Monday, March 23, 2009

Village Atheists & the World Wrestling Federation

As I've looked for after-responses from the Craig-Carrier debate I'm discovered that some atheists seem outraged that Craig vs. Carrier was good for Craig, bad for Carrier. Carrier himself, on his website, admitted he did not do well. Note: credit him for this; humility is good. And we all need it.

I've met and studied with many philosopher-atheists. Mostly they've been polite and even honoring of me even though they and I disagree. I've actually learned things from these professors, to include a few things about character.

But the outraged atheists'... their responses include:

- a few of them who want to debate Craig so badly they are saying Craig is "afraid" to face them. I'm not going to name them, since I see this as embarrassing. Some of these people I have never heard of at all. I read a lot in the areas Bill reads in, and don't come across some of the faux-challengers. Yet, for example, I read the words of a man who says Craig is afraid of him and that's why Bill won't debate him! Why, when I read things like this, do I want to watch the World Wrestling Federation? From my POV Bill has debated actual academic professional-scholarly atheists known to all who study this stuff. He's been "in the ring" with the hugest names in philosophy of religion and New Testament studies. That, for me, would feel intimidating. He doesn't actually have avoidance-syndrome. The idea that he would fear wanna-bes and should take on every village atheist is sheer nonsense. (Or, if Bill does lie awake at night with eyes wide open in sheer horror at the thought of facing _____, then he just needs some self-esteem counseling.)

- a few village atheists are seriously name-calling Bill. To them, Bill is beyond being a moron. Gee, I guess I'm missing something here. I've known him for a long time. I'm trying to think if I've ever met a person more sheerly-genetically brilliant than he is. When Bill walks into the room, he's smarter than you or me. And I've never seen him as personally arrogant about his giftedness.
- Some v-atheists openly call Bill "dishonest." They question him ethically. Or perhaps Bill is mentally ill? I've never seen that in him, either. To me he's just one very, very intelligent person who actually believes Jesus rose from the dead.

- Note: a lot of the atheists Bill debates treat him with great mutual respect; and he, them. Debating Quentin Smith is different than debating village-atheist-thugs who want a shot at wearing the belt. Smith and Craig are good friends. They mutally respect each other. Admittedly, it's not as thrilling as hearing a village atheist put on some tights and openly tell Bill that his mother was defective and then call him a coward for not facing him. But hey, that's philosophy. It can, at times, be unemotional.

- Some v-atheists seem concerned that Craig is a great debater. He is. He uses debate tactics. Why? Because it's a debate. As an undergraduate I took a course called Argumentation and Debate. In that class we learned how to argue and debate. The professor asked me if I wanted to be on the university debate team after I took her class. Expect debate tactics in a debate. If you don't want a debate, then read Bill's many books and articles. He's quite coherent. Is he rational? Eminently so. And, by the way, Bill's published debates are all over the internet, so his style should come as no surprise to anyone. When I read or watch Bill debate someone like Quentin Smith I get the same kind of feeling as I get when I watch a chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Good debates are like that.

- Some have gone so far as to deep-study Bill's facial expressions, as if he is to have none. I didn't see the video of the Craig-Carrier debate, but there were a few moments when Carrier said some things that made me think "incredible!" Perhaps there was also an expression of something on my face. OK. I personally have never found Bill to be the most facially expressive person I've known. I think it's amazing he stays calm given some of the things he hears in some of these debates.

A suggestion: focus on Bill's reasoning and argumentation.