apologetics, epistemology, philosophy

“Is Faith in God Reasonable?” Brief Debate Review: Alex Rosenberg vs. William Lane Craig

creation-of-adam-detailRecently, the atheist Alex Rosenberg debated the theist William Lane Craig. The meat started to happen in the rebuttals, so I will focus on those. For a full review, check out Wintery Knight’s excellent summary.

Craig’s First Rebuttal

Craig pointed out the extreme implausibility of the naturalistic worldview in contrast to theism. He outlined several ways in which naturalism fails as an explanation of reality and cited Rosenberg’s work several times throughout this discussion. He argued that mental states have an “aboutness” which naturalism cannot explain.Then, he pointed out the profound difficulty naturalism has with locating truth and meaning within the worldview. He asserted that libertarian free will and purpose are incompatible with naturalism. Finally, the concept of the “self” and the first-person awareness  cannot be explained by naturalism.

Rosenberg’s First Rebuttal

Alex Rosenberg: He focused on this question quite a bit in his rebuttal: “How is it possible for one chunk of manner to be ‘about’ some other piece of matter?” Yet after saying that this, he asserted that this debate over naturalism has nothing to do with the topic of the debate: “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

He then turned to a discussion of the problem of evil. “If God is omnibenevolent, omniscience, and omnipotent, then the suffering of animals and humans needs desperately to be explained… Nobody has yet to offer a satisfactory explanation… Dr. Craig needs to tell us how [God] had to have the holocaust!”

He also argued that different religious books are false, so there is no reason to trust the New Testament.

Rosenberg said if Craig could provide an explanation for this, then he would become a Christian.

Craig 2nd Rebuttal

Craig immediately exclaimed his excitement over Rosenberg’s possibility of becoming a Christian, arguing that the logical problem of evil, which Rosenberg seemed to be using, has been largely abandoned due to its immense problems. In order to make this argument, the atheist assumes that if God is all powerful than he can create any world he wants, but this is not necessarily true. It is logically impossible for God to make someone freely do something. The atheist would have to prove that there is a world with as much free good in this world but without as much free evil. It seems this premise is impossible to prove. Thus, the logical problem of evil has largely been dropped.

Craig pointed out the fact that Rosenberg was simply mistaken about the importance of metaphysical naturalism. If metaphysical naturalism is false, then it seems clear that theism is that much more plausible.

Craig also once again pointed out that discrediting things like the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an does nothing to undermine the truth of the New Testament documents.

Rosenberg Final Rebuttal

Rosenberg continued to attack Craig as well as the format of the debate. He asserted that Craig was merely repeating himself. Then he commented that the format of a debate does not work to discuss questions like those at hand. One honestly is forced to wonder why Rosenberg chose to engage in the debate, if such were his opinions. Rosenberg attacked Craig’s arguments for “giving philosophy a bad name” and said he would be “embarrassed” to outline Craig’s defense of his arguments.

He did get into some actual comments on the arguments, however. He argued that some things can come into being from “nothing at all,” specifically alpha particles.

Finally, he got to the problem of evil. Here I continued to be confused over whether Rosenberg was sure which variety of the problem of evil he was presenting. He continued to utilize the evidential problem of evil as though it were the same as the logical problem of evil. He was confusing his arguments, mixing necessity with contingency. There is little to comment on here, because it was so confused.

Regarding the New Testament, Rosenberg essentially argued that we cannot know how corrupt the New Testament is.

Craig Closing

Craig turned once more to Rosenberg’s construction of the problem of evil. He pointed out that Rosenberg was mistaken about free will as well as the nature of the God’s creation. He pointed out that the holocaust was not necessary. Instead, he noted that the onus is upon Rosenberg to show that God could have actualized a world with as much good as there is in this world while simultaneously showing there would be less evil, which is of course beyond the ken of the atheist (or the theist).

Craig pointed out that we can confirm that New Testament sources we have go back to within 5 years of the actual events. Furthermore, Rosenberg was mistaken in saying that the New Testament documents were written in Aramaic. They were written in Greek.

