Saturday, 30 June 2012

WLC3: When Morality Arguments Are Bad

In earlier articles, I looked at William Lane Craig’s debating style (in Debatable Theism) and the logic in his “logical” arguments (in The Logic of an Apologist). In the latter, I said that I would address the content of Craig’s arguments, please check that article if you are not already familiar with the logical forms.  This article addresses what I have numbered as Craig’s Third Argument – note that Craig is not arguing Divine Command Theory per se (although he has, perhaps accidentally, referred to it as his Divine Command Morality Theory).  First a quick recap:

Craig's Third Argument – Argument from Morality
(argued during Craig-Law – strangely enough not in Craig-Harris)
  1. If God did not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
The reason why it seems strange that Craig did not argue this point with Sam Harris is that Harris had just written a book called "The Moral Landscape", so clearly morality was a ripe field for discussion.  I'll address why it is not strange that Craig refused to consider morality a little later.

I discussed this particular argument at a little more length in The Logic of an Apologist, here's that discussion again:

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This appears to be a simple syllogism, note the use of "not": 
  1. Major Premise – If God does not exist (not A) then objective moral values and duties do not exist (not B).
  2. Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties do exist (B).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (A).
OK, hopefully you noticed the use of "not". Perhaps you didn't notice that this is not a normal syllogism. Look at the A and B and you might notice that they not where they usually are. This is isn't really a problem, because this is what the nots do - in other words, we could rewrite this argument like this:
  1. Major Premise – If objective moral values and duties exist (A) then God exists (B).
  2. Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties do exist (A).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (B).
This is not a similar argument - it is precisely the same argument, worded differently. The question is, why word it so oddly in the first place? Unless of course one wanted to deceive. How would you deceive? Well, if someone thought that Craig was arguing this:
  1. Major Premise – If God exists (A) then objective moral values and duties exist (B).
  2. Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties exist (B).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (A).
This is akin to:
  1. Major Premise – If Trevor is a vampire (A) then Trevor will sleep during the day (B).
  2. Minor Premise – Trevor sleeps during the day (B).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, Trevor is a vampire (A).
Thus those on the night shift get shafted, yet again. This is clearly a fallacy (irrespective of whether Trevor is a vampire) because the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Craig's framing of the argument this way has the reader feeling that it's wrong somehow, but unsure of how, where or why. The fact is, the argument is a null argument for God in that even if the opponent argues successfully for the non-existence of moral values and duties, that won't touch Craig's God since, in the strict framing of the argument, the existence of God isn't contingent on the existence of moral values and duties - only the reverse. The argument is framed purely to trick the opponent into conceding what looks like an acceptable premise (like the Major Premise in the fallacious version), then bludgeoning them into accepting at least a single objective moral value or duty to obtain a technical victory.

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I also discussed it in The modified WLC moral proof, in quite some depth.  Fundamentally, the structure of this argument can be used to argue for the existence of God using anything you like.  I use something totally meaningless, namely Kim Kardashian:
1. If God does not exist, then Kim Kardashian does not exist.
2. Kim Kardashian does exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
My view is that this is, in fact, a better argument because premise 2 is now less contentious – sadly very few people appear to be unaware of the existence of Kim Kardashian, and those who are can google her to ascertain whether she exists or not, whereas there are schools of thought which deny the existence of “objective moral values and duties”, either totally or in part.  Theists could hardly deny the truth of premise 1, right?  They would have to agree that if there were no God, then nothing would exist, including Kim Kardashian.  The only fly in the ointment is that fussy atheists will argue that that premise is false.  But that's the case with the original argument, so - unlike the case with modern culture - the argument is not made worse by the inclusion of Kardashian.

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In a post to Stephen Law, I argued:

With respect to his Argument from Morality, there is an attempt to confuse and distract, with the double use of "not". His argument, in logical form, is:
  1. Premise - If not A, then not B.
  2. Assertion - B.
  3. Conclusion - Therefore A.
This form of argument is usually used with a general, proven statement in the Premise, then making a specific statement in the Assertion to make a specific Conclusion. For example:
  1. Premise - If there is not (at least) a single cloud in the sky, then it is not raining.
  2. Assertion - It is raining right now.
  3. Conclusion - Therefore, there is (at least) a single cloud in the sky right now.
Craig doesn't do this with his pseudo-logic. His argument is functionally equivalent to:
  1. Premise - If not squarks, then not doosits.
  2. Assertion - Doosits.
  3. Conclusion - Therefore, squarks.
or, alternatively, without the use of "not":
  1. Premise - If doosits, then squarks.
  2. Assertion - Doosits.
  3. Conclusion - Therefore, squarks.
So long as you have not supported your Premise adequately, this not functionally different to arguing:
  1. Squarks.
  2. Therefore, squarks.
Or in theist terms:
  1. God exists.
  2. Therefore, God exists.
Not a particularly satisfying argument, right?   (Well, unless you are a theist, I suppose.)

