Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Reasonable Faith Podcast with Dr. William Lane Craig: Has Hawking Eliminated God?

A few months ago Stephen Hawking's book The Grand Design made quite a splash in the media when Hawking proclaimed that scientific laws alone were sufficient to explain the origin of the universe.

In these two pod casts, Dr. William Craig discusses Hawking and Mlodinow's book.

Part 1- Has Hawking Eliminated God?

Part 2- Has Hawking Eliminated God?

Dr. Craig discusses:

  • Hawking's claim that philosophy is dead.
  • The scientific evidence in the book.
  • Hawking's conclusions about God.
  • Hawking and Mlodinow's anti-realism
  • The Multi-verse Theory

We also added these pod casts to our Responses to Notable Skeptics Resource Page.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

10 comments:

Brian Auten said...

Gotta love Craig. And he knows his stuff.

He's going to be debating theoretical physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss on March 30th. Live streaming online. Should be a really good debate.

Brian Auten said...

The debate can be found here: http://thegreatdebatencsu.com/

David Lilly said...

Hi Chad! Your blog definitely looks interesting. When I have more time, I will peruse more of the posts. However, I had to comment on this one. Someone is actually messing with The Hawk!?

"Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences."

http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/about-stephen

Professor Hawking knows a thing or two about applied mathematics, theoretical physics, and theoretical cosmology.

William Lane Craig on the other hand has a BA in communications and advanced degrees in philosophy and religion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lane_Craig

While researching Dr. Craig I saw a recent post on another blog regarding his tactics.

"William Lane Craig is a manipulative deceiver, and the evidence (should you care to follow the links I provided) is overwhelming."

http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2011/02/dishonest-christian-william-lane-craig.html

Chad said...

Hello David,

Thank you for visiting the blog so quickly. I hope you find some helpful resources here!

As for your comment, I wanted to share a few of my own:

1. Did you listen to the pod cast? I would much rather deal with the coherence or incoherence of the arguments therein.

2. No one is doubting the brilliance of Stephen Hawking, least of all Dr. Craig. If you listened to the pod cast, I think you will discern that Dr. Craig has the utmost respect for Professor Hawking.

Craig’s accomplishments speak for themselves and are available for investigation via his website, and his numerous debates [he has debated the best of them] are available for anyone interested in listening here.

3. Again, I would much rather spend my time addressing the actual arguments addressed by Craig in this pod cast than compare educational accomplishments. If we bow the knee to everything a highly educated thinker says then we differ little from the Catholic who treats the words of the Pope as infallible.

4. The link provided from “religion virus” also does little to deal with the actual arguments.

For example, they complain that Craig knows his arguments are over the head of the listeners, but that certainly doesn‘t mean they are false.

5. How familiar are you with Dr. Craig? David, I could send you links from atheists who have insulted theists and theists who have insulted atheists, but in the end, what have I proven? Nothing.

You have hopefully noticed that in my class I am very careful never to attack the person making the argument, but I do my best to address the actual argument.

As I have stated, I always want to give someone the benefit of the doubt and hear them out, even if their position is contrary to my own. I would hope you would do Dr. Craig the same courtesy.

I find very little value in attacking a person when it’s really their position and/or argument I am interested in.

Respectfully

Chad said...

Hello Brian,

Thank you for the heads-up! I am also very much looking forward to Craig’s debate with Sam Harris on April 7th. Should be a great one! Hopefully, one of these days Dawkins will “cowboy up” and debate WLC!

For readers who aren’t familiar with Brian’s blog, Apologetics315, I would really encourage you to check it out. I believe it to be the best apologetics blog on the net.

Brian has done some past posts that deal with Professor Hawking that I wanted to highlight for the benefit of our readers:

Responses to Stephen Hawking and The Grand Design- This is an extensive list of numerous rebuttals to Hawkings latest book.

Book Review: The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

If you haven’t visited Brian’s blog, you should!

Godspeed

David Lilly said...

1. Did you listen to the pod cast? I would much rather deal with the coherence or incoherence of the arguments therein.

Yes, but I quickly became bored with theoretical and philosophical nature of the discussion. There is no degree of certainty in any of it and there never will be. Also, I have not read The Grand Design, which would have given context to the pod cast topics and provided a slightly more interesting listening experience. Hawking might be the best person to respond to the arguments therein.