Rosenberg Closing

Rosenberg used his closing to present an “obvious” argument for atheism. He argued that science has no need of the God hypothesis and that there is no basis “to invoke God for explanatory or any other purpose” in science. Thus, science has no reason to accept the existence of God. I find it interesting that he chose to save this argument for the point when he couldn’t be rebutted on the argument. Perhaps that is due to the extreme weakness of the argument. Only be equating science with knowledge could this argument have any relevance. This is not to mention that he is mistaken on this, but to show that he is mistaken would take us too far afield. Interested readers can view the links at the end of this post.

Rosenberg closed with “advice from an atheist.” His advice was to tell theists to not demand that their faith be reasonable. He continued with a discussion saying that theists should say “I believe because it is absurd.” He essentially asserted that theists cannot be reasonable. Honestly, this was just an insult. I admit I was not surprised by this comment by the end of the debate, as Rosenberg’s general strategy had seemed to be to denigrate, rather than interact with, theism.

Comments

I was honestly stunned by Rosenberg’s assertion that substance dualism or a debate over naturalism had nothing to do with faith in God. It seems quite obvious that such things are indeed germane to the discussion.   If substance dualism is true, then theism has a much better account than non-theistic worldviews. If naturalism is false, the plausibility of theism increases greatly.

In the Q+A following the debate, someone asked Rosenberg why they should believe anything he said in the debate if he himself doesn’t believe in true. Rosenberg basically answered by saying that he’s just rearranging the brain in a way to meet truth… but of course he already denied that we can know what truth is. It’s just a certain way of orienting the matter in one’s brain! Ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it is ridiculous.

Regarding the debate itself, there were a number of non-scientific ways that people voted on the results of the debate. A formal panel awarded Craig the victory 4-2. The local (Purdue) voting on the debate 303-1390 Craig won. Online vote favored Craig 734-59. In other words, Craig crushed Rosenberg. I agree wholeheartedly. Let me know your thoughts. Comment below!

One awesome line from the debate came from Craig: “The purpose of life is not happiness. The purpose of life is knowledge of God.”

An awesome tweet: “Rosenberg apparently knows not only what God could have done but what would have been best for us for all eternity.” @ThnkngChristian

Links

Wintery Knight provided a simply fantastic summary of the debate.

Glenn Andrew Peoples has a post on quantum events in relation to the cosmological argument which is very relevant to this debate.

Shoulders of Giants?- Philosophy and Science in Context, or, “Lawrence Krauss Jumps off!”- I write on the relationship of science to philosophy as well as Christianity.

Science: “Thanks Christianity!”- Does Christianity say anything about science?

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

34 thoughts on ““Is Faith in God Reasonable?” Brief Debate Review: Alex Rosenberg vs. William Lane Craig

  1. I didn’t get to watch the debate so your summary was very helpful. Thanks for putting it together. It is a shame that debating is not a more carefully practiced art in society at large. Our lack of familiarity with debating means people can be very lousy at debating but come across looking like victors because the audience is totally unfamiliar with the rules of the game.

    Posted by Paul Buller | February 2, 2013, 10:25 AM
  2. Rosenberg’s response to that question was simply insulting. The questioner didn’t necessarily have to know that Rosenberg attempted the response already (albeit badly) and that doesn’t mean the question is invalid based on the debate content last night.

    Posted by Chris | February 2, 2013, 11:36 AM
  3. “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”
    Is belief, in anything, without evidence (which is really what faith is) really reasonable?
    I think it is safe to say it is really the god of Christianity that Craig, and many in the US, has “faith” in. With respect to Christianity, everything we know about Jesus is hearsay (and I do not assume he actually even existed). And, almost everything written about Jesus is shared/borrowed Sumerian, Egyptian, Persian, or other Mediterranean mythology. The Bible is full of atrocities, contradictions, and errors (historical, logical, and scientific). Fundamental concepts in Christianity include “belief” in Jesus, “belief” in the Bible, a virgin birth, resurrections, a triune god, vicarious redemption via human sacrifice predicated on animal sacrifice, heaven/hell, imaginary beings, judgment day, etc. It amazes me how seemingly otherwise intelligent people, including Craig, actually believe this stuff. It’s enough of a hurdle to try to make the philosophical case for even the existence of a god/supernatural, but now add all the other stuff Christianity postulates – seriously?
    Imo, science and Humanism are more than sufficient to explore and provide satisfactory answers to all the serious questions we may have about ourselves, nature, and the universe – no god or religion needed (neither of which really just make sense to me).

