Saturday, 2 December 2017

Plagiarists For Jesus

Willaim Lane Craig. Accused of plagiarism
Christian Apologist William Lane Craig Accused of Plagiarizing Thesis.

In an article published yesterday by David G. Mcafee in the Patheos blog, No Sacred Cows, Christian apologist and apologist for faith-based genocide, William Lane Craig has been accused of plagiarising his Masters Degree thesis.

This accusation is not new; it has been around for several years, but has been given another airing by atheist, author and former student of William Lane Craig's, John W Loftus. Loftus has written extensively about Lane Craig's cowardice in refusing to debate him publicly despite Lane Craig making an issue of Richard Dawkins' refusal to give him a platform following his repugnant apologetic for the Canaanite genocide in which he presented infanticide as morally justifiable.

William Lane Craig plagiarized part of his masters degree thesis? This happened before the rise of the fact checking...

Posted by John W. Loftus on Thursday, 30 November 2017
Lane Craig is widely respected in Christian apologetic circles despite his justification of genocide and dubious debating tactics in which he relies heavily on the ignorant incredulity of his audience and disguises begged questions and presupposition assumptions as intellectually valid positions or even as established historical facts.

Lane Craig devised the 'Divine Command Theory' which argues that whatever God orders is morally good, by definition. Asked why this didn't mean it was morally good to join ISIS if you believed God was commanding it, Lane Craig famously explained that you could tell if it was the real god giving the command because the real one is the one that agrees with William Lane Craig.

For example, he will present Biblical accounts such as the stories of the 'empty tomb' as authenticated history and present this as definitive proof not only of the existence of Jesus but of his resurrection. In fact, there is no extra-biblical authentication of any of the stories associated with Jesus, let alone of an empty tomb.

But it's not these intellectual sleights of hand with which Lane Craig bamboozles and wows his credulous and eager dupes that is in question here but the authenticity of his own Masters Degree thesis which, as such, would be expected to be wholly his original works with any quotations from work by other people fully attributed and credited to the original author.

Now, it is alleged, chunks of Lane Craig's thesis, The Nature of History, appear to have been lifted from The Western Tradition by Stewart C. Easton.

For example:

The achievements of this century and its predecessors in the modern period have made it possible for the majority of Western men to emancipate themselves from the numerous restrictions that afflicted men in past centuries. -Stewart C. Easton

The achievements of this century, and indeed, the modern period as a whole have made it possible for the majority of Western men and women to liberate themselves from the numerous restrictions that shackled persons living in past centuries.- William Lane Craig

And again:

The individualism that we notice as early as the Renaissance, but which could be in the possession of only a few in that age, has now become possible for the majority. - Stewart C. Easton

The individualism that sprang from the Renaissance, but which could be the possession of only an elite few in that age, has now become possible for the majority. - William Lane Craig

As John W. Loftus points out, this is middle school copy & paste with minor modification.

In this example, although Lane Craig refers to Easton it is not clear how much of the paragraph he is attributing to him. The impression is that much of the paragraph is Lane Craig's own work since there are no quotation marks to show otherwise. One could be forgiven for thinking only the first sentence is Eastons:

The twentieth century, writes Stuart C Easton, at the conclusion of The Western Heritage, is an age of paradox. The achievements of this century, and indeed, the modern period as a whole have made it possible for the majority of Western men and women to liberate themselves from the numerous restrictions that shackled persons living in past centuries. The individualism that sprang from the Renaissance, but which could be the possession of only an elite few in that age, has now become possible for the majority. Throughout the course of his whole life, Western man makes thousands of decisions that were not available to him earlier. In contrast to previous ages, he now chooses his career and spouse freely. He may determine the quality and extent of his education. Neither his state nor his society constrains him to believe in a particular creed or to worship in a specified manner; religious pluralism is the order of the day, and he may even choose to be an atheist or an agnostic if he so desires. Available to him is a dazzling array of entertainments and escapisms to assuage his mind. No longer forced to labour for long hours, he may pursue hobbies of interest to him in his spare time; he can choose where he wishes to call home, either in the place of his birth or abroad. All that is demanded of him in return is that his behavior is such that it does not curtail the liberty of others or outrage too blatantly the standards of his society. He is expected to obey the laws of his government and to make enough money for himself and his family by his work(or to inherit it from a wealthy ancestor who has earned more than enough for his needs) to enable him to meet what he believes to be his needs. - The Nature of History, William Lane Craig



The twentieth century is an age of paradox. The achievements of this century and its predecessors in the modern period have made it possible for the majority of Western men to emancipate themselves from the numerous restrictions that afflicted men in past centuries. The individualism that we notice as early as the Renaissance, but which could be in the possession of only a few in that age, has now become possible for the majority. Throughout his life, Western man makes decisions not available to him earlier. He can choose his career and spouse freely; he can educate himself or not according to his bent; he can choose from myriad forms of entertainment; he can cultivate a hobby in his spare time; he can live wherever he feels inclined, either in the country of his birth or in a foreign land. All that is required of him in return is to behave in such a way as not to infringe too outrageously on the freedom of others, to obey such laws as his society imposes on him, and to make enough money for himself by his work(or to inherit it from an ancestor who made more than enough to meet his needs) to enable him to satisfy what he conceives to be his requirements. Truly an enviable lot, one would think, in comparison with what was demanded of a medieval serf.-The Western Tradition, Stewart C. Easton

According to Trinity Evangelical's official policies:

Academic Integrity

The community at Trinity International University promotes a commitment to integrity in all areas of life. Academic integrity is essential in the search for and promotion of truth. This pursuit of truth, while being an important goal in itself, is integral to other essential beliefs foundational to the Trinity community: (1) all individuals, being in the image of God, are to be respected for their intellectual contributions; (2) the use of one’s God-given talents is the responsibility of every individual, and, for the Christian, excellence is a sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God; and (3) relationships within our community are to be nurtured in an environment of trust.

Therefore, any form of plagiarism and cheating will not be condoned within the Trinity community. Plagiarism, whether intentional or indirect, gives the impression that the words or ideas in a person’s writings are one’s own, whereas in reality they are taken from someone else’s written or oral presentation(s), even when a reference to the original source is made in footnotes or bibliography. Cheating is an expression of fraud and deception, as the student gives the impression of doing better on quizzes or exams than he or she deserves.

Plagiarism or cheating has a negative effect on the Trinity community in that it does not promote truth, breaks the relationship of trust, does not encourage the individual to develop his or her creative talents, and erodes the moral fiber so vital in an academic community. For a further description, see the Student Handbook.

Any student who breaks the standard of academic integrity by cheating or plagiarism will be dealt with severely by the faculty and staff and will be reported to the Dean of Students. This may result in a failure of the course, expulsion from the institution, or a revocation of a degree already granted by Trinity.

It will be interesting to see if these standards apply to all students and former students, regardless of the respect in which they are held in the wider Christian fundamentalist community as a whole. Plagiarism is of course theft and as such is forbidden to devout Christian believers by one of the Ten Commandments.

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