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So, the logic used by Craig here can used to argue that Saint Kim is proof of God (surely proving that God exists is worth a sainthood) and seems to support the contention that night-shift workers are vampires.  This indicates that morality isn't a particularly strong argument (since it can be replaced by Kardashian and the argument works equally well) and that the argument itself is questionable (or there are more vampires than we might otherwise think).  Its this latter aspect that I want to address now.


Why does Craig use the argument with two instances of "not", rather than just arguing a standard positive argument?  The reason, I suspect, is that Craig intentionally uses the ambiguity it creates.  An atheist would agree with the premise:
If (an all powerful, all knowing, all good) God exists, then a basis for objective morality exists.
This is because it's a conditional statement, similar to:
If rocks were edible, then starvation in Africa could be solved.
The conclusion follows naturally so long as the assertion is true - and there are a lot of rocks in Africa. We could try negating these arguments, with the simple insertion of two instances of "not":
If (an all powerful, all knowing, all good) God does not exist, then a basis for objective morality does not exist.
This is similar to:
If rocks were not edible, then starvation in Africa could not be solved.

Craig seems to hope that his opponents won't notice that the two "nots" don't make a simple restatement of the premise that atheists do agree with.  (This is yet another example of conflation: there are two different arguments which Craig tries to sell at the same time, worded differently.)  Sadly, he seems to have got away with it quite often.

So, what does Craig do when he thinks he won't get away with it, for example when he is debating someone who has just published a book which lays out a basis for objective morality which is not dependent on a God?

He refuses to present this argument.

I mentioned in Debatable Theism that Craig has had extraordinary luck in that he tends to present his argument first (including when he debated "Is God a Delusion?" with Lewis Wolpert - the affirmative normally goes first, which would be the "Yes" argument).  I am not the first to notice this (see the question "Why does WLC always start first?" in which mention is made about the conditions that Craig demanded be satisfied, including going first).

Going first allows the debater to frame the argument and Craig tends to only present and only focus on the arguments that he knows that his opponent isn't interested in.  He did it with Stephen Law, returning again and again to the argument that Law was uninterested in since it had no bearing on Law's Evil God hypothesis.

We can deduce from this, therefore, that as far as William Lane Craig is concerned, the theist arguments are winners only so long as the theists get to present their argument first, assuming that their opponents let the theists get away with trying to limit the discussion to areas in which they have little expertise.


Craig seems to have forgotten one of the fundamental moral laws, but since it's not laid out in either version of the Ten Commandments, there might a reason why he is unaware of it.  "Thou shalt not cheat."  Craig claims that his morality is based on a God that is just and fair, then he (Craig) cheats?


What sort of objective morality is that?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

WLC2: Cosmological Argument ("God Did It") - FAIL

In earlier articles, I looked at William Lane Craig’s debating style (in Debatable Theism) and the logic in his “logical” arguments (in The Logic of an Apologist).  In the latter, I said that I would address the content of Craig’s arguments, please check that article if you are not already familiar with the logical forms.  This article addresses what I have numbered as Craig’s Second Argument – note that in presenting this argument Craig did not claim the he was proving the Christian God (but it is clearly something compatible).  First a quick recap:

Craig's Second Argument – Cosmological Argument from First Cause
(argued during Craig-Law – wording taken from Craig-Krauss)

1.    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2.    The universe began to exist.
3.    Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is a simple syllogism.

1.    Major Premise – Everything that begins to exist (All M) has a cause (P).
2.    Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that begins to exist” (All M).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the universe (S) has a cause (P).

Note that this is not the entirety of Craig’s argument, since he doesn’t tend to stop with “a cause” but rather extends it out to an “uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe”.  This is Craig’s argument in his words:

Now from the very nature of the case, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe. It must be uncaused because we’ve seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless, at least without the universe, because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical.

Now there are only two possible candidates that could fit such a description: either an abstract object, like a number, or an unembodied mind or consciousness. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. The number seven, for example, can’t cause anything! Therefore, it follows that the transcendent cause of the universe is an unembodied mind. And thus we are brought, not merely to an Uncaused Cause of the universe, but to its Personal Creator.

