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Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in cosmology, Debates | 109 comments

Sean Carroll vs William Lane Craig debate available

The long-awaited debate (well, by me, anyway) is here, on You Tube:

 

 

Having only listened to the opening statements, I think that Carroll gives a great opening statement. I am also interested to see how Craig’s Kalam formulation has changed. He smuggles in transcendental cause in the opening premise. More on that later.

  • http://counterapologist.blogspot.com/ Counter Apologist

    It was fantastic. I want to watch it again before putting a review up, but Carroll pretty much nails it at every turn. You rarely see Craig on the back foot, and he certainly was during this debate. It’s up there with Kagan, Bradley, and Law’s performance.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    I don’t understand something. How is an “argument” equal to “evidence”. I could argue all day that I’m the rightful heir of the King of Siam. But I have no evidence of such.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    Halfway through and I’ve decided on two things: 1) WLC wants everyone to know how smart he is, but doesn’t care if anyone actually understands what he’s talking about. 2) I am waaaay behind on cosmology.

    • GearHedEd

      1) WLC wants everyone to know how smart he is, but doesn’t care if anyone actually understands what he’s talking about

      I would wager, given that Craig has two doctorate level degrees, that this is purely intentional.

  • Luke Breuer

    My comment was marked as spam. :-(

    • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

      I’m not surprised.

      • Luke Breuer

        Irony of ironies, it started this way (this paragraph has no hyperlinks):

        I’m not sure I have anything good to say about WLC’s performance, and I would have to squint to find anything objectionable with Carroll’s performance. Now, this is because I think Carroll is attacking Gnostic Christianity (in the sense of having secret knowledge that does not connect to particle-and-field reality). But when WLC argued that he can know if theology is true by its logical coherence… *facepalm*. Someone recently said that WLC is an evidentialist, which just shocks me given this debate.

        • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

          WLC is like many apologists really a presuppositionalist disguised as an evidentialist. He really believes on faith and nothing will change his mind.

          Craig himself has famously written that his faith and emotional experiences of god take precedence over any possible evidence against it in his apologetic handbook, Reasonable Faith:

          Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. (p. 36)

          • Luke Breuer

            Did my first paragraph match with your preconceptions of me? I’m truly curious; you seemed pretty confident!
            As to WLC, I’d want to see more evidence and not just quote mining. I have found too many atheists and skeptics who set up their ideas about God such that no evidence would actually convince them that the God of the Bible—and I don’t mean my version, I mean the true version—is real. It’s so easy to do this, and pretend to be evidence-based.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker
          • Luke Breuer

            I watched that and wrote a comment about it somewhere but Disqus killed dashboard search. If at some point later they restore it or I finally create something to scrape my comments and import them into a DB, ping me and I’ll find it.

            Would you answer my question?

            Did my first paragraph match with your preconceptions of me?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            What first paragraph?

          • Luke Breuer
            My comment was marked as spam. :-(

            I’m not surprised.

            Irony of ironies, it started this way (this paragraph has no hyperlinks):

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            If you mean when you wrote “My comment was marked as spam. :-(” my response was a joking remark intended to mean that you comment so much, so often, and often with little substance, that I was not surprised you got marked as spam. But it was just a joke. I personally don’t mind your frequent comments, but sometimes they go down rabbit holes that make me question what’s going on inside your head.

          • Luke Breuer

            And in this case, instead of generally? How about that first paragraph. Was I vague and fuzzy and was it of “little substance”? I’m honestly curious. I have no idea what you consider having substance, except for your own comments, which I presume you think have lots of substance.

          • Void L. Walker

            *hack* (this is beginning to get tense. I want to intervene before the two of your parade around, in typical male fashion, flexing and shoving. Alas, I find that such interventions are of little purpose; they tend to exacerbate the conflicts) *cough*

          • Luke Breuer

            What I’m sick and tired of is (a) The Thinker saying I’m vague and what I say has no substance; (b) not showing me how to do it better. It’s just annoying as all hell. It’s not productive. And yet The Thinker keeps doing it. One definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. But yeah, maybe I should stop being insane. But hey, I want answers. :-|

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            A) When I accuse you of being vague it is warranted. B) I have numerous times followed up by asking you questions that if answered, would allow you to “do it better”. As I recall, one of your recent responses to my accusations of vaguery, was to say something like, “nope, not gonna do it.” Meaning you weren’t even going to try and provide any further detail. Don’t call me insane when you behave this way.

          • Luke Breuer

            I want to see your examples of “do it better”, not your instructions on how I can. I want you to show me the path, not describe the path.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Develop your beliefs with the idea of the skeptic in mind. You know how Aquinas would preempt objections? He’s anticipating tough questions that could challenge his views. You don’t seem to do that. You seem to react to the slightest challenge to your beliefs with the notion that you aren’t expected to provide any detail and work out the obvious difficulties it is going to face. That’s why I accuse you of being fuzzy.

          • Luke Breuer

            I want to see your examples of “do it better”, not your instructions on how I can. I want you to show me the path, not describe the path.

            P.S. I think it’s awesome that you want me to write a Summa Theologica, or peer-reviewable philosophy of religion papers, or something like that. Have you ever thought about going into philosophy of religion? You seem to like the stuff. Perhaps you are published already?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Luke, I am your father.

          • Luke Breuer

            That only works if you’re tall, have an awesome voice, and can choke people with your mind.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            Oh, he is and he can…

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            I can destroy your god with my mind. How’s that?

