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Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate Paperback – December, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'In the debate in 1984 on the existence of God between Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell, it is generally agreed that Russell won. Copleston could find no convincing arguments for his relief in a creator God; and Russell was content to assert: 'The universe is just there, and that's all.' Fascinatingly, a rerun of that debate, 50 years later, between William Lane Craig and Anthony Flew had a quite different outcome. The reason for this is the current consensus among scientists that the universe had an absolute beginning, and that the universe appears to be 'finely tuned' for the emergence of life and mind. This is accepted by Craig and Flew, and by almost all those who discuss their arguments in Stan Wallace's book... ' Church Times 'For those less familiar with the field it is an excellent introduction... it could be used in philosophy of religion courses to analyze the different arguments and the assumptions underlying them... A book that makes one think.' ESSSAT 'This will be a useful volume to all those interested in the current state of the debate concerning arguments for the existence of God.' Theological Book Review 'Largely nontechnical and well organized, this work could serve as a textbook in college classes on the philosophy of religion.' Choice '... the book offers an accessible doorway into a very important discussion and for this reason it is worth buying.' Reviews in Religion and Theology '... this volume provides an interesting discussion from both a theistic and atheistic perspective on the status of arguments for and against the existence of God... An excellent resource for all those interested in the questions central to apologetics and philosophical theology.' Religious Studies Review

About the Author

Stan W. Wallace Contributors: Keith Yandell, R. Douglas Geivett, William Rowe, William J. Wainwright, Michael Martin, Keith M. Parsons, David Yandell, Paul Draper, William Lane Craig, Antony Flew.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate Pub Ltd; New edition edition (December 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754631907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754631903
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,005,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Does God Exist? is based on the 1998 public debate between Christian philosopher William Craig and atheist philosopher Anthony Flew. The debate itself was held on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of a similarly titled debate between Russell and Copleston in 1948.
The layout follows a common format for debate-type books. First, a transcript of the debate is provided, followed by comments from subject matter experts representing both sides of the argument. Finally, the debaters are given an opportunity to make closing comments and respond to points raised by the other contributors.
The debate itself was quite good with the discussion covering all the major arguments, cosmological, teleological, existence of evil, etc. In fact, the 1998 debate was superior to the Russell-Copeston debate wherein Russell was largely evasive and did not actively engaged in debate (still an interesting read though). For those new to this area William Craig is the preeminent contemporary Christian apologist (arguably also one of the finest current day philosophers). In addition to his impressive intellectual abilities Craig is a brilliant debater and excellent communicator. Anthony Flew is also a well-known philosopher who has written and debated on the existence of God and other related philosophical questions. Although I respect Flew as a philosopher, he was overmatched by Craig both intellectually and rhetorically.
In my opinion the weakest part of the book was the commentary by the subject matter experts. This is unfortunate, because quite often it is one of the more enjoyable aspects of this format. Michael Martin's comments were interesting, however, the others particularly David and Keith Yandell were weak and added little.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John D. Lentz Jr. on August 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
William Lane Craig, a Christian apologist, debated Antony Flew, a former* atheist philosopher, on the 50th anniversary of the famous Russell-Copelston debate. This book is the product of that.

Craig's arguments are standard and predictable from anyone familiar with Criag, and Flew fizzles, as even atheists William Rowe and Michael Martin admit. Why is the debate so good then? The commentary on the debate by such HUGE names in the field of philosophy of religion as William Rowe, Keith Parsons, Michael Martin, Paul Draper, Douglas Geivett, Keith Yandell, William Wainwright, etc. is what makes the book so great. Representing a varitey of traditions, from militant atheist (Martin and Parsons), Agnosticism (Draper), to theism, these respondents comment on the debate and press the issues deeper than an oral, short, debate allows.

The best part of the book is that Craig and Flew each get a chance to respond to what the other scholars said. Craig's response to objections chapter is worth the entire price of the book. Craig defends his arguments against heavy criticisms from some of the most prolific atheist currently writing. Anyone who wants to read a very good debate (though admittedly tilted for theism) needs to pick this up.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reader From Aurora on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Does God Exist? is based on the 1998 public debate between Christian philosopher William Craig and atheist philosopher Anthony Flew (Flew has recently had a highly publicized albeit somewhat tenuous move into theism). The debate itself was held on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of a similarly titled debate between Russell and Copleston in 1948.

The layout follows a common format for debate-type books. First, a transcript of the debate is provided, followed by comments from subject matter experts representing both sides of the argument. Finally, the debaters are given an opportunity to make closing comments and respond to points raised by the other contributors.

The debate itself was quite good with the discussion covering all the major arguments, cosmological, teleological, existence of evil, etc. In fact, the 1998 debate was superior to the Russell-Copeston debate wherein Russell was largely evasive and did not actively engaged in debate (still an interesting read though). For those new to this area William Craig is the preeminent contemporary Christian apologist (arguably also one of the finest current day philosophers). In addition to his impressive intellectual abilities Craig is a seasoned debater and excellent communicator. Anthony Flew is also a well-known philosopher who has written and debated on the existence of God and other related philosophical questions. Although I respect Flew as a philosopher, he was overmatched by Craig both intellectually and rhetorically in this encounter.

In my opinion the weakest part of the book was the commentary by the subject matter experts. This is unfortunate, because quite often it is one of the more enjoyable aspects of this format.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hallquist on April 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book consists of a transcript of a 90-minute (plus Q&A) debate William Lane Craig and Antony Flew, followed eight essays by professional philosophers commenting on the debate, followed by Craig and Flew's responses to the comments. Like most of Craig's live debates, this was ridiculously one-sided, Craig being essentially a professional debater against an opponent with no idea of how to do a live debate. Pretty pointless, really.

The quality of the post-debate comments, though, was extremely high. Craig was pushed to try to clarify his arguments in ways that he often fails to do, and a couple of the commentators did a nice job of pointing out the sillier rhetorical tricks Craig uses on a regular basis. Definitely something to read if you have a serious interest in debates about the existence of God.
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