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R. S. Martin

Doesn't Look Good For William Lane Craig

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I'm ready to go public on this. William Lane Craig is losing. That's the way I read the situation. I think his tightening of direct online input to his message is acknowledgement on his part that he is losing. Gotta control the atheist!

 

So far, WLC has revealed a three-step campaign:

  1. Disable comments on YouTube.
  2. Bring mods on-board to ban loud dissenters.
  3. Install software to negatively impact the voice of dissenters who cannot be banned for actual offenses.

Back when I joined in July 2008, pretty much anything was allowed on his forums. Stalking, name-calling, mud-slinging. If you were a Christian you could do it. (Anyone who watches WLC on video knows he does it.) "Irenic and substantial discussion" are the rules for the forums but the rules were not enforced with any regularity. No mods were visible. Atheists were tolerated if they could stomach the treatment fired their way. There were only two or three of us so by unspoken agreement we spread ourselves out. We never posted in the same thread and we never disagreed with each other in public.

 

WLC posts his videos on YouTube but disables comments. People are supposed to come to the forums to discuss things. So we got lots of atheists and skeptics on the forums. Also Christians. Some Christians slap the term "troll" on anyone they disagree with, which is atheists in general. I didn't realize that things were deteriorating. However, about a year ago a mod started posting. Within weeks, a second mod came on-board because there was too much work for the first guy.

 

People started getting banned. Warnings were posted online. It was a real cops-and-robbers situation.

 

Now they've installed new software that allows people to rack up reputation points--positive and negative. Some atheists who post regularly soon got into a hole as deep as -30 with one or two positive points, something like this: +2/-30. At the same time, atheists who play really, really nice and bend over backward to cater to the Christian population, can rack up something like this: +12/-3. A popular Christian might look like this: +27/-3. Last time I looked I was sitting at +4/-11. I have not been posting regularly but when I did I made very sure not to sling mud or call names. Nor did I stalk or commit any other internet crimes. I do call a spade a spade and ask difficult (forbidden?) questions. Compare with the one unpopular Christian poster I'm aware of: +6/-8.

 

With this kind of negatively unbalanced numbers on one's "face" or avatar, newbies will take one look and decide not to take you very seriously despite the actual tone or quality of your post. I think it also impacts old-timers who don't want to be seen associating with "bad guys." There are also those who think one more "smite" on a person who already has a lot of negative points won't make any difference. At the same time, they have the twisted notion that there is room for "redemption" by improving your posts. However, they're kicking you while you're down and they're not telling you what you're doing wrong. (On exC we reward individual posts we consider to be exceptionally good, which lets us know what people like to see, but no one is branded permanently.)

 

Looks to me like someone's losing and it's not the atheists.

 

WLC's forums go under the dubious name Reasonable Faith. That link takes you to a discussion on the new software.

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Why bother? If it's just going to be a popularity contest controlled by Christians then why not give up and leave them to their fate?

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Why bother? If it's just going to be a popularity contest controlled by Christians then why not give up and leave them to their fate?

 

I'm not making any definitive statements because of the way my mind keeps changing itself on matters like this, but that's basically the decision I arrived at several days ago. Haven't been posting there anymore but I've spent lots more time on these forums. I see that others on here are familiar with the guy and his antics. I wanted them to know it, too, that one of the enemy's best is failing.

 

My goal there was to get answers. In more than four years they haven't come up with anything. They say they have but you'd have to trust the Bible to accept their answers. Now they're closing in on free speech.eek.gif

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I just clicked on your link, R.S. As of this writing there are 13 members of Reasonable Faith for the "smite" software and 22 against.

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Thanks for pointing that out, ficino. Somehow, I was looking at it wrong.

 

I also see that there's a deadline on the voting. That probably means that for the time being administration is just lying low, waiting to see the outcome of the vote.

 

Jan. 19 is the deadline. That's two months time for deadly damage even if they do remove the system. But it's not permanent.

 

We'll see what happens. I still think it indicates that someone is not winning if they think there's a need for it.

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I see that others here at Ex-C know who this Craig fella is. But until he turned up this week on two threads here, I'd never heard of him. I've still never visited his forums or watched his videos.

 

I know what it's like to get so wrapped up in an online community that changes, disputes, trolls, etc. can send a person reeling and make you wake up in the middle of the night, angry or hurt.

