Reasonable Faith

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This forum is open for discussion about the debate with William Lane Craig and Peter S.Williams proposing "This House Believes that God is not a Delusion" and Arif Ahmed and Andrew Copson opposing.

20th October 2011, The Cambridge Union, Cambridge

1

njdeputter

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Waiting for the audio, really looking forward to this one.
New Atheism: The desire to be able to do whatever you want without consequences powering a convenient belief that the entire universe came out of nothing for no reason, that life rose out of non-life for no reason, that there is nothing people should or shouldn't do AND that everyone who disagrees should be obnoxiously condemned.

2

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Its been several weeks now and I'm wondering where the audio for this debate is.

3

Aaron Massey

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I watched a You ttube video where craig said this was one of the most interesting debates he had due to the style of debate.

It sounds very interesting and want to see it...but i cant seem to find it amongst the user uploads of  DrCraigvideos on You tube?

Was it video taped?   is it awaiting release?
Any Info would be good.

Proverbs 8:30 "then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man."

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I was shocked to watch this debate on YouTube. I have not yet seen any debate where the opposition has been so rude to doctor Craig. Dr Craig was speaking to the house in his usual extremely professional fashion, not doing any name-calling or slinging any personal attacks to the opposition and he was being laughed at so hard that he had to speak louder. I would never have expected this from a audience of adult human beings and I am shocked.

I have been a Christian since the day I could understand the concept, so I have no experience of being an atheist but the mockery which the opposition displayed there has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I actually pity them. In my experience mockery is the very worst practice when trying to look at any situation objectively and with an open mind. Dr Craig is the image of professionalism and I feel honoured to watch such a great thinker at work. Such a pity that people like Copson have to resort to mockery, it is not neccesary.
"For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again." - Annie J. Flint

5

lapwing

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I think that the opposition speakers behaved badly. Craig had to deal with the most questions but I think he received the longest applause. What was more serious was the fact that the opposition speakers did not adhere to the etiquette of debating. The first opponent (Copson) only sought to refute the moral argument and said nothing about the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God. This meant that Craig had no opportunity to refute the opponents' response to the last two arguments for the existence of God. The opponents indulged in personal attacks against Craig. Also, Craig had referred to Ahmed speaking next then shortly after he said "in a few minutes" you will be voting. At this point Copson pointed to Ahmed implying that Craig had forgotten that Ahmed was due to speak. But Craig had only moments before referred to what Ahmed would say. Finally, Craig's and Williams' delivery styles were excellent - easy to hear and parse what they said. Ahmed had a poor speaking style - long awkward pauses and when he did speak he gabbled his words.

There was quite a lot of debate about the definition of the word "delusion". A mistaken belief which may include the concept of a psychiatric disorder. Well one word in English can have many meanings. Neither team referred to Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" which is clearly the reason for the wording of the proposition. Dawkins includes a chapter on the question of God's existence but he also discusses the roots of religion where he talks about a misfiring of something useful (e.g. conformity helps individuals to survive) and I argue that this idea goes further than just a mistaken belief.
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

6

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lapwing wrote: I think that the opposition speakers behaved badly. Craig had to deal with the most questions but I think he received the longest applause. What was more serious was the fact that the opposition speakers did not adhere to the etiquette of debating. The first opponent (Copson) only sought to refute the moral argument and said nothing about the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God. This meant that Craig had no opportunity to refute the opponents' response to the last two arguments for the existence of God. The opponents indulged in personal attacks against Craig. Also, Craig had referred to Ahmed speaking next then shortly after he said "in a few minutes" you will be voting. At this point Copson pointed to Ahmed implying that Craig had forgotten that Ahmed was due to speak. But Craig had only moments before referred to what Ahmed would say. Finally, Craig's and Williams' delivery styles were excellent - easy to hear and parse what they said. Ahmed had a poor speaking style - long awkward pauses and when he did speak he gabbled his words.


