Why Richard Dawkins Won't Debate Craig: "I'm Busy"

Richard Dawkins responds to the question at the recent Intelligence Squared debate at Wellington College in Berkshire, over his refusal to engage with prominent philosopher of religion, William Lane Craig.

HT: Gil S at the new Rational Thoughts blog

Update:

Wintery Knight has some good analysis here:

Dawkins’ reasons in point form (with Wintery Knight’s commentary):

  • Dawkins claims that he is willing to debate high-ranking clergymen (but Craig is a scholar, not a clergyman)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig is a creationist (but Craig supports his kalam cosmological argument with the Big Bang)
  • Dawkins claims that Craig’s only claim to fame is that he is a professional debater (but see Craig’s CV and publications below, which is far more prestigious than Dawkins’)
  • Dawkins claims that he’s too busy.

What are the real reasons why he won’t debate Craig?

I can think of three reasons why Dawkins would avoid a debate with Craig:

  1. He doesn’t know how to defend atheism and disprove theism in public
  2. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand logic and study evidence
  3. He doesn’t want to debate a real scholar and be humiliated in public, like Hitchens and Dennett

My opinion is that he is guilty of all 3 of these.

Jason Engwer at Triablogue quotes ChristianJR4, who posted the clip:

“To me, it sounded like Dawkins was saying he wouldn’t debate Craig because he doesn’t have any other claim to fame besides him being a really good debater. Of course that’s patently false. Craig’s academic credentials and fame far outstrip any of Dawkin’s past debate opponents against theists… It’s quite amusing, to say the least, that after 2 full years of hearing about him, Dr. Dawkins still doesn’t have a clue about who Dr. Craig is. He doesn’t know, for example, that Craig is a world renowned philosopher of Religion (indeed he’s considered to be at the top of his field). He doesn’t know that Craig is a ‘leading philosopher of space and time’ (Quentin Smith quote). He doesn’t know that Craig’s claim to fame is actually on the Kalam Cosmological Argument, not his debating.”

42 replies
  1. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    That is pathetic. “Too busy” amounts to “unwilling” when he could pick the date and it would be on. Unwilling to defend his book and views by actually engaging with the strongest arguments from their leading proponents, his ideas can remain unchecked and his mind unchallenged. If he is to have a glimmer of intellectual respectability when it comes to atheism or theism, he needs to front up. Of course, avoiding something he will surely loose is also a good tactic.

    On Dawkin’s writing I like the comment my history professor best, “Me thinks he doth protest too much.”

  2. Alfred TUbble
    Alfred TUbble says:

    “Unwilling to defend his book and views by actually engaging with the strongest arguments from their leading proponents, his ideas can remain unchecked and his mind unchallenged.”

    Dawkins has debated so many religious leaders that it is absurd to say that he is avoiding being questioned.

    Creationists and evangelists wants to debate Dawkins because that would boost their ratings and it would look good on their cv. You can’t blame Dawkins for not wanting to help them with this. It doesn’t look good on his cv. It is also a very strange complaint to make during a debate where he is answering the very criticism you accuse him of avoiding. You can’t expect the man to debate every faithhead who has a problem with him.

    And what are these strongest arguments anyway?

  3. Ken
    Ken says:

    It’s meaningless to argue faith against fact. Creationist have a “God given” ability to ignore any scientific fact presented to them.

  4. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Hello Alfred TUbble,

    Ignorance of the arguments for theism fits the Dawkins profile. And ignorance of William Lane Craig is inexcusable if Dawkins want to consider himself an authority in Philosophy of Religion.

    Creationists and evangelists wants to debate Dawkins because that would boost their ratings and it would look good on their cv. You can’t blame Dawkins for not wanting to help them with this. It doesn’t look good on his cv.

    It would actually be the opposite. If a Dawkins /Craig debate were to take place this would be a boon to Dawkins CV, and look bad on Craig – who is, unlike Dawkins, a serious thinker when it comes to Philosophy of Religion and the God question.

  5. Keith
    Keith says:

    Alfred seems to be unaware of Craig’s profile and record as a cosmologist and philosopher in the public sphere, of which Dawkins would be very much aware. Dawkins would have to to very well prepared indeed, and on his best behaviour, to come out unscathed.

  6. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    And if he debates Christians he already debates creationists, so even his answer is confused on the issue. To be fair, Dawkins might be construing a “Creationists” to mean, is commonly done, a Young-earther, but then Craig is not on of those.

