Monday, July 06, 2009

In Defense of Theistic Arguments: Craig, Dennett & McGrath MP3 Audio

This is not a formal or informal debate. This is a formal philosophy conference exchange in which William Lane Craig, Daniel Dennett, and Alistair McGrath were attendees. In this audio, William Lane Craig delivers the primary lecture (45 min) defending Theistic arguments against criticisms by Daniel Dennett. This is followed by responses by Daniel Dennett (15 min) and Alistair McGrath (5 min).

[HT: WLC Comprehensive Debate List]

Full MP3 Audio here.



  1. Roberto G July 6, 2009

    In the few public forums I've listened to, Dr. Dennett is merely dismissive of the arguments and lines of reasoning presented by the Christian. This alone makes him look bad because he doesn't seriously engage his opponent. But once you listen to his own lines of argument, you are hardpressed to come up with valid reasons to NOT consider his own claims reversible and therefore self-refuting.

  2. Eric July 6, 2009

    Dennet's response amounted to this: Yes, Dr. Craig, your arguments are logically airtight and your premises are plausible, but that's not good enough anymore! If science has taught us anything, it's that our intuitions about plausibility aren't reliable.

    My first question would be, is this really what science has taught us?

    It seems to me as if it's one thing to say, "Guess what — time is relative," and both to explain what that means and to justify it (using, of course, our intuitions at each step of the way), and another thing entirely to say, "Guess what — something came from nothing, and the something brought itself into existence!" The former is prima facie implausible but at least conceivable; the latter sounds like gibberish.

    Also, if we refuse to rely on our intuitions of plausibility when constructing arguments, how is philosophy, or even science, at all possible?

    Finally, Dennett seems to be setting the bar for what is to count as a good argument too high by requiring premises that are not merely plausible, but scientifically supportable. Not only that, but his conclusion (viz. that good arguments require scientifically justified premises) strikes me as self defeating, since any argument supporting it can't rest on scientifically supported premises, but must instead rest on the sorts of plausible philosophic premises that many of Craig's arguments rely upon.

  3. dvd July 7, 2009

    That was a wonderful perfomance by Craig and it was pretty obvious Dennet was not really prepared to take that on. Of course, he didn't have the time, but I don't think it would've mattered.