          • Luke Breuer

            Ehh, all you can do is deny his existence, and he seems happy to let you do that, as long as you’re ok with: (i) the suffering/lack of joy you will experience as a result; (ii) the suffering/lack of joy others will experience as a result. We have some sort of free will whereby God allows (i) and (ii). Lots of folks actually complain about (ii); it seems unfair. My response is that we humans are connected at a deep level, and going into individualist denial about it is just that, denial.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            It’s more like all you can do is assert his existence, even though you can’t even coherently explain anything about it. I’m perfectly fine with denying something that has no evidence, and I’m actually happier that there is no good evidence for the god you worship. When more people break the shackles of theism, they too will realize how much more fulfilling life can be. So just as you assert without evidence that god exists, you also assert that I will suffer and lack joy as a result of denying god without evidence.

          • Void L. Walker

            Luke not to jump in here, but something you said is outright wrong.

            “as long as you’re okay with (i) the suffering/lack of joy you will experience as a result (others was well, etc.)” What suffering, exactly? Please don’t say Hell….because wow. If, on the other hand, you think that anyone who doesn’t buy into your concept of the divine is currently (or destined for) suffering/unhappiness then I would recommend you pause and think this through. I’m very happy with my life, my family, my girlfriend. In fact, I’m happier now than when I was a Christian (after that a Wiccan, then a deist, etc). I derive happiness from the here and now. My experiences in this life are perfectly sufficient, and I know many many others who are in this same boat, yet devoid of faith. The happiness I feel is a deep, intrinsic, real one.

            So please, don’t tell us that we aren’t actually happy, or that we we are destined for suffering and torment. It comes off as pious and arrogant.

          • Luke Breuer

            What suffering, exactly? Please don’t say Hell.

            Hell was not on my mind when I said that. I’m of the CS Lewis persuasion: hell is locked from the inside, by free-will agents who could chose God, as at least one did in The Great Divorce.

            If, on the other hand, you think that anyone who doesn’t buy into your concept of the divine is currently (or destined for) suffering/unhappiness then I would recommend you pause and think this through.

            I have but a model of the divine. I believe in the first two words of the Decalogue.

            So please, don’t tell us that we aren’t actually happy

            I never said that. CS Lewis said that we are sometimes like a kid playing in a mud puddle when there’s a fantastic trip to the beach to be had. Do you find that offensive?

            that we we are destined for suffering and torment.

            I believe that this is in principle unknowable by humans.

          • Void L. Walker

            What I find offensive is that A: you genuinely believe that good people (providing they don’t believe that God knocked up a 14 year old virgin, lived as himself and his own son and then bled out on a couple slabs of wood for our “sins”) are essentially destined for eternal torment and separation from all that is good, and B: You think that we’re ignorant of the metaphorical beach that you mention, insinuating that we’re lost little sheep who, as evil rebels, will never know “true” happiness. Nothing offensive there at all….

          • Luke Breuer

            Where have I asserted A? As to B, I know that such beaches exist for me, and thus infer that they exist for others. If you want to be offended ok, but I think there are much more interesting things in life to get offended about and then act on, to help more people make it to such beaches.

          • Void L. Walker

            Those beaches exist for me too, Luke. I’ve been enjoying a particularly lovely one for many years now. Pretty sure I’m not muddied up in a puddle of ignorance.

            Honestly, you didn’t offend me that much. Actually, in retrospect I’m already over it. But I will say this: you’ve never been in my shoes belief wise, so you’ve not a passing clue as to how it makes me feel, the way that I derive joy from life, etc. I’m on a beach too, man. And it’s beyond beautiful.

          • Luke Breuer

            Perhaps this will help: the Christian believes one can always have more of God, and thus that there is always a better beach. I don’t know whether CS Lewis made this clear or not. I believe God is infinite, and is calling us toward him closer and closer.

            Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Co 3:17-18)

          • Void L. Walker

            That’s nice, Luke. I never asked for clarification/help though :) I’m perfectly happy the way things are, and frankly wouldn’t change it. We could go back and forth comparing our beaches (which would just be weird) all day, but in the end we each have our own happiness derived from our own inquiries into the nature of reality. My beach is just fine as it is :)

          • Luke Breuer

            The reason I am not perfectly happy with my beach is that many people don’t have access to it. And if more people could, I think life would be better for everyone. But that’s my theology speaking. Many want their little private exclusive beaches where the rabble can’t invade. I hold a very opposed view to this. (I’m not imputing any view onto you by the way.)

          • Void L. Walker

            Fair enough. I didn’t misconstrue you so no worries. Good chatting with you, as always. By the way, your last name is interesting. Origin?

          • Luke Breuer

            German beer brewers, way back when! I don’t know the details, though. I’m 1/2 German. The rest is Polish, French, and English. The name is definitely German. The ‘proper’ pronunciation is ‘broyer’.

          • Void L. Walker

            Well now, that is interesting. I am also half German. Also, we seem to share a lot of other blood (English, French, Polish. But I’m also 1/16th Crow). Kinda starting to creep me out, actually….

          • Void L. Walker

            I’m thinking disqus munched another one of my comments. Jesus! It must be full by now…

            I’m half German as well, and we also share English, Polish and French blood (I use the term “share” loosely here). Luke, am I the only one creeped out by this?

          • Luke Breuer

            LOL @ “full by now”. I compose all but my shortest comments in a text editor that (a) makes HTML easier; (b) doesn’t eat comments for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; (c) doesn’t do weird shit when I paste things in it.

            It is very hard to creep me out. Maybe it’s my rampant patternicity and agenticity. :-p

          • Void L. Walker

            Ah, thanks for the advice. I’d hate to further contribute to the weight problem that disqus has (don’t tell it that I said that, very emotional being). Very hard to creep you out, eh? Haha….trust me, I can creep anyone out (and that is certainly nothing to boast of).

          • Void L. Walker

            Tsk tsk. Darth did not use his mind. He channeled the force using his bodily energies, and guided it with his those same energies. Learn the force, Luke.