    Posted by skeptic4321 | February 2, 2013, 2:22 PM
    • From an atheist, I like your post but think we should refrain from using phrases like “It amazes me how seemingly otherwise intelligent people, including Craig, actually believe this stuff.”

      Posted by C | February 5, 2013, 6:28 PM
    • “And, almost everything written about Jesus is shared/borrowed Sumerian, Egyptian, Persian, or other Mediterranean mythology. The Bible is full of atrocities, contradictions, and errors (historical, logical, and scientific).” Seriously? you are using the Zeitgeist thesis ? The zeitgeist thesis that has been proven to be wrong/rebutted/falsified by even atheist historians?
      Boggles the mind how ignorant skeptics can be. Skeptic for the sake of skepticism is conspiracy lunacy, if only those good old skeptics like David Hume would return… At least they tried to speak intelligently.

      Posted by Daniel Ortiz | February 5, 2013, 8:15 PM
      • You know how it goes, Dan. When all else fails, “assert, assert, assert”. Someone watches a movie or two or skims a handful of popular-level books and somehow thinks they’ve addressed the issue. Hardly anyone ever bothers to read responses to rebuttals, thereby showing a serious lack of intellectual honesty or interest in the topic at hand. It’s frequently, but not always, a matter of “[Insert pet author here] offered a rebuttal to your author, so there !” without even attempting to understand or critically analyze the reasoning.

        Just repeat the mantra of “borrowing, myth, fairy tale”, and they know someone, somewhere will buy it right out of the gates. One would do well to start with John N. Oswalt’s “The Bible Among the Myths” and then try to seriously dialogue from there.

        Posted by James | February 6, 2013, 10:26 AM
      • So skeptics for 250 years haven’t even tried to speak intelligently? (as you said) Or are you saying they have simply failed to do so?

        Posted by C | February 6, 2013, 11:43 AM
      • So skeptics for 250 years haven’t even tried to speak intelligently? (as you said) Or are you saying they have simply failed to do so?

        Well maybe not since Hume, I was venting so I apologize. I meant that skeptics in the past, like Hume, were so because of good intellectual reasons. But nowadays it seems that everyone is an skeptic. It is “hip” to be so, even though their skepticism isn’t an informed one. (Is hip a slang still used btw?) People want to be skeptical about climate change, evolution, Obama’s birth certificate, gun control, etc… If one is an skeptic for all things, then that person is not an skeptic rather a conspiracy theorist.

        Nice on the book J W… hadn’t heard of it. :)

        Posted by Daniel Ortiz | February 6, 2013, 11:57 AM
      • Dan,
        I would also recommend Glenn Miller’s treatment of this topic (and most others, really) here at Christian ThinkTank. It’s actually part of a series, so just scroll to the bottom of the page to continue on. It’s by far not the cleanest site to navigate, but contains a wealth of information that I think doesn’t oversimplify skeptic objections like some popular-level apologetics books. While those kinds of works are helpful for the most basic and introductory explorations, I always found myself coming up with more objections that I felt were quite obvious, and I felt that a lot of the questions that actually were addressed were “softballs”.

        In the linked article, a brief introduction is given of what the scholarly consensus is as to the “copycat” accusation and builds upon that with a healthy dose of citations. I’ve found that reading some of the cited works has been of great benefit, too, to get a good feeling that you’re not just dealing with a ton of citation bluffs.

        For those who are genuinely interested, there is by no means any shortage of resources.

        Posted by James | February 6, 2013, 1:58 PM
      • Dan, you said:

        “But nowadays it seems that everyone is an skeptic. It is “hip” to be so, even though their skepticism isn’t an informed one.”

        So what? Since when must one be highly informed to claim or hold a belief system?

        Do you believe the average, core of Christianity is more informed than the average skeptic?

        Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | February 6, 2013, 3:52 PM
      • That’s an extremely insightful point, Andrew. I’m not convinced that one has to know the ins and outs of their system in order to be justified in holding their position. In fact, that is the core of Plantinga’s epistemology.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | February 7, 2013, 12:49 AM
  4. @ Daniel – “Well maybe not since Hume, I was venting so I apologize. I meant that skeptics in the past, like Hume, were so because of good intellectual reasons. But nowadays it seems that everyone is an skeptic. It is “hip” to be so, even though their skepticism isn’t an informed one. (Is hip a slang still used btw?) People want to be skeptical about climate change, evolution, Obama’s birth certificate, gun control, etc… If one is an skeptic for all things, then that person is not an skeptic rather a conspiracy theorist.”

