WLC Quotes Anthony Kenny
I’ve already made a video on the dishonest use of Anthony Kenny by William Lane Craig (and posted this on his forums + submitted it as a question), but it is worth restating here.
If you’ve ever watched one of Dr. Craig’s debates, he almost always uses a quote by Anthony Kenny (“of Oxford University”) while defending his Kalam Cosmological Argument. Craig quotes Anthony Kenny as follows:
A proponent of the Big Bang Theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing.– Anthony Kenny, The Five Ways (P. 66)
The following is the list of reasons I object to Dr. Craig’s use of this quote:
1. Craig cuts out an important part of the quote. Kenny actually writes that an atheist must believe “the matter of the universe comes from nothing” not just “the universe comes from nothing” (as Craig quotes it). So, unless Dr. Craig wants to argue that the matter in the universe is synonymous with the universe as a whole, then it seems a bit dishonest to just leave that bit out. What other reasons would there be to alter the quote in this way?
Edit: For the sake of completeness, here is the unedited Anthony Kenny quote from page 66 of The Five Ways . . .
A proponent of such a theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing.
2. Anthony Kenny provides no sources or explanation of the claim. He just asserts it, and since he is not an expert in the field (he’s not a scientist at all), then why should we take his views on physics seriously?
Furthermore, I object to the fact that Dr. Craig very rarely mentions Kenny’s profession, but instead refers to him only as being “of Oxford University.” Why does it matter what university he is from if he’s not an expert in physics? This seems like Craig is trying to trump of Kenny’s credentials in order to make a fallacious appeal to authority.
3. Kenny wrote the book in 1969 and the cosmology is outdated because of it. None of the current theories regarding the origin of the universe (or, at least, none that are seriously considered by theoretical physicists) were around 40 years ago. So, on what physical basis are we to take Kenny’s claim seriously?
Until these three objections are answered, this common quote of Dr. Craig’s should be outright dismissed.
Update: A volunteer at Craig’s Reasonable Faith Ministry has responded to these points (and I responded those responses) here.