Thursday, April 7, 2011

Craig Destroys Harris

So the debate is over. I tweeted along with it instead of doing it here, so you can check what I and others said as the debate progressed here.

Craig demolished Harris, who was unable to refute Craig's devastating critique of his version of utilitarianism. Craig showed how 1) God provides a sound foundation for morality and, 2) that without God, no sound ground of morality would exist. He pointed out that Harris was simply redefining morality to be identical to human well being, but Craig not only showed how this was entirely insufficient and arbitrary, but also how it was logically incoherent. Harris really blew it by completely ignoring the topic of the debate in his second speech and just talking about completely irrelevant red herrings. I don't even think that Harris' vaunted rhetorical mind games were that impressive. Sure you can call God a big fat meanie pants, but you just start sounding bitter.

Another great showing for Dr. Craig, and great for theism that all four stooges of atheism have been  eviscerated by such a keen mind. To God go the glory.

Brian at Apologetics 315 has posted the audio of the debate.

Reviews of the debate:


David said...

Craig supporter think Craig won. In other news, dog bites man.

Anonymous said...

Looked like Harris was more interested in evangelizing for atheism than defending his own views. He didn't even try to rebut the criticisms. Seems to me he was hoping no one would notice.

All in all, it was a great night for Craig.

Did you watch the one with Krauss? That was another debate where the atheist mummbled his way through and looked like a fool.

John said...

Hahaha! I always thought Harris reminded me of someone! Yes, it was Ben Stiller all along!

Anonymous said...

There was a comment section on the website where the debate was being streamed live, and the second comment I wrote was prompted in me when I heard Sam Harris characterize the moral attitude of Craig as "delusional" (about 1 hr and 2 min into the debate) "because there's no reason to believe we live in a universe ruled by an invisible monster Yahweh" ...

... I wrote:

"On the atheist perspective, humans are insignificant (because apparently a speck of an earth within a very big universe [insert all other details indicating the massiveness of the universe here], by appeal to non-sequitur, means that our human existence is non-special, unintended, we're unpurposefully animated stardust ) the dark, bleack universe is indifferent to our human existence.

The delusion here, is the utter disconnect promulgated by the atheist that wishes to salvage himself from moral nihilism: the idea that human existence isn't a big deal ... but our actions ARE! Our existence isn't a big deal, but our survival is?!!!?

If our existence is insignificant, by corollary, so would our NON-existence.

Scrap the “maximizing the well-being/flourishing of humans” goal in exchange for “actinging in ways that approach us to extinction” and you've just got yourself something that's multiple times over more consistent with the naturalist atheist view of the place humans hold in this universe. "

bossmanham said...

If you don't think Craig won that debate, then I question your rationality entirely.


I wasn't able to watch the Krauss Craig debate live, but I have listened to it. I've begun writing a "letter" to Krauss regarding his comments a day or two after the debate. Stay tuned.

John, I thought the pic was pretty funny.


Very astute observation.

David Onder said...

I find it troubling that we as Christian take pleasure or find humor in a situation as happened here. While I have not listened to the debate yet, the tone of this post (as well as other posts by other bloggers), including the title of the post, seem so out of line with the title of this blog - "Thinking God's Thoughts". I would hope we could talk about this debate and the sadness that someone could be so blind as Harris. Let us talk about how we can win them over, not destroy them. Isn't that what we are called to do - "make disciples of all nations" (Matt 28:19).


Anonymous said...


"Craig supporter think Craig won. In other news, dog bites man."

Harris supporter bitter that Harris got rocked. In other news, bird poops on woman.

I mean, c'mon!

David said...

"If you don't think Craig won that debate, then I question your rationality entirely."

Yes, there is an irrationality here. It's call confirmation bias. Everyone suffers from it, even Craig supporters.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Wow, complete and total curb-stomp -with Craig doing the stomping! Harris basically trumpeted his own defeat when he refused to engage the actual points of the debate and flew completely off-topic with the red herrings for 12 whole minutes.

People from the era in which the Bible was written sometimes buried children in post holes? Christianity looks strange to those not indoctrinated by it? Abraham's outlook was basically indistinguishable from an Afghani warlord? Is anything in this scatter-shot grandstanding supposed to show that atheists can have some objective moral grouding?

SLW said...

Sam Harris is smart enough to be the Devil, and has enough hubris too.

Stormbringer said...

During the debate, Harris prompted me to say, "WHAT???" a few times. Mr. Spock would say to him, "Illogical". I learn from WLC and other apologists, but I have no illusions that I can hold a candle to any of them. Still, I wondered if I was actually learning, or if Harris was doing so horribly, because there were a few times that I thought, "Even I can take on that lame argument".

Still, it was nice to hear Dr. Craig in action, even thought he did not need to have his "A game".

How did you like the loaded comments and questions later?

bossmanham said...

