William Lane Craig: a complete list of debates

William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig is, far and away, my favorite debater, and over the years I’ve watched, listened to, and read dozens of his debates with atheists, agnostics, Muslims and liberal Christians. There are several sites that provide lists of debates with Craig, but none of these lists are exhaustive, and some of them are inaccurate (providing e.g. erroneous dates). So I’ve decided to remedy this situation by creating my own list. As far as I can tell, the list is complete, but if you notice any omissions, please let me know.

Some of my friends may be surprised to learn of my interest in this Christian apologist, and might even suspect that I have become a Christian myself. Let me, then, make it clear that, while I admire Craig’s debating skills, I reject many of his substantive views (some of which I find monstrous). I see no tension in holding these two attitudes: public debates are not conducive to the discovery of truth, and skill at debating should not, therefore, be regarded as indicative of correctness of belief.  As Luke Muehlhauser notes, “The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are sound, but because he is a masterful debater.” (I do, however, believe that debates can offer more than mere entertainment, and exposing myself to Craig’s debates has helped me clarify my thinking in various ways.)

The table below currently lists over a hundred debates. My favorites are those with Douglas Jesseph, Arif Ahmed, Shelly Kagan, Quentin Smith, Ray Bradley, and others I’m forgetting.

TopicOpponentDate        VenueLocationVideoAudioText
Does God exist?Michael Came2017-03-23Trinity College DublinDublin, IrelandVideo
Does God exist?Michael Nugent2017-03-21University College CorkCork, IrelandVideo
Is there evidence for God?Kevin Scharp2016-02-01Ohio State UniversityColumbus, Ohio, United StatesVideoText
Does mathematics point to God?Daniel Cane2015-01-10Premier Christian RadioLondon, United KingdomAudio
God and cosmology: the existence of God in light of contemporary cosmologySean Carroll2014-02-21Baptist Theological SeminaryNew Orleans, Louisiana, United StatesVideoText
Life, the universe and nothing: is it reasonable to believe there is a God?Lawrence Krauss2013-08-16Melbourne Town HallMelbourne, AustraliaVideoText
Life, the universe and nothing: why is there something rather than nothing?Lawrence Krauss2013-08-13Sydney Town HallSydney, AustraliaVideoText
Life, the universe and nothing: has science buried God?Lawrence Krauss2013-08-07Brisbane City HallBrisbane, AustraliaVideoText
Is faith In God reasonable?Alex Rosenberg2013-02-01Purdue UniversityWest LaFayette, Indiana, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Klemens Kappel2012-04-18Copenhagen UniversityCopenhagen, DenmarkVideo
Can the universe exist without God?Kari Enqvist2012-04-16University of HelsinkiHelsinki, FinlandVideo
The resurrection of Jesus: history or hallucination?Gerd Lüdemann2012-01-22California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis Obispo, California, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Peter Atkins2011-10-26University of ManchesterManchester, United KingdomVideo
Does God exist?Peter Millican2011-10-21University of BirminghamBirmingham, United KingdomVideo
This house believes that God is not a delusionArif Ahmed, Andrew Copson2011-10-20Cambridge Union SocietyCambridge, United KingdomVideo
Does God exist?Stephen Law2011-10-17Central Hall WestminsterLondon, United KingdomVideoAudioText
Is the foundation of morality natural or supernatural?Sam Harris2011-04-07University of Notre DameNotre Dame, Indiana, United States
Is there evidence for God?Lawrence Krauss2011-03-30North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina, United StatesVideoText
Does the universe have a purpose?Matt Ridley, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins2010-11University Cultural ComplexPuebla, Puebla, MexicoVideo
Identifying Jesus: Is he man & God?Yusuf Ismail2010-05-08Jubille Community ChurchCape Town, South AfricaVideo
How should we understand the resurrection narratives?Sakkie Spangenberg, Hansie Wolmarans2010-05University of PretoriaHatfield, Pretoria, South AfricaVideo
