Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paul Nelson vs Kenneth Miller - Science, Religion, and Intelligent Design 2005

This debate ( audio | video | 1:20m ) took place around the end of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trials about teaching Intelligent Design in Kansas high school biology classrooms. The topic was teaching Intelligent Design (ID) and what ID was all about, and featured Paul Nelson, a fellow at the Discovery Institute, an ID think tank, vs Kenneth Miller, a cellular biologist and writer of high school and college level textbooks on intro biology.

4.25 Stars: Though one-sided, this is a great debate that allows one to get a feel of the most current Creationist objections to Modern Evolutionary Theory and how vacuous they are. What's keeping this from a perfect score is that Nelson isn't a strong debater and nothing compared to Miller who's been doing this since the early 80s.

Nelson begins with a cogent though content-sparse opening 20 minutes. He gives a vague discussion of what ID proposes and complains that academic freedom is essentially being suppressed not only in the scientific community but also in high school-level classrooms.

For example, Nelson asks us to consider a high school student who after reading a biology article wants to use it in a class discussion about current concerns in evolution. If the teacher allows this then she might lose her job because it goes against the dogma of evolution and thus any sort of critical inquiry of the theories we force upon our young scholars is suppressed and not encouraged.

This is a common argument from the ID crowd and indeed Miller got the same argument three years earlier from Steven Meyer. At first I'd say its disingenuous for Nelson to still use this argument because it has a perfectly cromulent answer but then I realized that I overlooked the beauty of bringing the argument up again and again. Bear with me here...

The education system in the US is a mess. Our country has regions that are comprised of states that are in turn are comprised of districts. Education curricula change from region to region, state to state, district to district and even within districts themselves. Kids who live in Shermer, IL but go to school A or school B could be getting two completely different educations.

It might be that among each different district, there is one that would take offense to a student talking about a 'controversial' article. I doubt it, but like I said, the school districts are a mess.

Well when Meyer brought this argument up against Miller in 2002, they were talking about a different school district than the one Nelson and Miller are debating here. If Miller is honest, which he is, then he can't use the EXACT same defense he used earlier because the Dover schools might have a different standard. Dover might have more vague language or something that Nelson could exploit if Miller isn't careful. 

And that's the beauty of such an argument: new school district = new context to rehash it over and over again.

Kenneth Miller gives his presentation and it flies by comparatively. Miller is a very charming and well-spoken promoter of science. He makes a living, among other ways, writing books for people with little background understanding of science which give an accessible description of science.

Like I mentioned earlier, he's also been doing this since the 1980s. Another debate I will eventually review from 1981 features Miller DEVASTATING Henry Morris, one of the leading figures in Creationism. Almost 20 years ago Miller rocked Buckley, Dembski, Johnson, and Behe in a Firing Line episode on ID, too. So Miller knows how to do this thing.

He's also actually a cellular biologist who regularly contributes to the field. And he's also a practicing Roman Catholic.

Anyways, Miller notes that ID have only half-assed described what ID actually contends but because they don't want to alienate all the people who support their case they often fail to really get into the science of the matter. For example, even simple questions like how old is the Earth are mostly dodged, given lame excuses, or offered up meekly. This is because if they say 6000yo then they're obviously going against the scientific consensus, and not even the consensus of a field dependent upon evolution. If they say the established age, which is 4.5 Gya, then they have some 'splainin' to do to the more conservative folks that fund their think tanks. This issue comes to a head beautifully in the discussion that follows the openings.

Miller also presents several examples which show contrary evidence to the claims of the ID poster scientist Michael Behe and reminds us that Behe essentially said that the same criteria that establishes ID as a scientific theory would also have to call Astrology a scientific theory. Finally, Miller demonstrates that ID is really just Creationism find and replace by showing the Creation missing link, Cdesign proponentsists.

After his opening both guys did a bit of back and forth and then the audience asked a lot of questions. It was clear that Nelson was in Indian Country here as even the moderator kinda cracked a few jokes about how smart Nelson must be and how weird it is that he still thinks that evolution is a bogus theory despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Overall a friendly and lively discussion. Nelson wasn't too formidable and Miller was just too good of a debater to let Nelson get away with anything.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A CC'd Email to William Lane Craig, jesus4punx@bible.tru,, glitterkitty989...