David, perhaps you could be less ambiguous with your critique. How is noticing that Craig lambasted Harris in the intellectual arena unbiblical? I never laughed about Harris' sad stubborn rejection of the Lord. I think that's tragic and I feel extremely sad about that. I feel sorry that Harris has so blinded himself that even when his logic is shown to be so woefully inept, he still rejects the Lord of glory. I think you're reading something into the post that isn't there.

And if you're asking if I'm taking joy in his public defeat in a debate, I absolutely am. I think any time evil systems of thought are exposed it is good and glorifying to the Lord.

I don't understand what the problem is, brother.

David said...


"Harris supporter bitter that Harris got rocked."

Actually, I didn't watch the debate and have no opinion on the content of this particular exchange. I don't consider these debates of much value for reasons stated below.


You asked "how is noticing that Craig lambasted Harris in the intellectual arena unbiblical?"

Um, I didn't say your conclusions about Craig vs. Harris were "unbiblical", I said it was predictable. I don't think you got my point, and I don't know how you got that idea from my comment. I also said nothing about the issue of whether on not you "took joy", so I believe that you are the one who reading something into a comment that is not there. All I'm doing here is making an observation about confirmation bias.

And yes, this bias works both ways. In fairness, it's also true that almost all Harris supporters think Harris won, and that's another dog bites man story. So it goes with these things, and for that reason, I'm not sure these "debates" have much value as they mostly just convince a given observer that the observer was right all along. You take "joy" in Craig's "victory" while those who favor Harris are delighted by the way Harris stomped Craig. And the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

In the end, it just leaves me feeling that great philosophical truths are mighty elusive things.

bossmanham said...

David, I was talking to the other David who posted, the one who actually is my brother in Christ.

Cory said...

David said...

Craig supporter think Craig won. In other news, dog bites man.
April 7, 2011 10:30 PM

Translation: Waaaaaaaa!

David said...


Ah. Mea culpa.


Waaaaaaa? Really?

Anonymous said...


"Actually, I didn't watch the debate and have no opinion on the content of this particular exchange. I don't consider these debates of much value for reasons stated below."

Well then, I will disregard your comment as an uninformed jab, and you are of course free to do the same with mine.

David said...

"Well then, I will disregard your comment as an uninformed jab."

It's not uninformed. Remember, I'm not commenting on the content of the debate, instead, I'm commenting on the response to the debate. I visited the blogs of Craig supports and the blogs of Harris supporters. The responses were as predicted.

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate David's comment in that, there are Christians who have the same tendency as atheists to brag of the "winning side", a sort of trophy talk. Or to speak of the "losing side" in a way that comes off as overly denegrating.

Although admittedly, it can be hard to find the right balance of words sometimes, when talking about the opponent.

In any case, I do wish talk about the Craig-Harris debate on the internet would center less around who won, and center more around discussing the arguments that were used in the debate. Anybody can declare a winner, how about justifying the declaration.

Anonymous said...

William Craig posted a note on his Facebook, and within it he said:

" friend Dennis has pointed out something else to me: there are cheerleaders and there are analysts. The role of a cheerleader is to support the team, no matter how badly it is losing. If a team is getting drubbed, the cheerleaders don’t lay down their pom-poms and give up. They keep cheering to the end. That’s their role. By contrast, an analyst, even if he has a personal opinion, makes a determined effort to set it aside and to judge the event on its own merits. If the side he likes does poorly, that’s too bad, but it doesn’t change his assessment of which side won the contest."

Albeit, the above was in reference to atheists who believe the debate was a triumph for Sam Harris. However, what Craig said should bind the Christian conscience as well. Let us be analysts, not cheerleaders.

bossmanham said...

Ana, but pointing out that Harris was defeated in the realm of rational discourse isn't "cheerleading" whatever that means. But honestly, I don't have a problem with people rooting for truth, as long as they aren't doing it when they're so blatantly rooting for non-truth.

SLW said...

Harris failed utterly to show that there is any objective basis for morality in atheism. He ignored Craig's arguments entirely, left them untouched and unanswered in the debate. What he did do was launch a diatribe against religion and at best made a claim that atheism could produce morality "just because". He has as pollyannaish a view of man and science as he foists upon believers as having in their faith.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave Berg said...

Reading this makes me wonder if the Craig-championers really watched the whole debate. Harris clearly laid out a model for morality based on the well-being of not just himself, and not just humans, but all conscious creatures.

His answer to the 'is/ought' problem posed by Hume is that if we ought to do anything, if there exists moral obligation at all, it's to protect the well being of others.

This is, after all, precisely the basis with which we cherry pick what is and isn't moral about what the bible teaches. And thankfully so, or we'd still be stoning each other for victimless crimes.

bossmanham said...

His answer to the 'is/ought' problem posed by Hume is that if we ought to do anything, if there exists moral obligation at all, it's to protect the well being of others.

This doesn't answer the is/ought problem...

Anonymous said...

"Dr." Craig repeatedly said the phrase 'objective moral values' over and over again during the debate with Sam Harris, as if that somehow gave him credibility. He said nothing of substance, whereas almost all of what Dr. Sam Harris said, was substantive. Your God is illusory folks. Get over it.