2. No one is doubting the brilliance of Stephen Hawking, least of all Dr. Craig. If you listened to the pod cast, I think you will discern that Dr. Craig has the utmost respect for Professor Hawking. Craig’s accomplishments speak for themselves and are available for investigation via his website, and his numerous debates [he has debated the best of them] are available for anyone interested in listening here.

I did not discern utmost respect coming from Dr. Craig and his guest. I was thoroughly unimpressed by Craig's academic masturbation. Stephen Hawking is brilliant and is recognized by his peers as such; he should be given a chance to respond. Based on what was described, Hawking did seem to be dancing in the philosophical/metaphysical realm (yuk), but I would need to read the book to better understand Craig's points.

3. Again, I would much rather spend my time addressing the actual arguments addressed by Craig in this pod cast than compare educational accomplishments. If we bow the knee to everything a highly educated thinker says then we differ little from the Catholic who treats the words of the Pope as infallible.

I think educational and professional accomplishments are relevant, especially when very few people have the background to seriously evaluate the bulk of the ideas or arguments being presented. Occasionally we have to rely on others who are clearly more knowledgeable, possibly even the Pope. :-)

4. The link provided from “religion virus” also does little to deal with the actual arguments.

For example, they complain that Craig knows his arguments are over the head of the listeners, but that certainly doesn‘t mean they are false.


Well, not knowing anything about Dr. Craig, I felt the need to do some research. People have things to say about Dr. Craig and it is not all good. I think you miss the point here. If Craig James is correct in his assessment, then Dr. Craig loses credibility.

For example, Craig James says:

"He knows they're not trained in philosophy or deductive logic. He knows they're not trained in mathematics. He knows most don't know the Bible's history all that well (they know its contents, but not who wrote it and why) ... and so forth. And Dr. Craig uses his audience's ignorance, knowingly and deliberately. He knows he can confuse his audience with arguments they can't understand."

"Dr. Craig counts on the fact that when his opponents prove him wrong, the argument will be too complex for the audience to comprehend."

He then goes on to cite examples of his dishonesty. If Dr. Craig has a record of being dishonest, inquiring minds want to know about it.

5. How familiar are you with Dr. Craig? David, I could send you links from atheists who have insulted theists and theists who have insulted atheists, but in the end, what have I proven? Nothing.

Understood, but citing examples of dishonesty an insult? My research is continuing.

You have hopefully noticed that in my class I am very careful never to attack the person making the argument, but I do my best to address the actual argument.

Seriously, thus far there have not been any arguments in your class to attack! How many non-believers are in class? One? A class full of atheists could liven things up a bit. :-)

Chad said...

Hello David,

Welcome Back!

There is no degree of certainty in any of it and there never will be.
 
Ironically, Craig and Hawking would disagree with you.

Further, do you remember the Road Runner Tactic from class? It seems you are guilty of a self-defeating claim here…You are claiming that “there is no degree of certainty in any of it and there never will be.” However, your claim is a certain claim about the very thing you claim we can never be certain about!
 
Stephen Hawking is brilliant and is recognized by his peers as such;

No argument here.
 
If Dr. Craig has a record of being dishonest, inquiring minds want to know about it.

Sure; who wouldn’t?  And I agree that one option is certainly that Dr. Craig is being dishonest.  However, I wonder if you have considered that perhaps Dr. Craig actually believes what he is presenting?  That is certainly another option. 

Finally, let me demonstrate why I believe the argument you are raising against Craig is of very little use.

Are you familiar with atheist Roger Penrose? He has worked closely with Hawking in the past. He has said the following regarding Hawking’s latest book The Grand Design:

‘What is referred to as M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.”

Readers can see more of Penrose’s thoughts in this brief video here.

If I wanted to David I could say, “See, Hawking is being misleading. He knows M-theory isn’t viable but he relies on the ignorance of his readers.” However, that would be a absurd argument. I don’t think Hawking is being purposely misleading. I think he really believes what he has written. I might think he is wrong, but I don’t automatically assume he is a liar.

I encourage and challenge our readers to checkout the links that David and myself have provided and decide for yourself. 

Thank you for the respectful dialog David.

Respectfully

David Lilly said...

There is no degree of certainty in any of it and there never will be.

Ironically, Craig and Hawking would disagree with you.

Further, do you remember the Road Runner Tactic from class? It seems you are guilty of a self-defeating claim here…You are claiming that “there is no degree of certainty in any of it and there never will be.” However, your claim is a certain claim about the very thing you claim we can never be certain about!

