The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

On hold – again


As happens every now and then, the blog is about to come to a screeching halt for a little while

The house that we rent has been sold and the new owners will be moving in on the 17th of December, so we need to be out before then. We haven’t found a new place yet that is suitable and which is even close to being affordable. Time is running out pretty quickly and it’s not yet clear what the next step is, but things are pretty busy at the moment with packing and trying to find a place to go. I’ll be pretty scarce at the blog until we’ve moved.



Theological Liberalism and Street Cred


“You Always Think You’re Right!”


  1. Jeremy

    Bummer, all the best.

  2. Ron

    Dawkins owns William Lane Craig

    Um no. In less that a minute he already misrepresented Craig’s view: “It’s not nice to think that everything is meaningless, and therefore somehow that must prove that there is purpose in the universe”

    Craig never made such an argument. Next.

    “Do they really think that Atheists don’t love?”

    Yes Dawkins, that’s exactly the claim that was made! /sarcasm

    Just terrible. Stop with the hero worship, TAM. Dawkins is out of his league and he proved it again in this silly little clip.

  3. T.A.M., I’m curious: You’re clearly a smart enough guy to see that Dawkins just got Craig’s argument wrong. My question: Do you think that SHOULD hinder or help his reputation?

    My next question is that in the eyes of skeptics, do you think these bad argument ACTUALLY hurt or hinder his reputation?

  4. Anon

    “Dawkins owns William Lane Craig”

    That video is only a short clip showing Dawkins making a speech. Where’s the video showing Craig’s part/reply?

  5. Anon

    Found it

    The last few minutes of Craig’s speech basically demolished and made fool of Dawkins & team.

  6. Every time I see something like this, I wonder why the atheist can’t or won’t argue a rational case.

    It’s frustrating, because it suggests that it can’t be done. Yet one would assume that those who are atheists do so on the basis of some sort of (seeming at minimum) rational case.

  7. Ron

    My next question is that in the eyes of skeptics, do you think these bad argument ACTUALLY hurt or hinder his reputation?

    Just look at the comments posted under the Youtube video. Don’t you just love free-thinkers, um I mean, “Brights”?

    Hilarious 😀

  8. Glenn, no, I don’t think Dawkins should try to go toe to toe with Craig on philosophical issues.

  9. The suggestion that I worship Dawkins is rubbish. That being said, I greatly admire “The Ancestor’s Tale” and “The Blind Watchmaker”. Required reading for any evolution denier.

  10. Craig’s problem is that he refuses to leave “toyland”. For a good discussion of this issue, check out Luke Muehlhauder’s most recent discussion with Bob Price on Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot episode #79.

  11. Oops. Mispelled Luke’s surname – should be “Muehlhauser”.

  12. Ron

    The suggestion that I worship Dawkins is rubbish.

    The expression “hero worship” does not refer to literal worship.

    Hope that helps.

  13. Casey

    Dawkins’ summary of Craig’s argument: “…it’s not nice to think that everything is meaningless, and therefore that must prove that there is purpose in the universe, that there is some sort of supervising, top-down God.” This was not Craig’s argument. Craig argues for two conditional statements: (1) if God exists then life is objectively meaningful, and (2) if God does not exist then life is not objectively meaningful. The truth value of a conditional statement does not rest on the truth value of the conditional statement’s antecedent, in this case the truth value of the claim that God exists.

    Cases of mischaracterization are not philosophically interesting. To me, the really interesting point in the whole discussion of the relation between God and the objective meaning of life is whether the non-existence of God and its implication that life is not objectively meaningful should trouble us emotionally, which is what I believe Craig thinks. Some of us recently discussed this under the November 11 entry for this blog, “God and the Meaning of Life.”

  14. Casey

    After watching the video of Craig present his case and his responses to the other side in the debate, I feel more certain about his view on what the emotional effect on us should be if we accept that life is objectively meaningless. Echoing what he says in his article “The Absurdity of Life without God,” Craig affirms that it is impossible to live consistently and happily if you are an atheist. If you accept the objective meaninglessness of life, as the atheist must, then living happily is impossible. I take it that Craig believes that if you acknowledge that life is objectively meaningless and fail to be emotionally shaken, indeed devastated, by this fact, then you have not really digested what is the impact on your own life of what it means for life to be objectively meaningless. Whether this last point is true should be the true focus of the debate, as I believe it is where the true disagreement lies.

    I noticed near the end of Craig’s response an absence of that precise thinking and phrasing I have come to expect from him. He concedes that atheists can have subjective purposes in their lives, and so experience subjective meaning. But he calls these subjective purposes “illusory.” This is a vague term, but I take him to mean that atheists who adopt subjective purposes are ascribing objective meaningfulness to these same purposes. It is in this sense that subjective purposes are illusory, according to Craig: they purport to be objective when they are only subjective. I believe this is a mistake on Craig’s part, and I believe it is a virtue of Dawkins’ overall presentation, from what I have seen of it, that he does not attempt to invest subjective meaning with objective meaning. He deems subjective meaning to be no more than subjective. He thus avoids Craig’s charge that his purposes must be illusory.

    This brings us back to the point I have been emphasizing, which I take to be the unresolved element in the debate concerning the relationship between God and the meaning of life: is there any normative claim to be made concerning what our emotional reaction should be to life’s having an objective purpose on the one hand or a subjective purpose on the other? At this time, I myself do not believe this question can be resolved. As a matter of psychology rather than philosophy, I believe this issue, one of the rare issues in philosophy for which a topography can be given on which all can agree, as conclusions are drawn neatly from agreed upon premises — which should make it, philosophically speaking, a dead issue — nevertheless remains contentious because of what is at root an emotional divergence between people. By topography, I mean we can draw a map of what follows, as far as meaning goes, from God’s existence and non-existence, and this topography is one everyone will accept, though they will have different emotional reactions to it.

    P.S.: I do believe that, if God exists, He could make it so that anyone who purported to find purpose in anything but Him would feel unhappiness and dissatisfaction in this situation. As Augustine said, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they rest in You.” However, my life experience has not yet convinced me that everyone who purports to find purpose in something other than God is unhappy and dissatisfied. I remind myself that these apparently happy yet subjective-meaning-minded individuals may be self-deluded in the way Craig would have us believe, but I cannot bring myself to conclude that this has been so in every case. I continue to observe the lives of my fellow humans in an attempt to glimpse the truth of this obscure matter — as really, really pretentious as that sounds.

  15. Casey understands Craig way better than Dawkins.

  16. Jeremy

    @ Casey
    at the risk of sounding arrogant, i would suggest that many, maybe most people simply do not think through the implications of their beliefs and behaviours. Quite possibly the hard work and busy-ness of life gets completely in the way of thinking about lifes purpose and meaning. Reminds me of a quote from Douglas Adams [ which i will have to paraphrase] ” the sheer satisfaction of getting the products of the Cirrius Cybernectics Corporation to work at all completely obscured their fundamental worthlessness”

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