When asked what they thought about the prospect of an October 25th debate in Oxford between Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor William Lane Craig, the San Francisco Atheists were of the same general opinion: they are interested.
An SF Atheists member, Owens Rodriguez, replied that “while I still think that debating Craig is mostly a waste of time based on what I’ve seen of his ‘arguments’ in the past, the more I think about it the more I think it’d be really interesting to watch.”
David Fitzgerald, the SF Atheists’ current representative, expressed that “Wm. Lane Craig is a bit notorious for being a more skilled debater than a skilled thinker.” David gave the example of Dr. Craig’s position on the slaughter of the Canaanites and continued, “Judging from Craig’s debates with opponents like Richard Carrier, Craig seems far more interested in scoring points and propping up the party line than really honestly engaging in intellectual discussion. So I can understand why many think it would be a waste of time to debate with someone like Craig. But for me, if Dawkins decided to participate, then no matter how many rhetorical games Craig plays, it would still be worth watching just for the chance to hear Richard Dawkins!” Dr. Craig’s debate with Richard Carrier can be seen on YouTube here.
SF Atheists’ former representative, David Millett, offered “My personal opinion is that Dr. Craig seems to be grandstanding. A debate for the purposes of showboating seems counterproductive to me. What is Dr. Craig trying to achieve with such a debate? Will he prove the existence of gods?” David went on to explain why proving God’s existence is not
possible, providing examples of evidence and why they are not credible. Dr. Craig claims the existence of God cannot be proved or demonstrated with mathematical certainty, but only shown to be more probable than not.
Neither Dr. Craig nor Dr. Dawkins are seeking the October 25 debate arranged by Premier Christian Radio, Damaris Trust and Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship. In an interview with William Crawley of UK’s BBC Radio Ulster “Everyday Ethics” program, when asked “Does this bother you, that he [Dawkins] won’t debate you?” Dr. Craig replied, “Frankly, no. I think that the expectations on me, if such a debate came up, would be so high, that if he even just managed to survive, people would see this as a victory for him. So, I’m not plumping for this debate at all. This is not something that I’ve sought to do. This is something that other organizations and persons have tried to put together. I welcome it, but I’m not seeking it. I won’t be the least disappointed if this doesn’t come off.”
However—whereas Dr. Craig has accepted the invitation, Dr. Dawkins has refused four invitations sent to him from The British Humanist Association, The Cambridge Debating Union, the Oxford Christian Union and now Premier Radio. This refusal sparked accusations of cowardice in a letter from Oxford philosophy professor (and atheist) Dr. Daniel Came, urging Dr. Dawkins to reconsider debating. This in turn led to an embarrassing article in the UK Telegraph and this viral YouTube video.
Dr. Craig will show up to the October 25 debate in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. If Dr. Dawkins does not, then Dr. Craig will give a critique of Dawkins’ The God Delusion. There will be a table and chair set up for Dr. Dawkins to the last minute.
Richard Dawkins’ events page shows that he is free in October.
Sign the petition for Dawkins and Craig to debate. It’s an old petition rejuvenated by the potential for an October 25th engagement.