William Lane Craig’s Christmas present: five bits of evidence for God; Professor Ceiling Cat responds with evidence for Not Ceiling Cat

December 15, 2013 • 11:41 am

Where else but on Fox News will you find this bit of frippery: an article by the eloquent but slippery theologian William Lane Craig, and with the invidious title “A Chistmas gift for atheists—five reasons why God exists“. Craig tells us first that Christmas is a sham for atheists (yes, of course—if you want to celebrate Baby Jesus), and then adds this tidbit:

However, most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence!”

No good reasons for disbelief? How about this one: “Lack of evidence in favor of God and manifest evidence that he’s man-made.” That’s not good enough, apparently.  So Craig offers us, as his Christmas gift, five of what he sees as the best reasons for the existence of God (presumably the Christian god). Sadly, they’ll convince only those who are already convinced. His quotes are indented.

1.  God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.  Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.

First of all, it’s possible (and may be likely) that our “universe” is one of many pocket universes that have been forming since time immemorial. In that case the system of multiverses didn’t have to have an absolute beginning, and the “cause” is, as Lawrene Krauss notes, simply a quantum vacuum fluctuation.  That’s not evidence for a “transcendent reality.” Further, what caused God? If theologians want to use the cosmological argument, that’s a perfectly good argument, and one not adequately answered by “God didn’t need a cause.”

2.  God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life.  That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range.  There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.

This has already been answered in a video by Sean Carroll, Official Website Physicist™.  There are at least four physical reasons for the fine-tuning of the universe, none of which involve God. We don’t know the answer yet, but to say that God is the best explanation is simply a God-of-the-Gaps argument (like #1). Further, such a calculation (the probability of God given the laws of physics that allow human life) requires a Bayesian estimate of the prior probability that God exists (something we don’t know at all).

3.  God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.

Many of us don’t see that there are “objective moral values” (I don’t, for instance, though I think there are right and wrong ways to behave if you want to achieve a given end.  And of course God’s will is not a good grounding for morality, given a). God was a horrible bully and killer of the innocent in the Bible (he in fact perpetrated many Bronze Age Holocausts, and b). nearly all theologians save Craig do not adhere to “divine command theory,” i.e., whatever God decrees is good by virtue of God’s fiat.  More rational theologians admit that God is good because he adheres to certain standards, and that those standards and not God’s will define what is moral.  But of course secularists have a perfectly adequate explanation for both innate moral feelings and socially-derived morality. To say that God is a better explanation means show that the probability of God given human morality is high, and that calculation again requires a Bayesian estimate of the prior probability that God exists The arguments for Not Ceiling Cat (below) suggest that the prior probability of God existing is  low..

4.  God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact.  Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave:  God raised Jesus from the dead.

Easy refutation here: the “historical facts” aren’t really historical facts, except in the minds of believers.  Muslim historians have concluded, with equal tenacity, that Allah sent us the Qur’an through his prophet Mohamed.  So there are two sets of diametrically opposed facts, neither supported by objective historical evidence from people who don’t already believe. The only “historical” evidence for Jesus’s life in in the scriptures, period, and those are full of contradictions, mistakes, and outright falsehoods.

5.  God can be personally known and experienced.  The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.

People have all kinds of delusions: they regularly see and hear their dead relatives, are abducted by aliens, and, of course, gods of other faiths can be “personally known and experienced”. What Craig is doing here is substituting revelation—faith—for reason.  The personal experiences that people have of Jesus are, of course, not independent of one another, and so don’t provide independent data points. How many personal experiences of Jesus do Hindus or Buddhists have? You have personal experiences of whatever religion you were brought up in or adhere to, and that’s evidence that your “experiences” are not evidence of something real, but a comforting and culture-bound illusion.

No atheist will find these stupid arguments convincing.  But to counteract them, I present, as my Koynezaa present to believers, Professor Ceiling Cat’s evidence for Not Ceiling Cat (see also the hilarious sections for and against Ceiling Cat at the “Proof of Ceiling Cat” section of the LOLcat Bible site. Here is my more serious contribution:

1. God doesn’t give evidence for himself, even though he easily could, converting all the world to the true faith. But God WANTS us to know and accept him. Ergo, the best explanation for him being “hidden” is that he doesn’t exist.

2. The world is full of natural as well as man-made evils that make the innocent suffer. This cannot be comported with a loving and omnipotent God, even if you posit that all will be set right in the next world.

3. The existence of Hell, in which Craig believes, absolutely violates any conception of a loving God. No such God would consign people to eternal flames for trivial crimes like asking for evidence. If there is a Hell, then God is evil.

4. Different religions give different truths. At most only one of them can be right, and if one is, it’s probably not Craig’s.

5. The universe is full of superfluous stars and planets on which there’s no life. Why? Even the laws of physics could have been altered to allow the existence of only one galaxy—ours—without screwing up everything else. Theists have no explanation for this.  Saying that “God’s will is unknown” is no answer, for if you play that card, you lay yourself open to having to explain how you then know God is loving, all-powerful, wise, a disembodied mind, etc., etc. Further, the earth will be toast in another few billion years. Is that part of God’s plan, too?  Theists have no explanation for things like that.

6. Who made God?  Secularism provides the best explanation for the idea of God, for we have ample reason to think (and in fact have often witnessed) that gods are created by the human mind.

7. Scientific studies looking for God’s actions always fail.  These include investigations of miracles like the weeping Jesus in India (sewer water), the Shroud of Turin (forged) and the “cures” at Lourdes (no regrown limbs or eyes)—not to mention several failed studies of intercessory prayer.

8. Science continually contradicts God’s word, thus continually casting doubt on God himself. A hundred years ago, Craig would be have been preaching the literal truths of Genesis, Adam and Eve, the Great Flood, the Exodus, and so on. Now science shows that those ideas are wrong. Rather than take the parsimonious view that the Bible is a work of fiction, which is being whittled away completely by empiricism, theologians like Craig cry “it’s largely a metaphor.”  Unlike scientists, they accept no evidence against the God hypothesis, but simply wriggle like eels, defending the view to which they were committed in the first place. This is not theology but confirmation bias.

QED no Ceiling Cat. (But there is Professor Ceiling Cat).

Professor Ceiling Cat text

194 thoughts on “William Lane Craig’s Christmas present: five bits of evidence for God; Professor Ceiling Cat responds with evidence for Not Ceiling Cat

      1. They don’t even need to do that. Converting atheists isn’t the purpose of an article like this. The purpose is merely to sooth believers who may be disturbed by the rumblings they hear from atheists. They themselves don’t know why they believe, they just do (hint: indoctrination). The purpose of such an article is not even for the believers to believe and accept such arguments but merely for them to have someone who sounds smart assuring them that the atheists aren’t so smart. For that purpose almost any argument will do.

  1. “Further, the earth will be toast in another few billion years. Is that part of God’s plan, too?”