  7. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    It’s meaningless to argue faith against fact.

    Ken thinks faith and fact are mutually exclusive categories… an erroneous belief.

    Creationist have a “God given” ability to ignore any scientific fact presented to them.

    At first I want to ask, “What scientific fact negates what article of faith?” and “How does science refute God’s existence?” And then I reflect on Ken’s previous sentence (quoted first) and wonder at the inconsistency there.

    Then I want to say, “Atheist’s (at least the popular level proponents of Atheism) have a God-given ability to ignore – or at least refuse to engage seriously with – the strongest theistic arguments.”

  8. Robin Boom
    Robin Boom says:

    John Maynard Keynes said “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?”

    I think this quote aptly fits both Young Earth Creationists and diehard Atheists when it comes to their refusal to consider evidence which opposes their own pet paradigm.

  9. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    I think a debate between these two would be fruitless. Both Dawkins and Craig merely turn up to debates with their favourite arguments, and then they’d sort of talk past each other.

  10. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    I don’t think thats a valid observation at all. Craig always takes care to address his opponents arguments.
    And I think seeing Dawkins utterly debunked would be quite satisfying.

  11. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Well I suppose they do counter each others’ arguments, but it is always by way of reference back to their own arguments/poionts. Which are…..not tired and old so much as it’s just that we all know their views already.

    And I think seeing Dawkins utterly debunked would be quite satisfying.

    I find this simpleton comment disappointing. I would like to know, Stuart, whether you posess the sophistocation to realise that if such a debate happened, an atheist might watch the very same debate as you and conclude that Craig was ‘utterly’ debunked. If so, what do you make of this? And can you bear to admit that there are good arguments against your worldview?

  12. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    No, I don’t think there are good arguments against Christian theism. I can bear the fact that there are arguments, but none I think are successful. Plus it would be quite an impressive accomplishment, not only to strip down all the arguments of Natural Theology but also to erect successful arguments for atheism.

    I can understand someone else, say an atheist, seeing a debate where I thought the Christian won the debate, and the atheist attendee thought their champion won the day. That’s understandable. But I try to be as objective and reasonable as possible when I see debates, and in all I’ve seen and heard, which is a great many, I’ve honestly never thought Craig has lost. There have been a couple of closer call, where it hasn’t been so obvious, but Craig’s victories are most often very clear. Debates come down to who has the better arguments and counter-arguments and, to put it simply and clearly, Theism has the better arguments and counter-arguments, and atheism does not.

  13. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Likewise I don’t think there are successful arguments for theism, but that’s only because I’ve already decided on where I want to see evidence. And I’ve decided on where I want to see evidence based on my worldview. So the deck’s already stacked. I think it’d be the same for you. For instance, I don’t find many of Dawkins’ arguments “atrociously poor” because they are in the realm/area in which I want answers from theism. I have to say I quite like Craig and I think many of his arguments entirely valid. I just don’t feel at all threatened by them because they are all so distant from my focus which is the scientific method, really.
    Similarly, I guess, you don’t find it a compelling argument that there is no scientific evidence of god, while I do.

  14. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Other Simon,

    First, the frank admission that you think the arguments for theism are unsuccessful only because you’ve already decided on where you want to see evidence is welcome. It shows you are blinkered by your worldview. You may accuse of me of the same, but then it comes down to the reasonableness of the arguments for and against, doesn’t it?

    Second, if you think Craig’s arguments valid, and the premises are true or at least more probable than their contradictories, then you’re rationally obliged to believe in the conclusions, whether you feel like it or not.

    Third, why should the idea that there is no scientific evidence for God matter to you? Do you expect there to be, given the concept of God?

    Fourth, why should scientific evidence for God’s existence be a requirement for rationally believing in God, when you think that many of Craig’s arguments that use scientific evidence and arguments in the premises (especially the Kalam Cosmological Argument which employs the best cosmogonical model, and the Teleological Argument which uses the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life), are valid in their entirety?

  15. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Stuart,

    Yes I would accuse you of the same. But I think you are wrong that it “comes down to the reasonableness of the argument”. Because how reasonable we think an argument is depends on where we want to see evidence. For instance, I don’t think the argument [for god] from morality is very reasonable because I want to see direct empirical, falsifiable evidence for god, not just an argument. But you, I assume, think that the argument from morality is a good argument and you are not so concerned with the lack of scientific/falsifiable evidence.
    In this way, you and I don’t even agree on the reasonableness of an argument, wouldn’t you agree? (Or do you disagree with the reasonableness of this argument! Lol.)

