Comments on William Lane Craig


As the act of splitting out this topic has destroyed all context for it, I will attempt to restore it.

This ‘OP’ was originally in response to a non-responsive reply by @swamidass, but also referencing @Puck_Mendelssohn’s response here. The original topic was a link to a post by Jerry Coyne questioning the suitability of WLC’s latest book as a review-topic in Science.

As the putative author of this ‘OP’, I am taking the liberty of explicitly defining the following issues, that already exist in this thread, as ‘on=topic’:

  1. The original topic of the suitability of the book, including discussion of the relevance of its topic, and the character and experience of its author.

  2. The consequences of poor communication.

  3. The moderation of these issues, as brought up by Puck here.


As @Puck_Mendelssohn states, “we could”. But why would we?

  1. To non-Christians, Adam and Eve is simply part of yet-another Origin Myth, many (most?) of which would include a story of the creation of the first humans. Even to many more-liberal Christians, a historical A&E is in no way essential to their beliefs.

  2. Whilst WLC may be a ‘rock star’ to Evangelical Christians, his reputation outside is less glowing. I rather doubt if many non-Evangelical Christians have heard of him. Probably a greater proportion of non-believers have, but we tend to have a decidedly lower opinion of him:

Craig claims that religious faith must be spread through appeals to reason and logic or atheism will triumph. However, this is more about crafting a more effective "sales pitch", than any real commitment to reason as Craig is essentially willing to abandon reason if it provides the "wrong" answers (i.e. those incompatible with Craig's religious dogma):
I think Martin Luther correctly distinguished between what he called the magisterial and ministerial uses of reason. The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel.... Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter.

RationalWiki article on WLC

(The article then proceeds to give a rather lengthy list of his rhetorical tricks.)

  1. WLC is neither a Theologian, nor a Historian, nor a Cultural Anthropologist (whose expertise would cover humanity’s myths), nor a Physical Anthropologist (whose expertise would cover humanity’s divergence from earlier hominins). He is an Apologist, whose expertise lies solely in the area of crafting arguments to support his own theological commitments.

This would tend to heavily limit the breadth of interest in this (or any other) book by WLC.

But this is all (as Puck has already alluded to) completely irrelevant to the issues that I raised – those of the consequences of idiosyncratic use of the word “sole” (or of any other word for that matter) and of cryptic comments. Reading WLC’s book will not change the consensual meaning of the former, nor will it bestow on us the ability to read your mind as to the meaning of the latter.


I ran that by a friend who used to be regarded as having great talent in interpreting the glossolalic rants emitted by people almost as frothy as WLC, and he agreed with my interpretation. This statement means “nothing I ever say can possibly be of any value to any serious inquirer into the truth of anything.”

Now, it’s hard to work out exactly what this act of religiously-motivated intellectual self-castration is meant to accomplish. Perhaps WLC thought it might be nice to be an intellectual eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of God. And as it’s certainly generally accepted that “by their fruits ye shall know them,” it might be worthwhile to have a look at what this peculiar self-negating intellectual stance has produced. What sublime insights into the human condition are accessible only to those who sever this particular lobe? Examples are available.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

There simply are no insults, no condemnations, no cuss words or epithets, which are up to the task of describing this obscenity. Millions of men of my father’s generation died in an attempt to scrub this very type of evil from the earth; they died in a just cause.


Ah, @Tim, I see that we have once again been banished for speaking ill of the intellectually-and-morally-dead.

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No one banished you @Puck_Mendelssohn :roll_eyes:

Just a wee joke about the phenomenon of “splitters” who are more extreme in their ways than the Judean Popular Front.


Yes Puck. A more appropriate metaphor would be “swept under the carpet”. It is vewy vewy important to use the right metaphor. This can be seen from the fact that this was the only issue in our three initial posts that Joshua considered important enough to address. :wink:

Yes. I have previously noted that this forum is consistently heavy-handed in its defense of theist academics, as well as practicing “air-brushing by topic splitting” and/or topic-splitting due to moderator discomfort.

Given that the issues that we raised about WLC’s character and background (and I raised as to the relevance of the book’s topic) would appear relevant to the book’s suitability as a review-topic, and thus at least as on-topic as the more diffuse discussion of the book in the original thread, I am forced to conclude that if it is “off topic” it is not so under the consensual meaning of that phrase, but under some yet-to-be-defined meaning that in some way encompasses discomfort and/or embarrassment to this forum’s hierarchy. (In the same way that the idiosyncratic meaning of “sole” is yet-to-be-defined, and that we are forced to infer from the fact that “sole genetic primogenitor” allows interbreeding that it is not in fact the dictionary/consensual meaning that is meant.)

Of course this discussion of mine may mean that this thread gets further banished swept further under the carpet, into a ‘Private’ topic. But then I’ve always preferred clarity to tranquility. :sunglasses:

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Which has nothing to do with this book, which does not use the term this is way…

Your cryptic responses can be infuriating and frustrating. I don’t think that’s what you’re going for. But what are you going for?


No, it has to do with your statement that you are “tired of repeating [your]self”. As that statement likewise “has nothing to do with this book”, it is hardly surprising that my responses to it don’t either.

My point was the consequences of poor communication, a point that your replies have assiduously avoided.

@Tim thanks for the reorganizing.

Well, I also said life is busy and it is.

Give us some time. I’ll probably write an article clarifying some things, but that takes time.

If you are too busy to write with clarity and/or too busy to give a response that actually addresses the issue raised, may I repeat my earlier suggestion that you wait until you have time to be more forthcoming, rather than simply adding to the confusion by giving a hasty response.

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