Here is an excellent summary of Craig from a scientist called Lawrence Krauss (who is more qualified on cosmology, greeney, if you want to listen to credentials!) and someone who has debated him.
Explains it perfectly, Craig's aim is to "win the debate" by whatever skills or tactics possible, rather than to come to any real consensus on truth through discussion. Part of his tactics is dumbing down the argument into things like "Explain the existence of the Universe! Oops, you can't, so I win".
It highlights a genuine problem with these debates in the first place, that of the need to dumb down the argument and summarize it to a layman crowd in 15-20 minute intervals, it really is not suited to a scientific discussion of the Universe's origins, another thing Craig jumps on to prove his "success" in the debate.
It's a good read and relevant to the thread.
"It sometimes surprises me, although it shouldn’t, how religious devotees feel the need to regularly reinforce their own convictions in groups of like-minded individuals. I suppose this is the purpose of regular Sunday church services, for example, to reinforce the community of belief in between the rest of the week when the real world may show no evidence of God, goodness, fairness, or purpose.
Continued..."http://richarddawkins.net/articles/6121 ... lane-craig
I remember that article by Lawrence Krauss. He wrote it after being demolished by Craig in a debate. It's called damage control. Krauss is a nasty piece of work.
Craig responded to his whining here:http://www.reasonablefaith.org/lawrence ... erspective
"Dr. Krauss was evidently smarting after our debate on “Is There Evidence for God?” at North Carolina State! I have delayed responding to his comments, so that cooler heads might prevail.
When Is There Evidence for God?
I realized from the start that the question proposed for debate was unusual in that it did not ask whether God exists, but merely whether there is evidence for God. So what does it mean to say that there is evidence for the hypothesis that “God exists”? Probability theory defines this as saying that the probability of God’s existence is greater given certain facts than it would have been without them (Pr (G | E & B) > Pr (G | B)). Far from being “meaningless,” this construal of the question under debate should be non-controversial. Moreover, it does not presuppose a frequency model of probability, as Dr. Krauss seems to assume.
Dr. Krauss seems to think that I was arguing on the basis of the above that the probability of God’s existence is greater than 50% (Pr (G | E & B) > 0.5). But I explicitly said in my opening statement that I would not be discussing that probability. For that would involve assessing the so-called prior probability Pr (G | B) of God’s existence given the background information alone, thereby turning the debate into a debate over God’s existence, which was not the topic. Dr. Krauss seems to think that the prior probability of God’s existence is very low. I happen to disagree; but that assessment was irrelevant to our debate topic that evening.
Dr. Krauss caricatures my arguments as “God of the gaps” reasoning. But, as I explained, whatever scientific evidence I presented was not for God but for religiously neutral statements like “The universe began to exist” or “The fine-tuning is not due to physical necessity or chance.” These are obviously statements to which scientific evidence is relevant. They may then serve as premisses in a philosophical argument for a conclusion having religious significance. There is no gap here wanting to be filled. Moreover, as the second of these two examples illustrates, a defense of these premisses obviously involves an exploration of alternatives. Rather than misconstrue my arguments, Dr. Krauss needs to engage directly with the evidence I presented for these two premisses.
The Existence of Contingent Beings
It is distressing to me to see how completely an intelligent physicist misunderstood this classic argument for God’s existence. If even he can’t understand it, what hope is there for undergraduates? We can only hope that they have encountered the argument in an Intro to Philosophy course at some time and so have some inkling of what it is about. Obviously, one cannot explain why there are any contingent beings at all by appealing, as Dr. Krauss would, to a contingent being beyond the universe.
The Beginning of the Universe
Dr. Krauss belatedly presents three objections to this argument which he did not raise during the debate: (1) Every physical event has a physical cause. Notice that this is not an objection to either of the two premisses in the deductive formulation of the argument I gave. Therefore, it does nothing to defeat the conclusion that the universe has a cause. Once we have reached that conclusion, the question will then arise whether this cause can be physical. On the standard Big Bang model it cannot be physical, since spacetime begins at a cosmic singularity before which there was nothing, that is, not anything at all. That would give us good reason to think that not every physical effect must have a physical cause. I argued that even on viable non-standard cosmogonic models, the implication of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is that the universe and even the multiverse, should there be such a thing, had an absolute beginning. Therefore, we have good grounds for thinking that the cause is not physical.
(2) The Ekpyrotic Cyclic model of Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turock (which Krauss himself does not accept!) will avoid the beginning of the universe. The Ekpyrotic Cyclic model is precisely one of those higher dimensional “brane” cosmogonies covered by the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem.1 Therefore, it cannot be past eternal. (And I don’t understand the physics?)
(3) In certain quantum gravity models, space and time are created at the moment of the Big Bang itself. Exactly! That is why semi-classical models like the Hartle-Hawking “no boundary” proposal or Vilenkin’s “quantum tunneling” model support the premiss that the universe began to exist. What they do not and cannot do is explain how being can come from non-being. Dr. Krauss promises to tell us in January of 2012. I wait with bated breath.
Dr. Krauss adds that if time begins at the Big Bang, then we may need to re-think what we mean by causality itself. I suspect that he thinks so because he is working with some physically reductionistic analysis of causation. He is doubtless correct that such analyses will be exposed as untenable when called upon to explain the origin of the universe.2 But however challenging the beginning of the universe may be for such reductionistic analyses, it will not do anything to overturn the metaphysical principle that out of nothing nothing comes. Since I hold that the universe came about through an exercise of agent causality simultaneous with the beginning of the universe, Dr. Krauss would have to show that similar challenges would arise for my view.
The Fine-Tuning of the Universe
Prof. Krauss now appears to deny (not merely tries to explain) the fine-tuning of the universe. This is very surprising, since otherwise sober scientists would not be flocking to Many Worlds hypotheses to account for the fine-tuning if there were really nothing crying out for explanation. In the debate itself, I gave as examples of fine-tuning the subatomic weak force, the cosmological constant, and the low entropy condition of the early universe.
Dr. Krauss would appeal to inflationary scenarios to explain away the initial low entropy condition. But as Roger Penrose has insisted, any such explanation is “misconceived,” since the second law of thermodynamics will require that whatever condition existed prior to inflation in a single universe scenario will have a lower entropy than the post inflation phase,3 and in a multiverse scenario one must deal with the “invasion of the Boltzmann brains,” an objection which I pressed in the debate and on which Dr. Krauss was strangely and noticeably silent.
As for the cosmological constant, what Prof. Krauss fails to appreciate is that that constant exhibits what Robin Collins calls “one-sided” fine-tuning, that it is say, while it may be decreased without detriment to life, it cannot be much increased without catastrophe. It is exquisitely fine-tuned for intelligent, interactive agents in that its life-permitting range is unfathomably tiny compared to its range of possible values.
Dr. Krauss doesn’t respond to the example of the weak force. These three examples are just a few of the many constants and quantities that must be finely tuned if the universe is to permit intelligent, interactive life.
Dr. Krauss also denies that the universe is fine-tuned for life because “we have no idea if other values would allow other non-human-like intelligent life forms to evolve.” Why has this simple answer not convinced the majority of cosmologists today to simply dismiss fine-tuning? The reason is because in the absence of fine-tuning not even chemistry, not even matter would exist, much less planets where life might evolve and flourish. The simple answer underestimates the truly disastrous effect of altering the constants and quantities. Dr. Krauss may realize this, for he tries to justify the simple answer by saying, “we have no understanding of the locus of all possible intelligent life forms.” Now here we have a plain misunderstanding on his part. In dealing with fine-tuning we are not concerned with the loci of all possible life forms, but only with loci governed by the same laws of nature as ours (but with different values of the constants and quantities). That is why we can predict what the world would be like if the values of the constants and quantities were slightly altered. And the point is that almost all such worlds are bereft of intelligent, interactive agents, so that a world chosen randomly from the ensemble of worlds has no meaningful chance of being life-permitting.
Finally, Dr. Krauss appeals to the Many Worlds hypothesis to explain any fine-tuning that exists. He opines, “If there are many universes, . . . we would certainly expect to find ourselves only in those in which we can live.” This assertion is either trivial or patently false. The sense in which the consequent is true, namely, we cannot observe a universe incompatible with our existence, is trivial and independent of the antecedent clause. But if Dr. Krauss means to say that our observation of a highly improbable, fine-tuned universe is explained by a self-selection effect, namely, that observers must observe the universe to be fine-tuned, then his assertion is false because, as I explained in the debate, observable worlds populated with Boltzmann brains have not been shown to be improbable, in which case we have no reason whatsoever to expect to find ourselves in a world in which we embodied, interactive agents can live.
Objective Moral Values and Duties
Dr. Krauss apparently takes my Divine Command Theory to be a sort of voluntarism, according to which God arbitrarily makes up moral duties. But so to think is to be inattentive to what I said. On my view God is the paradigm (not merely an exemplification) of perfect goodness. He is essentially kind, compassionate, impartial, generous, and so forth, and His commands necessarily reflect his character. Therefore, there is no possible world in which He commands murder and rape to be our moral duties.
Why not dispense with God? Because then one has lost any foundation for objective moral values and duties. Notice that Dr. Krauss was at a complete loss to tell us why on his naturalistic view morality would be anything more than the subjective by-product of biological and social conditioning.
Dr. Krauss’ final complaint, that different religious groups have different moral views, is just irrelevant, first, because we are dealing, not with moral epistemology, but with moral ontology, and, second, because the existence of incorrect moral views does nothing at all to invalidate the view which is, in fact, correct.
The Historical Facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth
It is truly sobering to find an eminent physicist, one who teaches at a major state university, asserting such nonsense as that “there are historians who doubt the historical existence of Jesus himself.” If such an intelligent person can be so ignorant of historical studies and so easily induced to embrace this sort of drivel from the internet and YouTube, what hope is there for the average man?
Prof. Krauss once again shows himself to be inattentive to my argument. I did not assert that “most New Testament scholars believe in the resurrection.” I have no idea whether that is true. Rather I said that most New Testament scholars accept the historicity of the three facts I mentioned concerning the fate of Jesus: (i) the discovery of his empty tomb, (ii) the post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and (iii) his disciples’ coming to believe that God had raised him from the dead. These three facts are multiply and independently attested in very early sources and are consistent in their core. That’s why most historical scholars accept them on historical grounds, not out of theological conviction.
I then claimed that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of these facts. Dr. Krauss evidently misunderstands the two steps of the argument. The willingness of disciples to die on behalf of the truth of their proclamation of the resurrection is evidence for fact (iii) mentioned above, not for the resurrection itself. Their willingness to die shows the sincerity of their belief, in contrast to the old conspiracy theories. Dr. Krauss claims that it is more probable that some conspiracy theory is true than that a miracle occurred. This merely reiterates his allegiance to Hume’s argument against the identification of miracles, which he mentioned in his first speech and which, as I explained, has been exposed as demonstrably fallacious in light of modern probability theory, most recently, for example, by the agnostic philosopher of science John Earman of the University of Pittsburgh in his Hume’s Abject Failure.4 (By the way, Dr. Krauss’ intimation that belief in Jesus’ resurrection derives from the influence of pagan myths is also based on scholarship that is over 100 years out of date.5) Dr. Krauss really doesn’t know what he’s talking about in this area.
I think it is evident that all of Prof. Krauss’ easy refutations misfire. Dr. Krauss is absolutely correct that these arguments involve subtle and interesting issues, and I hope that in the future he will make a genuine effort to engage more substantively with them.6"