    According to many Christians the earth will be toast much sooner than that. In fact I would like to ask them, if the total lifespan of the Earth from creation to destruction is meant to be a few thousand years, why is the Sun so ridiculously over-engineered?

  2. Thanks for the “Professor Ceiling Cat’s evidence for Not Ceiling Cat”. The Craig part is so old (and refuted) that it is beginning to fossilize.

  3. A wonderful, clear, concise dismissal of the arguments for god, and summary of arguments against god. Thanks!! I’ll keep this handy.

  4. It’s hardly necessary to refute Craig’s arguments; they are so lame and paltry that the only rational response is “why bother? That’s like refuting a three-year old expatiating confidently on how the moon is made of green cheese.” Besides, Professor Ceiling Cat has already done so. However, one might want to ask if this is really the best that theologians can come up with? That’s pretty sad.

    But, in the interest of pedantry, and of giving myself a break from grading final exams:

    “Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.”

    Even if the rest of Craig’s first point were valid (which it’s not), this line is a simple non-sequitur. He could just as justifiedly have put, “Only a hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue suitably fits that description” or “Only a porgall neemdor relstilan suitably fits that description.”

    Craig’s second point is refuted by the fact that life is adapted to the universe; it is not the case that the universe is adapted to life. If Craig would ever leave the echo chamber of his own skull and read and learn, he’d already know that.

    His third point is misbegotten; we’re looking for good morality, not absolute morality. Yes, christianity and islam have an absolute morality (at least if you adhere to divine command theory), but they are abhorrent moralities, not something which people should be practicing. And, if Craig isn’t out there “not suffering a witch to live,” then he’s just picking and choosing, as are we atheists. Only, we are honest about it.

    Craig’s fourth and fifth points are baloney, as Professor Ceiling Cat’s refutation showed.

    Suggested reading for WLC: The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas edited by Robin Harvie and Stephanie Meyers. Ho ho ho.

    1. Further to point 4, re: miracle-working and exorcism, WLC probably knows full well that miracle-working was not even in turn of the millennium Palestine evidence of divinity.

      Take nature-miracles: Honi the circle-drawer from the mid first century BCE was especially well-known for successfully praying for rain and acknowledged by Pharisees as having the ear of God. It didn’t stop him getting stoned to death by Hyrcanus’ followers.

      Theudas in the forties CE promised his followers that he could part the River Jordan: the Romans acquainted him with his maker before he could become a second Moses.

      The ‘Egyptian’ in the same century proffered an amble around the walls of Jerusalem and their destruction to his followers; the latter again were dispatched to Hades by the Romans, but the Egyptian escaped.

      On healing miracles, there’s Hanina ben Dosa who lived about one generation after Jesus: and who healed Gamaliel’s son, no less. Hanina specifically stated that he was not a prophet.

      For a first century Jew a miracle-healer was simply more reliable than a physician, no more no less, viz. Hanina. One who could do nature miracles was not thereby untouchable and exalted, viz. Honi.

      WLC, in citing Jesus’ miracles as evidence for his Godhood, is actually more superstitious, less sceptical, than first century Jews.


  5. He ends the piece with this deucey:

    The good thing is that atheists tend to be very passionate people and want to believe in something. If they would only put aside the slogans for a moment and reexamine their worldview in light of the best philosophical, scientific, and historical evidence we have today, then they, too, would find Christmas worth celebrating!”

    I find Yule worth celebrating simply because of the company, the food and the gifts.

    But hey, if an philosophical authority like Craig says I want to believe in something, then maybe I better start believing in something.

    I think I’ll give buddhism a go….

    1. I’m very sympathetic to Buddhists and Buddhism, but I could never “find refuge in the three jewels” (i.e. formally become one). The trouble is that a fundamental Buddhist belief is that this universe we perceive is just an illusion created by the mind. Sorry, dear people, but I believe in an objective reality, even if our senses don’t always report it faithfully.


      1. I concur, it’s not the worst philosophy/religion out there, but then again that is not saying much considering the competition.

      2. The illusion is not created by what we perceive but how we conceptualize (think about) reality. I think science is bearing this out – we don’t exist as the sum of our parts, because our parts are constantly being renewed. It is the information, or pattern with which we identify that exists and gives the illusion of continuity – which of course we need to live and thrive in the world. I think the core principles of Buddhism is sound, as a secular philosophy, the rest is just woo.

        1. “we don’t exist as the sum of our parts, because our parts are constantly being renewed”

          I don’t think this statement works. We can be the sum of our parts and still have parts renewed (replaced) over time. My car is the sum of it’s parts in spite of the fact that it periodically gets a filter or some more expensive part replaced.

            1. Or, for the TL/DR crowd, it’s like my axe. Best damned axe in the world, handed down in my family for generations. I use it so much I’ve had to replace the handle five times and the head twice, but I love that axe so much I couldn’t bear the thought of losing it.



              1. Or my computer, on which I am writing this. When I got it it was a 386SX20, with a 20MB hard drive, mono screen, and other bits to match. It’s only ever been upgraded, bit by bit, never replaced. Now, 6 motherboards and CPUs, four cases, getting on for a dozen hard drives later, and having run Windows 3.1, several iterations of Red Hat Linux, and about six iterations of Debian, the only ‘original’ part left is the power lead; but it’s still the ‘same’ computer.

                Railfans decades ago were faced with the same conundrum – after a favourite locomotive had been through the ‘shops’ for a heavy overhaul, and been fitted with the boiler off another loco of the same class, wheelset off another, and tender off yet a third, is it still the ‘same’ loco? And if it isn’t, which one is?

      1. Martin’s song actually (rather lightly) pokes fun at religion. Atheists’ options (watching football in our underpants, Sundays free, rock ‘n’ roll) are more appealing than most of the religious music they mention.

        And the diversity of the religious music just underlines that if any religion is true, why isn’t that so obvious that all the other religions convert to it?

        1. I agree. I especially like the part about atheists spending sundays in their underpants watching football.

          I has an honest Homer Simpson’esque truth to it, for my part at least.

  6. It thought there would be a contradiction in believing in Biblically asserted morals and not believing in Biblical inerrancy. As Craig is not a young-earth creationist he can’t take the Bible to be inerrant.

    But then I read this: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/what-price-biblical-errancy

    Here he has just redefined errancy! It is no wonder why atheists who are of the scientific persuasion have difficulties in understanding Craig’s arguments. Craig is not concerned with facts, he is into playing philosophical games and debating semantics. Any scientific reasoning given to Craig he can just redefine to suit his own needs, physical evidence does not matter to him. Asking for evidence of his assertions would not make any sense to him, the evidence he needs is in his definitions.

      1. Nailed it. Craig does not show the inerrancy of the bible; he shows rather that he is very good at making up ad hoc “explanations” that match what he already believes. Calvinball indeed.

