Monday, July 28, 2008


William Lane Craig debates John Shook in Canada, 2008


Pt1: William Lane Craig's Opening Speech

Pt 2: Craig's Opening Speech Continued

Pt 3: Craig's Opening Speech concluded & John Shook's opening speech

Pt 4: John Shook's opening speech continued

Pt 5: John Shook's opening speech completed, Craig's rebuttal speech

Pt 6: William Lane Craig's rebuttal concluded

Pt 7: John Shook's rebuttal

Pt 8: John Shook's rebuttal continued

Debater's Q&A 1:

Debater's Q&A 2:

William Lane Craig's Closing Speech:

John Shook's Closing Speech:

Audience Q&A 1:

Audience Q&A 2:

Audience Q&A 3:

Audience Q&A 4:

Audience Q&A 5:


H.D. Lewis on Specified Complexity

A quote that caught my eye in H.D. Lewis' Philosophy of Religion: A Concise Introduction, (The English Universities Press, 1965), p. 306:

'...some prayers are not worthy ones, it may not be God's will to grant all that we ask... This would make it sensible to believe in petitionary prayer while allowing that many prayers are not granted. But it would not make it plausible to appeal to apparent instances of answer to prayer as a way of proving, in the first place, that God acts in this way. The reference to prayer does none the less give us a clue. For what we plainly need is some concomitance of events which seem to defy explanation in the ordinary way and of some religious factor...' (my italics)

Sounds like H.D. Lewis was groping for the notion of 'specified complexity' to me - yet another example of the widespread support for CSI as a design detection criterion, at least at the intuitive level, among non Intelligent Design scholars.

I'd have to disagree with Lewis about the applicability to prayer - CSI is just what scientists are looking for when they conduct double-blind experiments on prayer for healing. In theory at least such prayer experiments could discover evidence of intelligent design! Indeed, while some such studies find no such effect, some do, and a meta-analysis of such studies show a small but measurable effect.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Antony Flew's trenchant response to Richard Dawkins & 'The God Delusion'

In 'Flew Speaks Out: Professor Flew Reviews The God Delusion' Professor Antony Flew responds in trenchant terms to what he calls 'that monster footnote [concerning Flew on page 82] to what I am inclined to describe as that monster book' The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006).

According to this new article by the 85 year old ex-atheist, published July 19th 2008 by UCCF's excellent apologetics website, Richard Dawkins is 'a secularist bigot'.

The fault of Dawkins as an academic, says Flew: 'was his scandalous and apparently deliberate refusal to present the doctrine which he appears to think he has refuted in its strongest form.'

Flew's 2004 announcement that at the age of 81, after a noted professional lifetime of atheism, he had come to believe in the existence of God, really set the cat among the pigeons. Ad hominem accusations of hedging his bets with respect to an afterlife that Flew (under the influence of Gilbert Ryle) still doesn't believe even theoretically possible were bandied about by ill-informed detractors such as British humanist's Roy Hattersley and Richard Dawkins. Indeed, at a recent conference on the resurrection in London, Flew stated (before a mainly Christian audience) from a platform shared with Professor Gary R. Habermas and Bishop N.T. Wright, that he didn't believe in any kind of life after death, including resurrection. Hardly the words of a man who is either hedging his bets or easily swayed by Christian friends! As Flew writes in There Is a God (Harper One, 2007): 'I do not think of myself as surviving death. For the record, then, I want to lay to rest all those rumors that have me placing Pascalian bets.' (p. 2.)

Indeed, Richard Dawkins slings several criticisms in Flew's direction within a large footnotes on page 82 of The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006), none of which deal with the substance of Flew's Deism, or the philosophical arguments that persuade him thereof. Instead, Dawkins says that in his 'old age' Flew, whom he depreciates as not being a 'great philosopher' like Bertrand Russell, has adopted belief in 'some sort of deity'. Dawkins also attacks Flew for what he calls 'his ignominious decision to accept, in 2006, the "Philip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth', for which he notes 'The awarding university is BIOLA, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. One can't help wondering whether Flew realizes that he is being used.'

Having responded in several venues to the erroneous suggestions that his change of mind is a 'Pascalian Wager' in the face of death, and that his book There Is a God was basically written by rather than with help from Roy Abraham Varghese, Flew now responds directly to Dawkins. (By the way, I personally read the hand-typed article sent by Flew to a mutual contact at UCCF for publication, so I hope we can leave conspiracy theories where they belong.) Flew is clearly deeply upset with Dawkins, on both an academic and a personal level, and he doesn't mince words, accusing him of an 'insincerity of academic purpose.' Dawkins 'is not interested in the truth as such,' laments Flew, 'but is primarily concerned to discredit an ideological opponent by any available means.'

On receiving the Philip E. Johnson award, Flew notes that: 'Dawkins obviously assumes (but refrains from actually saying) that [being a specifically Christian institution] is incompatible with producing first class academic work in every department...' Moreover, as to the suggestion that he was 'used' by Biola, Flew clearly doesn't think the accusation worth dignifying: 'If the way I was welcomed by the students and members of faculty whom I met in my short stay at Biola amounted to being used then I can only express my regret that at the age of 85 I cannot reasonably hope for another visit to this institution.'

Recommended Reading

Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God (Harper One, 2007)

Antony Flew, 'Flew Speaks Out: Professor Flew Reviews The God Delusion'

Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew, 'My Prilgrimage from Atheism to Theism'

Gary R. Habermas, 'Antony Flew's Deism Revisited'

Roy Abraham Varghese, 'Letter to the Editor, Magazine, New York Times'

Benjamin Wiker, 'Exclusive Flew Interview'

Peter S. Williams, 'A Change of Mind for Antony Flew'

This post was also published on the EPS blog:

Antony Flew's trenchant response to Richard Dawkins & 'The God Delusion'

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Peter S. Williams Podcasting Channel

My new podcasting channel courtesy of Damaris Trust is now up and running @

This already includes several apologetic talks and radio debates not previously available, so have a click and a listen!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Evangelical Philosophical Society Web Author: Peter S. Williams

As announced recently at the EPS Web Blog, I am now an EPS Web Author with a lovely profile page on the EPS Website. EPS have re-produced three of my papers to illustrate the sort of work I do:

I hope to be blogging on the EPS on as regular a basis as I can think of interesting things to say!

Thank you EPS

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


God Is Not Dead Yet

William Lane Craig's cover article for Christianity Today, 'God Is Not Dead Yet', is now avaiable free of charge from the Christianity Today website.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Peer-Reviewed paper on ID referenced in new book

I've just read Understanding Intelligent Design (Harvest House, 2008), an easily digestible introduction to intelligent design theory co-written by William A. Dembski and Sean McDowell.

Following footnote number 3 at the top of page104 I discover that my journal article on specified complexity is therein referenced (p. 217)! cf. Peter S. Williams, ‘The Design Inference from Specified Complexity Defended by Scholars Outside the Intelligent Design Movement – A Critical Review’, Philosophia Christi, Vol 9, Number 2

Trumpet blown. Post over.

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