    I do expect there to be scientific evidence for god because that is the benchmark; the standard we use for everything else. Nothing is off limits to science except crazy and contrived situations like “we were all made yesterday with implanted memories” or “god purposefully avoids being visible to science”.

    In any case I think that there are many arguments for god which make sense and are good arguments. Certainly I think I can rationally counter most of them, but they are still arguments with some merit. For instance, the Kalam argument has merit if you are happy with a first cause or a self-extant being. The design argument has merit because things are so complicated. Admittedly it has lost its edge with evolution, but it still has merit. The moral argument for god is far simpler than a natural argument and that is a plus. And the grounding of knowledge is a far simpler affair using a god to base it upon.
    All of these arguments have merit and I am quite happy to admit that even while, of course, I can find problems with them. In fact I’m sure I have explicated my non black-and-white stance before. But I do not see this from you Stuart. I think you are afraid of acknowledging even the slightest validity in areas which you see as a potential threat. And, well, I think that a worldview which is so fearful is heading in the wrong direction. I think that the worldviews most worthy of respect are not ones that are nervously guarding their logical justifications, but ones which are free of fear enough to acknowledge validity wherever it lies – even if in opposing worldviews.

  16. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Other Simon,

    While “reasonableness” can reasonably be construed as a person-relative notion, that is not how I use the term. The MAJOR problem with your response then is, that reasonableness – or that which accords to the rules of inference, and is thus right-thinking – is not subject to personal interpretations. They are universal truths and apply even if you don’t want them to or your worldview prevents you from accepting the conclusions.

  17. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Stuart,

    Okay, so how about scientific evidence for god? That is something I think we disagree on. I think God should be visible to science, and I assume you think otherwise. We both have reasons. Now. How can it be decided, using reasonableness, which viewpoint is ‘correct’?

  18. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Other Simon,

    Is this really your argument?

    (1) Empirical science is the standard of knowledge used for everything.
    (2) God is not visible to science.
    (3) Therefore, God does not exist.
    or (3`) Therefore, We cannot know God.

  19. Bob
    Bob says:

    Empiricism (empirical science) is just a process not a world view.

    http://atheism-analyzed.net/First%20Principles.htm

    Empiricism, Naturalism and Materialism

    Because the “ought imperative” of Principle 4a is the necessary and sufficient principle upon which Naturalism and Materialism are based, it is easily shown that the transcendent nature of the underlying foundation of these concepts produces a contradiction that violates the anti-transcendent worldviews themselves.

    In other words, Naturalism and Materialism declare that intuition and other transcendences cannot exist, yet the basis for Naturalism and Materialism is itself necessarily intuitive and transcendent.

    So Naturalism and Materialism deny their own foundational validity, and thus are paradoxical (violate the Principle of Non-Contradiction), and so are neither coherent nor valid.

    This paradox is fatal, rationally speaking, for Naturalism and Materialism, but not for Empiricism, because Empiricism has voluntarily chosen to limit its range of investigation, and, in theory any way, does not say anything at all about transcendences or about value systems, except that they are out of the range of the testability and verification constraints placed upon Empirical processes. (Empiricism is a process, not a worldview or value system).

    In this manner Empiricism retains its validity as a process for obtaining information about physical reality. Naturalism and Materialism are seen to be invalid, non-coherent worldviews, spun off from Empiricism, but no longer identical to it.

    So there you go, don’t confuse yourself between those three anymore.

  20. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Hi Bob,

    You’ll find that it is Others Simon who extrapolates Naturalism from Empiricism. This is evident as he uses the label “Empiricism” to justify Naturalism. Witness comment # 17 December 2009 at 7:25 pm.

  21. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Bob,

    Empiricism is my worldview.

    In other words, Naturalism and Materialism declare that intuition and other transcendences cannot exist, yet the basis for Naturalism and Materialism is itself necessarily intuitive and transcendent.

    Who says that naturalism and materialism declare that intuition cannot exist? I think that we can arrive at naturalsim while fully observing our intuition in operation.