          • Void L. Walker

            That made me pee a little.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            I’ve given you ample amount of advice about how you can “do it better”: it’s up to you to make the most of that advice.

          • Luke Breuer

            The Thinker, these are all quotations by you. I’m going to sketch out what kind of person you are coming across as.

            The Thinker: P.S. I’m usually right, so no I don’t recall admitting with you that I was ever wrong on an important matter.

            Whether or not you made this tongue-in-cheek, this is how you come across. And it is false, just false. I’ve shown you time and again how your model of my ideas is terrible, and you never fully admit it. You’ll say “I’m getting confused over your idea of god.“, but the confusion lasts less time than the time it takes to say “You’re wrong and I’m right”. After all, you’re usually right. Oh, and what constitutes “an important matter”? Whatever you, The Thinker, deem to be important. Obviously.

            Now, here is you projecting your views on “mainstream Christianity”, as if (a) there is a single “mainstream Christianity”; (b) you have any clue as to what it is, vs. your personal, anecdotal interpretation + selection-bias-prone media view of Christianity:

            The Thinker:

            Luke Breuer: And where do you get the idea that it is “the traditional, mainstream view”? What evidence are you basing this off of?

            Umm, your favorite book, the Bible. You know, the book that you hold tightly in your arms every night when you go to sleep.

            I actually have no idea what the traditional view is, or even if there is one traditional view.

            Then where you get the balls telling me that I’ve mischaracterized the traditional, mainstream view within Christian moral thinking?

            Christianity, along with all the other Abrahamic religions, is based on DCT. Offer me an alternative if you can.

            Here is the clever burden-of-proof shift, the thing theists are accused of doing all of the time. I ask you why you think DCT is (a) the (b) mainstream Christian view; your response is: (a) can you prove me wrong? (b) my own reading of the Bible. How arrogant of you to speak for the majority of Christians across time and space! And if anything is important, it’s this. And you are “usually right”, so you have confidence in this assertion. What do you probably have? Anecdotal evidence, your personal interpretation, and a skewed news media that mostly reports sensational and horrible things. Great evidence-gathering; every scientist out there would be proud!

            It only takes one The Thinker to attack a Christianity made of straw.

            The Thinker: Now you’re lecturing me about vagueness? Please Luke, you’re in no position to tell me this. I was making a generalized statement about the implications for DCT that most Christians believe and drawing out the logical conclusions of the ethical theory that religions like Christianity requires. So the point I was making was to show how stupid DCT is when you consider its logical conclusion.

            Hah, “generalized statement”. You have no idea whether “most Christians believe” it. You really just don’t. You, The Thinker, have Boghossian-faith: “pretending to know what you do not know”. And, like Boghossian’s caricature of the theist, you are very confident in this truth you ‘know’.

            Lest we forget, my pointing out the above is The Thinker-style crying:

            The Thinker: This unfortunately does nothing to refute my argument that you quoted me saying above. All it is is a whining marathon about how I don’t take into consideration every single nuanced Christian perspective. It’s granted that not all Christians agree with everything. What I was criticizing was the traditional, mainstream view within Christian moral thinking and it’s implications. Try criticizing that for once, and without crying a river.

            Ahh yes, all I’m actually doing is saying that there exist at least three Christians who don’t hold your caricature accurate view of Christianity. I’ll I’m doing is nitpicking; the Christians across space and time are so unified that all of my criticisms are little, niggling, irrelevant nitpicks. Obviously not everyone agrees; even Adam and Eve weren’t allowed to eat from one tree in the garden of many trees. Don’t we all know that there is one single “traditional, mainstream view within Christianity”? Isn’t it obvious? I mean, just look:

            The Thinker: You seem to take issues with the things that every mainstream Christians has no problem with. And then you flat out refuse to offer an alternative view.

            Other than Luke Breuer and the two other crazy Christians, all the rest “have no problem with” The Thinker’s interpretation of Christianity—on the important points, at least. We know that while The Thinker might be wrong on inconsequential things, he gets almost all of the Big Issues correct:

            The Thinker: P.S. I’m usually right, so no I don’t recall admitting with you that I was ever wrong on an important matter.

            Oh and lest The Thinker seem arrogant:

            The Thinker: I’m willing to be proved wrong with a detailed response to you. All you like to do is criticize other’s beliefs yet you’re scared to step up to the plate and expose your own.

            All you need is details. Enough details, and The Thinker might like your response! Just ensure that you describe everything down the quark level, so that there is nothing left to criticize. And do not dare to criticize The Thinker in anything until have have provided details. You need balls in order to criticize The Thinker, and I can tell you that compared to him, you haven’t got any. The rule of the land is that you provide details before The Thinker does.That’s just how it is around here, and if you don’t like it, too bad. Just remember:

            The Thinker: And since you’ve got a problem with vagueness, tell me what your ethical theory is and provide detail.

            This is not an invitation to ask The Thinker for his ethical theory. He has no intention of providing it; he wants to hear your view on things. He already knows his view is right on most of the important bits. He wants to “learn about a new Christian perspective to see if it’s anything worth considering.” You know, he wants to see if you might be usually right just like he is!

            Check mate Christians!

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            It is pretty obvious from mainstream Christianity that DCT predominates. God is the “Good” supposedly, and his commands determine our moral duties. The tale of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son is a perfect example of DCT in action within the Judeo-Christian ethical framework. So are the 10 commandments, the genocides, loving your neighbor and all the rest.

            Now I asked you for any rival theories in mainstream Christianity, and you’ve yet to provide one. Suppose one doesn’t exist, then how can I prove to you that it doesn’t? Do you want me to prove a negative? You take issue with the most uncontroversial things within Christianity, perhaps because you’ve got your own customized theology, as more and more theists are beginning to have nowadays. I’m all for theists moving away from orthodoxy, because I find orthodoxy abhorrent. I actually want theists moving away from DCT because I find DCT to be such a repulsive and problematic ethical framework.

