Wednesday, April 06, 2011

William “Atheist’s Bane” Craig Shoots Down Another One.

Lawrence Krauss bails out over PZ Myer's blog

Looking at PZ Myers blog down beat posts here and here it seems that the atheists have “lost” another debate with William Lane Craig. OK I’ll accept that debate isn't the ideal medium in which to settle such profound questions as atheism or theism: Smart footwork and tactics may prevail over content. For example, there is the scatter shot tactic whereby one interlocutor fires off a myriad “small targets” in the form of a set superficial claims. Unless the opposing interlocutor has the information at his finger tips and fleetness of foot to intercept and refute each point in turn the impression may be left that he has lost ground. The YEC community, in particular, is adept at assembling a magazine of superficial and ultimately ineffectual points ready to blast off in one big firework display that awes and/or intimidates the simple minded.

I haven’t looked at the debate yet, but let me guess in advance where the atheists fall down: It’s their insistence that “evidence” is everything. No it isn’t; any more than one constructs and learns a language on the basis of the verbal evidence alone: A language can’t be learnt unless one has the preset mental categories and whatnot ready to act as “place holders” for the incoming data. Likewise we have little hope of understanding this Cosmos unless we have the mental prerequisites in place ready to theorize successfully about the data.

Of course, we can then turn the science of observation and theory onto our own mental faculties, but that leads to self referencing issues and atheists in my experience don’t like self-referencing because it’s too philosophical and slippery and it is remarkably free of "empirical handles" (of the "test tube precipitation" standard). But you can bet your bottom dollar that someone as smart as Craig has self-reference off pat and that gives him an edge.

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