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).

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.


  1. Nv says:

    Since your a christian I understand your position and desire to defend your worldview. However as a christian doesn’t exist in a vacuum in would be a good idea to understand the nature of probability as Krauss is talking,because many of his points are valid. There was no hands down winner, because if god exists outside the system science cannot answer with certainty if he exists or not, it goes into the realm of personal experience. However I do not think its such a good idea to dismiss Krauss, he is well educated and to the academics who push progress in the world, he is right in alot of regards.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      I don’t doubt Krauss’ intelligence and ability as a scientist. Yet at the begining of the debate he remarked how he doesn’t like philosophy. However, you can not do science without philosophy, science is in fact defined by it. The debate was not on the existence of God rather “is there evidence for God?” So indeed there was a clear and hands down winner as Krauss failed to even engage the majority of Dr Craig’s arguments.

  2. Luke McGregor says:

    I think you’re doing a disservice to Krauss. He wasn’t arguing against the existence of logic or reason, merely that we can’t rely on our assumptions of what is or isn’t absurd or illogical when working in science. After all, most scientific theories, even those that we take for granted like gravity or relativity, began as absurd and illogical hypotheses. His point was that disliking or failing to understand the logical conclusions reached through the scientific method is not an argument against their potential validity.

    It’s clear that Dr. Craig is a better orator than Krauss and has thoroughly analysed his worldview because he does so well defending it. I’m surprised that Krauss spent so little time addressing the fact that Dr. Craig made such an effective point mostly because he redefined the word ‘evidence’ to better suit his argument, rather than providing any evidence in a scientific sense. His points are purely philosophical arguments, not proving anything but providing a framework for inquiry, which is the basis of all scientific thought.

    Even the discipline of philosophy leaves little room for the leaps of logic that Dr. Craig takes from deism, which even Klauss admits is entirely plausible and rational, to outright Biblical theism.

    It was a very interesting debate and I thank you for posting it.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Thanks for your reply. It seems to me you just conceded the debate to Craig as Krauss also did. The debate topic was not biblical theism. Rather it was “is there evidence for God?” So by admitting deism is plausible and rational – the debate is decided in favor of Dr. Craig.

      He did offer the historical argument for Jesus’ resurrection which connects the case for God to biblical theism. Krauss did not refute that case. So I wonder where does that leave you Luke? Who is Jesus to you?