        Also, Craig’s long theobabbling seems to indicate that although he acknowledges that it seems that there is the most miniscule chance that there might be some sort of intimation that there is the slightest possibility of some minor, unimportant scriptural detail that perhaps doesn’t fully stack up to the most uncompromisingly rigid modern standards of historical accuracy, there really is no problem in explaining that away; just use the exact same methods of higher criticism (source criticism, redaction criticism, looking at the intent not the details, ad nauseam) that every single person (including the pastors) in any evangelical church I’ve ever been in would reject as “creeping liberalism”. However, Craig has completely missed the point–it’s not the ultraminute; it’s the fact that large swathes of the bible, including all of Genesis and Exodus, are sheer fiction, and that the foundational events of biblical “history,” appropriated by the writers of the new testament and placed in the mouths of Jesus, Paul and the others, such as Adam and Eve, the Fall, the Flood, the patriarchs, and the exodus, never happened in any sense of the term. Or, would WLC pretend that “Historians have reached something of consensus that the stories of Adam and Eve and Noah’s flood are literal historical events”?

  7. Augh. I recently challenged theists to deliver any argument for god they wanted, and I would tear it down.
    Two tried. Both failed to even reproduce known arguments coherently.
    Oh, and one of them was revealed as a pedophilia apologist in the process!

    Let them come, say I.

  8. Re that nonsense about fine-tuning the fundamental constants: It’s true that if you fiddle with any one of them, the resultant laws of physics wouldn’t allow life. But as was recently remarked somewhere, if you vary several of them, there are other combinations that lead to the physical stability necessary for life to arise.

    Sorry, but I have no idea where I ran across this.

      1. Yes. This explained it quite nicely. It has math in it, but I could just skip those parts. I do not want to give too much away, but Stenger shows quite clearly that when one properly models different universes with different physical constants, we learn that there are lots of universes that can support life. The original fine-tuning argument was done with bad math!

        1. Hmmm, maybe this will be the next book I read. I’m currently working through The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley & since I’ve decided to use up my vacation so I won’t be back at work until January 2, I may have time to finish the Ridley book & start this one.

      2. Heck, just give him a link to a collection of Hitchens videos. He’s as likely to read a book as to watch his ideas thrashed by Hitch. And you’ll save a few bucks.

      3. I’m gonna have to get this for myself as an early gift.

        If you ever get the time to write down your huge list, please post it here, it very well might serve as inspiration for some of us. 🙂

          1. Hi Diana:

            Well, I’ve read 21 of the books on your list. And it’s a great list! I’m adding Grayling’s “The God Argument” to my list. But, is it *really* the case that you haven’t read “The God Delusion” yet? You’ve got to; it is *so* good.

            1. Yeah, I haven’t read the God Delusion yet. I knew Dawkins more as a scientist than an atheist and a popular scientist at that (I haven’t read The Selfish Gene yet either but I read a lovely hard copy of The Ancestor’s Tale that friends gave to me as a birthday present years ago. I remember my one friend telling me that she thought I’d like it as it mirrored The Canterbury Tales and her dad had read it and loved it.

              My first real start to atheist type literature was Hitch’s God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and I remembered thinking, “finally, someone is speaking the truth!”. I’d accepted that there were few atheists out there back then. 🙂

              1. TBH if you are in any way educated with the issues “The God Delusion” is kinda dull. I prefer his popular scientific stuff, as his more philosophical stuff doesn’t quite hit the mark.

                I’m not saying that he’s wrong, by the way (IMO he isn’t), it’s just if you want to go down that route there are authors who put the boot in better.

              2. Chris:

                Pray tell, who? The four best atheist books (written by individuals) I’ve read are those of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris (“The End of Faith”) and David Mills (“Atheist Universe”). Each is, of course, different in focus, type of argumentation, etc. I found Dawkins the most complete, Hitchens the most polemical (and therefore the most fun, if least effective), Harris the overall best (probably the book I’d give to a believer who said, “hit me with your best shot”), and Mills unfortunately overlooked nowadays, as his book is perfectly splendid, and has as fine a demolition of the anthropic principle as you could hope for anywhere.

                I’ve read others and I’ve got others on my to-read list, but I’m always looking for recommendations.

              3. @Chris: Begging your pardon, sir, but I consider myself reasonably well “educated with the issues” and I found The God Delusion rather helpful. I’ve read, and still read, a variety of books on the “issues” (aka “subject”) and I do so because the each contributed in their unique voices.

      1. That wouldn’t make me go to church. I would think we live in simulation and whoever runs the simulation is playing games with us. Maybe to study our reaction.

      2. I think eliminate cancer, tell us how to do it, fill in all the gaps in our knowledge, tell us why he was such a vicious bastard.

        But then you’re right. I might just think that the person doing that is just a rather clever alien.

        1. I think I’d be one of those people who simply concludes that the matrix is real and that it’s time to get off the train.

          In other words, the designer, if it exists, is a grade A douchebag and I’d make it a priority to oppose whatever twisted motives lies behind its creation.

          1. “I am a sceptic. I have never seen a sign that there is in the scheme of things an intelligent purpose. If the universe is the contrivance of some being, that being can only be a criminal imbecile.” (In the story “French Joe” by Somerset Maugham).

          2. Thread over.

            Of course, other possibilities include insanity, ingestion of psychotropic substances, various forms of torture, and the like, but the end result is the same regardless.


        2. Ha ha! I’d *so* love to hear god explain his rationale behind the commands about killing witches and disobedient children, as well as his justification for slavery!

            1. I didn’t forget; I just know that WLC and his ilk “explain” that by saying that the genocidees deserved it, because they weren’t worshipping the true god. Or, as the scripture states, “For I the lord thy god am a jealous bastard.”

    1. The stars rearranging themselves to spell out an unambiguous message about god and his/her/its/their nature, preferably in a decent number of the world’s most widely used languages.

      Or anything else that could not possibly be, under any reasonable set of circumstances, a natural phenomenon. So far, he/she/it/they have not even come close.

      Of course, if I was feeling in a generous mood, I might even settle for a fossil rabbit in pre-cambrian rocks.

      1. ….and I still wouldn’t worship he/it/she because I don’t need a mean ol’ tyrant watching over me.

        1. Of course. I was only responding to “what proof of god’s existence would I accept.” Would I worship such a tyrant? Hell no (clever, huh ;-)) Better to die on one’s feet that live on one’s knees, etc.

              1. You can’t beat “a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0”>their take on homeopathy.

              2. If we’re doing Mitchell and Webb sketches related to religion, I think this one is very apropros:

              3. (Replying to Tulse)

                Yes, the origin and spread of religion, as seen in the cult of Vectron.

                I can’t believe it; I’ve already watched 5 Mitchell & Webb videos today.

