Bubblegum Philosophy and Skepticism: Is Watching Video Sufficient?

Philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig is well known for his public debates against atheists and critics. He is also well known for championing the kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God, the argument which says that since the universe began, it had to be caused.

Craig is much criticized, of course. In response to one criticism by an online person labeled TBS, part of Craig’s response includes the following paragraph, where Craig reminds everyone that the objection made by TBS had been dealt with in every single one of his published defenses of the kalam argument. TBS criticized Craig, but was unaware of the numerous and lengthy writings on the subject being discussed. Craig goes on to explain:

So why are TBS and apparently so many of our readers unaware of this fact? I surmise that the reason is that, as I’ve lamented in the past, people know my work mainly though videos of debates, where substantive objections are rarely raised by opponents, and do not know my published work, where I routinely deal with questions like this (including rigorous explications of locutions like “begins to exist”). If, as TBS alleges, I have made a hobby of responding to internet atheists, then I have made a career of responding to substantive critiques by philosophers like Quentin Smith, Adolf Grünbaum, Graham Oppy, J. Howard Sobel, Wes Morriston, et al. in professional, peer-reviewed journals. There you will find substantive discussion of the objections to the kalam cosmological argument, including the present objection.

It strikes me that the widely available information on websites such as YouTube is a two-edged sword. On one had, many people are aware of people like Craig, but on the other, all they see are the public video recordings, and not the detailed writings. This is part of the reason why people with differing presuppositions (e.g., a Christian and an atheist) can watch a debate and both conclude their man won and the other lost. Observing short online articles or short YouTube videos does not give anyone a detailed explanation of the issues at hand.

Perhaps there is value in watching YouTube videos of men in these debates. But we would all benefit from long hours of difficult homework and less rhetoric, and we should not determine our conclusions based on such surface-level information.

About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Philosophy, Skepticism. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bubblegum Philosophy and Skepticism: Is Watching Video Sufficient?

  1. Portal says:

    well said (or written)

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