William Lane Craig – Sean Caroll – Debate at New Orleans Seminary’s Greer-Heard Forum on God and Cosmology

Posted: March 27, 2014 by pastorericrhann in Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology
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Here is a link to a debate between William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll at one of my alma maters – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I also had the privilege of serving there as a trustee for a period of time.

Although Carroll chafes at Craig’s astonishment – I, too, as a mere peasant, am astonished that someone could hold so tightly, with endless gyrations of pseudo-support, that the universe… itself… didn’t have.. a beginning.

Sure – makes complete sense to me.

Craig’s very blunt question was never adequately answered. If a space-time understanding of origins is only an ancient, classical miss-perception of the universe (or perhaps, all of reality?), then… “why would the universe transition to classical space-time reality just 13 billion years ago?” A great question, asked twice, that was never touched. Also, while Carroll repeatedly noted that it’s difficult to refute theism since there is no agreeable definition amongst people – it should be noted that it’s easy for people to deny theism, by simply taking theistic attributes and ascribing them to finite matter/beings – while slyly not using the term… “god” (eternal matter, decision-making nature – eternal, all-knowing, aliens etc.)

Perhaps the largest elephant in the room, however, is how virtually every turn of Carroll’s presentations leaned on cause and effect methodology, while one of his main premises remained that… cause and effect methodology is dated, and we need to move past Aristotle. This was extremely noticeable when he trailed onto an off-topic polemic about what we’d expect from a God-created universe compared to another model. Though his points were borderline silly and not worth mentioning, take note of how cause and effect plays in:

If there were a God… (cause), then we’d expect… (effect)”

if there were no God – and the universe came into being via another model… (different cause), then we’d expect… (different effect)”

Therefore... (there is no God and the universe came into existence via another model)

However… “we need to erase the cause and effect – Aristotelian approach to understanding cosmology/ultimate realites, because that’s dated.”

Make sense?

Granted, he would likely say “you just don’t understand” (which, by the way, can be a laziest of all trump-cards for anyone whose arguments don’t make sense – my least-favorite car repair technicians use it all the time when I’m about to get jerked) – but I’m guessing he’d say… “Sure, of course we use cause and effect in other areas of deduction…” (like when seeking to refute Christians and their Biblical world-view), “…but we don’t use it anymore when seeking to make deductions in cosmology – it’s dated.”

Convenient.

In fact, let’s just use all of Aristotle’s tools from his box, to support the premise that his tools need not be used – and that the box, itself, need not exist.

Carroll’s closing outro was also interesting, and a bit humorous. Having sat in that chapel countless times myself, this was not the first time I felt like someone in chapel was simply trying to throw me a bone. Let’s see, since there is no God, so what do we do? Let’s keep having religion – but without God.

You know… sing with me: “C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another.”

Carroll needs to hop disciplines for a while and read Nietzsche – or maybe just the book of Ecclesiastes. Since he’s so willing to traverse onto off-topic subjects, he can explain to us his meta-ethical foundation for speaking of goodness, without God. “Let’s just focus on fellowship with people we love.” Then again, why not be a character from a Dostoyevsky novel and murder someone just for the sake of doing it? Also, I’m reminded of the simple words of some modern pop-poet named Bono, who has lived through the insane impact of Godless religion in Ireland (paraphrased):

“There is nothing more frightening to me than religion, without God. Once God leaves the building, that’s when we have a really serious problem.”

I concur. Again, Carroll needs to jump disciplines and learn some history. Seems like Bono knows his better than the California cosmologist.

-Eric

Please pray as we consider holding an apologetics conference here at Valley Baptist Church (where I serve).

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