  22. Pilgrim
    Pilgrim says:

    A little harsh perhaps Jas – Dawkins has after all publically debated Lennox and in the past (I think in 1986) even debated two creationists whose names I can’t remember. From what I’ve seen, he was hardly humiliated in either situation, though Craig would be a tougher nut to crack, or more accurately, try and hold his ground against. It’s a pity that there are few lergy people really qualified in debating him. Perhaps Alister McGrath could be a good one, but maybe he’s not ‘important’ enough.
    Craig’s main sin I suppose would be being a Fellow of the Discovery Institute, hence associated with evolution doubters, which for Dawkins means he is beyond the pale – for the moment anyway. I’d love to see them face up against each other tho!
    On another note, I’m dubious w.r.t. Bob’s claim that Empiricism is a process – linguistically I don’t see how that fits the usual “ism” pattern, but whatevs really; I’m no fan of dragged out posting wars.

  23. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuYoU_IFQz8&feature=PlayList&p=9697B9FCC0507346&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=82

    Stuart. This video shows what I mean by their ‘old favourite arguments’.

    I just had an idea. I think that the appropriate match is Daniel Dennett vs. Lane Craig. People here seem to think that Craig demolishes Dawkins, but this is because Dawkins is not arguing at the philosophical level (NOT that I advocate that the philosophical level is somehow better.). Craig is, and so I think Dennett is the appropriate adversary, as he is a philosopher.

  24. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    Other Simon

    It seems to me that my observation still stands – that Craig always takes care to address his opponents arguments. The video does not disprove that observation, or even contradict it. I’m at a loss to think what the video link you provided does prove and why you would offer it. In any case, quasi mud-slinging such as this just doesn’t pull any weight with me as what matters is the arguments themselves – not how many times the arguments are presented. Its the same level as argumentation as “I agree with you because you have a British accent.” If you have a counter-argument to anything, then make it. If you don’t, accept that atheism is less rational than theism, or if not that then at least that Theism is rational.

    Craig does demolish what Dawkins calls the “central argument” of his book. See here.

    “The philosophical level?” What do you mean by this? Richard Dawkins’ is discoursing on philosophical matters, with philosophers, using philosophy.

    The first thing that sprang to mind is Dennett has debated Craig. But as far a I can tell Craig has only responded in a 45 min talk to a dialogue between McGrath and Dennett in 2007, and Dennett responded to Craig in ten minutes. This I have listened to and the response of Dennett was admittedly brief and woefully dismissive. An overview and “snarky” response can be found here. Apropos Dennett in debate; he has taken on Plantinga where I hear he was demolished quite thoroughly. See here.

  25. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    I don’t think debaters’ counter each others arguments much. I just think they argue for their story making more sense. I think that video shows this exactly. But I’m not claiming that only Craig does it; they all do, I think.

    I smile at your thinking that what matters to you are the arguments themselves. Do you really think you’re that impartial? Do you really think that your worldview doesn’t lean you towards pre-conclusions? I don’t think I am, and so I do not have the faith in ‘logic’ as you do.

    Craig does demolish……woefully dismissive…….demolished quite thoroughly.

    I just don’t know how to show you how to step outside of your own skin, Stuart. This is defensive language; language of fear.
    The funny thing is, though, that I’m sure you’d agree at the end of the day that you wouldn’t be a Christian if it weren’t for certain emotional experiences. I think you are afraid to engage with this fact. I think you are embarrased by it. Because it means that your position is not so ‘logically’ sound. This constant barrage of one-sided ‘logic’ is there to avoid the inevitable conclusion: that one’s views on so-called ‘logical’ arguments is almost entirely dependent upon personal experience.
    Coming to terms with this dependence on personal experience would at once mean that you would have to drop the act – that all this ‘logic’ is one-sided and that everyone must bow down to a god or be illogical!
    Do you not see that religion is there precisely so that you don’t have hide behind coldness and ‘logic’. Spirituality is firstly – or only even – about emotional health and openness; emancipation and redemption. And an emotionally open and healthy person does not go round with their fingers in their ears, insisting that there is one logic, it leads to god, and everyone who thinks otherwise is ‘illogical’.

    So, I put it to you that you would (i) not be a Christian if it were not for key emotional, experiential reasons, and (ii) Yours (and mine, and everyone’s) views on what is ‘logical’ is very dependant on these emotional experiences. And that, therefore, logic is not so sound at all.

  26. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    I’m sorry Other Simon, but psycho-analysing me in the stead of an argument is simply not persuasive and – beside bordering on ridiculous – pretty rude.

    Why do you put the word logic in inverted commas?

