June 29, 2014
Lawrance Krauss and William Lane Craig Debate the Origin and Evolution of the Universe
Critical overview by Lil Joe
At the Town Hall in Sydney Australia on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 Lawrance Krauss and William Lane Craig debated the origin and evolution of the universe. Krauss is a scientist. Craig is a theologian.
I am interested in this debate because of the importance of the scientific work currently undertaken by Lawrence Krauss in astrophysics and cosmology; but, not only that. I am also a socialist obligated to understand and oppose bourgeois ideology. In this case bourgeois ideology articulated by William Craig. I am presenting a materialist defense of empirical ratiocination represented by Lawrence Krauss against metaphysical idealism and Biblical mythology represented by William Lane Craig. At conclusion of my polemic is video of the Craig v Krauss debate.
William Lane Craig - Opening Speech
Good evening! I'm delighted and honored to have the opportunity this evening to discuss with you the question, "Is There Evidence for God?" And I'm privileged to be doing this with such an eminent scientist as Dr. Krauss. I hope that the debate tonight will be both enlightening as well as entertaining.
L'il Joe's comment: Setting the stage. Enlightening?
Enlightenment is something historical and specific. The emergence of empirical ratiocination against feudal Dark Age of Medieval Christian culture. Renaissance science engendered materialism characteristic of the Enlightenment were suppressed by the Church and had to struggle against Church repression. Church repression of science and materialist ontology and epistemology was a political necessity because the Church and its doctrine were on the side of feudal relations of production.
Craig is comfortable with the class based ideology of Dark Age theologists e.g. St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas. Augustine was a Platonist as he followed the examples of Philo and St. Paul writing Platonism by exegesis and commentary on the Scripture into Christian doctrine. Jesus was a revolutionary who opposed Roman imperialism. He was executed as such by soldiers of the Roman State. Augustine's main political contribution to the ruling classes was to justify the Roman Empire State by claiming it to be divinely-ordained.
Augustine formulated the concept of 'just war' consistent with political theology of the Old Testament. Craig does the same thing -- e.g. his justification for the genocidal conquest of Canaan. Anselm was elected abbot of Caen in 1063. In addition to official religious duties he had extensive correspondence and was an adviser and counsellor to rulers and nobles all over Europe and beyond. Anselm became Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Aquinas lived in the Dark Age era when knowledge was advancing in the Islamic world. Spain was part of that world. In this world the philosophers were moving from Plato and Neoplatonism to Aristotle. This was represented in Islam by Ibn Rushd and in Judaism by Maimonides. Aquinas moved from Christian Platonism to the standpoint of Aristotle's metaphysics. His politics the same as Plato through Augustine advocated sinful 'human nature' to be something that must be suppressed. The passions must submit to 'reason' meant corresponding human society must be governed by a single authority of a monarch who resembles God as heavens king. Augustine and Aquinas were the chief sources of Medieval Church doctrine and Dark Age culture.
Set up in opposition to empirical ratiocination the Dark Age culture of Christian Europe had to oppose science in that the culture was based on Church authority. Apostle Paul wrote to Roman Christians: "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." In other words -- "the Bible said it, Paul preached it, and Christians believe it. No evidence is needed. Faith displaces evidence for "faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen". By faith it is believed the empirical universe is contingent upon the ideological concept of an invisible god.
To demand empirical evidence is to contradict Paul: "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing the word of god.. how can they hear without a preacher, how can he preach unless he be sent?" ... "follow me as I follow Christ". Men as priests/preachers are placed in authority ostensibly by the will of god. This established a power -dependence relationship of priests and flock. This is a dominant-subordinate relationship. Faith in the teachings and submission to authority of priests/preachers in Europe displaced empirical ratiocination.
The definition of faith is presented: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Christian canon against findings of materialist based empirical ratiocination in the 1st Epistles to the Corinthians Paul asserted: "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."
Renaissance scientists had to struggle against Dark Age culture and Church authority. It was called renaissance because it was the rebirth of and reconnection of human reason with empirical methods and advances achieved by materialist philosophers and scientists in the Ionian Enlightenment. Thales, Anaximander, Empedocles, Democritus, Hippokrates and other representatives of empirical ratiocination in Ionia reached its zenith in Alexandria Egypt. At the Associated Research Institute of the Great Library scientists and mathematicians did their work. Eratosthenes , Aristarchus, Euclid, Archimedes, Herophilus, Hipparchus, Erasistratus, Galen, Ptolemy engaged in empirical research. The Christianisation of the Roman Empire snuffed out the light and suppressed empirical science. Empirical ratiocination however continued to advance knowledge in Byzantium and the Islam world. Advances were made also in India and China.