    I agree. Skepticism for the sake of skepticism is, by definition, not rational skepticism. Rational skepticism, however, states that nothing should be asserted (or accepted) without evidence. This is the disconnect between theists and atheists – faith is believing on a lack of evidence which is diametrically opposed to rational skepticism (see above definition). It doesn’t mean theism is wrong (by any means) but it does put the parties at odds.

    I think the ‘funny’ part of skepticism is that we’re all predisposed to believe certain things and even the most ardent skeptics take at least some things on faith.

    Posted by C | February 6, 2013, 12:50 PM
    • “Rational skepticism … states that nothing should be asserted (or accepted) without evidence.” What evidence do you have to support your assertion that nothing should be asserted without evidence? Or, is rational skepticism itself a blind leap of faith devoid of any evidential foundation?

      I have to agree that “even the most ardent skeptics take at least some things on faith” (perhaps rational skepticism is one of those things) but that makes me wonder why skeptics continuously stare down their nose at others who do precisely the same thing. Especially folks like Skeptic4321 who seems to accept a boatload of historical claims in the face of copious evidence to the contrary, as articulated by others.

      The very concept of “Skeptic” is becoming less and less useful in my own experience. Self-proclaimed “Skeptics” are typically just those who accept, on faith I might add, one paradigm and belittle those who accept a different paradigm.

      Posted by Paul Buller | February 6, 2013, 3:17 PM
      • “What evidence do you have to support your assertion that nothing should be asserted without evidence?”

        Well, simply put, that’s what humans do.

        Prior to any decision made or action taken, we consider the implications of that decision, typically based on past similar experiences. Which is evidence.

        We’re all kind of consequentialists in that way, haha.

        For example, I’m going to go to the store in a moment to purchase hot peppers, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro to make salsa. I’m not making this up…I’m really going to the store.

        When I arrive in the produce section, I will be faced with a choice between Habanero or Serrano peppers. I will recall that I had a deeply painful experience with Habaneros once. Recalling the evidence of my face-numbing pain, I will select the much milder Serrano peppers.

        Perhaps a better question is why anything SHOULD be asserted without evidence. After all, without evidence, what separates your non-evidential claims with, say, Jim Jones’ non-evidential claims?

        *please note that I’m not comparing Christianity or theism to the Jonestown cult. I’m making an illustration highlighting your ridiculous dismissal of evidence.

        Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | February 6, 2013, 4:02 PM
      • “What evidence do you have to support your assertion that nothing should be asserted without evidence?” – It wasn’t my assertion, it is a common definition for rational skepticism.

        “is rational skepticism itself a blind leap of faith devoid of any evidential foundation?” – I don’t see how someone asking for evidence to support claims is can fit that description.

        “Especially folks like Skeptic4321 who seems to accept a boatload of historical claims in the face of copious evidence to the contrary” – That very statement applies to each and every religion; check it out:

        “Especially folks like MORMONS who seem to accept a boatload of historical claims in the face of copious evidence to the contrary”
        “Especially folks like HINDUS who seem to accept a boatload of historical claims in the face of copious evidence to the contrary”
        “Especially folks like CATHOLICS who seem to accept a boatload of historical claims in the face of copious evidence to the contrary”

        A rational skeptic COULD believe any of the above statements but not without evidence. So, I don’t think that your over generalization is accurate that skeptics are those who “belittle those who accept a different paradigm” – in fact, given the tone of your answer, you Paul seem to fit that definition quite nicely.

        Posted by C | February 6, 2013, 6:39 PM
      • Ok, so there is no button to respond directly to the folks below. Hopefully this comment doesn’t seem to out of place.

        Andrew, please do not misunderstand me, by no means am I dismissing evidence as you suggest. What I am doing is dismissing the worldview that says we can do nothing, accept nothing, and assert nothing without evidence. Evidence is vitally important (as you so eloquently illustrated) and it is a tool that humans regularly make use of. And we ought to. What Skepticism fails to understand, though, is that sometimes the “evidence tool” needs to be put down, just as a carpenter doesn’t always use his hammer for absolutely everything. That is simply a reality of the broader human experience.