A few days ago Jeffery Jay Lowder, former pres of the Internet Infidels, made a blog post asking William Lane Craig to take up his offer on a debate on whether or not God exists or on God-based morality.

HERE is the post. Following his message to Craig, JJL lists all the people who support the debate.

Don't worry Lowder, I know you read this blog. I got you too, man. Add me to the list. I have an MA.

Dear Dr Craig,

Bill, can I call you Bill?

Look Bill, Jeffery Jay Lowder has been talking a lot of talk over the years about his debate abilities. He definitely devastated Phil Fernandes in their debate on Theism vs Naturalism. But that debate was against Phil Fernandes, in 1999, Lowder went first, and was preaching to the choir at a skeptics convention or something.

JJL later debated Kevin Vandergriff, but that debate was a bit of a let down ultimately, though extremely informative. Also, Vandergriff seems to be a minor leaguer, the debate was in a format that allowed an entire week between segments to prep, and JJL still got to go first. I also think JJL picked a pretty liberal Christian to take on (or vice versa, I dunno how the debate was set up). In that debate, JJL was pretty much given evolution and morality and the latter topic I think you Bill are very good at tackling in a debate setting.

Anyways, JJL did come out well in those debates but he doesn't seem to have too much experience going head to head against apologists like yourself. I want to see him debate more but he seems to be waiting to get into the thick of things only if he can debate you (or has a life and doesn't want it to just be debating apologists everywhere unless it counts).

Come on, you debated Hitchens because he has a lot of clout and you're not gonna get a chance against Dawkins and for the obvious reasons. Plus, the Horsemen are old news, anyways. Why not take on the guy who despite not having a lot of religious debating experience does have a lot of experience interacting with the topics AND does have experience in high school debate.

Just debate the guy. He's willing to do it at a college campus and debate the topics you want to debate. Weren't you stoked when you went up against Jesseph awhile ago? He too had high school and college debate experience. Come on Bill!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Brief Post-Debate Recap

Okay so I went on the show yesterday and thought I did okay. I think I did alright in the Resurrection debate but was too scattered or didn't have the best delivery.

I also felt overall I came off as too much of a pushover. It'll make sense when you listen to it. I get the impression that Vocab Malone read my last blog post because he was extremely gracious about giving me time to say some things and we even went over time. In general 30 minutes is not enough time to debate such an interesting issue.

Also, Vocab totally did his homework and recognized that my argument was pretty much a reworded presentation of Arif Ahmed's first argument from his debate with Habermas, specifically I used the same article. Totes felt lame about that but not so much because right before the debate Ahmed said it was cool the way I put it and that I used it.

Still, I KNEW it felt kinda lame using the same article but after looking for ever for another (especially one more recent) I couldn't find one that did just refer back to the Buckhout 1975 article. It's pretty influential and the experiment it describes is just so perfect for getting the point across.

The other hosts were very cool, I'm glad I got to interact with them in the first episode but I think I just came off way too awkward in that episode so I haven't listened to it since I first converted the audio.

I won't release the audio until they do because it's their show but I'll let you know when it comes out. It won't be for almost a month though, I think in October.

Word of the day for all of us: "tease". I think I heard Vocab, myself, and the cohost Vermon all say that word at least once.

Also, here's a sketch I made while listening to the show in case you can't wait to hear it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Me in a debate

Tomorrow I am going to do two 30 minute shows on Urban Theologian Radio with Vocab Malone, Vermon Pierre, and Bob Korljan. Vocab is the one I will be debating the resurrection about and I will also have more of a discussion with in the first show.

In their most recent episode about Mormonism they mention that there is another episode they are having with their Mormon guest that will air next week. So I think my episodes will not air for at least two weeks...if they're any good.

Stomach Butterflies

I am nervous as hell for this. I feel I know my stuff but after the past few weeks of talking with Christians and Muslims over Skype and teasing out the reasons why I am an atheist, I do not feel like I am very articulate or persuasive.