 

But you know, from a complete outsider's perspective, this huge drama about this Craig person and his forums just seems so ... inconsequential. Sort of like Facebook "likes" and "friending" or whatever. What does it matter?

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But you know, from a complete outsider's perspective, this huge drama about this Craig person and his forums just seems so ... inconsequential. Sort of like Facebook "likes" and "friending" or whatever. What does it matter?

Craig's arguments tend to show up here from time to time.

The Christian apologist "LNC" was at one time active in this forum.

Craig is considered one of the "go-to-guys" for apologists.

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It matters when we become aware of the political power these guys have to curtail science education in public school, to change the law on abortion, stop gay rights, keep atheists out of office. The list goes on.

 

For those reasons it is important to know they are losing power. It encourages us to hang in there. It seems respondents to this thread took the OP as a complaint on what they're doing to me personally. So what if I'm hurt and angry. That's not the point. Besides, I'm pretty much over that. The point is that *they* are losing the battle.

 

At least that part. I expect one of his bright young students to rise and take his place in the near future. And that young person will surpass his teacher, one would expect. Craig is nearing retirement age.

 

I'm reading your post again.

 

But you know, from a complete outsider's perspective, this huge drama about this Craig person and his forums just seems so ... inconsequential. Sort of like Facebook "likes" and "friending" or whatever. What does it matter?

 

No, this is far more significant than Facebook drama. It's a significant religio-political movement in the United States, as mentioned above. And that is what matters. I've done a lot of research over the years. You may wish to look into it some more. Craig is not operating in isolation.

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I have, over time, become convinced that Craig's primary objective is not converting unbelievers to Christianity. I think he is actually playing a different game.

 

Anyone who thinks even a bit about his arguments will notice they're quite fallacious. I do not doubt he is smart enough to realize this by himself. No, this is part of a preaching to the choir-thing: the believers will not investigate or even consider his arguments critically, and most of them will fail to realize there's any problems with them; of those who do, a few may go on to question him further (or even as far as to question all of Christianity), but many will suppress that suspicion.

 

What's the benefit from this? Well, the believers, when hearing him so ~eloquently~ defend the faith, yet notice the unbelievers are not moved by these arguments, will interpret this as evidence that the unbelievers' unbelief is not a reasoned stance, but a knee-jerk, unreasoned position - viz. that the unbelievers essentially aren't christians simply because they hate Christianity.

 

Once the believers have been convinced of this, they're less likely to want to hear the unbelievers out on anything, and I bet some impressionable teens and people whose minds are stuck in teenage-level thinking may even be convinced by this display into avoiding having non-Christian friends and so on. A clever, insidious method of widening the chasm between us non-believers and the believers.

 

An acquaintance on another forum claimed he actually has seen a text by WLC where he admits that this at least is part of his intention, but I have been unable to find the source he claimed. Still, I find this theory reasonable and likely, even though it is unusually close to conspiracy-theory levels for my taste. In part it rests on the assumptions that WLC is smart, which I am not 100% certain of.

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Interesting, the above, miekko. I assume that Craig also enjoys the fame, and I take it that he makes money from his enterprises.

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What's the benefit from this? Well, the believers, when hearing him so ~eloquently~ defend the faith, yet notice the unbelievers are not moved by these arguments, will interpret this as evidence that the unbelievers' unbelief is not a reasoned stance, but a knee-jerk, unreasoned position - viz. that the unbelievers essentially aren't christians simply because they hate Christianity.

 

 

You're onto something real. That is precisely what the Christians on his forums think--that not believing in theism is an unreasoned and unreasonable knee-jerk response of hatred for Christianity.

 

Once the believers have been convinced of this, they're less likely to want to hear the unbelievers out on anything, and I bet some impressionable teens and people whose minds are stuck in teenage-level thinking may even be convinced by this display into avoiding having non-Christian friends and so on. A clever, insidious method of widening the chasm between us non-believers and the believers.

 

They certainly don't hear us out. No matter how often we go over the same arguments, explaining how subjective morals are solid ethics, in what way atheists have solid objective basis for morals, why we are atheists in the first place, etc., they continue asking these questions as if they had never been raised for discussion. It's as though they think they can catch us *this time.* It has never made sense to me but what you say here makes so much sense.

 

 

An acquaintance on another forum claimed he actually has seen a text by WLC where he admits that this at least is part of his intention, but I have been unable to find the source he claimed. Still, I find this theory reasonable and likely, even though it is unusually close to conspiracy-theory levels for my taste.