        When I asked for evidence in favour of Skepticism you pointed out that people use evidence all the time. However, Skeptics regularly bemoan the fact that people believe stuff without evidence, even in the face of contrary evidence. I asked “why should we ALWAYS rely on evidence” so your response “because we do” seems both philosophically ill-informed (is-ought fallacy) as well as lacking evidence (humans do not, in fact, always rely on evidence). Might I humbly suggest that Skeptics take the good that is readily found in Skepticism and balance it with a more robust, less self-refuting philosophical position (i.e. something other than “Skepticism ALWAYS”). In other words, pick up a different tool in the workshop every now and then. At least one other tool we all make use of which is utterly independent of evidence is A Priori assumptions. We all make them, they are also part of the broader human experience.

        C, “It wasn’t my assertion, it is a common definition for rational skepticism.” – very well, if you are not asserting it and I am not asserting it then there isn’t really much to discuss. Thanks for clarifying.

        “That very statement applies to each and every religion” – Now I’m the Skeptic. Please show me the copious evidence that contradicts, say, the resurrection of Jesus. Please use reputable sources (unlike Skeptic4321). Please also demonstrate at least a minimal familiarity with the evidence Christians regularly reference in support of the resurrection before attempting to debunk it. Perhaps you could also explain why so many non-Christians who debate WLC (circling back to the original post) are either unfamiliar with this evidence or never make use of it during debates with him.

        Posted by Paul Buller | February 7, 2013, 9:53 AM
      • @Paul-

        I am not a philosopher. I understand the most basic of philosophy concepts and that’s about it. Expect that my discussion with you will likely be rife with philosophical missteps.

        With that said, I understand the is-ought fallacy I’ve committed. Essentially, just because something is doesn’t mean it also ought to be, right?

        You mentioned that a carpenter uses different tools and I (and other skeptics) should as well. Can you elaborate on some other tools I could / should use? Are you referring to truth seeking tools?

        Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | February 7, 2013, 11:09 AM
      • @ Andrew – I have an errand running day today so this will be brief. First of all I want to commend your honesty and humility. I try to emulate those same characteristics in my own search for truth, though I fear I may not succeed as often as I ought to. These will serve you well.

        To answer your question, yes I am talking about truth seeking tools. Skepticism is one tool, but there are many others. Consider this, for starters; Skepticism is all about questioning and challenging truth claims but there is nothing in Skepticism that produces truth claims. If all that we humans had was Skepticism we would never generate a single belief of any kind. Something else clearly is required.

        What other tools are there? Bear in mind that these are not mutually exclusive to Skepticism, and in some cases there is overlap. Reason / Logic. Direct experience (sometimes this counts as objective evidence). Self-evident truths (i.e. lacking external evidence). There are others too, these just jump off the top of my head. In other words, don’t lose the Skepticism by any means, just realize that it’s not the only game in town.

        Though I must get my kids for lunch and then continue running errands for much of the afternoon, perhaps other commenters would like to take a crack at addressing your very legitimate and insightful question. Cheers.

        Posted by Paul Buller | February 7, 2013, 1:04 PM
  5. @ Andrew “Do you believe the average, core of Christianity is more informed than the average skeptic?” I will assume by average core you mean lay people in the churches. My answer would be that their both wrong. If someone claims to be an skeptic of something they don’t really know, I would rather they call themselves agnostics or ignorant (not as defamatory), The problem I see, is that skepticism once being a purely intellectual attitute has now morphed into an identity, when those claiming skepticism making assertions which they are ignorant of.

    Posted by Daniel Ortiz | February 7, 2013, 6:09 AM
    • “My answer would be that their both wrong.”

      I guess I disagree that either group is wrong. Now, there is no doubt that armchair skeptics have made wildly inaccurate claims, but I doubt that this never happens among their theist brothers and sisters.

      Perhaps it *is* more appropriate for the casual skeptic to label themselves “agnostic” or something similar. But, it would be equally accurate to require lay Christians as, well, lay Christians. Clearly that isn’t going to happen. After all, Jesus didn’t require a thorough understanding of the gift of salvation in order to receive it, no?