    No I don’t think that I am not pre-disposed toward certain conclusions – I am. But I also think that you are pre-disposed towards conclusions as well – conclusions that happen to be opposing to the beliefs I hold. So what we need is something to arbitrate. And that thing is logic. And what I mean by logic is the well-established rules of right reasoning. For some of those rules visit here

    Also, presumably you think you are arguing with sound reason. But you equivocate on the word ‘logic’ in your syllogism. What I think plausible in light of my emotional state or experiences is no cause to question logic itself and its rules of right reasoning. Also, you would do well to consider that any view which disposes of logic does nothing to persuade others to take it seriously, nor is it cause to have confidence in itself.

  27. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Sorry I don’t mean to be rude. I think this stuff extremely pertinent. I am trying to get at my point which is that logic doesn’t help, well, at all really. Because there are arguments for god, and there are arguments against god. Even if the rules of logic are sound and undisputable, whether we accept the premises is entirely constructed upon our worldview, our upbringing, our emotions etc.

    For instance I don’t accept the premises of the Kalam Cosmological argument, and you don’t accept my premise that everything is empirically verifiable. We accept these premises as human beings; biased ones. How much of our opinions on these premises are biases from our constructed worldvies? Probably quite a lot. Logic does not help us in deciding whether to accept these premises, we do not accept premises using logic.

    Now I do agree with you that logic is very important. You are correct that we should only listen to coherency and sound logic. But – and this is why I put logic in inverted commas – it can not be used, as you seem to think it can, to arbitrate on absolutely everything. If you think it can, well, this would be a stunning naivete.

  28. Simon
    Simon says:

    Reminds me of a quip from someone around Hume’s time that goes something like…

    A little bit of philosophy will make one an atheist, a lot will make one a theist.

  29. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Simon,

    I rather think it should be “A little bit of philosophy will make you an atheist, a little bit of theism will make a lot of philosophy” Lol.
    For where else does one turn when justifying largely non-existent ‘phenomenon’!

  30. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    First, whether you accept or reject a premise in an argument on the basis of prior commitments to a worldview, or emotional reasons, or due to upbringing is no indictment of logic itself, or on the efficacy of logic to arbitrate between divergent beliefs.

    Second, logic also arbitrates on your reasons for accepting and rejecting premises. While we do accept premises for a variety of reasons other than logical ones, logic can be used to arbitrate on those reasons and straighten out poor thinking.

    I find it very convenient that you think logic’s applicability can legitimately be curtailed. This follows the pattern of other discussion we have had. You are happy to use logic so far as it goes, but whenever your view runs amok you are quick to eject sound logic and coherency leaving incoherence in its place. For instance you will shrug off criticisms such as “self-refuting” as necessary rather than necessarily false. Such selectivity is as hoc at best.

  31. Other Simon
    Other Simon says:

    Stuart,

    Yes, I agree, we can use logic in investigating premises. But one can not investigate forever. The cascades of reasoning that go into investigating a premise are easily overtaken by subjectivity. In fact, I think that subjectivity is alredy taking place at the logical argument level – before even looking into the premises – followed by after-the-fact justifications. I think this is trivially true, don’t you? I think that any thinking person can see this.

    I think that logic is useful, yes. Unlike you I seem to be able to admit that there are valid arguments on most sides for most topics. Perhaps this also reflects our differing worldviews. You seem to think that since the world is as you believe it to be, that logic must necessarily be on your side, and you are very sensitive to this. I, on the other hand, think that there is a world out there, but that our understanding of it is fuzzy. Which is exactly why there are conflicting logical arguments out there! My worldview – empiricism – allows me to be free to acknowledge opposing arguments. I think it is a pity that you can’t do the same.
    I often end up arguing the opposing side not because I ardently believe that it is the only valid view out there, but because you, with nowhere to go with your all-or-nothing worldview, must necessarily claim that it is “demolished” or “woeful”. It is not that I think your arguments are invalid; it is your belief that things are all one-sided that is wrong. You would command a great deal more respect – and converts – if you were able to just state things as they are (NOT one-sided).

    As for my beliefs. Have a look at this; this is interesting, too! You say “For instance you will shrug off criticisms such as “self-refuting” as necessary”
    Because it is my view that the world out there is genuinely unknown. Unknown in the sense that virtually none of our knowledge of the world is absolute; and this has been shown throughout history, we make models of the world and we improve on them. It is not true that empiricism is self-refuting*, because it is recognised that empiricism is but a model of the world, too. As is the previous statement! And I can be cognisant of this even while stating it. What you percieve as self-refutation is really the acknowledgment of the limits of our knowledge, but at the same time a recognition that our knowledge has validity.
    Besides, the only reason that your epistemology is not recursive, too, is that you have a cheat card; just claim that god zapped things such that they are the way they are.