            So what evidence do you want me to provide you? That there are no mainstream Christian ethical views based on DCT? Sorry, I can’t find any. Can you? You’re making a positive claim that they exist, so you share a burden of proof along with me.

            Crying yourself a river over my standards just because your fuzzy beliefs can’t meet them is eventually just going to drowned you. You can simply save yourself by following the advice I’ve already given you, and this will help you with all the people you discuss with, especially since you’re fond of secular blogs.

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m just amused that you won’t back up your assertions with proper evidence. I mean, it’s “obvious”, amirite? I’m not compelled to do the work to back up your assertions, The Thinker. That’s your job. You make a positive assertion, you support it. You might be right with DCT, but I just don’t know yet, since you haven’t presented any evidence other than your personal interpretation. Have you even read Wikipedia’s DCT article? Look under “scholasticism” for a start.

            Stop pretending to know what you do not know, The Thinker.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Presumably, you object to the notion that mainstream Christianity is based on DCT, morally speaking, because you know of an objection. And yet when I ask you to provide any examples, you can’t. I mean, how hard is it to write a few words of evidence that supports your claim? Luke, you’re wasting your time. DCT is clearly the ethical theory all the Abrahamic faiths are based on. Would you suggest another ethical framework that rivals DCT? You don’t want to support evidence because you probably can’t, and you want to make a big fuss over an objection that only exists in your mind, because you personally don’t like DCT.

            As far as I know, Aquinas’ natural law theories are the closest one can come to an alternative to DCT. Is that what you support?

          • Luke Breuer

            Positive claims required the proof of burden. What is it about this that you do not understand? Seriously, when I first posted as a Christian on the internet, this was drilled into my head. Why do you not seem to care that you are making wild assertions based on your particular interpretation of the Bible? Because you’re “usually right”?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            I’ve already provided the burden of proof. The history of mainstream Christian thought on ethics plus the nature and stories of the Bible clearly show a DCT to them. This is not based on my particular interpretation of the Bible, this is based on the dominant interpretation of the Bible among mainstream Christians. If you have problem with that, it is perhaps because you fall out of the mainstream view of Christianity because you’ve customized it to your liking.

          • Luke Breuer

            Cite your sources. C’mon, that’s what burden of proof is. Surely you aren’t this daft. I find it much more likely that you’re evading. What will probably happen is either:

                 (1) you let this tangent die
                 (2) you finally do the research you should have done before

            Who knows, maybe you’ll find that “The history of mainstream Christian thought on ethics plus the nature and stories of the Bible clearly show a DCT to them.” Maybe you won’t. But the sources you find, should you choose to actually rise to the burden of proof, will probably say some neat things worth knowing.

            This is not based on my particular interpretation of the Bible, this is based on the dominant interpretation of the Bible among mainstream Christians.

            Source? Who did the comprehensive study? What’s in it?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Oh so you have no knowledge of evidence against my position, you just want something more than the 2000 year history of mainstream Christian thought on ethics and the Bible, right? Oh OK, I get it.

          • Luke Breuer

            More than what? Your word for stuff? Sorry, no thanks, I want references. That “burden of proof” thing that I’m sure you whip out whenever a Christian makes a claim you’re skeptical of.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Well, one can read anything WLC has written about morality. He does represent the mainstream Protestant view. And I’m not denying that there are theists who reject the DCT. I’m saying they are out of the mainstream.

            But how about this, since you are the only person I know who is a Christian and who denies DCT, then how about we have a conversation about ethics? I’d like to know how one constructs an ethical theory as a Christian while rejecting DCT.

            You asked, “But what if morality is fully determined by the laws of nature?” This seems to posit a kind of theistic moral realism. But how does one attempt to sacrifice their son, exterminate a tribe, kill homosexuals and adulterers, abstain from working on the Sabbath, not eat pork and shellfish, and circumcise babies in a way that is “fully determined by the laws of nature?” I don’t see how you can get these things without divine command. Do you have a way?

            If you reject DCT, then do you reject that god is the grounding of moral values? And since god issues commands, don’t his commands constitute our moral duties? I fail to see how you as a Christian can reject this. But maybe I’m wrong. Surprise me.

          • Luke Breuer

            He does represent the mainstream Protestant view.

            Evidence?

            But how about this, since you are the only person I know who is a Christian and who denies DCT

            And what is your sampling of Christians you know? I predict it is extremely biased. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this; most people’s samplings of everything is biased. But you’re speaking on this issue as if you have a solid sampling, and that I just don’t believe. Why should I believe you’re special, here? You’ve given no indication that you are. Indeed, you’ve displayed incredible arrogance (“I’m usually right”), which is a good indication you don’t have a good sampling.

            then how about we have a conversation about ethics?

            I will once I can get you to:

                 (A) not make claims you cannot support

            All you had to do was assert:

                 (B) some Christians hold to DCT

            This would be unremarkably true! But no, you wanted to say “mainstream”, as if there weren’t: (i) Protestantism; (ii) Roman Catholicism; (iii) Eastern Orthodoxy; (iv) Coptic Christianity. And even that probably isn’t fully comprehensive. It’s obvious that you haven’t even read the Wikipedia article:

            Leibniz, and some more recent philosophers, challenged the theory because it seems to entail that God’s goodness consists of his following his own commands. It is argued that, if divine command theory is accepted, God’s obligations would be what he commanded himself to do; the concept of God commanding himself is seen as incoherent. Neither could God hold any virtues, as a virtue would be the disposition to follow his own commands – if he cannot logically command himself, then he cannot logically have any virtues. Edward Wierenga counters this…

            I chased a link and got to IEP’s DCT, which has this:

            Theory includes the claim that morality is ultimately based on the commands or character of God, and that the morally right action is the one that God commands or requires.