Is God real?Michael Tooley2010-03-24University of North CarolinaCharlotte, North Carolina, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Herb Silverman2010-03-23University of North CarolinaWilmington, North Carolina, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Victor Stenger2010-03-01Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, Oregon, United StatesVideo
Is intelligent design viable?Francisco Ayala2009-11-05Indiana UniversityBloomington, Indiana, United StatesVideo
Cancel the resurrection?Brian Edwards2009-04-12Newstalk ZBAuckland, New ZealandAudio
Does God exist?Christopher Hitchens2009-04-04Biola UniversityLa Mirada, California, United StatesVideoText
Did Jesus rise from the dead?Richard Carrier2009-03-18Northwest Missouri State UniversityMaryville, Missouri, United StatesVideoAudio
Does God exist?Wes Morriston2009-03-16Westminster CollegeFulton, Missouri, United Statesunavailable
Does the God of Christianity exist, and what difference does it make?Christopher Hitchens2009-03-01Dallas Convention CenterDallas, Texas, United StatesVideoAudio
Did Jesus rise from the dead?Shabir Ally2009-02-11McGill UniversityMontreal, Quebec, CanadaVideoAudio
Is God necessary for morality?Shelly Kagan2009-02-04Columbia UniversityNew York, New York, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Ronald DeSousa2009-01-29York UniversityToronto, Ontario, CanadaVideoAudio
Does God exist?Michael Payton2009-01-29The Michael Coren ShowCanadaVideo
Does God matter?Christopher DiCarlo2009-01University of WaterlooWaterloo, Ontario, CanadaVideo
Does God exist?James Robert Brown2009-01University of TorontoToronto, Ontario, CanadaAudio
Does evil disprove God?Eric Dayton2009University of SaskatchewanSaskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaAudio
Is God a delusion?Bill Cooke2008-06-19Auckland UniversityAuckland, New ZealandVideoAudio
Is God necessary for morality?Louise Antony2008-04-10University of MassachusettsAmherst, Massachusetts, United StatesVideoAudio
Does God exist?George Williamson2008-01-31John Gormley LiveSaskatchewan, CanadaVideo
Does God exist?John Shook2008-01-22University of British ColumbiaVancouver, British Columbia, CanadaVideo
Was Jesus bodily raised from the dead?James Crossley2008University of SheffieldSheffield, United KingdomVideo
Should we believe that the resurrection of Jesus is historical?Roy Hoover2008Millsaps CollegeJackson, Massachusetts, United StatesVideoAudio
Is God a delusion?Michael Begon2007-03-07Liverpool UniversityLiverpool, United KingdomVideo
Is God a delusion?Lewis Wolpert2007-02-28Central Hall WestminsterLondon, United KingdomVideo
Does the Christian God exist?Andrew Pyle2007Bristol, United KingdomVideo
Is there historical evidence for resurrection?Bart Ehrman2006-03-28College of the Holy CrossWorcester, Massachusetts, United StatesVideoAudioText
Is belief in God more reasonable than disbelief?Arif Ahmed2005-04-28University of CambridgeCambridge, United KingdomAudio
Existiert Gott?Norbert Hörster2005-04-26Technische Universität MünschenMunich, Germanyunavailable
The great resurrection debateJohn Shelby Spong2005Bethel CollegeMishawaka, Indiana, United StatesVideo
Gibt es Gott?Michael Schmidt-Salomon2005University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorf, GermanyVideo
Does God exist?Austin Dacey2005Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, Indiana, United StatesVideoAudio
Belief in God makes sense in light of tsunamisAC Grayling2005Oxford UnionOxford, United KingdomAudioText
Science and religionQuentin Smith, Richard Gale2004-01-30California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis Obispo, California, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Austin Dacey2004California State UniversityFresno, California, United StatesVideo
The resurrection of Jesus: fact or fiction?Héctor Ávalos2004Iowa State UniversityAmes, Iowa, United StatesAudio
Does God exist?Quentin Smith2003-04Harvard Science CenterCambridge, Massachusetts, United StatesText
Is there a God?Victor Stenger2003University of HawaiiHonolulu, Hawaii, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Bruce Russell2003United States Military AcademyWest Point, New York, United StatesVideo
Who is the true Jesus? The Jesus of the Qur'an or the Jesus of the Bible?Shabir Ally2002-03-07University of Western OntarioLondon, Ontario, CanadaVideo
The concept of God in Islam and ChristianityShabir Ally2002-03-06McMaster UniversityHamilton, Ontario, CanadaVideo
What must I do to be saved?Shabir Ally2002-03-05York UniversityToronto, Ontario, CanadaVideo
