Sunday 4 September 2011

17th October — Stephen Law vs William Lane Craig

Polly Toynbee, president of the British Humanist Association, was due to debate William Lane Craig, to kick off his October tour of the UK. She pulled out once she realised what kind of thing a debate with Craig is, and philosopher Stephen Law has stepped in to take her place.

I had decided not to attend the debate, as I was getting pretty sick of Craig's debating style. He does these things not in an effort to explore the arguments, but to "win". We saw this with two recent debates, first with Lawrence Krauss, and then with Sam Harris. Both Krauss and Harris have interesting and original things to say about their particular areas of concern, cosmology and morality respectively. But Craig isn't concerned with learning from either of them. Perhaps though, Krauss and Harris learned something from Craig — but it would not have been anything about the evidence for God, or the moral necessity of God. They may, however, have learned how to score superficial debating points — not that either of them would have been interested in doing such a thing.

So I decided, as noted above, that I was done with Craig and his "Reasonable Faith Tour".

I have, however, reconsidered. Previously I decided not to attend a conversation between Sam Harris and Giles Fraser (regular readers will know how much Fraser irritates me), but later regretted my decision, because when I changed my mind I discovered all tickets were sold.

To forestall potentially similar regrets I do now have a ticket for the Craig vs Law debate at Westminster Central Hall at 7:30 pm on Monday 17th October. Partly this is because I'm currently reading Stephen Law's new book, Believing Bullshit, and partly because of all those put up against Craig on this tour and elsewhere, Stephen Law seems likely to be the most capable of tackling Craig on his own terms. Perusal of his blog indicates he's not taking the debate lightly (he is, at least, getting plenty of advice).

Naturally you can expect a full report.