 

I see you're from Finland. Conspiracy describes what this type of Christians are up to in the United States. You might want to read up on the trial regarding Intelligent Design in Dover, Pennsylvania in about 2004. The public school board tried to bring Intelligent Design in by the back door into the high school science classroom. The teachers refused to cooperate. Some parents took the school board to court. Judge Jones III ruled that Intelligent Design is religion and not science. I would guess that is why the ID people now teach ID theory in the form of the Kalam Cosmological Argument as philosophy and deride all things scientific including the scientific method and empirical evidence.

 

Key terms and names re the Dover Trial appear here http://www.pbs.org/w...sign-trial.html. I'm not sure if you can watch those videos online or if you have to buy them. I watched the DVD Judgment Day: Intelligence Design on Trial, which is what got me started but I've done research since then. Philip Johnson is a retired lawyer who wished to see the Christian message win ("win" is his own word from one of his books) so he developed his Intelligent Design machine complete with the Discovery Institute. William Lane Craig is a fellow of the Discovery Institute. Today, Johnson is getting up in years and plays a very low key role if any but it's his baby. For his plan, see The Wedge Strategy.

 

For more on the Dover Trial case, see Barbara Forrest's page http://www.creationi...rojanhorse.com/. She was an expert witness against ID and wrote a book on the movement, Creationism's Trojan Horse.

 

 

In part it rests on the assumptions that WLC is smart, which I am not 100% certain of.

 

I think WLC is very smart but he's is not working alone. He's got a batch of Christian scholars working with him. Some of these people get advanced degrees in science and other disciplines in order to get into places where they can wield power and influence politics. Imagine what a creationist can do if he has a PhD in science from Oxford or Harvard. James Hannam is one such person. Homepage. Five years ago, when I found his page and had correspondence with him, he was working on his PhD in science at Oxford if I remember correctly.

 

Though I can't provide hard evidence, I have seen indications that the movement also exists in Australia, Africa, and East Asia. Also in the Muslim world in the Middle East. Craig is not necessarily at the pinnacle world-wide but the concept of Intelligent Design is. That's the impression I get from a variety of sources.

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Taking a peek at WLC's forums and found a discussion on science--what they think it is and isn't. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/choose-your-own-topic/neil-tyson-intelligent-design-6019918.15.html

 

It starts with a discussion of Neil Tyson but quickly degenerates into a general attack on science, showing serious misunderstanding of what science is. A person by name ontologicalme says in Post 7 "I don´t agree with ID being sold as science" but in Post 19 denies that the light we see from stars is ancient.

 

Someone says: Some of the light we can observe with our telescopes has been traveling for a really long time, as in many light-years, so observing that light is just like observing the distant past.

 

Ontologicalme replies: Well, it´s not really light, it is microwave radiation, so one could not see it sitting in front of Hubble telescope lenses.

 

Ummm, that is not the way I understand it when they say that the light I see from the star shining in the night sky has been traveling through space for countless light years. I understand microwave radiation is something else.

 

I have a very weak understanding of these things but ontologicalme seems downright confused. I see this person as one of the brighter ones in the discussion.

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What's the benefit from this? Well, the believers, when hearing him so ~eloquently~ defend the faith, yet notice the unbelievers are not moved by these arguments, will interpret this as evidence that the unbelievers' unbelief is not a reasoned stance, but a knee-jerk, unreasoned position - viz. that the unbelievers essentially aren't christians simply because they hate Christianity.

 

 

You're onto something real. That is precisely what the Christians on his forums think--that not believing in theism is an unreasoned and unreasonable knee-jerk response of hatred for Christianity.

Yeah, I know the belief that atheism is knee-jerk hatred of religion and/or God is common - whether WLC really is nurturing

 

They certainly don't hear us out. No matter how often we go over the same arguments, explaining how subjective morals are solid ethics, in what way atheists have solid objective basis for morals, why we are atheists in the first place, etc., they continue asking these questions as if they had never been raised for discussion. It's as though they think they can catch us *this time.* It has never made sense to me but what you say here makes so much sense.

In part, I think this is a clear defensive behavior, on the other hand, some of us atheists do use fallacious arguments as well, or are not very good at explaining our points in a way that does not come off as very hostile.