I wrote down all the stuff I want to say based on the email exchange I've had with Vocab and listening to some of his debates and reading a few things he's written. From what I can tell he is very sincere and charming but I think he holds some pretty dubious views about some topics. I don't think I'll change his views, but that's not really the point of going on the show.

Technical Things I'm Worried About

After listening to the debates from their past radio show, Back Pack Radio, it also seems like I'm going to have to deal with having less air time to state what I have to say and will have to worry about commercial breaks. But this will be worse for me because those shows were 45 minutes long and each show I'm on will only be 29 minutes long.

For example, in Nick Covington's debate with Vocab on the resurrection, NC made a case with multiple reasons to support it. But just before the break, Vocab came in and said that NC, as an atheist needed to account for the problem of induction and the fact that his worldview is skewing the way he goes about the resurrection debate. Then a break came and all of Covington's case was left forgotten or he had to repeat himself. And again, the problem of induction took up a lot of the dialogue.

I've prepared for defusing this but I don't know if it was a good idea to prep for it because it might not even come up for me.

Content Issues

I also think Covington made his opening too long. He mentioned a lot of good stuff, but you gotta make sure you're working with the clock, you know when the commercials might come. I'm going to listen to some more episodes and figure out the commercial pattern and even ask before we start the show what the schedule is and have a timer next to me. Let's see if that works.

Like Covington, some of the things I need to flesh out seems like they're going to be most forceful if I can say them all at once. I would like to mention eyewitness testimony but think it's important that I give the ramifications associated with it. But because this is an informal thing, I might have to stop and elaborate and/or respond for each point.

When I talk normally off a script, it takes me a bit to say what I want to say. I don't like it and it involves a lot of pauses. I also ummmm a lot more and say "like" and "I mean" a lot, too. Normally I'm used to talking to people and getting stuck on supplying a reason but just say "You know what I'm talking about, right?" I can't rely on that for these shows and even things that seem quite basic to me have turned out to be completely alien to the people I have talked to and it seems like I need to also be prepared to elaborate on things that seem more self-evident and have something written out in case that happens.

Presentation Issues

I have a pretty lame voice, which sucks. There's no combating that, besides building on the things I can control. But I think I come off as unlikable, too. Or rather, I come off as not too bright and don't make it clear enough that I'm joking. This could be elaborated upon but the point is that I need more time to become lovable, which sucks if I'm going to have less than a half an hour to do so.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Filler Post: Matt Dillahunty is thoughtful and has some great advice about debates

Matt Dillahunty of the Atheist Experience has an on-going project which you all should check out and donate money to...because of many reasons but mostly because I told you to!

He also has a great video about debating HERE.

No review here, just a link to a video with tips and thoughts about debating.

It gives great insights into public, formal and informal and interpersonal debating. I'll hold off on reviewing it sans saying I actually wished he stuck to talking about the debate process itself, more. Near the end it seemed like he branched off to talking about how you should debate with your friends and family and people you care about. His advice on that was solid, but when I saw the video I watched it because I wanted to hear about how he approached public debates.

Dang it, I said I wouldn't review the video but I just did. I guess 5 Stars! Watch it!

Abbie Smith & Brandon Burton vs Lenny Horowitz - Is HIV Man-Made? 2007

This debate ( audio | little over an hour ) took place in 2007 between vaccine researcher Brandon Burton and then biology grad student Abbie Smith vs anti-vaccination snake oil salesman Lenny Horowitz. It was an episode of the Infidel Guy Show (I miss it) and they debated whether HIV was man-made.

3 Stars: If you can get past Horowitz massive ego there are some absolutely great points made against the guy that seem to completely fly past him.

Lenny Horowitz claims that the US Government started HIV in order to support Big Pharma and rake in all the money gained from charging victims for the medication offered as treatment.

He's long winded and appears to not really pay attention to what Smith and Burton mention, which is that the actual credible sources Horowitz cites as supporting his case, are not as concrete as Horowitz thinks and have actually changed their minds on the issue in the 5 plus years since Horowitz first used them as references.

