That is, last month’s entertaining and enlightening event at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theater on the question “Is God a Delusion?”, a debate from which Dawkins notoriously excused himself by citing concerns about innocent Canaanites having been slaughtered some 3000 years ago. Theologian William Lane Craig showed up anyway and discussed the cosmological and other arguments for God’s existence with three Oxford academics. Craig is an intellectual steamroller so you can see why Dawkins would chicken out, though for such a smart guy one does wonder why he couldn’t come up with a more plausible sounding excuse.
Here’s a thought experiment. How much would you pay for the pleasure of seeing Dawkins actually confront Craig live on a stage and try to answer him substantively? Imagine a pool of funds were gathered with the offer of donating it all to Dawkins’s favorite charity or other pet cause. We’re not suggesting Richard can be bought personally but if the charity were good enough and the money substantial enough, he would face even heavier pressure from his own allies and colleagues to go up against Dr. Craig, and more intense ridicule and condemnation for refusing, than he did this time.