Here is my attempt to eke out the logic involved:

1.     Premise 1 – If something created the universe (A) then whatever created the universe must have created time and space (B).
2.     Premise 2 – If something created time and space (B) then that something must have existed before the existence of time (C1) and outside space (C2).
3.     Premise 3– If anything existed before the existence of time (C1) then that thing must be timeless (D).
4.     Premise 4 – If something is timeless (D) then it must be changeless as well as timeless (E)
5.     Premise 5 – If something is outside space (C2) then it must be immaterial (F).
6.     Premise 6 – If something is immaterial (F) then it must be an abstract object (G1) or an unembodied mind or consciousness (G2).
7.     Premise 7 – If something is able to create something (a generalisation of A) then that something cannot be an abstract object (not G1).
8.     Assertion 1 – Something created the universe (A).
9.     Conclusion 1 – Therefore, the something that created the universe is changeless as well as timeless (E), immaterial (F) and an unembodied mind or consciousness (G2).
10. Premise 8 – If there cannot be an infinite regress of causes (X) then there must be an initial uncaused cause (Y).
11. Assertion 2 – There cannot be an infinite regress of causes (Z).
12. Conclusion 2 – Therefore, there must be an initial uncaused cause (Y).
13. Bonus Conclusion – Therefore, the uncaused, changeless, timeless, immaterial and unembodied mind or consciousness (from Conclusion 1 and Conclusion 2) is a Personal Creator (Bonus).

This might not be accurate, because I cannot claim to know the mind of William Lane Craig.  Premise 6 is a problem, but we have seen it before (addressed in the article about the Cosmological Argument from Contingency).  Assertion 1 is a problem too, since it begs the question somewhat but it's really just part of the same problem exhibited in Premise 6 (the cause of the universe must be a thing, or a being, or a mind).

(Also, please note carefully that the Bonus Conclusion is not a logically valid conclusion since there are no premises which mention a Personal Creator from which the statement can be concluded.)

Fundamentally, this whole argument is just the Cosmological Argument from Contingency reworded for a specific purpose:

1.    Everything that exists has an explanation.
2.    The universe exists.
3.    Therefore, the universe has an explanation.

and for completeness, here is the Contingency argument as a First Cause argument

1.    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2.    If the universe has a cause, that cause has certain characteristics.
3.    The universe exists.
4.    Therefore, the cause of the universe has certain characteristics.

So why have this separate argument, which is basically the same argument?

One reason is that Craig is trying to provide a cumulative argument for God.   Each argument, he thinks, provides an extra bit of support to his case.  So two arguments which are really the same argument worded differently appears like twice as much support.  Well, yes, but two times zero support remains zero support.

Another reason is that the cause of the universe remains firmly behind the curtain.  There is no further you can push a God of the Gaps argument.

But the actual reason for this rewording of the argument, from what I can determine, is that Craig hopes to circumvent the anthropic principle.  While this principle can be easily misunderstood, it simply points out that if the universe wasn't the way it is, then we'd not be here pondering why it is the way it is.  (We'd either be here wondering why it is the way it is, where the "way it is" would be different from the way it is, or we'd not be here at all.)  No matter how unlikely it might be that we are here, we are.  The universe is required for us to be here to be pondering at all.  Now, for the universe to be here, it is (as far as we can tell) also required to have had a beginning.

This is where Craig, yet again, uses conflation to confuse and distract. There is a logical, philosophical argument regarding requirement.  In this argument there is a logical requirement for the universe to exist so that we can be here to ponder why the universe exists and a philosophical requirement for the universe to have some sort of beginning at some time in the past in order to exist now.  Then there is a scientific, physics requirement for all effects to have a cause (or, more strictly, effects are required to have a nexus of causes and necessary conditions, but the shorthand "cause" is often used).

So, Craig uses these two ambiguities - is the requirement a philosophical requirement or a physics requirement and what is meant by "cause"?  Physics does not necessarily preclude a "causeless" universe - in so much as there may not be a single pre-existing point of causation, but rather only a cause or nexus of causes and necessary conditions which could only be identified retrospectively (if at all).  A scientifically minded person will agree, therefore, with the statement "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" within very narrow parameters.  What they will not agree with is "Everything that begins to exist must necessarily have a single point of consciously directed causation".

We need to reword the argument again to make it clear:

1.    Everything that begins to exist does so due to an event triggered by a nexus of causes and/or retrospectively necessary conditions.
2.    The universe began to exist.
3.    Therefore, the event which caused the beginning of the universe was triggered by a nexus of causes and/or retrospectively necessary conditions.
4.    (Bonus Conclusion) Therefore, God did it. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

WLC1: Cosmological Argument (Contingency) - FAIL


In earlier articles, I looked at William Lane Craig’s debating style (in Debatable Theism) and the logic in his “logical” arguments (in The Logic of an Apologist).  In the latter, I said that I would address the content of Craig’s arguments, please check that article if you are not already familiar with the logical forms.  This article addresses what I have numbered as Craig’s First Argument – note that in presenting this argument Craig did not specify with respect to which God was being posited, but he certainly spoke about the being as “God”, not “a God”, so one can reasonably presume that he was talking about the God he believes in.  First a quick recap:

Craig’s First Argument – Cosmological Argument from Contingency
(argued inductively, then presented deductively during Craig-Krauss)
  1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in its own nature or in an external cause).
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. Therefore, the explanation of the universe is God.
I had to reword this argument to get it into a logical format, as mentioned elsewhere I don’t think I’ve damaged the argument by doing so, but if I did, let me know.  I don’t think I strengthened it by rewording either, but if I did then I am happy to let that pass.  Craig’s argument is, logically:

Part 1
  1. Major Premise – Everything that exists (All M) has an explanation of its existence (P).
  2. Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that exists” (All M).
  3. Conclusion – The universe (S) has an explanation of its existence (P).
Part 2
  1. Premise – If the universe has an explanation of its existence (A) then that explanation is God (B).
  2. Assertion – The universe has an explanation of its existence (A from the introductory syllogism).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, the explanation for the existence of the universe is God (B).
At this point, all that the argument can logically conclude (as much as it does) is that the explanation for the existence of the universe is God – if one accepts the premises and the assertion.  However, there is an additional argument that is only implied (shown as a modus ponens):

Part 3
  1. Premise – If an explanation is strong (A2) then any agents called upon in that explanation must exist (B2).
  2. Assertion – The explanation for the existence of the universe is strong (A2).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, the agent called upon in that explanation, namely God, must exist (B2).
While I used the term “strong” with respect to an explanation, characterisation of the argument can be “sufficient”, “necessary”, “comprehensive” or whatever Craig likes.  It’s up to him to present his argument clearly, if he wants us to know what he means.

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This argument from contingency, while Craig seems to like it, is one of his lighter arguments.  In part 1, he conflates “cause” with “explanation” which is a common failure on the part of theists.  The reason for this is that the question “why?” can be answered with a cause or an explanation.  For example:

Why are the Himalayas so high?
Because since 70 million years ago, the Indian subcontinent has been colliding into the Asian continent, causing ancient limestone seabed to thrust upwards.

Or

Why are the Himalayas so high?
Because it’s the abode of Shiva, Shiva is an important god who needs an important place to live.

The latter is an explanation, while the former is a description of the cause.  The cause, irrespective of how you describe it won’t change.  Explanations are legion (it could have been planted by Buddha, God might have built it to kill mountaineers, aliens might have built it to hide their secret observation facility, proto-Masons might have built it while they were waiting for average humans to work out that they want to build cathedrals, Ra formed it to embarrass the puny Egyptians with their relatively minuscule pyramids, etc etc).  Most of the explanations are false, the cause is true irrespective of whether we know what it is or not.

Part 1 needs to be reworded thus:
  1. Major Premise – Everything that exists (All M) has a cause of its existence (P).
  2. Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that exists” (All M).
  3. Conclusion – The universe (S) has a cause of its existence (P).
Remember we have clarified that "cause" and "explanation" are not the same thing.  Plenty of things happen for which we have no explanation, but we can be quite certain that they had causes.

Purely by fixing part 1 of Craig's argument, the argument as a whole fails, since part 2 no longer follows (we have shown the necessity of a cause, but not an explanation).  But let’s have a look at it anyway.

Part 2 has a major stumbling block in the Premise (which is Craig's line 2):
 Premise – If the universe has an explanation of its existence (A) then that explanation is God (B).
This is a rather bold statement which doesn't seem to have sufficient support.  Disproving it is reasonably easy using the Black Swan approach.  Until a Black Swan was seen in Western Australia in 1697, the following premise was valid, or "apparently true":
  Premise – If a bird is a swan (A) then that bird is white (B).
Proving it invalid required precisely one example of a swan which is not white.  This is because the "white swan" premise is implicitly equivalent to an absolute assertion like "All swans are white", it can be disproved by one example, because if "Not all swans are white" is true, then the assertion "All swans are white" is false.  (Equally, the assertion "The only colour that swans have is white" can be shown to be false by the presentation of a single non-white swan.)  To make a swan premise valid, we need to reword: 
Premise – If a bird is a swan (A) then that bird might be white (B).
To prove Craig's premise to be invalid then, we must first look closely at its nature - does it contain an absolute statement?

Well, yes, it does.  Craig hasn't stated it explicitly, but what he means is:
 Premise – If the universe has an explanation for its existence (A) then the only rational explanation can be God (B).
The premise rests on the assertion that there is only one rational explanation for the existence of the universe. We differ on the interpretation of rationality, but there are plenty of explanations out there for the beginning of the universe. Remember that there is only one explanation required, and there is no requirement for Craig to understand the explanation.  Craig's premise can be shown to be invalid here - in one of the first links that Google gave me. Alternatively, we have other possible mythological explanations: Ra creating everything with his seed, or Nyx laying a golden egg out of which everything hatched, or a Japanese germ, and so on. Of course the creation myths don't seem overly rational, but then again, the Biblical account is clearly wrong (compare the account of Adam and Eve in the first two books of Genesis).