I was thinking you would comment on that! I should have been more specific. Obviously, both of those guys have reasons for making the claims they are making, maybe even some scientific evidence to support it. However, the conclusions are not typically something that can be validated to a high degree of certainty with current scientific methods. Although, who knows, maybe the Large Hadron Collider experiments will prove their claims. On the other hand, common descent, 99.98% of biologists believe in it. Why? …because there is a lot of hard evidence to support it, such as, the similarities found in chimpanzee and human genomes. I could go on, but it might be better to start another thread.

If Dr. Craig has a record of being dishonest, inquiring minds want to know about it.

Sure; who wouldn’t? And I agree that one option is certainly that Dr. Craig is being dishonest. However, I wonder if you have considered that perhaps Dr. Craig actually believes what he is presenting? That is certainly another option.

Yes, that is an option. Personally, I like to hear from all sides and make up my mind based on a variety of factors, including credentials and honesty. Seriously, how many people can follow and validate their claims? I am biased to a degree towards Hawking, when he is discussing his specialties. There are just too many "Tumbleweed University" types who convince a lot of people to believe outright lies, but they are clever and put on a great show!

Finally, let me demonstrate why I believe the argument you are raising against Craig is of very little use.

Are you familiar with atheist Roger Penrose? He has worked closely with Hawking in the past. He has said the following regarding Hawking’s latest book The Grand Design:

‘What is referred to as M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.”


No, but I am sure Hawking appreciated the kind words. ;-) Hawking will have to answer to the criticism. Regardless, The Hawk has an overall great track record of brilliance. Dr. Craig who? The book review guy? Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I am not ready to elevate Dr. Craig to Newton and Hawking's chair.

If I wanted to David I could say, “See, Hawking is being misleading. He knows M-theory isn’t viable but he relies on the ignorance of his readers.” However, that would be a absurd argument. I don’t think Hawking is being purposely misleading. I think he really believes what he has written. I might think he is wrong, but I don’t automatically assume he is a liar.

Well, if Dr. Craig has a pattern of being dishonest, then one could assume that he could repeat the tactic described. It is good to hear all sides and then make up one's mind.

Chad said...

Hello David,

Thank you again for the interaction.

However, the conclusions are not typically something that can be validated to a high degree of certainty with current scientific methods.

You are making numerous assumptions here, but just let me point out that to demand certainty, outside of the realm of mathematics, is unreasonable.

The question is, "Who has the best reasons for holding their position?"

Further, and with all due respect, I would think that before making the above statement you would at least give Dr. Craig's arguments a fair hearing.

On the other hand, common descent, 99.98% of biologists believe in it.

Please feel free to bring this up when we get to our discussion regarding origins.

Regardless, The Hawk has an overall great track record of brilliance.

Let me ask you a hypothetical question:

If I could find someone who has earned more degrees, with more peer support, and who has written more celebrated books than "The Hawk," would it then follow that I could automatically take that persons word over Hawking’s'? I don't think so. But it seems that the “appeal to authority” argument you are using would logically lead one to this conclusion. It is for this reason, and others, that I find these appeals to authority to be a little use. One must be willing to discuss the reasons for holding a certain view or rejecting it.

If Dr. Craig has a pattern of being dishonest, then one could assume that he could repeat the tactic described.

Sure, one could assume that he is lying and/or “repeating the tactic described”, but it's an entirely different matter to demonstrate it.

Let us recap:

1. You have not demonstrated that Dr. Craig lied.
2. Even if you did demonstrate that he lied on one or more occasions, you would still need to demonstrate why we then can't trust the particular arguments up for discussion; meaning, the ones contained in the pod casts.
3. You have not interacted with the arguments nor proven them false.

It is good to hear all sides and then make up one's mind.

Here, it seems you agree with the Bible's command : “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thess. 5:21

Respectfully

Brian Auten said...

David,

I would encourage you to be a little more open minded.

Craig is no intellectual light-weight. That's why he is able to go up against the likes of Lawrence Krauss on topics of cosmology. Heck, he's even co-authored books with atheists on these sorts of things (Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology) - and is well-respected by theist and atheist alike. Check out his CV here. And his publication list here. You don't write that many books by just a "BA in communications" and being a liar / fraud. Come on. Do some homework! : )

Anyway, David. Please interact with the arguments that are being presented. Don't do the ad hominem thing.

Take care.