Europe's bourgeoisie arose from global trade. It originally favored, but eventually needed science and technologies appropriated by travelers and traders visits to Asia, the Islamic world, India and China. Such contacts in context of world trade engendered the Renaissance. Renaissance rebirth of science and engineering was concerned with understanding the material world. Science is predicated upon the recognition of objective existence of the external material world. By objective existence of the external material world is meant recognition that the world exists independent of perceiving and thinking individuals. It's not self-consciousness that determines material existence but material existence and social being that determines consciousness. Renaissance scientists -- representative work of Nicolaus Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilee, Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Anton von Leeuwenhoek, James Hutton and others -- resurrected science and engineering. By these tools science rediscovered the empirical universe as it exists and laws of physics by which it is governed. Science has cast aside as useless the Bible and its metaphysic apologists.
William Lane Craig wants to validate the Bible. In this debate Craig selected Leibniz. Leibniz was a conservative, one could say reactionary in political affairs. Leibniz also wanted to preserve idealist and metaphysical ideology. This is explained by his class position. His positions are consistent with ruling class interests.
In the debate with Lawrence Krauss, Craig wants hijack the issue from verifiable empirical science to metaphysics and syllogism. What he really wants to do is justify the god of the Bible -- Yahweh of the burning bush. It is difficult to present the war god of henotheistic desert tribesmen who is presented in their Scripture as the vicious and jealous, mass murdering god that commands wars of genocide and conquests as the creator god Elohim of Genesis chapter 1. The same as Philo and Agustine substituted Platonist concepts for Yahweh by exegesis on Creation Scripture, and Maimonides and Aquinas used Peripatetic metaphysics to 'explain' creation and to posit the god of the Bible as this creator god, so Craig wants to use Leibnez's metaphysical assumptions to argue Peripatetic causality.
Craig quotes Leibniz in opposition to empirical ratiocination by proposing the issue be based on a quote from Leibniz: "why is there something rather than nothing". Craig tells jokes about the word nothing. He 'challenges' Krauss to explain why something can arise from nothing. He defines his stance by quoting Leibniz's metaphysical idealist's presentation of the question to why there is something rather than nothing. Krauss shouldn't have allowed Craig's red herring to Leibniz: why is there something rather than nothing. It is comparable to a discussion of what happended at the origin of the universe to who created the universe. There is no why because there is no who. Craig is very tricky.
At the origin of the universe what happened and how it happened are questions of science. The earliest philosophers at Melitus -- Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes -- posed the question what is the stuff [physis] of the universe and how did it evolve and diversify. Whereas those early materialist philosophers had no alternative because of low technology but to speculate on their observations. However contemporary physicists on the basis of technology used as components of empirical ratiocination are enabled to peer into deep space and time and to investigate particle physics and quantum mechanics.
Metaphysical speculation has no place in the universe apprehended by empirical ratiocination. Issues of what is the stuff of the universe and the logic of its laws of origin and evolution are issues of physics, not metaphysics. Physicists and astrophysicists can explain on the basis of empirical data what happened: the initial singularity in which the identity and symmetry forces -- gravity, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear -- emerged from Nothing.
Negation of nothing is negation of negation by which something emerged. Stated in dialectic formula: (- )(-) =(+). This engendered the autogenesis of the universe: separation of the forces and space-time was born with inflation from an expanding super hot plasma cooling enough for quantum gravity to form photons interacting with spontaneous matter-antimatter. There was more matter than antimatter, thus as the universe expanded it cooled to the point that particles and anti-particles emerged: quarks and anti-quarks, neutrinos and antineutrinos, protons and antiprotons, neutrons and antineutrons, electrons and anti-electrons (positrons), leptons and bosons. The first atoms were hydrogen, helium and lithium.
The first stars congealed from clouds of cosmic gas. The chemistry that constitutes the universe as we know is generated in stars resisting gravity and from the supernovea of massive stars. There is no evidence of any supernatural being participating in any of this -- no Prime Mover, no First Cause and certainly not any Grand Designer or Fine Tuner tuning universal strings has been detected. That the universe exists as it does proves only that the universe exists as it does.