But Craig isn't a Fundamentalist or a literalist. He doesn't believe that Genesis provides an accurate account of creation. So, the literal lack of rationality in the Ra story, and the Nyx story, and the Japanese germ story doesn't prevent them from being equally valid explanations for the universe. Therefore, rewording accordingly:

Premise – If the universe has an explanation for its existence (A) then the rational explanation might be God (B).
Or, it might not.  

Keen eyed readers will have noted that I've changed "explanation of its existence" to "explanation for its existence".  It's a minor thing, but possibly part of Craig's effort to muddy the water.  An explanation of the universe's existence would include descriptions of general relativity, particle physics and so on.  It would be about how the universe works.  An explanation for the universe's existence is more about how the universe came about.  I suspect that Craig really means "for" rather than "of".  If he truly is arguing that physics and chemistry and astronomy and biology, etc etc, are not explanations of the universe, and should be replaced by a one word answer, then he's a liar (he denies being a Young Earth creationist and argues that he is pro-science and pro-reason).  I don't think that Craig is a liar in this sense.

So we've now got:

Part 1
  1. Major Premise – Everything that exists (All M) has a cause of its existence (P).
  2. Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that exists” (All M).
  3. Conclusion – The universe (S) has a cause of its existence (P).
Part 2
  1.  If the universe has an explanation for its existence (A) then the rational explanation might be God (B).
  2. Assertion – The universe has a large number of explanations for its existence, both mythological and scientific (A).
  3. Conclusion – Therefore, the explanation for the existence for the universe might be God or any of the multitude of other explanations, mythological and scientific or something we haven't thought of yet (B). 
  4. Corollary – Therefore, we just don't know (C).
Finally we turn to part 3, looking at the Premise :
Premise – If an explanation is strong (A2) then any agents called upon in that explanation must exist (B2).
Well, in context this premise fails because there is insufficient support for the contention that the argument is strong (or whatever adjective Craig wishes to apply) in part because this part of the argument was not stated explicitly.  Even so, the premise itself is faulty.  Luminiferous aether is an agent in what was a strong explanation for transmission of light, some people still believe that a form of it exists - but the point is that in Einstein's relativity, it is shown that luminiferous aether is unnecessary.

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Am I being unfair?  Craig surely provided some evidence to support the claims that I have so quickly dismissed, right?  OK, let's look at the evidence he provided during the Craig-Krauss argument.
Now experience teaches that everything that exists has an explanation of its existence: either in its own nature, if it exists necessarily, or in an external cause, if it exists contingently. So what about the universe, where by “the universe” I mean all of spacetime reality, not just our observable portion of it? What is the explanation of its existence? Well, since the universe is contingent in its existence, the explanation of the universe must be found in an external cause which exists beyond time and space by a necessity of its own nature.
Now what could that be? There are only two kinds of things that could fit that description: either abstract objects, like numbers, or God. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. The number 7, for example, has no effect upon anything. Therefore, it follows that the most plausible explanation of the universe is God. Hence, the existence of contingent beings makes God’s existence more probable than it would have been without them.
Craig's evidence that the explanation of the universe must be God is that he cannot think of any other "external cause which exists beyond time and space by a necessity of its own nature" other than God, or numbers - which is an appeal to ignorance. Fallacies are not evidence, therefore no evidence provided.

Craig doesn't really provide any evidence that the God explanation is rational and/or strong other than the contingent one - in that by providing the argument, Craig implies that by necessity he is stating that the argument is rational and strong, or rather that he thinks that the argument is rational and strong.

Craig also fails to provide any evidence that agents called upon in strong explanations must exist. To be honest I didn't expect to find any since he didn't explicitly make this argument.
If you think he did provide anything closely resembling "evidence" rather than just rhetoric and distraction, please let me know.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Logic of an Apologist

I’ve recently listened to a quite a few debates between William Lane Craig and various notables (linked below). I’ve done this in order to understand a comment made by Sam Harris along the lines that Craig has put the fear of god into various atheists. Listening to multiple debates by any single person in a short period of time is painful, but it does allow one to identify some of the tricks that are used by that person and also the typical errors committed by opponents.

In my first article, I looked at the argument used by Craig – the argument from morality – that bothers me most, because I have an abiding interest in Ethics as a philosophical subject. In my second, I focussed more on Craig’s debating style.

What I want to do now is to look more closely at the logic of Craig’s arguments. I may not be the first person to do so and hopefully will not be the last, but I am sincerely hoping that the hours spent listening to William Lane Craig wax lyrical can be of some use to someone. I don't intend to comment in this article on the content of Craig's arguments or on what I think he tries to do with those arguments, I'll just address the logic. I intend to go through my objections to the content and so on in a later article.

