It’s been almost twenty years to the day since we first exchanged letters about the transcript of your debate with Corey Washington. I enjoyed the two opportunities I had to spend time with you and your wife, Jan, once in Colorado and once in Atlanta. In September 2000, you agreed that a debate between us would be valuable. In the almost 15 years which have passed since then, many different debate organizers have tried to arrange a debate between us, but it never seems to work out. I’m writing to see if we can, finally, debate some of the best arguments for and against theism and naturalism.
I’m aware of your policy that you debate only people with a Ph.D. I am also aware that you’ve made exceptions over the years, including exceptions for Frank Zindler, Edward Tabash, Ron Barrier, John Shelby Spong, and Christopher Hitchens. I’m asking you to make another exception for me and to honor your September 2000 commitment.
I’m told the reason for your PhD-only policy is to avoid a “circus-like” atmosphere at your debates. If past behavior gives us any indication of future behavior, then I think you don’t need to worry about a circus-like atmosphere at our debate. I know that you’ve seen at least part of my debate with Phil Fernandes, since you responded to my objections to the kalam cosmological argument on your October 8, 2009 podcast. I’ve also written a critique of your arguments for the empty tomb, a critique which Craig Blomberg praised for its tone and which Stephen Davis called the best essay in my anthology, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave. I know you’re familiar with that critique, since your Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology contains a critique of the relocation hypothesis, my naturalistic explanation I give for the empty tomb. I recently presented an essay which critiques the major premise of your moral argument, namely, that God is needed for ontologically objective moral values. Finally, my evidential case for naturalism was recently included by Randal Rauser in his book, Is the Atheist My Neighbor?, as a case study of how an atheist can have an impressive case for atheism without being angry at God. I think those four examples demonstrate I am professional, respectful, and well-informed about your arguments.
So I’d like to renew my September 2000 invitation for a debate with you at a major college campus. I’m interested in debating either the existence of God, especially your five traditional arguments for God, or morality with/without God. Due to family commitments, I propose either fall 2017 or spring 2018.
Jeffery Jay Lowder
Internet Infidels, Inc.
- Keith Augustine, M.A., Internet Infidels, Inc.
- Dan Barker, Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Russell Blackford, Ph.D.
- Ed Buckner, Ph.D.
- Richard Carrier, Ph.D.
- Robert Greg Cavin, Ph.D.
- Carlos Colombetti, Ph.D.
- Matt Dillahunty, The Atheist Experience
- Theodore Drange, Ph.D.
- Paul Draper, Ph.D.* (see note below)
- Taner Edis, Ph.D.
- Evan Fales, Ph.D.
- Matt De Stefano, Ph.D. candidate (philosophy, University of Arizona)
- Charles Foster, Ph.D. (see here)
- Paul Kurtz, Ph.D.
- Stephen Law, Ph.D.
- Felipe Leon, Ph.D.
- Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist
- Wes Morriston, Ph.D.
- Graham Oppy, Ph.D.
- Keith Parsons, Ph.D.
- Robert M. Price, Ph.D.
- Randal Rauser, Ph.D.
- Victor Reppert, Ph.D.
- Edward Tabash, J.D.
- Jason Thibodeau, Ph.D.
- Andrea Weisberger, Ph.D.
- Erik Wielenberg, Ph.D.
- Tyler Wunder, Ph.D.
* Paul Draper wrote: “I don’t endorse debates about serious philosophical issues like the existence of God, but I do believe that Jeff Lowder is qualified to debate Bill Craig. In fact, he is better qualified than some professional philosophers who have debated him.”
ETA on 13-Sep-15: Dale Tuggy, Ph.D. also just offered his unsolicited endorsement for this debate. LINK