This week I watched a video debate between Edwin Kagin and Matt Slick. Kagin’s a great character and Slick is a pastor who falls in line with William Lane Craig. Like Craig, he uses the Kalam Cosmological Argument, claims to like logic and reason while flipping over to pure belief every so often.
Kagin, a lawyer, uses much humor while making cogent points.
I think I’ve discovered the main flaw in the reasoning of both Slick and Craig. I discovered it in the braggadocio of Slick. He insists that his logic must be correct. That’s it.
And the problem with his logic is that it’s driven by his supernatural belief and the dogmas and literatures of his specific faith. He does not comprehend (nor does Craig), that there may be a serious flaw in his thinking and that he’s forcing the wrong conclusions from incorrect assumptions.
Here’s an example: One of the arguments of both Craig and Slick begins with the premise, “Everything that exists must have a beginning.” It sounds very reasonable and a veritable rhetorical tautology. But it isn’t reasonable. It isn’t correct. Given theories of the universe including the quantum and the multiverse and so on, there is no reason to think that the universe is not in some way eternal and even infinite, all protestations of the logical existence of infinity aside.
Logic and reason are wonderful things, but the presumed correctness of these apologists is predicated upon their own perfection. In a sense these people are giving themselves the imagined infallibility of the god they worship. They think that since they use logic that their arguments are perfect. So why do I remain unconvinced?
In a debate, it is far more reasonable to assume that both sides will present arguments. These arguments will attempt to persuade the audience of their veracity. But both arguments are antithetical to each other and cannot both be correct, one assumes, and therefore it is up to the audience to listen and try to understand and then choose which arguments they think are more correct, and to actually use their own ability to think and to reason to understand the arguments and even possibly to reject both sides as irrational or illogical.
And to me, as an added point, it seems to be important to question the arguments in light of the agenda of the debaters. One might conclude that the opponents must both be pushing their views but my own opinion is that the mythmaking side of the argument has the weaker arguments because they’re based in irrationality, while the non-believer side of the argument is stronger because it is based not in a belief but a desire to find out more about reality and to reject belief and to understand reality.
I’m not afraid to examine ad infinitum my own point of view. I’m not afraid to listen to any and all arguments that might offer some proofs of deity or the supernatural. I’m not afraid to constantly and consistently self-examine to determine whether I’m making the same mistakes that I rail against. And yet, I remain unconvinced not only of the existence of deities and the validity of the arguments used by those who believe in them but even of the possibility that those arguments could have merit. Unless and until that claimed use of logic becomes unassailable I am unable to consider these to be serious arguments.
Although it’s not necessarily germane to my arguments here, I have also noticed a number of great similarities between the debating styles of Craig and Slick. Chief among these is the attempt at the outset of each debate to control the discussions. They insist openly (rather than assuming the implied) that the debaters must stick to the topic at hand, and then vociferously complain whenever they deem the opponent, in their view, strays from the topic.
An example of this would be when they complain of the opponent using biblical exegesis or the existence of Jesus in their arguments when the topic is the existence of God. It’s obvious to me that these are things that directly relate to the existence of the God that both these apologists believe in, specifically, and are therefore pertinent arguments.
They begin their presentations by stating how the debate will proceed, as if it’s their responsibility to show the less seasoned debaters how a debate is done. To my mind, this behavior is rude and presumptive. It’s an attempt to box the discussions so that they will only be faced with the arguments that they have prepared to defend.
Both Craig and Slick present an authoritarianism and anal structuring that gives an appearance that brings to mind the title of one of Frank Yerby’s books, “An Odor of Sanctity.” It’s an excellent position to use when attempting to fool some of the people all of the time.