Did Jesus of Nazareth physically rise from the dead?Shabir Ally2002-03-04University of TorontoToronto, Ontario, United StatesVideo
Is God relevant?Phillip Adams2002Sydney UniversitySydney, AustraliaVideo
The resurrection of JesusBrian Edwards2002Newstalk ZBAuckland, New ZealandAudio
Science and Christianity: friend or foe?Phillip Adams2002Sydney UniversitySydney, AustraliaVideo
Atheism vs. ChristianityPeter Slezak2002Sydney Town HallSydney, AustraliaVideo
Is goodness without God is good enough?Paul Kurtz2001-10-24Franklin & Marshall CollegeLancaster, Pennsylvania, United StatesVideo
Did Jesus rise from the dead?Marcus Borg2001-10-22University of North TexasDenton, Texas, United StatesVideo
Does the Christian God exist?Massimo Pigliucci2001-03-22UCLA ChapelLos Angels, California, United StatesAudio
If God is dead, is everything permitted?Torbjörn Tännsjö2001University of GothenburgGothenburg, SwedenVideo
Do suffering and evil disprove God?Walter Sinnott-Armstrong2000-04-01Wooddale ChurchEden Prairie, Minnesota, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Don Barrier2000University of SaskatchewanSaskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaAudio
Does God exist?Ingmar Persson1999-03-18University of LundLund, SwedenText
Secular humanism vs. ChristianityEddie Tabash1999-02-08Pepperdine UniversityMalibu, California, United StatesVideo
Did Jesus of Nazareth rise from the dead?Robert Price1999Ohio State UniversityColumbus, Ohio, United StatesAudio
What Is the evidence for/against the existence of God?Peter Atkins1998-04-03Carter Presidential CenterAtlanta, Georgia, United StatesVideoAudio
Christianity vs. scientific naturalismGarrett Hardin1998-02-11University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara, California, United StatesVideo
The existence of the Christian GodEdwin Curley1998-02-05University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan, United StatesText
Does God exist?Massimo Pigliucci1998University of GeorgiaAthens, Georgia, United StatesText
Does God exist?Antony Flew1998University of WisconsinMadison, Winsconsin, United StatesVideo
Why I am/am not a ChristianKeith Parsons1998Prestonwood Baptist ChurchPlano, Texas, United StatesVideoAudio
Does God exist?Paul Draper1997-09-30United States Military AcademyWest Point, New York, United StatesVideo
Did Jesus rise from the dead?Gerd Lüdemann1997-09-22Boston CollegeBoston, Massachusetts, United StatesVideoAudio
What is God like? The concept of God in Islam and in ChristianityJamal Badawi1997-02-27University of IllinoisUrbana, Illinois, United StatesVideoAudio
Does God exist?Douglas Jesseph1997Arizona State UniversityPhoenix, Arizona, United Statesunavailable
Does God exist?Theodore Drange1997University of IllinoisUrbana, Illinois, United StatesVideoAudio
Does God exist?Quentin Smith1996-03-22Southern Methodist UniversityDallas, Texas, United StatesText
Does God exist?Douglas Jesseph1996North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina, United StatesText
Does God exist?Corey Washington1995-02University of WashingtonWashington, United StatesText
Did Jesus rise from the dead?Greg Cavin1995-02University of CaliforniaIrvine, California, United StatesAudio
Will the real Jesus please stand up? John Dominic Crossan1995Moody ChurchChicago, Illinois, United StatesAudio
Does God exist?Michael Tooley1994-11University of ColoradoBoulder, Colorado, United StatesText
Can a loving God send people to hell?Ray Bradley1994Simon Frasier UniversityVancouver, British Columbia, CanadaAudioText
Christianity vs. secular humanismFelmon Davis1993-10-09First Presbyterian ChurchSchenectady, New York, United StatesVideo
Is the basis of morality natural or supernatural?Richard Taylor1993-10-08Union CollegeSchenectady, New York, United StatesText
Atheism vs. Christianity: where does the evidence point?Frank Zindler1993-06Willow Creek Community ChurchSouth Barrington, Illinois, United StatesVideo
Does God exist?Robert Dietz1993Arizona State UniversityPhoenix, Arizona, United Statesunavailable
Does God exist?Kai Nielsen1991-02University of Western OntarioLondon, Ontario, CanadaText
Humanism vs. ChristianityHenry Morgentaler1991-01-29University of SaskatchewanSaskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaVideo
Christianity vs. agnosticism: can we know that God exists?R.I.G. Hughes1990sUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia, South Carolina, United StatesVideo
  • Kristian Rönn

    Thank you for the post Pablo. I have seen several of Craig’s debates. He is admittedly good, but not in a league of his own. But perhaps its because I don’t really know the definition of a good debater, or what it means for someone to “win a debate”.

    The ultimate goal of debating is to persuade people. But if the only requirement to be a good debater is to be persuasive, we end up with a very subjective definition.

    So to me a good debater has to following certain techniques such as: speaking clearly, memorise comeback lines (i.e. make an internal chart of the debate beforehand), act/be confident, act/be knowledgable by quoting people who seem to be authorities on the subject, only appeal to emotions to the extent that you can get away with it, only commit logical fallacies to the extent you can get away with it, know your audience etc.

    But the definition is still pretty subjective. To me some of the greatest debaters follow these techniques equally well, almost to the point of being indistinguishable (at least in any measure that is beyond mere subjectivity). According to this definition I think Christopher Hitchens and Craig are both great debaters.

    So I guess my question to you is: (1) how do you measure the performance of a debater in an objective way, (2) in your mind what exactly is it that makes Craig superior to people like Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins (I would also like to ask Luke the same question)?

    (My favourite debater is probably Noam Chomsky simply because he is extremely knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects, which makes him very hard to defeat (even though he might not be the most articulate, so I suspect that most experts would disagree)).

    • Hi Kristian.

      Good questions! I’m not sure I can provide a more objective set of explicit criteria than those you list in the third paragraph of your comment. I’d be inclined to say that Craig counts as an exceptional debater when assessed against those criteria, though I’m less interested in defending that claim than I am in simply claiming that Craig is my favorite debater. This mirrors my attitude to aesthetic judgments: ultimately I don’t care much about whether a work of art is good over and above whether I like it (though I’d be interested in knowing if my artistic tastes are correlated with accepted aesthetic judgments, since this would give me useful information for e.g. predicting whether I’d like a particular film or novel that enjoys critical acclaim).

      With this in mind, I can tell you why I like Craig more as a debater than I do Harris, Hitchens or Dawkins. All of these three atheists speak eloquently think clearly (Dawkins more than the other two, in my opinion). The problem with these guys, however, is that they are unfamiliar both with many of Craig’s arguments for theism and that with many of Craig’s replies to the objections against the arguments with which they are familiar. Even in those areas where they are knowledgeable, their lack of philosophical sophistication exposes them to various clever tricks that Craig is very adept at deploying, such as drawing subtle distinctions or shifting the burden of proof.

      I really like Noam Chomsky as a debater, though I’ve seen him debate only twice, and many years ago (I recall being particularly impressed by his performance in the debate against Perle). Chomsky is very different from Craig, however. He is skeptical of the evidential value of debates (as I am) and shows no concern for things like body language or voice tonality. That makes him admirable as a truth-seeker, though perhaps less persuasive as a debater.

      • Kristian Rönn

        Thanks for your reply Pablo.

        I definitely share your attitude to aesthetic judgments. The extent to which I care about “accepted aesthetic standards” has varied a lot throughout my life. Especially when it comes to the aesthetics of human behaviour. What makes someone an “excellent debater”, “charismatic” or “attractive” are questions I have pondered about a lot. I feel like there is a lot of important skills to learn in this area, but it is hard since I am not sure how to pinpoint what behavioural disposition constitutes an “attractive personality” or an “excellent debater”.

        As usual experimental psychology is way ahead of philosophy in answering these questions, but they are still lightyears away! You don’t happen to know of any good sources on learning how to be a better debater (ideally it would be based on experimental evidence)?

        I guess I find a guy like Chomsky appealing just because he shows no concern for such things but manages to be more persuasive (in my opinion) than his opponent(s) despite that. Ideally I would like to live in a world where the persuasiveness of a statement is determined by the probability of that statement.

        • I’m not aware of any good resources specifically on how to become a better debater. Craig was asked this question once, and he said that there was nothing to recommend in the area, though he himself occasionally teaches a debating course at his university (maybe you should consider spending a semester at the Talbot School of Theology ;-) ).

          There are, however, many good resources on how to become a better public speaker, which should obviously be very helpful for anyone interested in improving their debating skills. In particular, many people recommend joining a local Toastmasters club; I’m sure there are chapters in Sweden, since there’s even one here in Argentina. There is also a Coursera public speaking online course. And Luke speaks favorably of Scientology courses, though that seems too dark-artsy for my taste.

    • Nolan Corcoran

      Hi Kristian. What sets Craig apart as debater are 3 or 4 key aspects:

      1. Craig has an extraordinarily strong foundation in the basics of philosophy …but I’m talking about the very basics. The point of a debate is to argue for the positive or negative of a central proposition which is often broken down into a subset of propositions if the main proposition is vague (e.g. “God exists”). The debater should therefore give clear, concise points relevant to the specific boundaries of the proposition(s). Too often Craig’s opponents simply do not follow a logical procession of ideas leading to a coherent point and, if they do, their point does not pertain to the actual topic. Craig, however, defines the terms, finds points of agreement, and then gives logically corresponding, deductive or inductive arguments towards points of disagreement. Hitchens is an example of someone who went on tangents of eloquent word jumble that ultimately had no real relevance (for reference, watch Hitchen’s first speech in their debate). Harris, on the other hand, was more clear with his points but his key point did not even pertain to the actual terms of the proposition. This can be seen clearly in Craig’s refutation of Harris’ main “moral landscape” point. Craig points out Harris has simply confused the term “good” with “beneficial” rather than “moral goodness”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcYUimKWz4A
      Harris is a brilliant man, no doubt, but it come across baffling as to how he could misunderstand and therefore misuse the fundamental terms relevant to the debate. Basics.

      2. Craig does his research. If you’ve ever been in a high school english class, a philosophy class, or any debate class, you will know that crucial to your success in a debate is your research. Craig does this masterfully. Firstly, he has a wealth of quotes from reputable sources compiled either in memory or in his notes that cover a wide range of possible points and counterpoints relevant to the argument. Craig therefore composes both a formidable offense and an impenetrable defense. Most importantly, however, he has often read almost all of his opponent’s professional works, novels, etc. and has a complete understanding of their argument before the debate even begins. (This also can be seen in the video refuting Harris’ point.) Therefore, Craig is ready with a complete counter argument backed with facts, evidence, and quotations to almost everything his opponent might say and, not only that, can summarize his opponent’s points more concisely so the audience can understand the somewhat vague nature of his opponent’s monologue.

      3. Craig is clear, concise, and consistent. This kind of overlaps the first point, but Craig’s arguments, though they encompass complex ideas, are grounded in simplicity. He sticks with the same 5-7 arguments in almost every debate, he almost stubbornly sticks to the key points of an argument (see his debate(s) with Krauss), and he never entertains any irrelevant points by quickly and efficiently pointing out their irrelevance. Craig is efficient by being as concise as possible with his statements and counter statements. He will often (a) share the broad meat of his argument accompanied by all the relevant supporting evidence, (b) give one or two relatable examples and (c) summarize the entire argument to a simple three to four point deductive or inductive argument. In Craig’s counter statements, he first summarizes both his argument(s) and, even more effectively, his opponent’s argument(s), so that the audience can have a better understanding of the argument’s key points and counterpoints to and also so that he can then address both his opponent’s counter argument(s) point by point in relation to his own as well as his opponent’s standalone argument(s) on their own merit. Lastly, Craig is clear with his argument(s), in that he uses particular language that is not necessarily eloquent but is both sophisticated while still capable of being understood by the audience. This is important for two reasons. One, the goal of debate is not to win over your opponent but to win over the audience. Two, using language that is capable of being understood by the layman is evidence of a fuller and more thought out understanding of an idea. E.g. In calculus, you could give some really technical definition of an integral read straight out of a textbook or you could say “it’s the area under a function’s curve between two values of x.”

      4. This is a bit more subjective, I’ll admit, but it very well could be due to Craig’s position being actually correct. Behind fundamental logic is the understanding that given any particular proposition, it is either true or false (law of excluded middles). Therefore, in every debate, either Craig or his opponent is correct. The person who holds the incorrect position may very well win the debate if he is more skilled and wins more points…however one could easily see how it would be much easier to defend a correct proposition then it is to defend an incorrect one. One would think that if your position is true, then it is always at least possible to win.

      • Miguel

        “It very well could be due to Craig’s position being actually correct.” No, not at all!

        I will grant that Craig (very often, though not always) “wins” his debates on fast and concise speech, organization, breadth of knowledge, powerful rhetoric, and lots of practice and experience, but not on substance. All of Craig’s arguments are riddled with fallacies. I could agree that Craig’s debate wins may be assisted by the fact that, in his religious fervor, Craig may really believe what he’s defending, or that maybe he believes that the ends (audience members “coming to Christ”) justify the means (fibs, obfuscation, fallacies and misdirection that “will all be made right in the end,” whatever that means), and that makes him a fierce advocate. But this does not mean that he’s “actually correct.”

        Also, Craig is paid to be an apologist for his position while none of his many opponents (that I have seen) is a professional apologist for the opposing position. As a result, his opponents are hardly ever as organized, forceful, or even committed to their own positions as Craig. After all, they have to earn a living in their respective fields, rather than spending their professional lives (and Sundays) looking to justify or advocate for a pre-conclusion at all costs and “ministering” their position. As an apologist, Craig’s job is to resort to any stratagem that will allow his position to survive. He’s good at it, but, let’s face it, he uses all the typical apologetic tactics, which do not speak to the truth of his pre-conclusion, but, rather, to his effectiveness as an advocate. It seems to me you are confusing truthfulness with advocacy in your last statement.

        Here are some of Craig’s problematic tactics (it’s hard to know where to begin, because there are so many of them, and so many fallacies layered on top of each other):

        – Craig (almost) always starts and takes first-mover advantage by setting the stage and tone of the debate and by shifting the burden of proof. Then he uses:

        – The Gish gallop/shotgun approach. Craig starts his debates by rattling off a series of “arguments” and demanding that his debate opponent must “tear down” each one of those arguments and then make his own case for atheism. Until then, claims Craig, it is safe to assume that (put Craig’s pet conclusion here) is “true.” Never mind that each of Craig’s “arguments” could take an hour to begin to address fairly. As parents of teenagers with their own bedrooms will tell you, it’s a lot easier to make a mess than it is to tidy up after it.

        – Quote mining (e.g.: purposely concealing Stephen Hawking’s argument by selective quotation, I can provide simple and plain instances even after Craig has been called out on this very deception…).

        – Arguments from consequences/wishful thinking (e.g.: if atheism were true, life would be meaningless and horrible and “therefore” we shouldn’t believe atheism; on the other hand, theism is warm, fuzzy, and comforting and “therefore” we should believe it…).

        – Special pleading (e.g.: Craig’s god is a “necessary being” and the rules of the argument under consideration apply to everything else in the argument except, conveniently, to Craig’s pet conclusion; or morality applies to all of us, but it doesn’t apply to Craig’s god, that’s why the horrible things that Craig’s god perpetrates in the Bible are, by definition, not horrible…).

        – Sophomoric physics mistakes in the “Cosmological” and “Fine Tuning” arguments (I speak with some knowledge here, as I am a trained physicist, and can spot the obfuscations very quickly. Here Craig relies on the general audience’s lack of knowledge of these technical and counter-intuitive concepts).

        – Fallacy of composition in the “Cosmological” arguments (e.g.: what applies to constituents of the universe applies to the universe itself. And by the way, they don’t apply to Craig’s god—special pleading layered on top for good measure…).

        – Sophomoric obfuscations about infinities to “argue” facts about the physical world (e.g.: infinities lead to contradictions because they don’t behave like the number 7 (a finite number, by the way), so therefore they cannot exist in “reality”…).

        – Circular arguments (e.g.: In some debates, Craig presents Jesus’ resurrection as an argument for the existence of his god. But when Craig he gets the chance to devote an entire debate to the resurrection with a scholar that knows his stuff, like Bart Ehrman, where Craig can really lay out his case, Craig switches to starting from the assumption that his god exists because Craig admits that “on naturalism the resurrection would be fantastically improbable.” In other words, per Craig, if the Christian god exists, then, by golly, the central doctrine of Christianity, namely Jesus’ resurrection, actually happened! Pretty slick, hey?)

        – Another circular argument: The Universe could not be beginning-less, because there couldn’t have been a BEGINNING an infinite time ago. This assumes what it’s trying to prove. Bonkers.

        – Appeals to emotion (e.g.: You can know that Craig’s god is real because Craig can feel him in his “heart” and therefore so can you. Craig doesn’t really mean the heart, you know, the muscle that pumps blood. What he means is the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, which is even less capable than the pre-frontal cortex of producing logical, well-reasoned arguments. Craig says this is undefeated, and as unrefuted as our senses. However, any means or method of truth finding that produces contradictory or inconsistent conclusions–like religious experiences coming from mutually exclusive religions–has to be ineffectual for truth finding. For example, if two of my senses contradicted each other when I first picked up a realistic-looking ornamental plastic apple, I would have reasons to mistrust both senses, and would resort to higher-order reasoning to sort out truth from illusion).

        – Selective appeals to authority (e.g.: “The vast majority of New Testament scholars agree with these “facts”…” or “So-and-so, an Austrian specialist agrees that…” Never mind that the vast majority of New Testament “scholars” are evangelical Christians who work in institutions of “higher learning” where they sign pre-conclusion pledges about inerrancy and religious commitments, etc. Never mind that the vast majority of Cosmologists are atheists, which Craig neglects to mention when he’s defending “Cosmological” and “Fine Tuning” type arguments (what does Craig know that the cosmologists don’t?). Never mind that the vast majority of philosophers (every bit as “sophisticated” as Craig is, if not more), are atheists. Never mind that the vast majority of ethicists who study morality are atheists, which Craig neglects to mention during his moral “argument.” Again, what does Craig know that they don’t? A feeling in his “heart”? …).

        – Selective appeals to some atheists (e.g.: Nietzsche said that on atheism life would be meaningless and we should all be nihilists. Therefore, we should all agree with this, and Craig’s opponent is now saddled with having to defend Nietzsche because (1) Nietzsche was an atheist, and (2) EVEN Craig wholeheartedly agrees with that particular bit of Nietzsche nonsense. Bonkers.).

        – Use of non-arguments as arguments (e.g.: Objective morality exists because “deep down we all know it.” How about “deeper down we all know the opposite?” Is that a reasoned argument? Bonkers.).

        – Attempts to pre-empt his opponent by projecting Craig’s own weaknesses on his opponent. (E.g.: It is “sheer speculation” to say that there are some instances of evil that are not adequately compensated because, after all, it MIGHT BE POSSIBLE, that it COULD all be made right in the end by Craig’s invisible friend at some UNSPECIFIED time in the distant future, in some UNSPECIFIED and MYSTERIOUS way that we DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO NOW. Craig is the one offering a preposterous “sheer speculation.”).

        And the list goes on. None of Craig’s arguments hold water and all of his arguments are studies on multiple fallacies per argument, yet he often “wins” these high-school style debates. By the way, if you want to see Craig losing badly, please see his debates against cosmologist Sean Carroll, ethics philosopher Shelly Kagan, philosopher Keith Parsons, and some others that were actually sharp enough to take Craig to task on his obfuscations and didn’t let him get away with as much nonsense as he usually gets away with.

    • giantslor

      I’m glad you mentioned Noam Chomsky. I saw him debating William F. Buckley on Firing Line once and he completely dominated Buckley. It was a thing of beauty.

  • dookieboot2

    Craig and Wes Morriston, philosopher at the University of Colorado at Boulder, had a debate about five years ago that was filmed. It doesn’t seem to have been released for reasons unknown.

    • Thanks. I added a link to it. Please let me know if you find any other missing debates.

  • Matt M

    I wonder if it is possible, that a debater who wins a vast majority of their debates on issues, is mostly right? If there is no way to determine if they are “right”, is it most reasonable to consider their position the most reasonable position? It took me a long time to actually understand Craig’s positions on Theism, which at first glance, seem like very simpleton arguments, but as I learned more, I found that they were very intricate arguments that had a huge history of debate pertaining to them. An example is his famous Kalam Cosmological Argument, which has two simple premises and a conclusion, with various sub-premises and conclusions which are much more complex than the main argument.
    Anyhow, I think that debate can expose us to the very surface of these arguments, but it seems there are years, and even centuries of written material that have to be peeled away to really understand the issue.

  • John Henney

    Craig is a terrific debater, except for when he uses mathematical formulas or equations to support some of his arguments. I’ve never understood why he does that. Even if his math arguments are correct, I imagine he is putting most of the audience to sleep.
    Other then that, Its a real joy watching him debate.