            Do you see that “or”? DCT has morality based on:

                 (1) either the commands of God
                 (2) or the character of God

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that your argument depends pretty heavily on it being (1) and not (2). So it’s not clear that you even understand what you’re talking about when you use the term “DCT”.

            I tire of doing your homework for you.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Evidence?

            When it comes to ethics WLC’s defense of DCT is pretty much on par with most Christians, and that is the mainstream view. The problem is that many liberal Christians don’t like some of those commands so they cherry pick. That makes it seem as if they’re rejecting DCT, but when it comes to the warm fuzzy morals, many will say that these are commands from god and represent Christian duties. There are no stats as to what ethical view Christians hold, but DCT has been the most defended view from Augustine all the way up tp WLC and Plantinga. Not all Christians have supported it of course, but they fall out of the mainstream view. When you hear a Christian making the argument on morality, they almost always make it using the DCT.

            And what is your sampling of Christians you know?

            Read what I wrote carefully. I did not say you are the only Christian who denies DCT, I said you are the only Christian I know who denies DCT. I know a few Christians but they’re all fake Christians who don’t really give a shit about any of the stuff we write about, and they have no clue as to what DCT even is.

            I will once I can get you to:

            (A) not make claims you cannot support

            All you had to do was assert:

            (B) some Christians hold to DCT

            From the guy who can’t even support his own personal beliefs this is amazing. Most Christians hold to the DCT. That’s more like it. Ask any Christian what makes gay marriage wrong, and they will most likely point to a passage in the Bible. And they’ll say we have the duty to love our neighbor and god because that’s commanded in the Bible. It all comes down to what’s in the Bible. Now if they’re liberal, they’ll pick and choose what verses in the Bible they want to live by. But all Christians do that to a degree. Liberals just do it more.

            Do you see that “or”? DCT has morality based on:

            (1) either the commands of God
            (2) or the character of God

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that your argument depends pretty heavily on it being (1) and not (2). So it’s not clear that you even understand what you’re talking about when you use the term “DCT”.

            DCT generally states that (1) represents god’s commands and (2) represents god’s ontology. They both represent the source of our duties and of moral values, respectively. So no. Nice try. I give you an “A” for effort though.

          • Luke Breuer

            What a wonderful comment, chock-full of citations and burden of proof. Is it fun pretending to know what you do not know?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            You don’t have a singe argument against mine. You just don’t like the fact that Christian ethics is based on the DCT.

          • Luke Breuer

            Do you have a way?

            Suppose I did. Suppose I spent 20 hours and spun you a fully-detailed, comprehensive explanation for all of the above. Or suppose I spent 20,000 hours and made you a computer simulation that made it all come alive, a la Second Life. What would change? Here’s what I predict: you’d switch the topic to something else. And you’d accuse me of being vague. Where would it end, The Thinker? Where would it end?

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            So you don’t have a way?

          • Luke Breuer

            I want to know if it’s worth my time. I sense you just want to play Whac-a-mole. I don’t.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Again, if you have nothing to bring on your side other than the fact that you don’t like mine, why should I continue this charade?

          • Luke Breuer

            Keep pretending to know what you do not know; it seems to be working for you. As for me and my house, we will respect the evidence and try not to make false claims based on our own provincial view of the world, unless we make the effort to verify our claims.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            But insisting that my claim is false must be for a reason. And yet you’ve offered me no reason to think you actually have a reason to doubt my claim, other than you simply don’t like the fact that DCT has dominated Christian ethical thinking throughout most of its history.

            Let me ask you this simple question. Are we obligated to obey god’s commands? Yes or no?

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m just insisting that positive claims ought to be justified. I’m not saying your claim is false, I’m saying you do not justifiably know it to be true! Claims can be ‘unknown’, in addition to ‘true’ or ‘false’. So when I say or infer that a claim of yours is “not justifiably true”, I’m either saying it is ‘false’ or that it is ‘unknown’. Generally, unless I say outright that it is false, I’m saying it is unknown.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            There are only 2 games in town for ethics in Christianity for the most part, DCT and natural law. And DCT dominates. Let me ask you this simple question. Are we obligated to obey god’s commands? Yes or no?

          • Luke Breuer

            You don’t even understand what you’re talking about when you say “DCT”. Why? Because there are multiple kinds, and you keep speaking as if there is only one. I don’t want to talk with people who pretend to know what they do not know. Either do the legwork and admit where you’ve overreached, or we’re done talking about this.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Different kinds of DCT still fall under DCT. That does nothing to help your case.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            In Wogaman’s decent “Christian Ethics:A Historical Introduction” it seems that DCT and Natural Law have historically been the only games in Christian town.

            Vic Reppert questions whether all Chrsitians are committed, necessarily, to DCT:

            http://dangerousidea.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/do-all-christians-accept-divine-command.html

            It is hard to get a perfectly accurate picture of who believes what, but I would concur that DCT is generally, in some modified form or more classical form, the most common theistic approach. Yours, Luke, is rare in its similarity to secular moral ethics.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            What paragraph??? Can you quote it for me? I’m not omniscient.

          • Luke Breuer
          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Oh OK. I pretty much agree with you. I’m not sure about Carroll attacking gnostic theism though. I guess it’s because Craig is often very cocky in his style that Carroll comes off this way. He probably customized his speech to WLC.

            There you go, see, we’re making progress.