This outdated position doesn't seem to phase Horowitz and things kind of go back in forth from there, slowly getting more waspishy as the short debate continues.

It's a fun debate but it's one of the few times where the complete obliviousness an opponent has to the fact that his arguments have been destroyed really kind of irks me. Horowitz is simply not a good human being.

Kind of quiet audio quality.

8-23-2015 Wrote the actual review, so I'm re-posting this! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

David Wood vs John Loftus - Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? May 2015

It's Willem Defoe from the Scorsese flick but I got the cap here.

More to come.

This debate ( audio | video | 2hr 11min ) took place in 2015 between Christian Apologist David Wood and Atheist Author John Loftus. The topic was "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?"

1 star: The archetypical Slick Apologist and Disastrously-Unprepared Atheist clash over a very well-known debate topic.

David Wood opened first giving a well-spoken case for the resurrection after poisoning the well a bit about Jesus Mythers and presumably hoping his audience will assume Loftus is one or that the only people who disagree with him about the resurrection are Jesus Mythicists which is not true. It was a very polished presentation but nothing new. If anything, he probably should have modified his material and left out the crucifixion because that's more for debating Muslims. If he left that argument out, he coulda emphatically asserted something else stupid without evidence or try to get one or two more cheap laughs out of the audience. 

If you're familiar with the material Wood is claiming to be undisputed historical fact then his incredulity is a bit too much, unfortunately. However there isn't too much we can do about it, so it's definitely up to Loftus to explain how misleading or incorrect Wood's pronouncements actually are.

Loftus gives just an unbelievably incoherent diatribe for 20 minutes. His major strategy seemed to depend on expressing an absolute state of pure astonishment that Wood, a Christian apologist, would think the Resurrection is historically substantiated. He wasn't even coherent on general complaints about critical thinking or criticism against Christianity. Loftus I think even curses in a church. I mean, at least try to read your audience. Loftus also had a ppt but for whatever reason decided not to use it or purposely decided against organizing the slides to fit his presentation...unless rambling about things and then saying "next slide" zooming through 50 slides in a row was part of his strategy. Bold move.

Loftus doesn't improve much in the rebuttal periods but Wood isn't too great either. The difference is Wood still seemed more off polished and as if he actually attempted to prepare for a debate, whereas Loftus, despite running a blog called Debunking Christianity since at least 2005 and publishing books on the topic, plus having masters degrees in the relevant fields, decided not to come prepared to debate a central topic running through all those qualifications, at all. That's how it sounded to me and if you read comments and other reviews of the debate, I'm not the only one with such an impression.

The Cross-Ex didn't improve much. Whenever Loftus responded, he'd ramble about general Christian topics eating up his allotted time. Only after his time was up did Loftus actually address the question flustering the heck out of the moderator.

Also, in the closings, Loftus quotes an argument made by Ehrman the Craig 2006 debate. This is a GREAT idea if it wasn't done in the closing remarks because 
(a) It's pretty much a challenge to the opponent to discredit. The point is that when your opponent attempts to discredit it, they look really weak trying to say that it would be absurd that people might have stolen a dead body from a tomb while also claiming that it's pretty much historic fact that a man came back to life after three days and then teleported to multiple places, in and out of rooms with locked doors and phased through solid rock.

(b) Wood couldn't respond because Loftus only mentions it in his closing statement! Before this, Loftus quoted Keith Parsons from his Craig 1998 debate, which again is perfectly fine. But it just reeks of last-minute preparation and Loftus brings it up in the Q&A and like I mentioned earlier, he decides to squeeze it into his response after rambling about something else.

In short, Wood came off as more prepared but wasn't very convincing, to me, at least. Was he convincing to his audience? I don't doubt it for a second. Even the two skeptical questioners at the end of the debate said as much.

A few years ago I listened to Loftus' debate with Dinesh D'Souza. Loftus did fairly poorly in that debate too, which bummed me out because he's been pushing for a debate with William Lane Craig since at least 2009.

The D'Souza debate was in 2010 and so this Wood debate occurred 5 years later and Loftus seems to have gotten worse. Maybe he's just not a good debater? Or, according to his response to PhilVaz on his blog, he didn't have enough time to prepare for this debate.

