Atheism and the Escape From Reason (Craig vs. Krauss)

I watched the William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss debate on “Is there Evidence for God” hosted at North Carolina State University last week via the live webcast. For more details, and to watch video of the debate, check out the debate website here. William Lane Craig won hands down. It was basically a rout.

I was astonished that Krauss’ first tactic was to deny logic and reason. He even took off his button down shirt to reveal a t-shirt that boasted 2 + 2 = 5. No kidding…

It is a predictable yet unfortunate corollary of God denial. In his treatise on the psychology of atheism R.C. Sproul wrote:

To be sure, the twentieth century has shown a tendency to ignore the law of contradiction as a necessary principle for coherent discourse. In reaction against previous forms of rationalism, many contemporary thinkers, particularly of the existentialist school, have maintained that truth indeed may be contradictory—that is, truth rises above logical categories and cannot be restricted by the law of contradiction. On the other hand, thinkers who have continued to operate using the law of contradiction have been charged with perpetuating Aristotle’s system of truth, which can no longer function in modern thought.” [1]

It also reminds me of Francis Schaeffer’s Escape From Reason. Schaeffer argues that because modern man has separated himself from God he has no rational spiritual connection. However, he cannot really live in his imagined deterministic materialistic universe so he leaps into the irrational upper story. Krauss is using quantum theory as his upper story — his blind faith in the irrational.

It’s so ironic that atheists represent themselves as defenders of reason when they invariably abandon it in their argumentation. It boils down to the fundamental flaw in their worldview. If the universe is a deterministic product of physical laws and matter, then there really is no reason and all science, debate and human thought is completely arbitrary. Accordingly, Intellectually honest atheism must ultimately arrive at nihilism. At 1:02:10 in the debate video Dr. Craig quipped, “if the price of atheism is irrationality then I will leave them to it.” That was amusing… Yet, ultimately it is profoundly sad. Hopefully, we might lead a few out of it as well.  After the debate, William Lane Craig commented on his facebook account:

I was frankly flabbergasted by Krauss’s opening salvo attacking logic and the probability calculus.  Can you imagine what people would think if, in order to defend a Christian worldview, the believer had to reject logic and probability theory?  This was the worst of several outrageous claims Krauss made in the course of the debate.

Then he used the “given an infinite number of universes then there must be one in which contingent beings exist” canard. I always laugh at this sophomoric reasoning. Dr. Craig could just grant that premise and conclude that given an infinite number of universes there must be one with evidence for God. Debate over. But of course you can conclude anything given an infinite, which is why it’s a dumb argument. It just goes to show you the veracity of Paul’s argument from 2000 years ago:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Ro 1:21)


Apologetics 315 has posted full Debate MP3 Audio here

[1] R.C. Sproul, If There’s a God, Why Are There Atheists? : Why Atheists Believe in Unbelief, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1978).