Let the sparks fly: Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll will debate theologian William Lane Craig at a “Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in Faith and Culture”. According to the website, these forums are an ongoing program of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and are “designed to provide a venue in which respected scholars of differing opinions dialogue on critical issues in religion, science, philosophy, and/or culture from their differing perspectives.”
Here is the topic and the dates:
As you see, it’s a two-day event, with the schedule here. It’s a bit wonky, since that page lists both the 21st and 22nd as “Saturdays” (the 21st is a Friday), but the formal debate will apparently take place at 7 pm on Friday, with academic papers by Carroll and Craig presented (in a chapel!) on Saturday morning and afternoon.
You can register here: the fee for regular folks is $20, but minister and students get a $10 discount. More privilege for religion!
Well, if someone has to do this, I’m glad it’s Sean, who’w written extensively about how cosmology provides no evidence for God (see the nice essay here, for example).
And I’m also glad it’s about physics, for Sean knows his onions about it, and is also a good extemporaneous speaker. (I wonder if Craig will bring up the the Kalām ”Cosmological” Argument.) I also know that Carroll’s savvy enough to realize that Craig has a team of people meticulously researching everything Sean’s ever said, and I trust that Carroll will perform his own due diligence.
Although I don’t approve of debates as ways to settle issues like the fact of evolution or God’s non-existence, I’m not nearly as worried about Carroll—despite Craig’s formidable debating skills—as I am about Bill Nye.
If you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans, I’d suggest going. It promises to be a good show for $20—so long as the speakers don’t read their papers on Saturday. (Gratuitious gripe: Why do some academics, especially in the humanities, insist on standing in front of an audience and reading from their manuscript? Do they know that the academic written word is deadly dull, and differs from the spoken word? Do they realize that they could just distribute the manuscript, or put it online, and save everyone the trouble of being bored? There is simply no excuse for an academic reading a paper in public.)