Is Richard Dawkins A Coward?

For refusing to debate Christian philosopher William Lane Craig? Some of his fellow atheists appear to think so. From the London Telegraph:

Some of Prof Dawkins’s contemporaries are not impressed. Dr Daniel Came, a philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist, from Worcester College, Oxford, wrote to him urging him to reconsider his refusal to debate the existence of God with Prof Craig.

In a letter to Prof Dawkins, Dr Came said: “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.

“I notice that, by contrast, you are happy to discuss theological matters with television and radio presenters and other intellectual heavyweights like Pastor Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Keenan Roberts of the Colorado Hell House.”

Prof Craig, however, remains willing to debate with Prof Dawkins. “I am keeping the opportunity open for him to change his mind and debate with me in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford” in October, he said.

As I have said elsewhere, I don’t think debates are very useful for learning about a subject. But as a means of testing the rigorousness of ideas, they are wonderful venues. I suspect the reason Dawkins and other New Atheists are so fearful of debating Craig is because their means of attacking Christianity relies primarily of ad hominems, straw men, and Bulverisms. When held up to the light of scrutiny and placed side-by-side with Christianity, materialistic atheism comes off quite silly. As a result Craig has cut quite a swath through the field of atheist advocates, and come out looking quite formidable in the process.

Given those facts, perhaps Dawkin’s fear is the most rational response.

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15 Responses to Is Richard Dawkins A Coward?

  1. Neil says:

    Yes. But he just evolved into cowardice, so we shouldn’t judge him.

  2. Dave says:

    Interesting. Hope Craig keeps the heat on. Always thought Dawkins went after soft targets. Wonder if his website has any mention of his refusal?

  3. Justin says:

    Dawkins brags about Kirk Cameron not showing up to a debate. Dawkins would debate Cameron but not Craig? Very telling.

  4. Grant Dexter says:

    :mock: Evolutionists.

  5. Nate says:

    If he doesn’t want to debate, that’s his business. Cowardice isn’t a word to be thrown around lightly, and it’s not a word that should even be present when it comes to whether or not one debates another, it should be reserved for… well real acts of cowardice.

  6. jackhudson says:

    I take you point Nate, but what I find notable about the Telegraph story (which was titled after all Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God was that it was his fellow atheists that made the accusation, not Christians.

  7. Grant Dexter says:

    Dawkins is a coward. He makes all the noise he can about how much he hates God and how much the evidence is on his side in his attempts to turn as many as he can away from the light .. but then when he is challenged…

  8. Justin says:

    I won’t go so far as to call him a coward, but it is telling that he won’t debate Craig, pretends not to know who Craig is, etc.

  9. ???

    I suspect the reason Dawkins and other New Atheists are so fearful of debating Craig is because their means of attacking Christianity relies primarily of ad hominems, straw men, and Bulverisms. When held up to the light of scrutiny and placed side-by-side with Christianity, materialistic atheism comes off quite silly.

    ???

    Seriously?

  10. Even if I grant you the first part… the last bit just boggles the mind.

    “When held up to the light of scrutiny and placed side-by-side with Christianity, materialistic atheism comes off quite silly.”

    What are you comparing ‘materialistic atheism’ to exactly? It couldn’t be ‘materialistic Christianity’ because would fail the test of scrutiny every time, considering much of the religion is based on metaphysical claims to begin with.

    Yet if you talking about metaphysical naturalism vs. metaphysical Christian theology, again, naturalism is at least testable–which means we can scrutinize it–whereas many Christian claims are either a) not testable, or b) have already failed to hold up to scrutiny.

    Also, even is one aspect of materialistic atheism, as you say, doesn’t square with metaphysical naturalism–then we can at least correct that misconception without either being negatively impacted. The beliefs are just corrected and updated–so to speak.

    That same cannot be said of Christianity. Which is why it boggles the mind that you think placing the two side-by-side (as you say) makes it so obvious that materialistic atheism is false. To the contrary, I think you have it backwards.

    The fact that naturalism proves true–i.e., the world is as it appears and the laws of physics hold–means we have a good way of testing beliefs and holding them up to what we know is sound.

    I don’t quite see what could be incompatible between naturalism and materialistic atheism. Both views square nicely with the natural observation that there is no supernatural.

    Maybe all this didn’t come across as I would have hoped via my liberal use of question marks, but that’s what they specifically implied. šŸ˜‰

  11. Grant Dexter says:

    Uh .. from what I can tell the post was comparing materialistic atheism with Christianity. Why are you confused about that?

  12. jackhudson says:

    Yes, we are confused by your confusion. Obviously the truth claims of each regarding the nature of reality can be (and have been) compared.

  13. John Smart says:

    As Grant Dexter is a kiddy fiddler, I wouldn’t take his opinion to seriously. But I would watch him around children

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