      2. The whole question of what would happen if this despotic and genocidal god revealed him/itself, is pretty interesting. I could see how the scenario could be made into a rather dark and controversial tv series that followed different lives of people in the aftermath.

        1. There was a science fiction anthology titled “The Day the Sun Stood Still” published back in 1972. It consisted of three novellas addressing that very issue, what if god showed himself unambiguously? How would the world respond?

          I no longer remember any of the details of the stories, nor do I have the book (but I once purchased a copy and sent it to my daughter, so I can eventually read it again). Might be interesting. Of course, as has already been pointed out, there is a big difference between acknowledging that a dictator exists, and kowtowing to him.

    2. There is probably nothing everyone would accept, but I would have been pretty impressed if we had found encoded in the genome of the chimpanzee any chapter of the Bible.

      Of course, we’d have to resequence the genome first from an independent sample of the species in the wild because the most obvious hypothesis would be that some talented and perverse human was messing with us. And, of course, an equally valid hypothesis would be aliens out to mess with us. But still, it would be some kind of actual concrete evidence that would demand our attention.

      Of course we didn’t find that. We just found a lot of examples of inherited common mistakes and quirky features (chr2 fusion) that confirmed what we already knew: that we shared common ancestors with the other primates. But boy, if we had found a nice solid chapter of the Bible in a wild genome, that would have really shaken things up. That’s exactly the sort of thing we never do find, though, isn’t it?

    3. He’s omnipotent. It doesn’t matter if you can’t think of an example – there are, after all, probably lots of solid arguments for all sorts of things that you (or I, or other humans) can’t currently imagine. So what? If he can’t produce such evidence, he’s not omnipotent, is he?

  9. “God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.”

    OK, so trying not to lose my temper here: WLC, why is it that your “objective” moral values always include men standing on women’s necks? L

      1. Even atheists recognise the evil of the Shoah … yes, just like we recognise the evil of the Old Testament genocides* of the Midianites, Canaanites and anyone else who happened to be living on land Yahweh promised to Moses and his land-pirates. Genocides that the used-god salesman Craig has personally defended at length, even going so far as to sympathise with the poor put-upon Israelite soldiers ordered by their god to slaughter women and children. Can we not spare a thought for the poor brave warrior impaling a child on his spear? He was just following orders, you see …

        *Not to mention the enslavement and rape.

        1. …and no archaeological evidence of any of those genocides. They didn’t happen. WLC defends a massacre that never occurred. How morally tortuous.

          “There is no crime for those who have Christ.”

    1. It’s rather curious that although their god is supposed to provide objective moral values and duties, historically what those values and duties are have changed: slavery used to be acceptable; it used to be OK to commit genocide of one’s enemies (except for the virgin girls, who were to be used as sex slaves); it was acceptable to have multiple wives and even concubines, etc. etc. etc.

      Heck, even now many of the Christian groups disagree on foundational aspects of morality, such as the role of women, reproductive rights, homosexuality, environmental stewardship, etc. etc. etc. You’d think that if they all worship the same objective-moral-values-and-duties-providing god, that they would at least agree on what those values and duties are.

  10. Apropos of your #5: The universe is full of superfluous stars and planets on which there’s no life.

    Let’s for a moment suppose there are humans, all created in God’s image, of course, living also on other planets.

    When the loving God sacrified His own son Jesus, that sacrifice has reference only to Adam’s (and Eve’s) sinful offspring.

    So either must sin (sinful lives) have taken place only here on Earth. Or else God must send His son Jesus to all other planets in the universe, where God-created humans are living, so that Jesus can be sacrified there also in order to redeem those sinful extraterrestrial humans.

    Maybe that’s why Jesus has never come back to us here on Earth, although He promised to do so before all of them listening to His sermons/lectures were dead.

    Jesus has to be killed on every single planet (full of sinful humans) and then resurrected again by Hos holy Father (on all these planets).

    Surely that will take a lot of time, which explains why the second coming of Jesus here on Earth hasn’t occurred yet.

    1. Um, not sure if this is serious, or if this is just a Poe. If serious, I’d like to see some evidence. If a Poe, then all I can say is, not only is jesus not coming, he’s not even breathing hard.

      1. If you’re responding to #17, it’s a reductio ad absurdum, unless I’m totally confused. Different species than Poe.

        Of course, I’d extend the post to a rule that “Jesus can’t come back again AS A HUMAN.”

        Therefore the universe will persist as long as there are different species of moral beings arising in the universe. Theologians can work on moral baraminology — whether the number of moral kinds is finite, and the universe is closed, or infinite with an open universe…

    2. So your version of the creator is a landlord who built more properties than he could manage? Pretty careless for an omniscient being to not institute a universal Jesus delivery system [TM] to handle many instances of Adam’n’Eve replaying The Fall. That should have been a piece of cake for He who could choose to exist *outside* of spacetime ~ Santa + his warehouse elves must be laughing their xmas socks off.

      A more parsimonious solution to the non-occurrence of the Second Coming is that there wasn’t a first coming and the end times myth persists because a few grifters in every generation have recognised that promoting the existence of a vengeful god to ignorant people opens the door to status, money, power, sex ~ whatever takes the charlatan’s fancy in fact.

      1. “So your version of the creator is a landlord who built more properties than he could manage?”

        Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

    3. It is vastly more likely that even if Jesus existed and was murdered by the Romans for spreading sedition, that his entire story and resurrection was a story made up by his followers to lend gravitas to his teachings about morality.
      Back then most events were passed on by word of mouth as there was no press. This is how myths are borne. After just one generation the story could be embellished and become mythical without refutation b/c the witnesses were gone.

        1. You can delete a post?? I didn’t know that; seems strange, given that we can’t even edit them. Or is the the mysterious and omnipotent paw of Ceiling Cat?

  11. My own list is much shorter.

    First, and most important, is that all religious claims are, both superficially and upon deep analysis, indistinguishable from those found in any other form of fantasy fiction. They’re not even meant to be taken seriously.

    Next, there is not one single coherent definition of the term, “god,” that doesn’t reduce to an idol or strong-man. Rather, the gods are all clearly nothing more than plot devices, the “what if” upon which the stories hang. As with all such examples from that class of fiction, if the “what if” actually were so, it would be mundane; only the fact that it’s impossible makes the story worth fabricating and telling.

    When we get to Christianity, their “arguments” — never evidence, never demonstrations, never observations, but always “arguments” — all fall into two categories, both of which Craig displays. There’re the “sophisticated” professions of ignorance and incredulity, and the pleas to the authority of the Bible. The former are inevitably logically incoherent; indeed, a sound reasoning from the initial premises stated by Christians is guaranteed to lead to a proof of non-existence by contradiction, except they stop short and insert special pleading in place of logic. And the latter…well, seeing how the Bible is an absurd anthology of third-rate faery tales and how nothing of substance in it is substantiated by other sources and how it makes extraordinary claims that are irreconcilable with solid observations from better-positioned sources, we can dismiss those out of hand as well.