Krauss went to the forum to debate Craig on how the existing universe emerged from nothing by explaining nothing is a physical concept and describing how the laws of physics engendered what happened and when it happened. Empirical evidence exists showing W-Map photos; microwave background radiation, &c., has been documented by empirical verification. Yet, though he was at the debate to show the hand of the god of the Bible acting in this process, Craig didn't, because he couldn't present any astronomical data showing Yahweh talking or even data showing a Prime Mover moving things about to 'fine tune' the universe for human habitation.
Craig is slick and slippery. Substituting the term why in place of how -- he constructs a straw man. Craig does this as a red herring to move the discussion from an issue of objective knowledge to metaphysical opinion. He doesn't want discourse on the origin of the empirical universe by laws of physics. He want's to shift to metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Why imply purpose. Purpose implies a conscious agency, thus 'who' created the universe opens the door to god of the gaps theology. The universe has no purpose. It is what it is. Lawrence refuses to accept Craig's prostituting of Leibniz's metaphysical presentation. He instead talks of the scientific issue of the debate on how the universe arose. He presents arguments derived from quanum mechanics and the instability of nothing, quantum fluxuations and so on.
Craig uses Leibniz as a straw man to repeatedly declare Krauss has failed to answer why is there something rather than nothing. That wasn't the subject of the debate. Craig wants metaphysical causality. Yet the laws of physics and chemistry of the universe has been (and continues to be) discovered and explained without reference to metaphysics and Christian Scripture. Why Leibniz? One could (with more validity) quote Laplace's discussion with Napoleon concerning the latters new discoveries in his book on the physical universe -- Napoleon: 'You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe'. Laplace: 'Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.'
Craig is setting Krauss up for an attack on him as an 'atheist'. This is not only straw man and ad hominem fallacies. It is also a lie. Krauss is not in the debate as an advocate of atheism. Atheism, like deism, theism and so on are at best issues of philosophy, not empirical science. If the issue was philosophy and theology of why there's a universe, implying creation and a creator, in that case the burden of proof would be on the creationist, Craig the theist.
Craig by shifting the burden of proof for his claim to his opponent to disprove is guilty of yet another fallacy. This fallacy is called a negative proof (known classically as appeal to ignorance). It is a logical fallacy which takes the structure of: X is true because there is no proof that X is false. Craig assert atheists are incorrect because they cannot prove that the god of the Bible doesn't exist. The responsibility is Craig's to prove the god of the Bible is the 'explination' for the existence of the empirical universe. He has no such evidence. Without empirical evidence for proof of a material origin of the empirical universe by an incorporeal god Craig's clap trap about 'necessity' and 'contingency' has no objective, factual basis. So, incapable of presenting empirical evidence to prove the god of the Bible created the universe he instead asserts that Krauss and atheists haven't proved Yahweh of the Bible didn't do it.
Craig doesn't use logic. He abuses it. He uses demagogy rather than science in his repetition of the assertion that 'most scholars' and 'most historians' agree' with his assertions -- regarding the god of the 'Old Testament' (Yahweh) and of the 'New Testament' (Jesus). The problem is even if 'most scholars' and 'most historians' agree Yahweh created 'the heaven and the earth' as stated in myths of Genesis 1-3, and Jesus merged with it as 'the Word', in the Gospel According to St John, and in Paul's Epistles, it remains that these Biblical authors didn't provide any empirical data to support their claims. Contemporary agreement, regarding books in the Bible, do not and cannot substitute for lack of independent verification by empirical ratiocination. Consensus does not constitute evidence.
Biblical myths, Platonic theology and Peripatetic metaphysics were all done away with by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The Renaissance established the materialist ontological and epistemological basis for empirical ratiocination. Enlightenment was the continuation of the Renaissance. Thus Craig wants his audience to believe his arguments are based on 'science' to which he includes theology. He does this by playing on the ignorance of the audience -- not in general, but ignorance of Greek and Latin languages. He claims the term science from the Latin scientia, which is translated to mean 'knowledge', including 'knowledge' of god, thus theology. This is a lie.
Craig's real source for 'evidence' is statements in the Bible. When he talks and writes about god it is in reference to Yahweh and/or Jesus. He believes in the Trinitarian god of Catholic theology. He also believes that Satan exists, that angels and demons exist, that heaven and hell exist, that corpses can be, have been and will be resuscitated. He believes by faith that the god of the Bible and human soul are immaterial and incorporeal beings that determine corporeal existence. His belief in these 'things' is based on his fundamentalist reading of the Bible, as though the Bible is a history book rather than a book of political propaganda based upon assertions and myths. Yet, Craig wants to base the 'proofs' of his contentions on Platonist Idealism and Aristotelian metaphysics and their respective methods of ratiocination e.g. the peripatetic doctrine of causality. The Peripatetic method of deductive arguments and syllogistic ratiocination is consistent with Patristic and Medieval Christian theologians.