I don't think I want to let him off the hook for these things though because this isn't some nuanced new debate topic. David Wood didn't throw out anything new or out of left field, either (nor do I think it's enough to say that Wood might have brought something original to the table). He just used his schtick for debating Muslim apologists and aped William Lane Craig's arguments. He didn't even do WLC's arguments justice, either.

For example, several things Wood got away with are pretty standard apologetic attacks: claiming skeptics need to throw out all of ancient history if they want to throw out the claims of the bible, that skeptics of the resurrection are going against scholarly consensus, skeptics are essentially employing an unlivable form of skepticism when they doubt the resurrection, etc. etc. All these things are nothing new, nor was Wood particularly tough or forceful with these attacks.

This debate shoulda gone a lot differently.

But here's a bit more on why I think Loftus has no excuse*

1. He quotes from two VERY GOOD debates on the topic: Ehrman's and Parson's debates (to be fair, Parson's debate was on Christianity but he focused a lot on the resurrection). Those debates are really good places to get your own debate ready to go. But remember, Parson's debate is from 1998 and Ehrman's is from 2006, that's how old Wood's own material is! So even without those great debates, there is still even more recent material out there!

2. Loftus himself, has written on this issue. He has a popular blog called Debunking Christianity which has been around since 2006, has dozens of books relating to Christianity, several specific to Christianity and at least one focused on debating Christianity. What's more, his books are highly acclaimed, both non-theists and theists agree that Loftus is stellar at presenting the non-jargon-y arguments against theism.

3. Loftus is totally buds with a lot of big name atheists and scholars familiar with this topic. He co-authored (or edited?) a book with Hector Avalos and regularly interacts with Keith Parsons and Richard Carrier.

4. He's already debated David Wood before. Not on the resurrection but after watching Wood debate Muslims and one other atheist (him and James White for some reason are uncomfortable debating atheism unless it's a pop atheist or a new-comer. Also, apparently Wood only feels comfortable debating a new comer on the existence of a vague creator deity, that is straight Lamesville.)

Quick note about David Wood. I was going to also mention that he came off a bit slimey in his opening. He did, but it wasn't just in his opening, he was sleazy throughout his whole presentation so I'm talking about it here. He makes a random racist Asian joke and he refers to Richard Carrier as "polyamorous Richard Carrier" and it's like, what does Carrier's relationship preference have to do with biblical criticism? I was really quite pissed by the latter point but I've cooled down. It might just be the fact that polyamorism is completely beyond Wood's comprehension that he sees referencing it as more of a joke than being potentially insulting. But coupled with the overall dehonest way he approached the debate and the racist comment, it makes me think that I shouldn't be so generous in my assessment of the guy. I've also looked into why he reserved such douchebaggery for Carrier and found that they have been in an internet tiff for a while, especially after Wood gave a critical review of Richard Carrier's Sense and Goodness without God with one of his criticisms being that a book making a case for a specific worldview was too one-sided and thinks Carrier is craycray for "believing" that some day humans will colonize space...Seriously, the mayor of Lamesville, right here, gang. I can see why Wood apparently forgot his Christian values when dismissing Carrier as a lowly historian specializing in ancient science and why Carrier would probably not want to debate such an ungracious, smarmy guy.

*I've heard tell that Loftus has debated others and done a bit better. For example, his Rauser debates are variable in positive praise so I should check those out. But like, I just can't excuse Loftus such a lapse, especially if he wants to go up against Craig and especially if he wants to keep debating in such a venue. 

9-10-15: Modified some thoughts, found out some more info and changed "Hactor" to Hector. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

William Lane Craig vs Richard Carrier Resurrection plus a note on Craig's sources BEST CHECK


This debate ( audio | video 1 & 2 | 2:31:26s ) took place in 2009 between Craig and Richard Carrier and was on the resurrection.

4.5 stars. Carrier does better than most against this content-packed resurrection debate and Craig is pretty good too. BEST CHECK

This debate is underrated, IMO. Listen to the debate and you can really hear Craig struggling to stay on the ball throughout it.