          • Luke Breuer

            Jonathan un-spammed my original comment. Care you rectify your “I’m not surprised.”? The Thinker, it is so curious that you so frequently model me so terribly incorrectly. There seems to be zero progression toward a more accurate modeling. Have you noticed this at all? It’s part of what makes communication with each other so frustrating.

          • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

            Honestly, I once thought you might have had a progressive take on Christianity, but the more I communicate with you, the more I realize I was wrong. It seems that in rejecting fundamentalism, a Christian has to adopt a kind of fuzzy, vague, almost ad-hoc approach to figuring out the faith. But this is exactly one of my criticisms with religion. I can’t help it if you don’t seem able to make your mark.

          • Luke Breuer

            I get the sense that you think reality and other people are computers, and if only we could figure out the source code, that’d be it. You realize that wisdom is what people use to deal productively with vagueness—incomplete knowledge—right? In much of life, we have very incomplete knowledge, and yet must still act.

  • http://www.atheismandthecity.com/ The Thinker

    I wish there was one more round of rebuttals and I wish there was a cross examination period. That would have been great.

  • Void L. Walker

    I made the mistake of watching the entirety of the debate stoned. Thc certainly places WLC’s disjointed, half-assed rants into perspective, though.

  • Void L. Walker

    Luke, you cussed! Be wary of an angel carrying a hot coal; guard your tongue.

    Really, though, it’s refreshing to see a theist critical of Craig. I actually attended one of his lectures when I was a sprout, and even then found his “arguments” lacking. I was 13….

    I think that the most logically sound arguments that any theistic could possibly forward are divorced from an evidentialist method. Too often Christians that I debate retort to this method, which I find all too easy to defeat.

    For what it’s worth, you are the most thought provoking Christian I’ve ever discussed anything with, and for that I give you props Mr. Breuer.

    • Luke Breuer

      Did you follow the link? :-p

      Thanks for the compliment. :-) But I think the evidentialist approach is the right one, as long as we admit that all observations are made through a grid of presuppositions, as Quine so brilliantly pointed out. We must be cognizant of what grid we are using at any point in time, being ever-open to the possibility that it is a shitty grid for the purpose at hand.

      You might like my Phil.SE question, “I trust my senses” — Why does this tend to be restricted to the external senses?

      • Void L. Walker

        Yes, the Christians I speak of use the evidentialist approach in a sloppy fashion; perhaps I should have elaborated a bit. An example would be the fine tuning argument (which I think has it ass-backwards; we are fine tuned to nature, not the other way around).

        I’ve been studying hominid evolution lately and one thing that has really caught my attention is that, while our brains drastically increased in size and intelligence followed suite, this mass increase also led (quite unfortunately) to cognitive biases and the like, as well as a seemingly natural propensity to find order where there is none (seeing a human face in the clouds, the face of Jesus in a candy bar). I think it is important for one to be cognizant of these cognitive short comings and work towards rising above them (although I will grant that this is much easier said than done).

        Off topic, I know that you derive pleasure from the study of QM, but with regard to the biological sciences is there a particular branch (pun intended) of study that tickles your fancy? Tickles the fuck out of it, with a feather fashioned of RAW curiosity?

        • Luke Breuer

          Fine-tuning is just a shitty argument in general; Plantinga acknowledges that in Where the Conflict Really Lies. I would say the proper thing to do is show how the Bible talks about reality intricately, like in the three triads which I can elaborate on if you’d like:

          Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23
          Mt 5:23-24, Mt 18:15-20, Eph 4:25-27
          Mt 7:1-5, Mt 23:1-4, Gal 6:1-5

          To some extent, a huge part of what the Bible really does is give you a more accurate way to view reality. (another example: my comment on HallQ’s How much you like someone is a poor predictor of their ethical behavior) As to evidence, the first bullet point is probably the only validly convincing evidence, and it’s a weird kind; for more details, ask me or perhaps glance at Francis Schaeffer’s The Mark of the Christian.

          As to hominid evolution, check out Symbiosis leads to diversity as well as A Possible Paradigm Shift in Evolutionary Biology? Thank the Microbes. You might also like Systemantics; one of the things John Gall says is that the bigger the [human-designed] system, the less variety in product there is. Kinda the opposite of the symbiosis thing; I wonder if this is because most human-designed systems are authoritarian in nature.

          a seemingly natural propensity to find order where there is none

          And yet, how do we know when this propensity is functioning correctly and incorrectly? I all too often see atheists and skeptics take the fact you have observed, and say that therefore, necessarily, God does not exist. They don’t seem to realize what they’re doing.

          Off topic, I know that you derive pleasure from the study of QM, but with regard to the biological sciences is there a particular branch (pun intended) of study that tickles your fancy? Tickles the fuck out of it, with a feather fashioned of RAW curiosity?

          Cooperation in evolution. I don’t know much about it, but I find it fascinating. There is way too much Malthus in the current conceptions of evolution.

          • Void L. Walker

            Elaborate a bit more: “And yet, how do we know when this propensity is functioning correctly and incorrectly?” I may be misconstruing your meaning here, but when we see rabbits in the sky, human figures in mountains, and “feel” that someone is watching us (when all of the examples stated can be reliably shown to be false; unless you believe that there are cosmic rabbits trying to convey a point), how could this be taken as anything BUT faulty neuro machinery? I suppose one could subscribe to a theistic evolutionary view of this, but to me that just doesn’t work. As I’ve said before, I think that God creating life as is (YEC style) makes more sense than allowing it to play out (with countless evolutionary dead ends) for billions of years. If you disagree, I’m curious about your view on this matter, and would love to hear it (seriously, no sarcasm).