      Posted by Andrew Marburger (@AndrewMarburger) | February 7, 2013, 11:05 AM
      • Andrew, I didn’t say average joe Christian is right and the skeptic is wrong. Read my post properly and you’ll see that I said that both are wrong if they make unconfirmed conjectures and take speculation for knowledge. If a Christian makes a claim about, let’s say, the Bible says so, without understanding the cultural and reception history of the writer and receiver, I would s/he is wrong, and an idiot. By the same way if an skeptic makes a claim, like the one above stating that the Jesus myths are re-cycled old persian, roman, babylonian myths, that shows he knows nothing of history and thus wrong, and an idiot.
        The problem we have here is the definition of skeptic. I say in the spirit of Hume, he was an skeptic about things, for example miracles and wrote a book about it. But nowadays people claim to be skeptic as an identity when it shouldn’t. it is a quality not an identity.
        I also think that it may have it’ origins in the misunderstanding of the “methodological atheism” used in science. People think that the methodology is some way intrinsic to the individual.

        Posted by Daniel Ortiz | February 8, 2013, 8:45 AM
  6. @Paul. I wish I could have replied to this earlier but work called. You wrote “Please show me the copious evidence that contradicts, say, the resurrection of Jesus.” This is a burden of proof issue. Christians claim an event 2,000 years ago that never happened before or after, yet the burden of proof is on me to show that it didn’t happen? We’re not talking about the existence of God burden of proof, we’re talking about Christianity is right burden of proof. Much, much more is required to prove the latter. Most importantly, if such evidence exists, you’re effectively insulting the billions of people that have looked at Christianity and did not see enough evidence to believe the claims. of Christianity are anything more than unsubstantiated.

    Posted by C | February 15, 2013, 3:44 PM
    • @C – don’t worry about the delay, that’s life. I’m just glad you followed up, the burden of proof is an interesting question!

      There are two claims and therefore two burdens of proof. Christians make claims with respect to something which allegedly happened 2000 years ago. WLC is an example of somebody who makes a diligent effort to bear the burden of proof for said claims. Put that aside for a moment because…

      … there is another set of claims here; the claim that, “there is copious evidence that contradicts the resurrection of Jesus.” This is unequivocally a claim with respect to the existence of something very specific, namely “copious evidence.” Your claim was not that “evidence for A is absent” but rather, that “evidence for NOT A is copious.” The burden of proof is NOT on you to show that it did NOT happen, rather the burden of proof IS on you to show that there IS copious evidence that contradicts the claim that it happened.

      It’s your claim, back it up. I think that’s a reasonable request; after all, it is precisely the same request that is regularly made of Christians and to which many Christians (JW Wartick being one of them) gladly respond.

      Posted by Paul Buller | February 15, 2013, 4:07 PM
  7. I do not think the onus is on the atheist to show that god could have actualised a better world, but such a thing is child’s play, despite Craig and everyone else thinking it is impossible.

    If the theist maintains that heaven is a real place to which the pious are destined, and that place is perfect and free from evil, then not only could god have created a better world in which free creatures reign, but has in fact already done so. Viola!

    There is also further confusion here, it is not a necessary condition for free will that all the options are available. As I sit at my computer there are many possibilities for subsequent actions that are utterly unrealisable given my human limitations. However much I would like to, I cannot take to the sky unaided by technology, nonetheless my free will remains undiminished in light of this fact. In the same light, god could have created a world in which my nature was such that I could not choose evil, but my free will remained intact. Such a world would meet both conditions of Craig’s challenge. We could reasonably conclude that in such a world there would be at-least as much good and no evil at all. Indeed since evil is unrealisable every action I took in this world in a moral context would be good. I see no reason why an all powerful god could not create such a world.

    There is something else that bothers me, if I knew in advance that if I created a world in which free creatures reign able to choose both good and evil, that it would very likely result in a tremendous amount of harm and suffering to its inhabitants because of the free choices they would likely make. Would the moral thing be to create this world, or not create it? I would need a extremely good reason to create that world, one sufficient enough to outweigh the colossal amount of suffering I would be ultimately responsible for bringing into being. What possible reason could there be for such an action? The most moral choice, if I was intent on creating a world, would be to create one in which the inhabitants capacity for causing misery and suffering was (if not absent) severely diminished. I think it silly to suppose that human nature could not have been designed to have a lesser capacity for causing harm than it presently does. Leave human capacities for causing harm alone, just create a world in which there were less ways for people to suffer. Better yet create a world in which nuclear weapons were rendered impossible by the laws of physics, you have just saved thousands of lives right there. How about creating a world in which natural disasters are impossible. Hell, less pointy things would be an improvement.