    …you were trying to say, “Dr.” Craig?



  12. Milo, why don’t you first google “Jerry Coyne” and see that he does indeed debate others.

    You could go to Craig and say the same (inaccurate) thing for his post.

  13. I think it’s better to deal with Craig in the manner that Jerry’s done here. Craig succeeds at debates because he’s learned various debate tactics which give him an edge. These include 1. Insisting on speaking first, 2. Insisting on no more than two or three different debate subjects, 3. Using the Gish Gallop to overwhelm his opponent with more ideas than can adequately be rebutted given the limited time frame, 4. misrepresenting opponents positions and making numerous unjustified assumptions, forcing them to spend precious time correcting him.

    These are valid issues to raise with Craig and his defenders, but I’ve never seen him acknowledge them as such.

    By responding to Craig’s arguments on his blo…er, “website,” Jerry’s side-stepping all of the tricks. Craig and his supporters are always cheer-leading the debate form because it works to his favor. His debate with Shelley Kagan didn’t wasn’t resolved to his favor because it deviated from this particular form. I actually found that one quite enjoyable, btw, and recommend it (it can be found on youtube).

  14. I like Hitch’s question – if god is moral, why did he wait for tens of thousands of years to appear to humans? He sat there watching and letting humans suffer since the upper Palaeolithic and then suddenly showed up a few thousand years ago.

    1. … and made things worse.

      “[Man] is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.”

      M. Twain

    2. The words of Elijah (in the story) are ironically apropos:

      “Shout louder!” “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

  15. Christmas is probably just as much a sham for Christians.

    The early pericopes make one evidential assertion about the date of Christ’s birth – Luke 2:8 with the shepherds watching their flocks. When were the sheep out in the field in first century Palestine? Between March and November.

    For a biblical literalist like WLC, the one thing he should propound is that Jesus could not have been born on 25th December.

    Erm…have a cool Yule, Bill, a Mithras Christmas.


  16. Two questions that I would like to see WLG address:

    1) How does the supernatural (transcendence) interact with the natural? By what mechanism?

    2) Is there an act which if perpetrated by humans would be considered evil and morally unobjectionable, but which if perpetrated by God would be considered morally acceptable? (for want of an independent reference to this, I call this question, the Katte Puzzle) Think about condemning people to Hell or some of the murders God committed in the Bible.

    1. It’s nearly Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma, Vic: does God ordain it because it’s morally good; or is it morally good because God ordains it?


    2. According to Craig with his use of the divine command theory there are lots of acts that normal people would consider morally objectionable, but because he thinks his god commanded these acts they must be moral. For example the flood in Genesis, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or god using bears to kill 42 children in 2 Kings 2:24. You can read Craig defend genocide ( http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites ) there, he uses the same excuses for the others I have mentioned.

  17. Milo:

    You may be laboring under the misapprehension that truth is determined by one’s skill at debate; actually, however, it is determined by the quantity and quality of the evidence supporting any given statement or claim, whether scientific, religious, philosophical, or other.

    Andrew B., just above, provided a sufficient riposte to your question about a debate. The evidence, in a reasoned and well-thought out manner, not in whatever sound bites one can come up on the spur of the moment, is found in books. If you’re interested in evolution, you may want to read Dr. Coyne’s Why Evolution is True or Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth. If you are more interested in the philosophical and religious arguments, I can recommend Walter Kaufmann’s Faith of a Heretic, Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, Dawkins’ The God Delusion, or the anthology The Portable Atheist, edited by Christopher Hitchens.

    1. I have read everyone of these books you mention here and many more like them.

      I agree that truth is not determined by the skill of the debater but a public face to face debate would give each the opportunity to present their case in person to the public. I think most people are smart enough to know the difference between rhetoric and substance. It is too easy to use the excuse that Craig is to skilled a debater and therefore that is what will determine the outcome. Sorry I don’t buy that excuse.

      1. How is a single in-person debate a better means to determine truth than well-considered back-and-forth written postings?

      2. I think most people are smart enough to know the difference between rhetoric and substance.

        Respectfully disagree. Change “most” to “a tiny percentage” and I’m with you. For details, see modern political campaigns, the fact that pseudoscience outsells science in bookstores by a substantial margin, the recent Gallup poll showing that 64% of religious people would not abandon a tenet of their religion even if it were proved to be false, the deep(ak)ities recently dissected on this website, ad infinitum.

        1. Not sure what’s going on the with the formatting, but the comments by Tulse at #40 and me at #41 are supposed to be responses to Milo Coladonato at #39.

          1. And, my comment at #43 I intentionally tried to place as a response to my own comment at #41. So, it appears as if the “reply” function is not working. If my hypothesis is correct, then although I’m typing this as a response to my comment at #43, it will probably post as a separate comment at #44. The glories of the scientific method!

  18. William Lane Craig is a modern enigma ; a man who freely boasts of his qualifications and his learning, but appears to think and to reason like a very young and inexperienced person. And what’s more, the insistent and overwhelming refutations of his claims are apparently invisible to him, even after years of our efforts in applying them. It does seem as if he wilfully and deliberately avoids contact with the refuting arguments, probably upon the very political grounds that you can still win an election even if most of the population votes against you, and for other parties. For example, in his trust in the ‘Resurrection’ he hides his gods in the cute phrase…

    “…I can think of no better explanation of these facts…”

    First of all the description of the resurrection is far from fact and far closer to fable, as are the nativity scene, and Noah’s Ark.

    Tell me please, WLC, what kind of reasoning is that when you pretend that you have eliminated all possible explanations for Jesus surviving his own death, that drives you to believe that he was carried to heaven, as were so many fictional deities of those faraway days? And what about the glaring explanations for Jesus’ disappearance which are so lost on you; for example, the fact that captured and executed troublemakers are usually buried in unmarked places so as to discourage the followers; as was Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hitler, (by the Soviets) and many, many more. Is it not reasonable to assume that the Romans took the body in the night and disposed of it? And the experience of many grieving people that they so very often see, and think that they have spoken to a loved-one shortly after their death, does that ring a bell? When there are simple and compelling answers to the circumstances you are reviewing, is it not better to look to the obvious, rather than to seek a solution in supernatural beings? It does smell fishy that you are able to conjure ethereal apparitions out of common and frequent experiences. And it suggests a very smelly fish that you seem to avoid with great adroitness all those common explanations for biblical miracles.

    I feel we need to assemble a new tactic when dealing with Teflon theologians. We need to develop a new concept, perhaps a new formula of words that forcefully suggests that what has been roundly refuted should not be re-presented as as fresh new evidence for the existence of deities. After all, the supporters of Thor and Zeus have given-up; it is about time you gave-up on pushing the Jesus Cult?