Craig's opening for this debate gets into the pretty specific detail on some of the NT scholarship. It seems a lot more academic in nature, actually. I don't know if that was a good thing for his audience if it mattered but judging by the crowd responses it probably didn't. For me it kind of became tedious and out of place. Craig will get technical/specific/dense with his presentations but usually in his rebuttal periods. Because rebuttals are shorter than the opening, he presents this stuff are a much faster pace so it was odd to hear him kind of take his time with specific and recent scholarly insights on the book of Matthew. Finally though, I don't remember him calling on all these specifics in his rebuttals. Usually that would lead me to think that Craig made a miscalculation to preempt something he thought Carrier would argue against but if he did it didn't phase him too much.

Carrier gives a very solid opening. In his post-debate write-up he mentions that he liked it and wouldn't change anything from the script and that's something I would agree with. The only issue is that he definitely was nervous sounding, which is a shame. Another issue is one that Carrier is now quite notorious for and seems pretty unapologetic* about and that's his repeated mentions of how in this book or that book he's authored he goes into detail about certain arguments. In the questions later at least two of the audience members reference this with a bad impression of Carrier's plugging.

Carrier sticks to bringing up more and more parallels as his presentations go on and a few things kind of happen that are related to this tactic. Positively, it is giving a lot of information for the audience to hear and upon a more recent listen to the debate quite a lot of the examples themselves Craig doesn't actually respond to. Craig instead sticks to general criticism of the patterns seen in the parallels and when Craig does talk about specific parallels Carrier does respond to or they're actually not mentioned by Carrier. Negatively, it started to look as if Carrier was spending time he should have allotted to pointing out things he felt Craig didn't address or needed to give a better account for giving more literary examples.

I also feel that Carrier was able to hold his own quite well against Craig's shotgun approach though he didn't address all the things Craig said and made some blunders (stating that Craig used Habermas as a source and not Jacob Kremer and still going with that mistake)** and let a lot of things go unchallenged. However I think he was able to give just as much as he took from Craig. At the very most he came out to a draw, though I am perfectly fine with saying this one went to Craig because while Carriers' case began to sound like longer and longer lists of examples, Craig gave a better impression of synthesizing his case making it more impressive for lack of a better term.

Craig also made one of the better points of criticism I've heard about Carrier's case. At times Carrier sounds like he is speculating a lot of his assertions and some of them, like the one that Craig pointed out, do sound unfalsifiable, at least at first blush. Craig's a good speaker so I'll just quote from an interview of his,
...Because if you say, “Look at these differences between, say, the Iliad and the Gospels,” what they will say is, “Ah, but that is actually evidence for dependence because it shows how Mark changed the Homeric narrative so as to conceal its dependence. So the similarities are taken as evidence of literary dependence, and then the differences are taken also as evidence of literary dependence. So it becomes utterly unfalsifiable and vacuous. Therefore, this is a terrible method of literary interpretation (SAUCE. Emphasis added and lack of closing quotes on the second quote is not my fault and really annoys me).
I don't think this is falsifiable but I can't even think of a nice concise reason to explain why now (partially because I've been up for over 24 hours as of the most recent update of this review) so I wonder if in a debate Carrier would be able to come up with one on the fly. Buuuuuut I think this accusation has been leveled at him before so I dunno.

Why such a high score? Well as I mentioned in previous reviews on Carrier's debates: Carrier makes a more interesting case against the resurrection, the most novel I have heard so far and all of Craig's responses (sans one) to the evidence Carrier presented for the literary aspects of the resurrection story were pretty weak because as mentioned earlier, they were sweeping or not pertaining to the examples given by Carrier.

Missed opportunities: earlier I mentioned that Carrier's opening was almost flawless and what makes it almost a perfect opening is that Carrier mentions the argument that if god wanted us to accept the resurrection she should have given us better evidence for it. Though I agree with this I also agree with Craig that this kind of argument isn't necessarily germane to the debate. Carrier makes the argument for why he disagrees but much later on during the Q&A. I think it would have been better if Carrier mentioned this in his rebuttal in an objection to Craig assuming that God exists during his historical facts argument. If Carrier's assertion doesn't belong in a debate about the historicity of the resurrection then neither does invoking god.