So, let's do this.

There are six basic arguments that Craig uses (and a seventh which he doesn't usually trot out, but has defended as a prima facie argument to support his case – note that this might be yet another example of Craig’s conflations, since the term prima facie has different meanings depending on how it is used, in a legal argument it is indicative of strength, in a debate it just refers to the planks of an argument which under the rules of debating cannot be expanded upon once established and in a philosophical argument it is indicative of weakness). These are the arguments:

Argument 1 – Cosmological Argument from Contingency
(argued inductively, then presented deductively during Craig-Krauss)

1.    Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in its own nature or in an external cause).
2.    If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3.    The universe exists.
4.    Therefore, the explanation of the universe is God.

Argument 2 – Cosmological Argument from First Cause
(argued during Craig-Law – wording taken from Craig-Krauss)

1.    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2.    The universe began to exist.
3.    Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Argument 3 – Argument from Morality
(argued during Craig-Law – strangely enough not in Craig-Harris)

1.    If God did not exist, objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2.    Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3.    Therefore, God exists. 

Argument 4 – Argument from Fine-Tuning for Intelligent Life
(argued during Craig-Smith – wording taken from Craig-Krauss)

1.    The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either (sic) physical necessity, chance, or design.
2.    It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3.    Therefore, it is due to design.

Argument 5 – Argument from Resurrection
(a form was argued during Craig-Ehrman – wording taken from Craig-Krauss)

1.     There are three established facts about Jesus: his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.
2.    The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation of these facts.
3.    The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” entails that God exists.
4.    Therefore, God exists.

Argument 6 – Argument from Absurdity
(from one of Craig’s books – the specific chapter is here)

1.    If God does not exist, then life is futile.
2.    If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful.
3.    We may only live happily and consistently if life if meaningful.
4.    If the evidence for these two options (non-existence and existence of God) were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity.

Argument 7 – Ontological Argument
(defended during a Book Fair starting at 07:57 and on Craig's website)

1.     It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2.    If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3.    If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4.    If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5.    If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6.    Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Each of these arguments appears logically correct, with the exception of Argument 6. Note that this does not mean they are in any way related to truth, just that they consist of strings of syllogisms to form a polysyllogism (occasionally including a specific "rule of inference" or "transformation rule", known as a modus ponens).  

A syllogism takes the form: 

1.    Major Premise – All M are P
2.    Minor Premise – All S are M (or S falls into the category of “All M”)
3.    Conclusion – All S are P (or S is P)

An example is: 

1.    Major Premise – All standard cats are three-legged.
2.    Minor Premise – Tiddles is a standard cat.
3.    Conclusion – Tiddles is three-legged.

A modus ponens takes the form: 

1.    Premise – If A then B
2.    Assertion – A
3.    Conclusion – B

An example is: 

1.    Premise – If fish A is a standard cat, then fish A has three legs.
2.    Assertion – The fish Tiddles is a standard cat.
3.    Conclusion – The fish Tiddles has three legs.

A polysyllogism may take the form: 

1.    Premise 1 – If A then B
2.    Premise 2 – If B then C
3.    Assertion – A
4.    Conclusion – C

An example is: 

1.    Premise 1 – If a pet fish is called “Tiddles”, then that pet fish must be a standard cat.
2.    Premise 2 – If fish A is a standard cat, then fish A has three legs.
3.    Assertion – There is a pet fish called “Tiddles”.
4.    Conclusion – The pet fish called "Tiddles" has three legs.

Note that you can keep adding premises, so long as you link the “then” to the following “if”, and you maintain consistency of terms throughout. Note also that it is not generally accepted that standard cats have three legs, nor that cats are fish, nor that there are restrictions regarding the naming of pets (be they fish or otherwise). Logic works perfectly well with untrue premises, even with ridiculous premises. 

Now I will try to present Craig’s arguments in a more formal fashion (although not strictly formal). 

Argument 1 (which is actually three arguments)

I’ve had to reword this argument to get it into a logical format. I don’t think I’ve damaged the argument by doing so, but I’m open to constructive criticism. As stated the argument consists of a syllogism followed by a modus ponens. 

Part 1

1.    Major Premise – Everything that exists (All M) has an explanation of its existence (P).
2.    Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that exists” (All M).
3.    Conclusion – The universe (S) has an explanation of its existence (P).

Part 2

1.    Premise – If the universe has an explanation of its existence (A) then that explanation is God (B).
2.    Assertion – The universe has an explanation of its existence (A from Part 1).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the explanation for the existence of the universe is God (B).