    1. After all, the supporters of Thor and Zeus have given-up;…

      Don’t count us out just yet. Odin is due for a comeback any day now.

          1. Reminds me of a story I once heard about him. You see, one day he espied a lovely maiden with whom he was instantly smitten. Few words were exchanged before they were doing that which gods and maidens are wont to do. After an encounter so epic that ballads about it are still sung to this day in less-than-reputable establishments, Thor realized that, amidst all the passion, he had never thought to tell his new lady-love his name.

            “My darling, I must tell you the truth: for I am Thor!”

            You’re thore?” she replied. “I’m tho thore I can’t even thit or thtand!”

            And, yes, do please try the lobster….


              1. Hmm…that’s the dilemma of writing bawdy jokes for a family-friendly Web site. Ah…let’s see…Thor was Thor, of course, but the maiden (who always had the lithp) was more sore than Thor…

                …and, if you need more explanation that that…well…er…um….


              1. Either my sense of humor isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, or this audience is far more straight-laced and innocent than I imagined….


              2. The comments surprised me too, Ben. Though I thought Diana’s might be purposely naïve-sounding…

    2. We need to develop a new concept, perhaps a new formula of words that forcefully suggests that what has been roundly refuted should not be re-presented as as fresh new evidence for the existence of deities.

      There is a handy term for it, “PRATT” — Previously Refuted A Thousand Times.

  19. To paraphrase David Deutsch:

    ‘God is a bad explanation because what it leaves unexplained is effectively the same as what it purports to explain in the first place.’

    …and if you respond, “God doesn’t need an explanation.” Why can’t i respond that the Laws of Physics don’t need an explanation?

    I think i know why…

    “Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people, otherwise there would be no religious people”
    -Dr. Gregory House

  20. And it’s even easier to take shots at atheists from a Fox News column – which is more about easy clickbait via reinforcing the Fox audience’s prejudices than it is about actually arguing a case. Talk about a home ground advantage.

    1. There is a reason why Fox News no longer has comments on their articles, and it’s not because bits are in short supply.

  21. This cobbled-together list of shallow rationalisations is another reminder that they are far more concerned with maintaining the faith of people who were indoctrinated as children than trying to win non-believers over with their ‘logic’.

    That said, how this helps any believer wrestling with the vast amounts of cognitive dissonance they must experience whenever they actually think about their religious belief is beyond me.

  22. How can anyone look at the nearly infinite vastness of empty cold space and say that the universe was “fine-tuned” for us? Why isn’t all the universe a giant meadow, or an enormous carnival, or a big hotel? Why is it that of all the universe that we know, all the quadrillions of quintillions of cubic light years of nothing at 2.7K, we can only survive in a very thin shell on the surface of a infinitesimal bit of dust? Anywhere else in the universe would kill us almost instantly. How is that “fine-tuned”?

    It’s like an ant bobbing on a cork in the middle of the Atlantic thinking that the ocean must have been created just for it.

    1. Not here to defend Craig, but I do think atheists should be careful to make good arguments, too. What you say above is not a refutation of fine-tuning. The universe could be fine-tuned for life even if no life existed in it at all. To be thus, it would merely have to have the parameters consistent with the existence of life. The universe is not fine-tuned for vast, empty nothingness, as you seem to suggest, because most models of universes employing different physical parameters consist mostly of the same thing, empty space. From this it can be concluded that most universes are coarse-tuned, not fine-tuned, for mostly nothing.

      1. The argument isn’t that the universe is fine-tuned for nothingness (although space is not “nothingness”), but rather that it is absurd to claim the universe is fine-tuned for life when literally all of it is inimical to it, except for a very tiny portion of an infinitesimal bit of rock.

        Let’s put some numbers to this. The surface of the earth is roughly 500 million km squared. To simplify, let’s generously says that humans can survive on all that surface (ignoring little things like oceans and icy poles). Let’s further say that humans can survive up to 10 km high in the atmosphere (this is also probably extremely generous, but again it makes the math easier). That gives the total volume that humans can live in the entire universe to about 5 X 10^9 cubic km. That’s it — that’s what’s naturally habitable to us. The entire observable universe has a volume of 3.5×10^77 cubic km (see here). So the percentage of the universe that is “fine-tuned” to support our kind of life is approximately:


        If you see that as anything but a rounding error, you’re bonkers.

  23. “God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.”

    He used to provide the best explanation for thunder and lightning, but times change.

    1. Yep, once you go Divine Command Theory, you presumably give up the right to argue for morality that looks like anything we humans would recognize. The only reason that people argue that there are “objective” values is because most people have intuitions about certain actions being right and wrong. If one’s god acts in ways that don’t line up with our human psychology, all bets are off. If god turned out to be Cthulhu, I doubt most people would take him to be the source of objective morality. (Presumably Craig still would, because Divine Command Theory means that anything his god does defines morality, even if your god turns out to be an eldritch antediluvian extra-dimensional space alien who drives people mad.)

  24. Recycled reasons. Seriously religious people are done.

    What if there is a god? What then? All of Professor Ceiling Cat’s evidence for Not Ceiling Cat are valid.

    There still is no explanation for anything in god.

    Take heed religious: There is a god. There is a god. There is a god. Sing in choral verse. What does it mean besides possibly saying: There is a unicorn. There is a unicorn. There is a unicorn. What does that mean?

    What do the religious think they are accomplishing? Reursive cipherism?

  25. Uhg.

    Craig on the cause of the universe: ” This entity must therefore be enormously powerful.

    On what principle or observation is this based? Out of his arse or real life?
    Because it sure doesn’t seem pulled from
    real life.

    If there is anything we have learned through science, it’s that large amazing effects tend to be traceable to smaller, simpler beginnings.

    People used to look at the amazing forms life took on earth, and the ecology, and think that it took a Super Mind to have designed it all just so. But then we find that’s not true; from humble, simple beginnings large effects can follow. The initial cause does not need to be as powerful as the ultimate result. So Craig has no grounds on which to insist we accept the cause of the universe (even granting that) must be “enormously powerful.”

    It’s amazing to see otherwise educated people who refuse to learn nothing from the trends of sciene.

    Craig continues about the cause:

    Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.”

    Sorry…TREMENDOUSLY POWERFUL, TRANSCENDENT and UNEMBODIED mind fits the description?
    Where have you seen any of those, Dr. Craig?

    No one has ever seen such an entity. You’ve simply made up an entity and assigned it the “power to do what I want it to do; be able to create the universe.” That’s not how you go about “explaining” things.

    “How” does this Super Mind have the power to create universes? Well…it’s supernatural, see, it’ magic. In other words “I don’t know…it just DOES have this power.”

    But then you can’t limit that move to making up minds with magic power. You can give ANYTHING supernatural/magic power. A clothespin created the Universe. A duck. A blade of grass. A red circle. A blkgvitx.
    How can those things create universes? Their supernatural, magic. It’s a power they have.
    Sorry if I can’t point to any such entities that have such powers, but then you are in the same position with Super Transcendent Unembodied Universe-Creating minds.


