Did anybody else attend this yesterday in Fort Worth? I thought it was interesting. You can view the participants here, but I’ll reproduce them below:
Christianity and the Natural Sciences
In Quest of the Historical Adam: A Panel Discussion with Author William Lane Craig
Convention Center 204 B
Moderator: Ken Keathley
(Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM
A Theological Assessment
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
C. John Collins
(Covenant Theological Seminary)
A Biblical Assessment
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
(Franklin and Marshall College)
A Philosophical Assessment
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
(University of California Berkeley/CENIEH, Spain)
A Scientific Assessment
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
William Lane Craig
(Houston Baptist University/Talbot School of Theology)
11:00 AM – 11:40 AM
Notable was Madueme, who turned out to be an ethnic Nigerian born in Sweden and raised in the U.S. Perfect American accent but a Nigerian last name and Swedish first name, lol. He was a very dynamic speaker and critiqued Craig’s book from a YEC perspective. He made a lot of the same criticisms I would have.
Collins’ presentation was peppered with memes and jokes and was perhaps the closest to Craig’s position, though I would argue slightly more conservative.
Murray defended the position that Adam and Eve or at least the origin of humanity was at most 200,000 years ago and perhaps as recent as 40,000 years ago, taking issue with many of Craig’s archaelogical and scientific arguments directly. Craig indicated that Murray was the main inspiration behind his writing the book and his “target,” though it’s obvious the two are friends.
As someone with a more scientific interest, I found Hlusko’s presentation a major breath of fresh air. She’s an engaging speaker and honestly reminded me quite a bit of Josh in her honestly and professionalism about the limits of scientific certainty. She supports Craig and Josh’s contention that genetic evidence shows common ancestry of humans out to 500-1,000kya, which in context was a direct rebuttal to Murray. But she also made the point that small inbred populations quickly become nonviable due to lack of genetic diversity, an apparent shot at Craig’s model. Craig during his presentation directly accused her of making claims in her paper that were not in her presentation, effectively accusing her of intentionally surprising him. I spoke with Hlusko afterwards. She denied to me that such a thing was stated in her paper, though she knows that other scientists have made that particular claim. I cannot remember the details of the dispute perfectly, but there’s video that I presume will be coming out. Hlusko called Craig “defensive” in our personal interaction.
Craig in his rebuttal focused on a number of specific claims made by the previous speakers. Those who know Craig know that he often writes things down while others are speaking in order to respond to them point by point, and I thought he made several good points. I actually agreed with him on one issue where he argued Madueme didn’t recognize some nuances in his hermeneutics. But Craig did not respond to most of Madueme’s arguments, including his counter to Craig’s cherubim argument from the book or Madueme’s accusation of making arguments from personal incredulity. Craig accused Murray’s position of being out of date.
There was a strange portion of Craig’s presentation where the slides he was showing were saying things that he wasn’t talking about at all. He had lined up several points, eleven or twelve, on about three slides and just paged through them, leaving them up for quite awhile, while talking about something else entirely. I noticed because some of the points on the slides directly contradicted arguments he made in the book. Specifically, some of the points on the slide explicitly argued that Genesis shows the fantastic elements, plasticity and flexibility of myths. In the book he admitted equally explicitly that because there are no accepted alternate versions of Genesis, he cannot claim that Genesis exhibits plasticity and flexibility. I’m not sure if this will show up on the video though. I happened to be sitting directly behind one of the video cameras which was focused on the speaker’s podium and did not appear to have an angle on the slide presentation. There was another camera in the aisle that must have been for the slide presentation, but depending on how the resulting video is edited, the slides I’m talking about may not show up in the final video. I wouldn’t expect them to since Craig didn’t follow his own presentation. But Craig clearly altered what he was planning on saying on the fly for some reason.
The panel discussion consisted entirely of unscreened questions from the audience with predictable results. I don’t know why they didn’t adopt the now standard method of using an app to receive questions from the audience and screen them first, but the panel discussion suffered pretty badly from several terrible questions and the predictable grandstanding from audience members. Murray received no questions at all and Madueme only one which he had difficulty answering because it was really a question for Craig not him. Collins punted several times and Hlusko admirably refused to answer a dumb question about Noah’s genetics.