    At any rate, you do not agree with me that knowledge is a gradual, tentative and empirical process. You want there to be absolutes. If there are absolutes you can prove that Christianity is true. And I find it interesting that this is almost the antithesis of the way it actually works. Virtually no one, if anyone at all, becomes a Christian because of logic. Not because Christianity is not logically defendable, but because logic does not serve Christianity any more than most other worldviews.

    *Or rather it is self-refuting if you can’t apply empiricism to the concept of empiricism itself. But you can.

  32. Constant
    Constant says:

    I like your explanation Bob :) In my opinion (and yours from what I gather) empirical science can only make truth statements with regards to what it can measure. We can only measure a thing which the 5 senses can perceive and comprehend. We know the results are facts (true). We can then also make reasonable deductions based on the results. In other words, we make a leap of faith. In my experience every worldview (whether Christian or atheist) is based on empirical truths and deductions based on those truths (faith).

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thats such a simplistic analysis of the terms and Craig's affiliation with them as this deserves a chiding response.

    Craig is a creationist in the sense he believes that God is responsible for the creation. He is not a creationist in the sense that the term is most commonly employed today (often derogatorily), which would be a young-earth-literal-6-day-creationist. I don't think Craig does say he is a progressive creationist, but rather that he is comfortable with a progressive creationism. But even that more nuanced description of his view shows he is not a creationist (in the way that is meant in modern usage, and probably by Dawkins in the video).

    Intelligent design is not creationism (which is a theological doctrine). It is a scientific hypothesis (with theological implications). What the court actually determined was that what was masquerading as Intelligent Design in that instance was actually creationism supported by those with their own theological agenda. Besides that fact that courts do not prove anything – their job is to assess the evidence and show that the truth or falsehood of something is beyond reasonable doubt, the court has nothing to do with determining what does and does not count as a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

    So Ramses, its probably best to keep your proverbial mouth shut rather than offer such superficial analysis as the above.

  34. Jared Clarke
    Jared Clarke says:

    Stuart, even if Ramses is wrong, does that justify such an arrogant tone? We don't acquire knowledge without effort and work but as Christians we also know that everything we enjoy is ultimately a gracious gift from God (1 Cor 4:7). Shouldn't this give us cause for humility – especially when confronting someone who lacks what we have? And even if unable to show humility, surely respect? You're doing great work in your ministry, but as Christians, I pray we can do better.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Jared Clark. If I said your response to me was condescending and abusive, what would you say? You have accused me of no less than being arrogant, prideful, and disrespectful.

    My response: I don't write with a tone so its surprising to me you can read one there. But maybe you are right and my reply to Ramses does have a tone: then the shoe you claim I wear fits your foot as well. The differences are that yours is hiding behind a veil of spirituality, and mine is attacking the ideas and not the man.

    When ideas are bad – they are bad, and I'm not afraid to call them such. Some ideas are even deserving of ridicule.

  36. Jared Clarke
    Jared Clarke says:

    I'm not saying there isn't a place for criticism. Not at all. I wouldn't have made my comments if I thought otherwise. But telling someone they should keep their mouth shut? I'm struggling to see how you could imagine such a response as respectful discourse. You've warned commenters on this site for far less.

  37. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    Jared Clark. "Better remain silent than open ones mouth and be thought a fool." I take that as good advise. Is passing on the same advise as scripture disrespectful?

  38. Jared Clarke
    Jared Clarke says:

    The Bible also says that the fool denies God in his heart, and I take that as good advice, but that doesn't mean it's the first thing I should say to my atheist friends.

    You may take Proverbs 17:28 as good advice yourself (I'm tempted to say that if you really did, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place) but that doesn't mean it's always an appropriate verse to offer in criticism. Especially when it is offered with an air of self-importance, and without sensitivity or respect. Isn't that the kind of attitude that Dawkins is displaying here in this video? As Christians, we're called to higher standards in our discourse (2 Sam. 18:5; Prov. 15:28; 16:23; 1 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:29; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 2:24-25 offer some examples and exhortations). Like I said, I appreciate your work, Stuart, but I disagree with you here.

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