“Let’s think about what the purpose of an argument is. For any argument, if you want to deny the conclusion, all you have to do is deny one of the premises. You can’t force anybody to adopt your conclusion. All they have to do is pick one of the premises, and they can deny it and escape the conclusion. What you do in a successful argument is to try to raise the intellectual price tag of denying one of the premises, so the person sort of compromises his intellectual integrity to a degree by denying a premise which, in every other case, he would think is extremely plausible. And you begin to see that the only reason they deny it is to avoid the conclusion at the end that he doesn’t want to believe in God. If you can do that, you have been successful. You have shown him what it is going to cost him to be an atheist.”
— William Lane Craig
That is not why I deny Craig’s conclusions. All of Craig’s arguments are flawed. Let’s consider two examples:
- William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument:
P1 Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.
P2 The universe began to exist.
C Therefore, the universe had a cause for its existence.
The predicate in this argument is has a cause for its existence. All objects in the universe have a cause for their existence. The argument is true distributively, but it is not true collectively; that is, Craig commits the fallacy of composition. It doesn’t follow that since all things in the universe have a cause for their existence that the universe in its entirety has a cause for its existence; one cannot make conclusions regarding a whole based on its parts. The argument is valid; however, the argument isn’t sound.
- William Lane Craig’s Moral Argument for God:
P1 If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2 Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C Therefore, God exists.
While it is true that all arguments are based on a presupposition, it is vital that the argument is based on a true presupposition(s). Obviously, Craig’s presupposition is that god exists and not just any god, but his god. While that may be true to him, it isn’t true in reality. Furthermore, a god does not have to exist in order for objective moral values and duties to exist. The following is my response to the Moral Argument for God—The Argument for Moral Ontology without God:
P1 The qualities that make us normal human beings begin to exist in the brain.
P2 Morality is a quality that makes us normal human beings.
C Therefore, morality begins to exist in the brain.
As a moral agnostic, I cannot fully stand behind this argument; however, if morality is an actual object, it begins to exist in the brain. To deny that is to conclude that morality was given to us by another god that isn’t yours or Craig’s. Morality and law predate Christianity by hundreds of years; centuries before Moses supposedly came down from Mount Sinai with the tablets, other civilizations had outlawed the “sins” written on the tablets (i.e. murder, adultery, robbery). Therefore, I offer two conclusions: 1) A Mesopotamian god, a Hittite god or a god of some other civilization that predated the ancient Israelites gave us morality 2) Morality was pioneered and developed by normal human beings. You, like me, will deny the first conclusion. Therefore, we are left with conclusion 2. I can go on and on about Craig’s faulty arguments, but I think I’ve proven my point: I don’t deny his conclusions because I don’t want to believe in his god; I deny his conclusions because his arguments are flawed.
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