  26. The Bible is so blisteringly obvious a construct of it’s time, of ancient desert dwellers doing their best to create a representation of a God. This God who just happens to seem to be limited to the knowledge and mores of the time from which the story comes.

    It would be similar to a group of people who insist the Original 1960’s Star Trek series was a message from Super Intelligent Aliens, accurately depicting our future. Once they start with swallowing that fruity idea, the apologetics would flow, and in much the same fashion as those for the bible. You could point to all the signs of it’s origin: “But look, the show came out in the 60’s and everyone just happens to have 60’s hairstyles and even miniskirts that were the rage at the time. Look at how antiquated the computer equipment is…for the FUTURE? etc. etc.

    You can just imagine all the responses, like “But that’s only from your limited human perspective. Surely there are good, futuristic reasons mini-skirts come back in fashion for women on starships. And it’s pure hubris for you, a mere human of the 20th century, to try to evaluate the technology of the far future…”

    Starting with things you shouldn’t have assumed in the first place always leads to


    1. I’m not sure they were doing their best, looks like they were winging it to me, but otherwise I’m with you.

  27. These are the same arguments Craig makes in all his debates. They sound impressive to the philosophically unsophisticated and the scientifically unaware. Oddly enough, he seems to win most of his debates, by vote of the audience. It seems his atheist opponents never take his philosophical claims seriously enough on their own merits to bother to refute them, which leads to defeat in formal debate settings.

    A case in point is that Craig never seems to notice that his first two arguments, the cosmological argument and the fine-tuning argument, are in direct logical conflict. Alas, his opponents never notice this either, and this huge hole in his presentation never gets explored.

    The simplest case of the fine-tuning argument is that on the assumption of theism, life is unlikely. But on the assumption of naturalism, it is more unlikely, even considerably more unlikely. Thus, theism is likely to be true.

    Unfortunately, this directly contradicts the cosmological argument, which holds much more than “life is very unlikely on the assumption of naturalism.” The CA holds that life is impossible on assumption of naturalism; indeed, nothing at all would exist, unless God existed to make/uphold it. Once you even concede (as fine-tuning does) that life is possible if unlikely on the assumption of No God, you are logically required to abandon the CA. If you keep the CA, you must abandon FT. Craig embraces both, logically contradicting himself.

    Also, although I don’t think Craig is an ID advocate, it should be noted that fine-tuning and intelligent design are also in conflict. If the universe is intelligently designed for life, why does the designer need to step in and build a flagellum in his invisible workshop? It must not be very fine-tuned after all! You can advocate fine-tuning or ID, but not both on pain of logical inconsistency.

    1. davidm,

      Hmm…I’m not sure the two argument, CA and FT, are contradictory in the way you describe.

      You’ve characterized both of them as being about the unlikelihood of life. But they are different: the FT argument is about the unlikelihood of life (like us), but the CA is about the purported impossibility of the
      Universe itself, without a cause.
      In other words, one is about the probability of a Universe LIKE THIS while the other is about the very possibility of the universe at all – even different, non-life-containing versions of the universe.

      So Craig can still say, without logical contradiction (although not with a sound argument) that it’s impossible for a universe to be un-caused, and it’s also very unlikely on naturalism for a universe to take THIS form, but more likely on theism.
      In making a claim about the likelihood of a life-supporting universe, he’s not making claim that the universe could have also arisen without a transcendent cause.

      Again, not that his arguments are sound, but I don’t think there is a logical contradiction that I see. (Help me if I’m not getting it).

      Though, one can point out another problem that gets at incoherence: the Christians
      end up believing in an Omnipotent God.
      But then they can’t also have the Fine Tuning argument as well. Because the fine tuning argument is predicated on the propositions that the constants MUST BE TURNED in PRECISELY the ways they are, or life is impossible. But an Omnipotent Being would suffer no such practical restriction and could, by definition, create virtually life in virtually unlimited ways and universes. It would therefore be false that a universe MUST be tuned precisely as ours is, for the possibility of life.

      Omnipotence or the Fine Tuning argument. One of ’em has to go.


      1. Actually, no, they’re not both about “the unlikelihood of life.” That’s the FT. The CA says, OTOH, that NOTHING AT ALL can exist minus God. But the FT is a probability argument that already concedes so-called fine-tuning is POSSIBLE without God, just much more unlikely than it is with God. It also concedes that something, even if it’s not life, can exist without God. IOW, it concedes that metaphysical naturalism is logically possible, whereas CA denies this. So to hold both ideas at the same time is to violate the Law of Noncontradiction. It is to say: The possibility of a anything existing at all without God is zero, (CA) while at the same time is is also possible that something, including life, could exist without God. This is a flat logical contradiction.

        1. Put more simply, as soon as you concede that anything at all, living or non-living, is possible without God, as the probability FT argument implicitly does, you wholly repudiate the CA, which maintains that metaphysical naturalism is metaphysically impossible.

  28. Well at least if he gave it a good try we’d be debating whether or not it was clever aliens or God who cured cancer rather than whether or not genetic mutations were writ by his sloppy penmanship.

  29. To say that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life is like saying that a hand sanitizer that kills 99.99% of germs is fine-tuned for the existence of the surviving 0.01% germs.

      1. Mentioned this before, but maybe it’s worth repeating. The above is not a valid rejoinder to the fine-tuning argument. To say that the universe is fine-tuned for life, does not imply that if fine-tuning is true, life should exist everywhere, or even anywhere. It’s possible to conceive a universe fine-tuned for life in which, contingently, life arises nowhere. All the fine-tuning argument claims is that certain parameters of physical laws are constrained to a very narrow window to make life possible at all, and outside of those parameters no life could arise even in principle. I don’t think the fine-tuning argument works for several reasons, but I also think it’s important not to make bad arguments against a bad argument.

        1. But why “fine-tuned for life”? If it was fine-tuned, it could be for anything that actually exists. Maybe for protons or black holes.

          1. If you are going to argue that the universe is fine-tuned for x, you have to show that x could not exist even in principle outside of a narrow range of parameters. That’s what fine-tuning means. So, if protons could exist across a wide variety of different constants, then no universe can be said to be fine-tuned for protons in particular. Same with black holes and empty space or whatever. The real question is whether’s it’s true that this universe contains the only, very narrow constants that could support life. If not, if life, maybe even life as we don’t know it, could exist in a wide range of different parameters, then no universe could be said to be fine-tuned for life in particular.

            1. I believe (without having actually read the book yet) that this is exactly Stenger’s argument in his book against fine tuning–that sure, if you change only one parameter, you almost certainly end up with a universe that does not support life, but that if you change constants in tandem, something like 20-60% of the possible universes could support life.