How is running out of time when presenting one's own view and countering the opponent's view bad behaviour? Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?
I must disagree with your assessment of Arif Ahmed's speech. Given the short time he had and the fact that he refuted his opponents claims while answering a few questions from the floor, I think he did the best anyone could.
Craig as usual fumbled when he had to actually deal with questions from the floor so he had to try to win at all costs by making it a debate about being judgemental on one's colleagues. Had he run out of points to make?

lapwing wrote:
There was quite a lot of debate about the definition of the word "delusion". A mistaken belief which may include the concept of a psychiatric disorder. Well one word in English can have many meanings. Neither team referred to Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" which is clearly the reason for the wording of the proposition. Dawkins includes a chapter on the question of God's existence but he also discusses the roots of religion where he talks about a misfiring of something useful (e.g. conformity helps individuals to survive) and I argue that this idea goes further than just a mistaken belief.


Since the word "delusion" has multiple meanings, why did Craig paint the picture he did? Making it seem as though a vote on that motion in that hall is indicative of one's judgement of the total mental capacities of their colleagues and the general public? Calling someone deluded on a single issue doesn't mean they are mentally incompetent.

7

lapwing

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Williams - 15 mins 45secs

Copson -  16 mins 30 secs

Craig - 14 mins 10 secs

Ahmed - 17 mins 35 secs

(start to finish time not speaking time, so including interruptions)

"Running out of time" - you plan your presentation ahead so that you do not run out of time. There were handouts from the proposers.

"Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?"

Of course they did. The first speaker for the motion presented three  philosophical arguments for God's existence and the first opposition speaker should have responded to all these points to give the second proposer the chance to respond. By leaving two of the three reasons to the last speaker meant that there was no chance to respond to his points. Each speaker should respond to the entirety of what the previous speaker said.

"Given the short time Arif had"

Arif Ahmed took the longest time for his speech.

"Delusion"

If you take delusion to mean simply a mistaken belief then you could reword the motion to be "this house believes that God exists" since the fact that belief in God exists is a given. As I said, Dawkins writes about more than just the question of God's existence. Remember the grammar of the proposition labels the belief rather than God as being a delusion. That belief must belong to human beings.

"total mental capacities"

The speakers confined themselves to talking about belief in God, not general mental abilities.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

8

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lapwing wrote:

Williams - 15 mins 45secs

Copson -  16 mins 30 secs

Craig - 14 mins 10 secs

Ahmed - 17 mins 35 secs

(start to finish time not speaking time, so including interruptions)

"Running out of time" - you plan your presentation ahead so that you do not run out of time. There were handouts from the proposers.



Sure. You may also consider that they made their own presentations. They simply didn't have time to then also address the statements of the proposers.


lapwing wrote:

"Didn't Craig and Copson know that they would be going first?"

Of course they did. The first speaker for the motion presented three  philosophical arguments for God's existence and the first opposition speaker should have responded to all these points to give the second proposer the chance to respond. By leaving two of the three reasons to the last speaker meant that there was no chance to respond to his points. Each speaker should respond to the entirety of what the previous speaker said.


You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed.


lapwing wrote:

"Given the short time Arif had"

Arif Ahmed took the longest time for his speech.


He also had quite a few interruptions.


lapwing wrote:

"Delusion"

If you take delusion to mean simply a mistaken belief then you could reword the motion to be "this house believes that God exists" since the fact that belief in God exists is a given. As I said, Dawkins writes about more than just the question of God's existence. Remember the grammar of the proposition labels the belief rather than God as being a delusion. That belief must belong to human beings.


Does this affect what I said?


lapwing wrote:

"total mental capacities"

The speakers confined themselves to talking about belief in God, not general mental abilities.



Maybe you should listen to what Craig said towards the end of his speech.

9

lapwing

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"You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed."

You seem to be arguing that in any debate the opposing speakers should have longer to speak than the proposers. I think there is an obvious problem with your view.

"He also had quite a few interruptions."

He allowed one interruption and refused one near the end of his talk. So you have an interesting way of redefining one as  "quite a few". Craig took four interruptions and refused/postponed one other.

"Does this affect what I said?"

I have no wish to change your previous post. My statement gives a possible reason why Craig may not have regarded delusion as merely a mistaken belief. Craig only talked of delusion in terms of belief in God apart from an answer to a question from the floor about electrical activity in the brain. As for Craig's true motivation only he can answer that one.
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

10

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lapwing wrote: "You seem to think that the first opposition speaker doesn't have his own presentation to make. You should realize that the opposition speakers aren't simply there to counter whatever arguments are made but have their own points to make which should be addressed."

