2 of 6 http://youtu.be/jHHTYbusTmw
Part 3 of 6 http://youtu.be/Tutz5id90lk
Part 4 of 6 http://youtu.be/vpv5mMRFUgQ
Part 5 of 6 http://youtu.be/WVOCxP8aWIY
Part 6 of 6 http://youtu.be/Fs_pgaSrxP8

P. Z. Myers also has some things to say about the debate, this amongst them:
Also, Craig claims to be using Bayesian logic. No, he is not. Scribbling a few trivial equations on his slides does not substitute for Craig's painful ignorance of physics.
Watching William Lane Craig used to be interesting, but I've seen him do the same stuff over and over, and now he's just boring.
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