            With regard to your claim that the bible gives a more accurate view of reality, I have known Hindu’s, and many Islamic individuals who would purport exactly that of their respective faiths (and actually, the Hindu friend had the Upanishads to back his claim, including a lovely tale of a dog and his master. Perhaps you’ve heard this?). Ultimately, everyone (religious or not) believes they have the most accurate view of reality, but this certainty is more a short coming than a virtue, IMO, and the friends I mentioned spent years refining their arguments. So basically, you fall into the same category as they (and I grant, to an extent, myself): we can attempt to rationalize all that we want, and maintain that aforementioned certainty, but we will all always butt heads (which is not a bad thing, but it certainly blurs the “certainty” line).

          • Luke Breuer

            Elaborate a bit more: “And yet, how do we know when this propensity is functioning correctly and incorrectly?” I may be misconstruing your meaning here, but when we see rabbits in the sky, human figures in mountains, and “feel” that someone is watching us (when all of the examples stated can be reliably shown to be false; unless you believe that there are cosmic rabbits trying to convey a point), how could this be taken as anything BUT faulty neuro machinery?

            You might enjoy my Loftus’ religious diversity thesis (RDVT) is false. The question of what is ‘brain noise’ and what isn’t is a fantastic question. My best answer is that ‘brain noise’ either gives us no explanatory power, or very meager ‘just so’-story power. Patterns which lead to more and more knowledge are closer and closer to being ‘true’, and therefore less likely to have been ‘brain noise’. Is there any other way, than the empirical “does this lead to more knowledge?” test?

            If you disagree, I’m curious about your view on this matter

            It’s not well-enough developed and I don’t spend much time developing it these days.

            With regard to your claim that the bible gives a more accurate view of reality, I have known Hindu’s and many Islamic individuals who would purport exactly that of their respective faiths (the Islamic friend had picked a dozen or so verses from the Koran to support his claims, and the Hindu friend had the Upanishads to back his.

            Yep; see my “does this lead to more knowledge?” test, above. Not being gnostic, I expect this knowledge to allow me to do more things in particle-and-field reality and/or promote more wholeness of being (e.g. psyche) in myself and others (what I would call mind-reality, not in a dualist sense, but just to separate people-stuff from object-stuff). In psychology, this is called something like the “integrated life”.

            I would rather not make such claims of absolute certainty.

            I think the first and second words of the Decalogue mitigate against ‘absolute certainty’, as to the many adjurations to humility.

            I would rather not work outward from a presupposition,

            Impossible; see Quine’s Neurathian bootstrap. You also might like my Phil.SE answer to What is the difference between Fact and Truth? Note that presuppositions don’t have to be fixed, in place forever and ever. But I think you do have to have them. See: Münchhausen trilemma. I take a position close to Francis Schaeffer’s:

            Schaeffer’s approach to Christian apologetics was primarily influenced by Herman Dooyeweerd, Edward John Carnell, and Cornelius Van Til, but he was not known to be a strict presuppositionalist in the Van Tillian tradition. His approach to culture was heavily influenced by his friendship with Hans Rookmaaker. In a 1948 article in The Bible Today, Schaeffer explained his own apologetics and how he walked a middle path between evidentialism and presuppositionalism

            I think this middle path is absolutely required. Quine’s Two Dogmas of Empiricism utterly decimated the allegedly simple analytic/synthetic distinction, something implicitly acceded to by Hawking and Mlodinow’s model-dependent realism. The philosophers of science beat them to the punch by over 50 years, muahahahahaha.

          • Void L. Walker

            Nice evil laugh at the end (even if it so does not suit you).

            I see where you’re coming from, over all. You seem to be duly satisfied with the conclusions you’ve reached, and I suppose that’s what matters in the long run.

            Chief among the reasons that I do not make attempts to “deconvert” people of faith (besides knowing, first hand, how incredibly painful the loss of faith is) is that what matters, ultimately, is happiness and well being. I do not just mean for the individual, but the many. In particular, those that we hold dear. Isn’t it interesting that helping someone you love, or merely making them smile lights such a fire of joy in us? Clearly this is an evolutionarily advantageous practice, especially considering how deeply social our species is.

            Now I must beat this dead horse once more. Clearly you have some interest in evolution, do you not? Firstly, as I’ve said, congratulations to you for removing your head from your bum regarding that. Too many Christians in this nation are still suffocating in their own butts (oh the humanity!). To get to my point, do you make any attempts to reconcile the process of evolution and it’s history on earth with the nature of God? If so, how do you do this? If, on the other hand, you do not wish to discuss this, or are still working on a cogent solution, then get back to me at a later time.

            What I said about not starting from an initial claim of certainty holds, though. It’s hard to explain how I view reality…I would need a lot of time and space, a few drinks, a campfire, and face to face communication for that, but trust me, what I said is true; I would need ample time to properly convey it.

          • Luke Breuer

            What, the laugh doesn’t suit me? Man, I must work on my image!

            You seem to be duly satisfied with the conclusions you’ve reached

            Huh? If that were the case, why would I be posting?

            what matters, ultimately, is happiness and well being.

            I believe that happiness built on falsehood is like a house built on the sand: the storm comes and it all falls apart. What a horrible thing to do to a person! Unless, perhaps you believe something along the lines of Meaning is an Illusion, or Absurdism, or Existentialism? If so, and you think meaning exists, then you’re pretending to know what you do not know, and thus having faith by Boghossian standards. :-p

            Clearly you have some interest in evolution, do you not?

            Some, but not too much these days. The problem of evil argument from evolution makes a bunch of assumptions that aren’t even necessarily well-founded, as I recently introduced you to! So I think at this point, it’s a huge-ass argument from ignorance, and such arguments are boring to me. I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

            What I said about not starting from a presupposition holds, though. It’s hard to explain how I view reality…I would need a lot of time and space, a few drinks, a campfire and face to face communication for that but trust me, what I said is true; I would need ample time to properly convey it.