 

 

I see you're from Finland. Conspiracy describes what this type of Christians are up to in the United States. You might want to read up on the trial regarding Intelligent Design in Dover, Pennsylvania in about 2004. The public school board tried to bring Intelligent Design in by the back door into the high school science classroom. The teachers refused to cooperate. Some parents took the school board to court. Judge Jones III ruled that Intelligent Design is religion and not science. I would guess that is why the ID people now teach ID theory in the form of the Kalam Cosmological Argument as philosophy and deride all things scientific including the scientific method and empirical evidence.

Although I live - and have lived all my life - in Finland, we do have ID-ists in western and northern Europe as well, although they seem to lack the political clout they have in the Anglosphere and parts of Africa and Asia.

 

By "conspiracy theory-like" I rather meant that the 'plan' I attribute to him is rather an unusually insidious and complex one for surprisingly small gain. Essentially, the Christofascists tend to be rather more obvious in what they're doing. Would the intentions I attribute to WLC bring the Christofascists sufficient benefits for such a subtle plan to be worth carrying out? Does he carry it out just in case it would benefit them? Does he just personally find it a good thing to widen the chasm between believers and unbelievers? Who knows.

 

Even though the conservative/evangelical conspiracy can be said to be a genuine thing, I am not sure they really carry out this maneuvers of that subtlety and shadiness.

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I have, over time, become convinced that Craig's primary objective is not converting unbelievers to Christianity. I think he is actually playing a different game.

 

Anyone who thinks even a bit about his arguments will notice they're quite fallacious. I do not doubt he is smart enough to realize this by himself. No, this is part of a preaching to the choir-thing: the believers will not investigate or even consider his arguments critically, and most of them will fail to realize there's any problems with them; of those who do, a few may go on to question him further (or even as far as to question all of Christianity), but many will suppress that suspicion.

 

What's the benefit from this? Well, the believers, when hearing him so ~eloquently~ defend the faith, yet notice the unbelievers are not moved by these arguments, will interpret this as evidence that the unbelievers' unbelief is not a reasoned stance, but a knee-jerk, unreasoned position - viz. that the unbelievers essentially aren't christians simply because they hate Christianity.

 

Once the believers have been convinced of this, they're less likely to want to hear the unbelievers out on anything, and I bet some impressionable teens and people whose minds are stuck in teenage-level thinking may even be convinced by this display into avoiding having non-Christian friends and so on. A clever, insidious method of widening the chasm between us non-believers and the believers.

 

An acquaintance on another forum claimed he actually has seen a text by WLC where he admits that this at least is part of his intention, but I have been unable to find the source he claimed. Still, I find this theory reasonable and likely, even though it is unusually close to conspiracy-theory levels for my taste. In part it rests on the assumptions that WLC is smart, which I am not 100% certain of.

 

That's some serious jiu-jitsu there my friend. :)

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I have, over time, become convinced that Craig's primary objective is not converting unbelievers to Christianity. I think he is actually playing a different game.

 

Anyone who thinks even a bit about his arguments will notice they're quite fallacious. I do not doubt he is smart enough to realize this by himself. No, this is part of a preaching to the choir-thing: the believers will not investigate or even consider his arguments critically, and most of them will fail to realize there's any problems with them; of those who do, a few may go on to question him further (or even as far as to question all of Christianity), but many will suppress that suspicion.

 

What's the benefit from this? Well, the believers, when hearing him so ~eloquently~ defend the faith, yet notice the unbelievers are not moved by these arguments, will interpret this as evidence that the unbelievers' unbelief is not a reasoned stance, but a knee-jerk, unreasoned position - viz. that the unbelievers essentially aren't christians simply because they hate Christianity.

 

Once the believers have been convinced of this, they're less likely to want to hear the unbelievers out on anything, and I bet some impressionable teens and people whose minds are stuck in teenage-level thinking may even be convinced by this display into avoiding having non-Christian friends and so on. A clever, insidious method of widening the chasm between us non-believers and the believers.

 

An acquaintance on another forum claimed he actually has seen a text by WLC where he admits that this at least is part of his intention, but I have been unable to find the source he claimed. Still, I find this theory reasonable and likely, even though it is unusually close to conspiracy-theory levels for my taste. In part it rests on the assumptions that WLC is smart, which I am not 100% certain of.

 

That's some serious jiu-jitsu there my friend. smile.png

 

As long as you can make a buck it doesn't matter whose side you are on. :-) Money is money.:-)

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