    These are just a few off the cuff remarks but I hope they will be enough to see that Craig’s challenge can easily be met, and also God has a lot to answer for before you can even start to say he is a moral being let alone a perfect one.

    Posted by Benjamin Thornton | January 31, 2014, 12:28 AM
  8. The solution of problem of evil proposed by Craig is wrongly presented. Of course that if you have a world with imperfect free will individuals, you will have evil. But being God omnibenevolent, he couldn’t have permited that way (the ends are not justified by the means). And being omnipotent, he should have provided a different way of existence in which evil can’t exist. Something similar to the Angelic Realms (good and free will individuals). Or perhaps a different set of circunstances. Actually not a world in which all species have to eat each other in order to survive. Couldn’t have we taken energy from the sun, or from the soil or similar? We humans, imperfect as we are, are begining to build machines with energy supplies that are not depending on killing another individuals in order to get the necessary energy for living…

    Posted by Francis | April 29, 2014, 8:58 AM
    • Thanks for your comment and thoughtful words.

      I think there are a few problems with your presentation of the issue. First, you’ve begged the question: ” being God omnibenevolent, he couldn’t have permitted that way (the ends are not justified by the means). And being omnipotent, he should have provided a different way of existence in which evil can’t exist.”

      These are exactly the contentions which are up for debate. One can’t simply say that “Oh, the problem of evil shows God doesn’t exist because the premises of the problem of evil are indisputable,” but that’s basically what you’ve said. The only evidence you provided was to basically restate the premises of the logical problem of evil. Thus, you’ve begged the question.

      Second, the question over “nature red in tooth and claw” is a different topic and sort of demonstrates, like Rosenberg did in this debate, an oscillation between the logical and probabilistic problems of evil. In any case, saying that God “could have” done something differently is hardly a reason to dispute God’s existence. Saying God “should have” done something differently is basically just saying you have better knowledge than an omniscient being would have.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 29, 2014, 9:43 AM
      • In his first rebuttal, Craig dedicated less than a minute to the main attack from Rosenberg, namely the logical problem of evil. He just limited to say that it was controversial, and gave some elussive argument.

        It is the classical tactic of pre-assuming something (the existence of god) and then search for an explanation that fits with the assumed thing. Needless to say that it should be the other way around. It is like shooting and arrow to the sky and when if falls to the ground paint a target around it.

        But the logical problem of Evil still remains. Sinnot-Armstrong gave good account on this subject in his debate with WLC (which I recommend if you haven’t got it yet). He basically said that the only way to turn it down is to admit that god is not all powerful or it is not all loving (I personally prefer the former).

        See that I do not say that the problem of evil demonstrate that God does not exist. I’m just saying that his existence is only compatible with evil if you assume some of these two premises. Any other way to get around it is a fruitless effort.

        I personally think that we humans have infinitely magnified God. In the same way that ants if they could think they would say that humans are omnipotent, we too have thought that way about God. May be God is a very very powerful being, able to create the universe, etc. But even being able to create a universe does not demonstrate that the creator is omnipotent. Moreover you can confirm that argument when you see childs with genetic malformations, or birth chronic deseases.

        Posted by Francis | April 29, 2014, 2:39 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Summary and audio: William Lane Craig debates Alex Rosenberg: Does God Exist? « Wintery Knight - February 1, 2013

  2. Pingback: Resumo de Debate: William Lane Craig debates Alex Rosenberg: Deus existe? | A Razão da Esperança – Apologética Cristã - February 2, 2013

  3. Pingback: Resumo de Debate: William Lane Craig x Alex Rosenberg: A Fé em Deus é Razoável? | A Razão da Esperança – Apologética Cristã - February 2, 2013

  4. Pingback: An interesting Debate « On the Apex - February 6, 2013

  5. Pingback: Summary and audio: William Lane Craig debates Alex Rosenberg: Does God Exist? | Wintery Knight - May 30, 2013

  6. Pingback: William Lane Craig Alex Rosenberg debate: Does God Exist? Video, MP3 audio and summary | Wintery Knight - August 18, 2013

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