            Do you blog? I’m not sure how you escape the requirements of the Neurathian bootstrap or the Münchhausen trilemma; there is no neutral starting ground!

          • Void L. Walker

            I can escape them because I’m GOD.

          • Void L. Walker

            God damn this disqus!!! It ate my post. Ah well.

            Why would you assume that I blog? I can escape Neurathian bootstraps and the like because I’m GOD, Luke. Bow down before me! (yes, I’m drunk. On the verge of passing out in fact)

          • Void L. Walker

            Cooperation in evolution, eh? That is a topic that I concede I’ve scarcely touched. Any links you could provide?

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            What do you want? Dawkins gives extensive examples in his book “Greatest Show on Earth”.

          • Void L. Walker

            I’ve read that one Smilodon, but it’s been years. My memory of that particular book is shoddy for some reason. I guess I’m curious what known examples of said cooperation there are? This is a fascinating subject.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            If you keep in mind that it’s not conscious cooperation, then then a great example is flowers and insect pollinators. Flowers provide payment for services rendered (but not too much or pollinators wouldn’t visit multiple flowers) in the form of nectar, which the plant had to evolve to produce. The pollinators had to evolve in response to the plant. A truly crazy example is the moths and orchids of Madagascar. There’s one moth with a 9inch + tongue to reach the nectar of the flower.

            I want to make sure that’s what you are talking about though.

            If it’s something more cooperative, but less evolution, you might think of the meerkats and similar species. In these, the aunts and uncles spend effort to assist in raising the young. Even though the young aren’t their own, they spend energy to help raise them. There’s several species that do this and variations.

          • Void L. Walker

            The first example that you state is what I had in mind. Excellent example, by the way. My next question would be how these behaviors came about (that is, what selective pressures would be imposed?). I am still learning as much as I can about evolution, and I frequent your blog (as you noticed, in my dismemberment of a certain TUGWELL). Thank you for taking the time to answer my inquiries :-)

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Well, I guess a post on coevolution should be up next. I’ll work on that for you.

          • Void L. Walker

            You kick ass, seriously :) I can’t wait to read it.

          • Luke Breuer

            What’s your blog? I want to see this too. :-)

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Smilodon’s Retreat (here at Skeptic Ink). There’s a lot of evolution and anti-creationism stuff up already.

          • Void L. Walker

            You’ll like the blog, Luke. Next to this one it’s my favorite.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            Thanks for the kudos!

          • Void L. Walker

            Anytime, keep up the great work!

          • Luke Breuer

            Those are the only two I know of; I haven’t actively researched this, due to all the other things I’m up to these days… but this would throw a wrench in the problem of evil, evolution-version, if there’s a bunch of valuable cooperation and symbiosis and stuff going on!

  • dadsa

    Who won the debate? Its too long to watch in one setting right now so any thoughts?

    I seen a lot of debates with Craig and he usually bullcraps his way to victory (except for a certain Arif Ahmed and Shelly Kagan and a Ray Bradley :D ). So was Carroll able to overcome Craig’s shit or what?

    • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Well, I think it was a cracking debate in many ways, in others, frustrating as ever, because they need to sit down opposite each other and cross examine until they get to the bottom. This is why the Kagan debate was so good.

      eg Craig rests his claims on assumptions about time, Lorentz invariance and so on. These are ad hoc constructions to allow him to fit the evidence to the God thesis or vice versa. However, these are held by not many (A Theory of time is a minority held view and the position on Lorentz is unfalsifiable).

      See here http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/07/19/craig-and-the-kalam-and-relativity-vincent-torley-vs-counter-apologist-ca-wins/

      I think CA’s 4th video here brilliantly sums it up. If not that one, then search for Craig and science denialism on his vids.

      Also, I would have jumped at Craig claiming you can have simultaneous causation, which is bullshit, and he uses it all of the time to argue for God.

      • dadsa

        Hello Pearce, I do not know if you are a professor in philosophy, but your online works are greatly informative. I especially loved you take on the Kalam cosmological argument. I must ask if you would submit an article taking on dualism (of the mind)? I know that there are many versions of dualism, but I think that exposing dualism is a great critique of any religious belief of an “afterlife.” If our minds are due to the physical nature of our brains, then it is unreasonable to believe that the mind can survive after the brain’s destruction and be sent anywhere- let alone a place of infinite reward or of infinite suffering.

      • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling Bryant Cody Rudisill

        The debate was intense, but I felt like they continued to talk past one another: each refusing to address the fundamental differences in their perspectives, because each of their worldview’s couldn’t make sense of the statement’s coming from the other’s. It certainly made it interesting, and I think an advantage for Carroll since I don’t think Craig is used to opponents who truly refuse to give him ground.

        On another note, I can’t see that there was a real “winner” in the debate. They both reiterated ideas and arguments that kept seeming to not really make sense to the other (and so they never really got to addressing any of the meat of the matter). However, I did think Carroll came across as far more understandable and pedagogical; but, at the same time, tended to push Craig to think in terms of academic cosmology while not really hitting some of his key-note points.

        Then again, I’ve only given it one listen.

    • Void L. Walker

      Dadsa, in my opinion is was Carroll who won. Craig is so tired and predictable these days that (I shit you not) I actually predicted his responses to a near 90% accuracy! Carroll, on the other hand, was very informative and unpredictable. When you get the time, you should definitely give it a watch.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling Bryant Cody Rudisill

    The video was removed. Here’s a new, currently, working link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcBQTKka1rs

    • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Nice one! Updated.

      • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling Bryant Cody Rudisill

        Watching it now!

  • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling Bryant Cody Rudisill

    The video was pulled down again due to copyright. Here’s what should be a permanent link since it’s from TacticalFaith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07QUPuZg05I