Francis Bacon clearly stated:
"As the sciences which we now have do not help us in finding out new works, so neither does the logic which we now have help us in finding out new sciences.The logic now in use serves rather to fix and give stability to the errors which have their foundation in commonly received notions than to help the search after truth. So it does more harm than good.The syllogism is not applied to the first principles of sciences, and is applied in vain to intermediate axioms, being no match for the subtlety of nature. It commands assent therefore to the proposition, but does not take hold of the thing. The syllogism consists of propositions, propositions consist of words, words are symbols of notions. Therefore if the notions themselves (which is the root of the matter) are confused and overhastily abstracted from the facts, there can be no firmness in the superstructure. Our only hope therefore lies in a true induction. ^ ^ ^ Now my method, though hard to practice, is easy to explain; and it is this. I propose to establish progressive stages of certainty. The evidence of the sense, helped and guarded by a certain process of correction, I retain. But the mental operation which follows the act of sense I for the most part reject; and instead of it I open and lay out a new and certain path for the mind to proceed in, starting directly from the simple sensuous perception."
Renaissance science was a settling of accounts with Dark Age Christianity and the liberating of the mind from dogma and sectarian chains. This required conscious refutation of intellectual scholasticism: Platonist idealism and Aristotelian metaphysics was attacked and dismissed. This includes geocentrism and the fruitless deductive ratiocination that was represented by the Aristotelian syllogism. This wasn't easy! Giordano Bruno suffered the same fate as Hypatia. Hypatia was torn apart, Bruno burned at the stake. Copernicus' writings were placed on the Index of forbidden books. Galileo, under threat of torture and burning at the stake, had to recant his evidence based heliocentric findings and cosmology. In response to advances of empirical knowledge and its methods Christianity and its dogma was physically defended by the Inquisition and ideologically defended by Martin Luther, Pascal, Leibniz.
Similar to patristic Catholic priests and theologians Martin Luther appeal to the authority of the Bible. So does Craig. Most of his 'arguments' are predicated upon the authority of this or that 'scholar'. This is all about authority and not accuracy -- as e.g. the Nobel commission having authority to give U.S. imperialist President Obama its 'Peace Prize'.
Science knows no institutional authority. To the contrary the principle of empirical ratiocination is de omnibus dubitan dum: doubt everything. Appeal to authority is a recognized fallacy. No idea is true just because an institution or book of dogma declares it to be. Knowledge must be demonstrated. One must prove the truth, that is demonstrate the reality and the power of one's theory by prediction verified by empirical data. Empirical data alone constitutes evidence, hard facts. The assertion that 'historians' and/or 'Bible scholars' say this or that is evidence only that the individual said something. Name dropping doesn't prove anything. What has be proven is the veracity of one's claim by demonstration of empirical evidence.
Pascal and Leibniz made contributions to critical thinking and to mathematics. Their cosmologies however went the route of metaphysical rationalism. It is for this reason Craig bases his whole argument on Leibniz's authority. Yet, the great mathematician that he was, Leibniz distinguished mathematical points as being exact but not real and physical ones being real but not exact. He solved this antinomy by his imaginary monad metaphysics. There has been no empirical evidence of monads. Yet, in the 21st century physics and notwithstanding the discoveries of subatomic particle physics, about which Leibniz knew nothing, still Craig wants his opponents -- in this case Lawrence Krauss -- to submit to Leibniz' authority and restrict astrophysic discourse to responding to his misuse of Leibniz's statement about 'nothing'. This is an equivalent to restricting 21st century astronomy to Copernicus's heliocentric model of the 'universe'.
Leibniz knew nothing about cosmic background radiations [which prove the autogenesis of the universe], inflation, photons or the formation of atoms or subatomic particles, quantum mechanics, singularity, relativity, dark matter or dark energy or the laws of physics. Leibniz's concept of Nothing was based on the Christian theological interpretation of Genesis chapter one: "In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth, and Elohim said 'Let there be..." as an ontological doctrine called creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). This theology was the standpoint of Philo's exegesis wherein ontology embodied teleology. Leibniz was directly influenced by Plato and Plotinus.
Leibniz was an idealist and like Plato was particularly opposed to materialism and the atomism of his day. Plato used Idealism in response to advances made by Ionian materialism - especially opposed to the atheistic tendencies in Democritean atomism and the astronomy of Anaxagoras; so, too, Leibniz's monodology was idealism in opposition to Renaissance materialism against which he developed his theory of monads as the substructures of the universe. Does Craig believe in Monads?