At this point, all that the argument can logically conclude (as much as it does) is that the explanation for the existence of the universe is God – if one accepts the premises and the assertion. However, there is an additional argument that is only implied (shown as a modus ponens): 

Part 3 

1.    Premise – If an explanation is strong (A2) then any agents called upon in that explanation must exist (B2).
2.    Assertion – The explanation for the existence of the universe is strong (A2).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the agent called upon in that explanation, namely God, must exist (B2).

Now I use the term “strong” with respect to an argument. This could be “sufficient”, “necessary”, “comprehensive” or whatever Craig likes. He’d have to argue this explicitly for us to know what he means.

(Argument addressed in detail here)

Argument 2 

This is a simple syllogism. 

1.    Major Premise – Everything that begins to exist (All M) has a cause (P).
2.    Minor Premise – The universe (S) falls into the category of “Everything that begins exist” (All M).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the universe (S) has a cause (P).

Note that this is not the entirety of Craig’s argument, since he doesn’t tend to stop with “a cause” but rather extends it out to an “uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe”. This is Craig’s argument – it hurts my brain to try to put it into logical form, and quite possibly the argument will seem ridiculous unless hidden behind a “formal logic” smokescreen:
Now from the very nature of the case, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe. It must be uncaused because we’ve seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless, at least without the universe, because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical. Now there are only two possible candidates that could fit such a description: either an abstract object, like a number, or an unembodied mind or consciousness. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. The number seven, for example, can’t cause anything! Therefore, it follows that the transcendent cause of the universe is an unembodied mind. And thus we are brought, not merely to an Uncaused Cause of the universe, but to its Personal Creator. 

Here goes:

1.    Premise 1 – If something created the universe (A) then whatever created the universe must have created time and space (B).
2.    Premise 2 – If something created time and space (B) then that something must have existed before the existence of time (C1) and outside space (C2).
3.    Premise 3– If anything existed before the existence of time (C1) then that thing must be timeless (D).
4.    Premise 4 – If something is timeless (D) then it must be changeless as well as timeless (E).
5.    Premise 5 – If something is outside space (C2) then it must be immaterial (F).
6.    Premise 6 – If something is immaterial (F) then it must be an abstract object (G1) or an unembodied mind or consciousness (G2).
7.    Premise 7 – If something is able to create something (a generalisation of A) then that something cannot be an abstract object (not G1).
8.    Assertion 1 – Something created the universe (A).
9.    Conclusion 1 – Therefore, the something that created the universe is changeless as well as timeless (E), immaterial (F) and an unembodied mind or consciousness (G2).
10.                  Premise 8 – If there cannot be an infinite regress of causes (X) then there must be an initial uncaused cause (Y).
11.                  Assertion 2 – There cannot be an infinite regress of causes (Z).
12.                  Conclusion 2 – Therefore, there must be an initial uncaused cause (Y).
13.                  Bonus Conclusion – Therefore, the uncaused, changeless, timeless, immaterial and unembodied mind or consciousness is a Personal Creator.

Please note that the Bonus Conclusion is not a logically valid conclusion since there are no premises which mention a Personal Creator from which the statement can be concluded. Craig also inserts "being" in as a Bonus Conclusion from time to time.

(Argument addressed in detail here)

Argument 3 

This appears to be a simple syllogism, note the use of "not": 

1.    Major Premise – If God does not exist (not A) then objective moral values and duties do not exist (not B).
2.    Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties do exist (B).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (A).

OK, hopefully you noticed the use of "not". Perhaps you didn't notice that this is not a normal syllogism. Look at the A and B and you might notice that they not where they usually are. This is isn't really a problem, because this is what the nots do - in other words, we could rewrite this argument like this:

1.    Major Premise – If objective moral values and duties exist (A) then God exists (B).
2.    Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties do exist (A).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (B).

This is not a similar argument - it is precisely the same argument, worded differently. The question is, why word it so oddly in the first place? Unless of course one wanted to deceive. How would you deceive? Well, if someone thought that Craig was arguing this:

1.    Major Premise – If God exists (A) then objective moral values and duties exist (B).
2.    Minor Premise – Objective moral values and duties exist (B).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (A).

This is akin to:

1.    Major Premise – If Trevor is a vampire (A) then Trevor will sleep during the day (B).
2.    Minor Premise – Trevor sleeps during the day (B).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, Trevor is a vampire (A).

Thus those on the night shift get shafted, yet again. This is clearly a fallacy (irrespective of whether Trevor is a vampire) because the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Craig's framing of the argument this way has the reader feeling that it's wrong somehow, but unsure of how, where or why. The fact is, the argument is a null argument for God in that even if the opponent argues successfully for the non-existence of moral values and duties, that won't touch Craig's God since, in the strict framing of the argument, the existence of God isn't contingent on the existence of moral values and duties - only the reverse. The argument is framed purely to trick the opponent into conceding what looks like an acceptable premise (like the Major Premise in the fallacious version), then bludgeoning them into accepting at least a single objective moral value or duty to obtain a technical victory.

