Tonight will be a legendary and memorable night to say the least. Over at Notre Dame University, Sam Harris and William Lane Craig will be debating the issue of is good from God? or in other words, is morality from a transcendant source? Usually, these kind of settings have each speaker give a five to ten minute introduction on what their position is on the issue; stating arguments and all the assortment of debating devices during it. Then each speaker responds to the other speakers introduction and thereby deconstructs their arguments and shows where they erred in making their case. The speakers will then be allowed to question each other in open dialogue and often times this includes asking each other questions on why they think the way they do. After this, it then goes to audience Q&A where the speakers respond to the audiences questions about their speeches and arguments.
Needless to say, William Lane Craig is a seasoned veteran at these events. He has debated all the big intellectuals from Richard Dawkins of Oxford University all the way to Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University. His arguments are sound and have logical consistency which, although they are contested from time to time, seem to outlast any challenges from the secular opposition. Craig is also the author of many famous apologetic and theology books from Four Views of Divine Providence and the Kalam Cosmological Argument to his most recent work Reasonable Faith. He holds a pHd in Philosophy and Theology both and is a research professor at BIOLA University in La Mirada, CA. Certainly, he is well qualified to tackle the debate tonight.
On the other hand, Sam Harris is one of the so-called four horsemen of atheism (the others being Dawkins, Dennet, and Hitchens). He has authored three best-selling books including Letter to a Christian Nation, The End of Faith and The Moral Landscape. He holds a masters degree from Stanford in philosophy and he recently complete a phd in Neuroscience from UCLA. To this end, most of his research and work done in Neuroscience focuses on the notion of ‘belief’ in the religious groups as opposed to factual claims in non-religious people using fMRI. Harris also is the co-founder of Project Reason which aims at spreading reason and secular values in society in opposition to religious ideals. And he also is a columnist for The New York Times, Edge and The Huffington Post.
With two big intellectuals like this the debate should be a remarkable one to watch. It will be streaming tonight from http://www.nd.edu/~sbnd/ (the nortre dame website). I highly recommend that if you are at all interested in religion, science, philosophy or anything of the like you should tune in to watch. We’ll see what happens.