              In any case, the fine-tuning argument is rendered moot by the simple (but laboriously arrived at) observation that it is not the case that the universe is fine-tuned for life, but that life is fine-tuned for the universe (of course, in that sentence, “universe” should probably be replaced with “the uppermost layer of the earth’s crust”).

    1. Nice.
      Personally I prefer to use smallpox. Like so:

      1. If life is unlikely and that’s evidence of tuning for life…

      2. And intelligent life is even more unlikely, and that’s evidence for tuning for intelligent life…

      3. Then we note that viral parasites that require humans as a precondition for their existence are even less likely, and therefore, evidence that the universe is tuned for them.

  30. “Who made God? Secularism provides the best explanation for the idea of God, for we have ample reason to think (and in fact have often witnessed) that gods are created by the human mind.”

    I love this! Of course the equivalent to the inane question of “something from nothing [?]” is the non-inane question of “gods [?] from myths”. Where ?’s corresponds to propositions systems that have absolutely no observable evidence behind, so looks like Not Even Wrong…

    Craig’s text is also inane, and reminds mostly of a fractal error Gish gallop. So instead of responding to it in toto I will pick some juicy parts:

    it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning.

    That is still an open question. Meaning we can’t assign probabilities.

    there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful.

    Inflation made the local universe and populated it with the help of quantum fluctuations. Neither mechanism is transcendent, but readily observable in the cosmic microwave background.

    And while “entity” is a sleight-of-hand misattribution and “powerful” is a deepity, I’ll note that the inflaton field potential never had as high energy density as the centers of later black holes has. So, contra “common sense”, the traits of the observable universe are more powerful than the mechanism that it results from.

    Kind of how the first populations of cells were less ‘powerful’, complex and capable, than later ones. Maybe Craig thinks the first protocells were made by ‘Enormously Powerful Entities’ instead of geochemistry. At the time rather simple geochemistry at that…

    There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design.

    “Design” isn’t a mechanism, so it is not in the competition as the next Top Model of the universe.

    Craig’s list doesn’t contain selection bias (“anthropic principle”), which is still a candidate despite that some want to exclude it by fiat.

    1. it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning.

      That is still an open question. Meaning we cant assign probabilities.

      Actually, we can: “Not even worng.”

      An “absolute beginning” in this context is as incoherent as “the largest prime number.” A minor tweak of Turing’s Halting Problem is enough to show that it’s impossible to know whether one’s perception of the universe is ultimate or whether it’s just a small corner of some even-bigger-than-you-realze reality. That cognitive event horizon exists for all entities, no matter how assumedly knowledgeable and / or powerful. So, since it’s not even possible in principle to have an answer, how the question itself be coherent? Indeed, the “absolute beginning” is exactly as non-existent as the universal algorithm to determine if any given program will halt before exhausting its physical resources.

      The rest of your post, as usual, is spot on.



  31. The fact Mr. Craig needs to prove that God exists itself shows that the mere existence of a God is a big doubt.

  32. A Christmas Gift for William Lane Craig – Five Reasons You should be Happy Atheism is probably True

    1. You love your family. If your God is real, some of the people you love will be left out of paradise.
    2. You love children. If your God is real, the suffering of little kids is optional. God could reduce it, but just doesn’t want to.
    3. You love freedom. If your God is real, we live in a kingdom where obedience is the only survivable option.
    4. You love reason. If your God is real, reason is a distraction from the truth.
    5. You love yourself. You could be mistaken about your own salvation and end up in Muslim hell. Or even Christian hell. No one knows the mind of God.

    1. 1 If you love someone probably there is a reason you love him so he did something right so he will not stay outside paradise (which is not a material place).

      2 All the suffering comes from our mistakes, in Africa children die because of the over consumption, progress in the western world happened because children die from starvation in poor countries, thats why in the New Testament people who are sick say to Jesus “I pay my parents sins..”. If your father was a perfectly healthy human and did a wrong life with drugs and alcohol probably he will give birth to a child with problems.

      3 The teachings of Jesus Christ are the definition of Freedom, belief in Christianity is Freedom because belief in God in Christianity means love, forgiveness, charity, humility…Freedom doesn’t exist in Materialism where you are taught that all that exists is material with expiration date because you can’t put yourself above it, you can’t make science when you think materialism is the roof. Science started as a belief that humans are in a much greater fate from the world around them that’s why they can study it.

      4. Atheists put reason over faith while for Atheism the Universe exists without a reason of existence. Sounds Legit.

      5. There is one God, God is infinite so you can’t use plural. Muslims just copied the Bible, Islam happened for political reasons thats why its a fake religion. Whatever supports killings and oppression goes against God because if these 2 were justified in the face of God and God was a murder and a dictator he wouldn’t create the World from first place. Jesus Christ said “The Kingdom of Heaven is open for everyone, rich poor, masters, servants, pagans, unfaithful and Judaists” He said that because you can’t place labels on goodness, the nature of goodness doesn’t make exceptions. In case you are wondering why we need religion if atheists can be moral just as Christians, i will reply that it wouldn’t last. We live in developed countries and we don’t know how the survival instinct will affect us if tomorrow the State will bankrupt, thats why religion must exist because religion exist on poor or rich countries as a base.

  33. The fact that you call William a slippery theologian shows that William made you question your faith in Randomness, Nothingness and Luck and you didn’t liked it thats why you mock him, you have no arguments.

    Your answers are Randomness of the Gaps answers, sci-fi, Multiverses doesn’t exist, neither pocket universes neither megaverses, you atheists can’t grasp the reality of Fine Tuning


    and you making up dragons to answer Craig.

    Sean Caroll was crushed in this debate with Craig, he even admitted that his model demanded a beginning..


    Krauss misrepresented Vileckin’s letter, the BVG theorem states that everything that is physical demands an absolute beginning, even quantum fluctuations.

    Morals can’t be based on Materialism, you live in a State that was created by Christian Morals not Epicurean Morality. The Atheists Epicurean Philosophers supported slavery, murder, rape, woman abuse, inequality, they thought mercy as a weakness and they supported the worship of the God Cesar because they thought that it was the best option for a State to be govern from a half God man. So if you atheists find these teachings wrong then you are hypocrites.

    And here comes the most important question.


    What we name creation in the material world is not creation from nothing (thats a delusion) but from something, if we are planning to build a house the house won’t just pop out from nothing, the materials that we will use to build the house were there from the first milisecond of the existence of the Universe, what we did is to move them through space and time and fuse them, that didn’t changed their properties to a house, atomically the were the same. That’s why God can’t be created because he exists outside space and time and before you name it mumbo jumbo i will like to remind you that this physical past eternity was debunked by BVG THEOREM so the two options you have are “Causeless Universe” “Eternal Non Physical Mindless Universe”
    both can’t be proved nor remove the Fine Tuning which is a reality.

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