But, the march of knowledge advanced by ontological materialism and its epistemology could not be stopped. Renaissance humanism and sciences produced the Enlightenment. Inductive methods of empirical ratiocination were applied to social relations. Enlightenment philosophers were materialists. Materialists insist on empirical evidence. Hypothesis are not premises of syllogisms; but, are results of processes of empirical ratiocination. Archeology has the same relation to historiography as astronomy to astrology and geology and chemistry to alchemy, medical science to witchcraft and neurology to idealist epistemology: its negation.
Hypothesis are not guess. Nor is an hypothesis a personal opinion. Empirical data is the basis for scientific hypothesis. By collecting and analysing relevant data hypothesis emerge and must be tested by experiment or observation. The result and how it was achieved can be reproduced and predictions verified. It is presented to the public. Hypothesis is advanced by empirical ratiocination to the level of theory and understanding of laws of physics.
Materialist ontology and its epistemology as in physical science is the basis of social science. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvétius, François Quesnay, Adam Smith, Robespierre, Charles Fourier, Proudhon, Marx and Engels were social materialists. Animals are material objects and humans are animals. Homo sapiens are prosocial animals. Homo sapiens cooperate in procurement of means of subsistence and mutual production. The Enlightenment produced the materialist conception of history, classical economics and scientific socialism.
Plato, Leibniz and Craig represent a continuity of political reactionaries. Craig has metaphysical rationalism in common with Leibniz. This is why he quotes Leibniz as his authority and for the premise of his attack on "atheism". He wants to rescue and defend 'dat ole war god Yahweh' and the 'Bible' from 'liberal atheism'. Craig apologists and toadies manipulate debates to deflect from topics of discussions from the Bible to discussion of their claims of 'Bible scholars". He believes in the Bible account of 'creation' -- the Biblical account of the origin of the universe.
Craig wants to change the subject from a discussion of empirical existence to a discussion of Leibniz's assertions as 'premises'. The discussion was changed to what 'atheists' say in response to Leibniz. The statement that "God is necessary" to explain the existence of the universe is itself contingent. This is derived from Leibniz's discussion of necessary and contingent existence or "Being". This is however predicated upon an assumption refuted by biological evidence. Leibniz (and Craig) assert that the 'mind' (spirit, 'soul' or 'consciousness') exists separate and apart from matter (the body, the material universe) and can ['is'] 'eternal' in the way 1+1= 2 is eternally 'true' -- therefore prior to the empirical universe.
What is now known from empirical sciences (cosmology, astrophysics, physics, chemistry, biology) is that it is the material brain that thinks. Not only that, but that inorganic matter precedes organic matter (indeed, emerge from it) and the animals with neurological systems and brains evolved naturally and consequently: the brain isn't a cause but a consequence of the physical universe and its properties. Like 1+1=2, so God 'exists' only in the brain of an individual's thoughts. Craig didn't present any physical evidence to prove the existence of a mind outside the body or God outside the empirical universe. He therefore fails to present any physical evidence that supports the assertion "God" as a necessary being for the existence of the physical universe and the physical universe is contingent. He has it backward.
Craig is a Christian 'born again' fundamentalist. Biblical creation myth and Logos Christology as stated in the Old and New testament is the basis for Craig's 'hypothesis'. Still he wants to exclude the Bible from the debate. He asserts recognising his true premises, the Book of Genesis and Gospel of John creation myth and Christology, is a 'red herring'. It not only isn't a red herring, it is the centre of his belief. His diverson from the Bible to Leibniz is the real red herring! What Leibniz was truly trying to prove was to set up the major premise for his metaphysical idealist conception of his monad atomism in opposition to Epicurean atomism and Hobbesian materialism. His own theory of monads constituting the substance of all empirical phenomena was a metaphysical rationalism. Does Craig agree with Leibniz's monad metaphysic and its epistemology? Since Craig bases his arguments on deduction and syllogism as did the scholastics he obviously has to disagree with Leibniz dismissal of it as 'trivial'. More important, Craig's argument for First Cause is predicated upon his denial of quantitative infinity, whereas Leibniz based his monadology on the assertion that monads are infinite.
