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4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0195166000
Manufacturer : Oxford University Press, USA|
Release data : 12 February, 2004
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Good back and forth between debaters
William Lane Craig debates a lot. Most of the time, his opponents don't get to respond to many of his arguments. This book is a welcome exception to that, as robust atheist Walter Sinnott-Armstrong does engage each of Craig's arguments. The debate is fast paced, exciting, and professional, but not out of the league of popular audiences.
The book is divided in six sections. The first section is Craig's, where he defends five arguments for Christian theism, in the second S-A responds, and in the third Craig re-defends his arguments from S-A's criticism. In section four, the tables turn, and S-A offers three arguments for atheism, followed by Craig's refutation of the arguments for atheism, with the closing section S-A's attempted re-defense of those arguments.
The only serious complaint was that, unlike other published debate, there was no commentary from their peers.
If you want my opinion, I would say Craig won, although by a lesser margin than he is used to beating his atheist opponents by.
Follow where the evidence leads
This book presents Craig's cogent and compelling arguments for theism. After reading this book, notwithstanding Sinnott-Armstrong's arguments, it becomes difficult to be justified to believe in atheism. (Need I say Anthony Flew's "conversion"?) For this reason, atheists like one reviewer below (Richard Walter Widen) cannot but resort to ad hominem and other fallacies, attacking Craig's method of reading from a prepared text (which is irrelevant to his arguments' validity) rather than refuting his arguments per se. So if you would read this book, first get trained in critical and logical thinking. Then follow where the evidence leads.
Nothing new here, but a decent debate nonetheless
I won't say who I believe "won" the debate. What I will say is it's a good read, though nothing new is introduced. The scientific arguments get a bit tedious because both authors are forced to rely on what opposing scientists say. So the argument breaks down into: "well HE said this" and "Well, this OTHER scientist said this! Ha!" Their other arguments are not necessarily original (i.e. The Problem Of Evil) but you get the feeling they themselves grasp the non-scientific ideas much more easily, and that's probably why they explain those ideas much more clearly. Only one part of the book really left me scratching my head. When trying to explain why an atheist would think a moral value is universal without a creator, Sinnot-Armstrong tries to sum up his argument like this: "It simply is. Objectively. Don't you agree?" But why does he, from his atheistic standpoint, believe that? I never felt that he adequately explained that point, unfortunately.
A decent summary of some current theist and atheist arguments. Recommended. But don't expect anything groundbreaking. If you feel you have a decent grasp of the pro/con arguments I also recommend: 1. "God And The Burden Of Proof" (Parsons) and 2. "The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader" (ed. Sennett). Plantinga is one of the world's greatest living theist philosophers.