A longstanding argument between Dr Richard Dawkins and supporters of Dr William Lane Craig was recently reported in The Telegraph. Despite Craig holding doctorates in both philosophy and theology and being widely recognised as the leading authority on the kalam cosmological argument as well as the foremost apologist for Christian theism, Dawkins has routinely turned down invitations to debate with him on the existence of God (1). Dawkins has argued that it may “look good” on Craig’s CV but not on his own and stated ‘I have no intention of assisting Craig in his relentless drive for self-promotion’. However, Dr Daniel Came – a philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist from Worcester College – stated the following in a letter to Dawkins:
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. (source: Telegraph)
It is testimony to Dawkins character, and academic priorities, that he is only willing to debate with those who can enhance his own CV. Indeed, his many media appearances and desire to debate primarily with television and radio presenters, rather than academic experts, speak more highly of his own ‘relentless drive for self-promotion’. It is also worth noting, as Archbishop Cranmer does, that Dawkins has relied predominantly on fame rather than his academic contribution to either science or philosophy to espouse his message. He comments:
[W]hen we hear the shrill voice of Dr Richard Dawkins bleating about Professor Craig’s ‘relentless drive for self-promotion’, and rejecting the debasement of his eminent CV by debating with the distinguished Christian apologist, we should remember this: Richard Dawkins never contributed much to science; his Oxford chair was bought for him by a rich admirer; and the scientific ideas upon which he built his reputation are increasingly discredited. Those beguiled by his diatribes are listening neither to the voice of reason nor science.
Fortunately for Dr Dawkins, the opportunity to discredit such claims has not slipped away. Dr Craig has said he is willing to keep the invitation open for Dawkins to debate him in Oxford in October.
- For a full list of Dr Craig’s qualifications visit http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=curriculum_vitae. A list of his publications can be found at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=publications_main