Craig and other Christian apologists debating trick is to eliminate the Bible from the discussion of the Bible god's creation by stating the problem of the debate is what "Bible scholars", so called "Bible historians", and "Bible scholars", in general, present the ideological substructure of the Bible as empirical 'history'. On this ideological assumption people and events are socialised into a culture in which the stories in the Bible are believed to have been accounts of actual, empirical observations. They are not. The Bible was written by ideologists to serve political objectives of the ruling classes of Judea. It wasn't written by archaeologists on the basis of empirical data. It was written by and in the interests of self proclaimed prophets; but, also by or attributed to partisan kings, priests and pseudo-apostles.
Political objectives of ideological driven authors of the books of the Bible the claim that stories written by Biblical ideologists that are the content of the 'Scripture' constitute 'evidence for God' -- ostensibly written by 'inspired holy men' -- is prima facie ridiculous. It's not only not empirical evidence but wouldn't be accepted as 'evidence' in any secular courts of law. No evidence to support the claim of the Genesis creation myth or Christological assertion that Jesus created the empirical universe and subsequently entered history as 'the Word Made flesh'.
No evidence exists to support the claim that Jesus is 'the material image of an invisible God' or that he is 'the first born of every creature. American courts rejected claims that evidence exists to support the ideologies of "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design". Advocacy of Christian 'creationists' and 'intelligent design' Bible stories are not supported by any evidence. These claims were refuted and denied status of science.
Christian and non-Christian 'Bible scholars' and 'historians' have common interests. Whether affirmative or negative both operate upon the false assumption that the Bible is a presentation of empirical 'history'. Christian and non-Christian Biblical historians claim 'evidence' exists in Gospels and/or Epistles attributed to Paul. Yet there isn't any evidence outside the Bible to support the claim that following Jesus' torture and execution became a resurrected Zombie.
There is no empirical proof for existence of Zombies, Vampires or Frankenstein. Jesus as risen Zombie in Gospels can no more be taken as fact, just because it is 'affirmed' in Gospels and Epistles, than can the ressurection of Dracula and Frankenstein's resurrection is regarded as fact. Just because Dracula and Frankenstein exist in books and movies doesn't require the status of fact. As in Gospels, Acts and Epistles the resuscitated corpse of Bram Stokers Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein were "seen by many people" -- characters in the novels. Yet no one believes that just because this is with 'eye witness' account presented by authors in these novels that that isn't taken to be empirical evidence. The statements of the books character is not taken as 'evidence' of these creatures ressurection.
In the Gospels it is asserted a resuscitated corpse of Jesus presented himself to women rather than men. Gospel authors as authorities by virtue of having written these novels were indeed clever. This enables 'Bible scholars" and 'historians' to assert that it must be 'true'. This claim to objective historicity and 'it must be true' is predicated upon the assertion that in ancient Judea and Rome women were second class citizans. Without any external documentation of events of revelation by a resuscitated corpse it is asserted that this story of at least this Zombie must be 'true', because if the author/authority of the Gospel wanted to lie or trick gullible, superstititious "Jews", the authors would have written the first account of resurrection of a resuscitated corpse would have been to male disciples.
Craig does not because he cannot produce verifiable empirical evidence for his claim to 'historical evidence'. Historical stories are not evidence of anything but a story. History has been displaced by empirical archaeological methods. An empty tomb is evidence of nothing but an empty tomb. There is no empirical evidence that anyone saw a resuscitated corps walking and talking. On the other hand it is asserted that because Paul is said to have been Jesus' enemy, so his seeing the resurrected Jesus is not likely to have been a lie. It's not possible to have any knowledge of Paul's motivation. But if the execution of Jesus did happen the real enemy of Jesus was the Roman Empire. It was the Roman soldiers that executed him. Jesus didn't present himself as 'risen Christ' to Pilate's Court or to the Roman Senate or its Emperor.
Of course according to Christian tradition Constantine also converted from pagan to Christian religion. It has been pointed out from actual archeological data -- Constantine's Arch and the writings and pictures carved on it, statutes and so forth -- show that Constantine continued to practice Mithraism although he legalised Christianity and moved it toward the empire's official religion by merging Christianity with Mithraism, &c. What is important is that Constantine ordered his army to use Crucifix symbols in their battles: "In hoc signo vinces" is a Latin phrase meaning "In this sign you will conquer." The conversion of Constantine doesn't prove the correctness of Christianity or visions of Jesus as real (empirical). What is proves is that Voltaire rightly observed: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."
The following is the link to the Lawrence Krauss v William Lane Craig debate
Life, the Universe and Nothing: Why is there something rather than nothing?
LabourPartyPraxis discussion - subscribe