Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker of the Craig-Rosenberg Debate
The Indiana University Philosophical Society has put on their blog what they are calling a fact check of your debate with Dr. Rosenberg (http://iuphilosophy.com/2013/02/18/fact-checking-the-craigrosenberg-debate/).
It was an interesting read, and you came out much better, by their estimation, than did Rosenberg. But I was interested in their response to your argument that the cause of the universe must be personal:
We have to be especially wary of the fallacy of equivocation here. Craig uses ‘immaterial’ to mean ‘outside the universe’ (like God), but he also uses it to mean ‘not spatially extended’ (like ordinary human mental states). But my mind is in the universe; more specifically, it’s in the United States. My present hunger, for example, isn’t nowhere. (Nor everywhere!) It’s at the particular place where I am. But this means that we don’t know of any minds that are nonphysical in Craig’s sense, and it isn’t obvious that there could be such minds. Likewise, minds as we know them are all temporal; it’s not clear that we have any coherent idea of a thought or sensation existing outside time itself.
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I’ve been considering some similar objections myself, and find that this is where I get stuck in using the Kalam. Any help you can give would be appreciated.
This blog is not really fact-checking (which would have involved alerting readers to factual mistakes like my ascribing a quotation to Penelope Maddy instead of Mary Leng or my giving the date of Caesar Augustus’ death as AD 17 rather than AD 14) so much as it is entering into the debate itself in assessment of the arguments. Still, I’m gratified by the relatively positive appraisal offered by a blogger whose sympathies are not with my side (as is evident by his linking to sceptical websites, his calling me an “apologist” rather than a philosopher of religion, his breezy dismissal of N. T. Wright’s scholarly work because Wright is “a Christian apologist and bishop” and of the work of New Testament historians in general because they are allegedly Christians, and so forth. He thereby displays his unfamiliarity with New Testament studies and with the scepticism with which these scholars—which include among their ranks non-theists like Bart Ehrman and Jewish scholars like Geza Vermes who concur with my three facts—approach their sources…
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