Another missed opportunity related to the audience Q&A. Someone claimed Carrier's describing the gospels as though they were written by highly literate people was absurd because the disciples were fishermen and unlearned. Carrier went on about how there is no proof that any of the disciples were fishermen or unlearned - which sure, whatever, there probably isn't - but probably the more important thing to wax on about is that the gospels were not written by guys named Mark, Luke, John and Matthew something Craig and anyone who looked into the NT more than two minutes would agree to. Poor Richard, it seems like people ask the snarkiest questions of him and he is just too nice of a guy to throwdown with such uninformed questions. Now I think he is just unaware of the underlying cheek of his questioners which actually might be a good thing.

One thing I'll conclude with is the pattern of uncharitable ruthless Craig followed in the debate:

-Craig is infamous for repeatedly calling out his opponent for not responding to his arguments. In his earlier debates he would even do this in his opening speech before his opponent even presented but nowadays he usually waits until his opponent has their first rebuttal but he doesn't let Carrier have this luxury. More annoyingly glaring than in his other debates, he also harps on points that Carrier never disputes as if they were points Carrier failed to respond to or account for, which seems obnoxiously persnickety (I like the word, too!). He keeps doing this about the women witnesses, Carrier explicitly addresses this issue multiple times.

-Craig underhandedly calls Carrier a crank, too. Craig has done this before with other opponents, most notably Ehrman and if you hear Craig resorting to this type of tactic then you know he's getting cornered. But with Carrier it's the most blatant I've heard Craig go, which means something but I'm not sure what.

Good AQ and solid VQ.


Bill Craig talks about it HERE

Richard Carrier talks about it HERE

DebunkingChristianity discussion HERE

Triblogue's Jason Engwer reviews it HERE

Victor Reppert's site discusses it in this post HERE Now I've heard Carrier called many things, both good and bad, but I've never heard him referred to as "verbose"...I vaguely thought that Reppert was one of the more thoughtful apologists. Either he's changed since 2009 (it's possible) or he seems depressingly uninteresting after seeing this post.

WinteryKnight gives a quick thought HERE but I'm including this because of what he says about the 2004 Carrier-Licona debate. WK said that Carrier "either won or tied" the debate...Well I've said a number of times that if you see someone like WK say a Christian vs [insert someone disagreeing with WK] was a tie then that usually means that the non-Christian won. But either won or tied!?! Jeez WK might as well stop calling yourself a believer after such a concession.

Ben from War on Error reviews the debate HERE and makes me jealous of not having my own picture with WLC.
I'd frame the photo.

A list of mini-reviews of Craig's debates can be found here! 

*I don't mean this in a "get a load of this guy" way, in this more recent debate he mentions that there's a drinking game people play when listening to his debates. Whenever Carrier plugs his books you take a drink.

A Note on Craig's Scholarly Consensus Source

From what I've looking into it would almost seem like Carrier was being generous to Craig in assuming he cited Habermas for such a claim. Because as far as I can tell the citation is pretty old. Craig responds to this criticism, though HERE.

The question points out that the source is from 1977 which is ancient. It also argues that Kremer recently changed his mind based on an interview Kremer had with some student. Craig spends most of his answer talking about how the student mistranslated some German words and confused Kremer's theological views on the resurrection with his historical views. He also says the interview isn't credible.

He then goes on to claim that it appears Kremer hasn't changed his mind and his focus on this issue almost seemed especially drawn out so as to avoid some pretty big problems that still rest in this citation:

1. It's still really freaking old, and Craig even mentions that Kremer has actually died in 2010; and
2. MAYBE you can get away with doing this in print but in a public debate it is beyond cheap to cite a 1977 book written only available in German. ESPECIALLY for one of the claim and especially if a subsequent article has been published on the topic.

8-26-2015 Lots of added stuff. Lots of editorial changes too. Lots of lotsa. Didn't change the score on this one however so I guess that shows how this debate ages well.