Dear Atheists, William Lane Craig Doesn’t Win Debates through “tricks.”

by Matt Rawlings

I had an unfortunately futile back and forth with an atheist over the last few days.  He took the Sam Harris’ view that objective morality can be established by scientifically establishing “human flourishing.”  When I pointed him to the debate Harris lost to William Lane Craig over this topic and linked to the debate, he responded that, while Craig is brilliant, he wins these exchanges with atheists through “debate tricks.”

I have heard this several times before and I find it fascinating.  After all, a person wins a debate by clearly and succinctly stating his or her argument.  A person loses if they cannot present a compelling argument and/or effectively respond to his or her opponent’s case.  These are not in any way shape or form tricks–this is simply effective argumentation.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, a person can “win” a court case or make an opponent look silly by resorting to clever insults or witty, albeit irrelevant, lines or emotional appeals.  The very first trial I participated in as a “second chair” attorney (i.e., gopher) was a disaster.  I helped represent a client who was being sued for a crash involving my client’s truck and the plaintiff’s “four-wheeler” ATV.  The plaintiff was on a public road, driving without a helmet and had his young son sitting on the handlebars (also without a helmet)!

We were able to demonstrate in court that the plaintiff was driving too fast in the wrong lane and had been cited for such.  We also demonstrated that our client had been driving no more than 3-5 miles per hour over the speed limit.  Yet, the jury found for the plaintiff in only four hours.  It was such a shock to the judge that he sent the verdict back to the jury to ask if they were sure!

Why did the jury find for a man who was driving a four-wheeler in the wrong lane with his young son on the handlebars without a helmet?

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Dear Atheists, William Lane Craig Doesn’t Win Debates through “tricks.” | Pastor Matt


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