You seem to be arguing that in any debate the opposing speakers should have longer to speak than the proposers. I think there is an obvious problem with your view.


No that isn't what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that  expecting the opposition to simply rebut whatever was said as though they didn't have their own points to make isn't a good approach.

lapwing wrote:
"He also had quite a few interruptions."

He allowed one interruption and refused one near the end of his talk. So you have an interesting way of redefining one as  "quite a few". Craig took four interruptions and refused/postponed one other.


That questioner had multiple questions.

lapwing wrote:
"Does this affect what I said?"

I have no wish to change your previous post. My statement gives a possible reason why Craig may not have regarded delusion as merely a mistaken belief. Craig only talked of delusion in terms of belief in God apart from an answer to a question from the floor about electrical activity in the brain. As for Craig's true motivation only he can answer that one.


What I'm saying is that Craig shifted from making an argument that a belief in God is not a delusion to making one that implies that if one votes that one thinks that a belief in God is a delusion, it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues.

11

lapwing

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Guidelines for Cambridge Union debates can be found here:

http://www.cus.org/members/debating/what-debating

This event was a reduced form where the opening and closing "teams" were the individual speakers but they were cooperating on the same side e.g. Craig and Ahmed included summaries at the end of their talks.

"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."

So Copson ought to have rebutted Williams and presented his case in the time allotted.

"That questioner had multiple questions" So now you choose to redefine "interruption" to be "question". That questioner made two points in under one minute.

" ... it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues."

Craig talked about "all of your believing friends and professors" and never connected the word "delusion" to anything other than belief in God re the motion. Your assertion is false.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

12

Don Quixote

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Cambridge Union Society God Debate (Oct. 2011) - WL Craig, PS Williams vs. A Copson, A Ahmed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXB0o53FdVM&feature=related
If at first you don't succeed...don't try skydiving!

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lapwing wrote:

Guidelines for Cambridge Union debates can be found here:

http://www.cus.org/members/debating/what-debating

This event was a reduced form where the opening and closing "teams" were the individual speakers but they were cooperating on the same side e.g. Craig and Ahmed included summaries at the end of their talks.

"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."

So Copson ought to have rebutted Williams and presented his case in the time allotted.



Okay but there are significant differences one being the number of people that make up a team so maybe he ought to have done that but being the first opposition speaker and only hearing Williams argument, he too has to make his own point that is to be rebutted so I see no problem with him leaving them to be rebutted by the next opposition speaker.


lapwing wrote:

"That questioner had multiple questions" So now you choose to redefine "interruption" to be "question". That questioner made two points in under one minute.


The interruptions during the speeches were often questions.


lapwing wrote:

" ... it shows their disposition towards the mental capacities of their colleagues when it comes to making judgements on other issues."

Craig talked about "all of your believing friends and professors" and never connected the word "delusion" to anything other than belief in God re the motion. Your assertion is false.



Maybe you should listen to what Craig meant by a delusion there during his speech.
My assertion is not false because he said some that may not believe that God does not exist don't necessarily think that others are suffering from a delusion. He also pointed out that there were brilliant people who believed in God and said it would be presumptuous to conclude that they are deluded.
He then ended by saying that the door people walk through indicates their personal view on their colleagues.
So, actually it is your assertion on Craig's use of the word that is false and Arif pointed out, Craig was deliberately ambiguous in his use of the word in this single debate.

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lapwing

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Copson not rebutting two of Williams' three arguments prevented Craig responding to the opposition's rebuttals of these two arguments.
"The opening government presents the case for the government."
"The opening opposition presents the case for the opposition. To do this, they rebut the opening government and present arguments."
Closing speakers "they present new analysis of the debate either from a different viewpoint or by extending the arguments already made."
Copson and Ahmed failed to adhere to these rules.

Interruption=pause, break or halt in an ongoing process
Question=request for information

They are not the same thing so to say "the interruptions during the speeches were often questions." is poor English. There was only one interruption (not "quite a few") during which two questions (more like points) were asked/made.

At least you are now admitting that Craig used the word delusion only in terms of belief in God. "their personal view on their colleagues" was said only in terms of belief in God. Craig used the synonym "irrational" and Williams gave a longer definition which required the opposition to provide incontrovertible proof that God does not exist. Of course, they could not and did not provide such proof.

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer