Thursday, March 1, 2012

Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins: only the good die young

Ed Feser as a great post comparing the relative civility and courage of Christopher Hitchens to the supercilious cowardice of Richard Dawkins. The topic is-- debating William Lane Craig. Craig is a brilliant Christian theologian and philosopher who has demolished atheists in debates for decades. Part of Craig's success is his rhetorical skill and his deep understanding of the issues, and part is the fact that he's right. Many atheists now refuse to debate him.

Hitchens took him on, and respected him for his skill. Much to his credit.

Dawkins slithered away. If you want to get a real feel for Dawkins' arrogance, note his final explanation for why he was willing to debate a '... bishop, even an archbishop, even the Pope...', but wouldn't debate Craig.

Dawkins exemplifies the arrogant narcissistic cowardice of New Atheism. 


  1. Dawkins is an arrogant 'reptile' (to quote a favourite author).
    He just got pounded in a debate (again) with the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
    His Grace made an excellent show of Prof Dawkins, as he had him ADMIT he is actually agnostic. The Bishop then went on to chide him for not facing Craig, claiming he was 'arrogant' not to.
    I agree.
    Dawkins was also caught with his pants down on the radio when he was challenged to give the FULL title of Darwins seminal work. Dawkins, you see had been pushing a 'poll' he had done in order to prove his theory that most Christians do not have a great understanding of the bible (books names, quotes etc) and was made to look the fool by the Arch Bishop when he challenged him to name Darwins 'origins' in full.

  2. Michael,

    Debates are hardly the best method for determining the truth. They rely on other skills. Rhetoric. Putting forward a large enough number of arguments, which the opposing speaker isn't able to refute in the limited time available. Being able to impress your supporters in the almost always partisan crowds that go to such events. Bringing up novel or unusual arguments that no one else has made, so there's no refutation available yet. For example, Craig used Bayes theorem in a debate with Ehrman to 'prove' the Resurrection to 97% certainty, using equations, not something that Ehrman, a New Testament scholar, would be expected to know. The refutation was done later after the debate by a mathematician.

    Dawkins doesn't do debates. He does interviews, discussions and dialogues. He knows his limitations. Would you be willing to engage in a debate to argue for your belief in Intelligent Design or your interpretation of American constitutional law?


    Dawkins admitted that he's an agnostic because he thinks that there is a very slight chance of any supernatural god existing.

    If you think that a very slight chance of any supernatural god existing is the the same as the chance of your god existing ('God' instead of 'god'), and he should therefore follow Pascal's wager, then you're committing a logical fallacy. The more conditions placed on an entity, the less likely it becomes. He was actually misreported by journalists who capitalized 'god'.

    I'm personally atheistic about 'God' (a '7' in the 7 scale spectrum), which includes Jehovah and Allah, but agnostic (a '6') about the possibility of a god who set off the Big Bang, but who then disappeared never to be seen or heard of since then.

    Dawkins not being able to recite the full title of Darwin's book isn't so amazing. It's quite a mouthful. At best, I could manage 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection'. The subtitle 'Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life' I'd have to look up.

    Most of the time I'm happy with 'Origins' or pleased if I don't put a 'the' in front of 'species'.

    1. I'm personally atheistic about 'God' (a '7' in the 7 scale spectrum)

      If I was you I wouldn't brag about it! It's like saying you have alzheimer and are proud of it!

      Poor bachfried, you will have the surprise of your life (and death) when you die! Just ask Christopher Hitchens...

  3. Craig is a clown who has been recycling the silly Kalam Cosmological Argument for his whole career. And it is just as stupid an argument now as it ever was.

  4. "His Grace made an excellent show of Prof Dawkins, as he had him ADMIT he is actually agnostic."

    Actually, this made it clear that the Archbishop had never bothered to read Dawkins' book The God Delusion or actually listen to him speak on the issue of religion ever. because anyone who had would know that the "admission" that you religious dimwits are crowing over is clearly printed in the book.

    Really, all this has done is expose the fact that everyone who has been making a big deal out of this "admission" and had previously been criticizing the arguments in The God Delusion are actually nothing more than liars. Because it is now clear they never actually read the book.

  5. When I hear about Dickydawk, it reminds me of this saying:

    Sic transit gloria mundi!

    This guy is only interested in money!

    He has found a recipe for making a lot of $$$ by bashing God and selling his prose to the gullible who are more than happy to pay for his just-so-stories.

    The gullible remind me of this saying:

    Errare humanum est!

    (I never thought learning Latin (and ancient Greek) when I was young would some day be of some use! As for Greek, here goes: Άθεοι είναι αποτυχίες!)

    1. "This guy is only interested in money!"

      Thats rich...

      And so how do you account for Vatican City - Which owns more than 100,000 non-religious properties in Italy, worth around 9,000 million euro..TAX FREE?
      Not to mention the untold fortunes in priceless holdings...
      Apparently they wont be tax free for long... heh

  6. Pepe,

    You're an idiot. Why would an atheist be interested in accumulating money? We can't take it with us when we go into the great oblivion.

    I retired at the age of 55 when I realized that $3,000,000 was enough to last me for the rest of my life.

    I'm 100% confident I won't be facing your god or Satan in a nonexistent afterlife. Your delusion and wishful thinking don't interest me in the slightest.

    1. I'm 100% confident...

      You are also 100% confident that evolution happened Darwinian style and 100% confident AGW is real!

      If you lived in the sixteen century you would have been 100% confident the earth was flat and 100% confident the sun revolved around it.

      I know your type. In French, we call them Ti-Jos connaissant!

      As for retiring at 55, I guess your selfish gene got the best of you and won.

      Have you considered giving some of your 3 million to the poor?


      I guess not!

    2. Good points, Pépé.

      @ Bach,

      "Why would an atheist be interested in accumulating money?"
      For their children?

    3. "If you lived in the sixteen century you would have been 100% confident the earth was flat and 100% confident the sun revolved around it."

      This is where your abject ignorance shines through Pépé. People have known the Earth was roughly spherical and had a decent idea of its size since Eratosthenes demonstrated this (using empirical evidence) in the 3rd century B.C.E. Heliocentrism has been widely known since Copernicus, who lived in the first half of the 16th century, and was first posited by Aristarchus in the 4th century B.C.E.

      You are little more than an ill-educated buffoon.

    4. Anon,

      You're so terre-à-terre you miss my point completely. Try using a bit of what you have in your skull and you may start to understand my meaning!

    5. The problem is that your posts are so incoherently stupid that there is no meaning to be found.

    6. Shorter Pepe:

      Don't confuse me with facts, man!

  7. Bach,
    "Why would an atheist be interested in accumulating money? We can't take it with us when we go into the great oblivion."

    There is nothing 'great' about it, and you will not be anywhere according to your own (admitted) FAITH. Instead you will simply cease to function, rot/decay, and eventually while the various atomic and molecular biological mass will be reconstituted as part of another piece of matter. You mind, unaccounted for, will simply cease to function as a software program would cease to function if a computer was destroyed physically. The 'user'? No mention. No need. This is a 'just so' computer that is 'just so'.
    You're polishing a turd, Bach.

    "I retired at the age of 55 when I realized that $3,000,000 was enough to last me for the rest of my life."
    That is a nice tidy sum. Congrats! I'll be lucky to have 20% of that by the time I am done, and that is for risking my life.
    You must be quite the capitalist or very lucky.

    Anyway, you're right. I would not accept any more pay if I had that much in savings. I would do my work for nothing, though - as I love it. I see it as a calling.
    But - I digress into daydreams - $3M is enough to retire SEVERAL people, you're correct.
    Assuming, of course, there are people like myself willing to FIGHT to keep that promissory paper worth more than pretty kindling.
    You know? Like in those oil wars you moan about.
    My advice? (I know you're waiting with baited breath :p)
    I would suggest real - in hand - gold Bach. Buy some and keep it. Don't 'cash in' on the increases, just hold on to it..and I would do it SOON. Not all that fortune, you understand. You may as well enjoy some of that, or put it in trust. But some of it, maybe $200K(?) I would suggest you put into gold and KEEP it safe...just in case 'paranoids' or 'crazy' people like myself prove right.
    At worst it would be a neat/weird inheritance for your children (especially if it is in a safe or needs to be unearthed), at best it could help keep you and your people alive and well armed.

    "I'm 100% confident I won't be facing your god or Satan in a nonexistent afterlife."
    Perhaps we should call this 'The Dawkins effect'?
    That's just pseudo-metaphysical nonsense. If you want to be a Buddhist or a pantheist or whatever educate yourself about it. No shame in that game.
    But don't be so arrogant to assume you understand us or our range of ideas.
    You OBVIOUSLY don't.

    1. I don't want a crackpot like you fighting for me, thanks. Feel free to retire.

  8. bachfiend wrote:

    "The refutation was done later after the debate by a mathematician."

    Which mathematician and where can this refutation be found?

    (Please tell me that you are not thinking of that noxious mediocrity Richard Carrier.)

  9. I know this won't bother bachfried and his millions, but it does bother me:

    "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Luke 6.24

    Even if Dawkins says the probability of the existence of God is only 0.1/7 (about 1.4%), if I was bachfried I would not be willing to take any chances because Eternity is a VERY LONG TIME! (Thanks to Pascal and his wager)

    To paraphrase him, I am 100% sure God exists.

    1. Your assertion that Dawkins thinks that the probability of the existence of God is 0.1/7 and therefore 1.4% demonstrates that you haven't actually read The God Delusion, because that's not how the seven point scale he set out in the book works.

      Which reveals that all of your previous claims that you have read him are all lies. How does it feel to be exposed as a lying sack of shit Pépé?

    2. The fool is always certain of things he cannot possibly know for sure.

    3. The fool is always certain...

      You said it, I didn't!

  10. Evidence-based investigation is how truth is found - that's why the American court system works as it does.

    Debates are for politicians. And William Lane Craig is a great politician. He can talk theology as well as Tim Gunn can talk fashion, and makes exactly the same contribution to human knowledge and understanding.

    1. Rick,

      Y'ep, we've finally got back to the point I'd made at the start.

      Debates aren't the way to establish the truth. If Richard Dawkins declines to debate William Lane Craig, then that's his right.

      Why should he be considered obliged to debate if he doesn't want to? Particurly when it's extremely likely that fundamentalist churches would bus members from far and wide to stack the audience.

      Michael still hasn't answered whether he'd be willing to argue for Intelligent Design or his interpretation of American constitutional law in a debate.

  11. Debates are stage dramas for an audience. Like WLC, Duane Gish is also an great debater. But lies flow out of him like water down the Niagara.

    Debating WLC would do nothing but make Craig look relevant outside of the Christian apologetic community.

    Isn't it amazing that it takes an entire branch of philosophy over thousands of years to continually defend God against the assault of facts and against the expansion of actual human knowledge? Christianity sure spends a lot of effort and a lot words apologizing.