(Argument addressed in detail here)

Argument 4 (in two parts)

Again I had to reword the argument slightly to present it in logical form. Again, this does nothing to the logic of the argument itself, which contains two concatenated modus ponens. 

Part 1

1.    Premise – If the universe is fine-tuned (A1) then this fine-tuning is due to physical necessity, chance or design (B1).
2.    Assertion – The universe is fine-tuned (A1).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to physical necessity, chance or design (B1).

Part 2 

1.    Premise – If the fine-tuning of the universe is due to physical necessity, chance or design (from B1) but is not due to physical necessity or chance (A2) then the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design (B2).
2.    Assertion – The fine-tuning of the universe is not due to physical necessity or chance (A2).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design (B2).

This is the actual argument and, yes, it seems ridiculous. If it didn’t seem ridiculous, then you didn’t read it properly. Oh, alright, he does claim to have supporting arguments for why fine-tuning is not due to physical necessity or chance. I'll look at those in a later article.

(Argument addressed in detail here

Argument 5 (actually three arguments)

This is a mind bending argument, involving a syllogism followed by a modus ponens. 

Part 1 

1.    Major Premise – There is a set of special facts (All M) for which the hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation (P)
2.    Minor Premise – There are three established facts about Jesus: his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection (S) which fall into the category of special facts (M).
3.    Conclusion – The three established facts about Jesus (S) have the hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” as the best explanation (P).

Part 2 

1.    Premise – The hypothesis “X raised someone from the dead” is the best explanation for anything (A, from P) then X exists (B).
2.    Assertion – The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation for the three established facts about Jesus (A).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, God exists (B).

There’s an assumption here as well (shown as a modus ponens): 

1.    Premise – If an explanation is the best explanation one currently has to hand (A2) then that argument is true (B2).
2.    Assertion – The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation one currently has to hand (A2).
3.    Conclusion – Therefore, the hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” is true (B2).
Argument 6

This one is simply not logical. I’ve tried though:

1.    Sort of Major Premise 1 – The words “does exist” (All M) are interchangeable with the words “is believed in by a person” (P).
2.    Premise 2 – If God does not exist (not A), then life is futile in general (not B).
3.    Corollary 1 – If God is not believed in by a person (from not A1 and P), then life for that person is futile (not B1).
4.    Premise 3 – If life for a person is futile (not B1) then that person cannot live happily and consistently (not C).
5.    Premise 4 – If the God of the Bible exists (A), then life is meaningful in general (B).
6.    Corollary 2 – If the God of the Bible is believed in by a person (A1 from A and P), then that person may live happily and consistently (B1).
7.    Premise 5 – If life is meaningful for a person (B1) then that person will live happily and consistently (C).
8.    Premise 6 – If a person chooses to (D) they can believe what they want to (E).
9.    Premise 7 – If a person is rational (F), they will choose to live happily and consistently (G).
10.                  Random Assertion – People are more interested in living happily through belief than dealing with what is true (H, I think).
11.                  Premise 8 – If the evidence for these two options (non-existence and existence of God) were absolutely equal (I), a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity (J).
12.                  Assertion – The evidence for these two options (non-existence and existence of God) were absolutely equal, or possibly (in the mind of William Lane Craig) leaning towards Biblical Christianity (I)
13.                  Conclusion – A rational person ought to choose Biblical Christianity (J).

 Yeah, I know. It’s a mess.

(Argument addressed in detail here

Argument 7 

This is a straightforward polysyllogism, possibly because it is derived from Anselm’s ontological argument (via Plantinga). 

1.    Premise 1 - If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
2.    Premise 2 - If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
3.    Premise 3 - If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
4.    Premise 4 - If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
5.    Assertion – It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
6.    Conclusion – Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

This was the easiest one to phrase, other than Argument 3. Note that because I put the Assertion just before the Conclusion, the argument seems slightly more ridiculous than otherwise, but it shouldn't make any difference where the Assertion goes so long as you see it before the Conclusion, right? I mean, you don't put the Assertion up the front then have a string of premises simply to hide the fact that the whole argument is clearly wrong, right?

(Argument addressed in detail here)

----------------

Check the works of the other debaters here:
Stephen Law
Lawrence Krauss
 Lewis Wolpert
Quentin Smith
Sam Harris
and to be scrupulously fair, the New Testament scholar (who believes that Jesus exists, that the New Testament stories about him were based in reality to some extent and that he was crucified, but that he was not divine and didn't get resurrected)
Bart Erhman