As I had predicted, I didn't win the debate. As I said before the debate in comments to the previous post on this, "it always takes twice as much time to rebut an assertion as to make one, so the fact that both parties have equal time all but entails the affirmative position will always win on any technical measure," by thus having twice as many unanswered arguments by the end. Which is why I said (and this is my view of all oral debates, though I was speaking particularly of this one):
My aim is not to win. That's impossible, as I just noted above the dissenting position can never win a debate. My aim is only to communicate to the public why I don't find his arguments persuasive and why they shouldn't either. If the effect is to sow seeds of doubt among fence-sitters and believers, arm nonbelievers with better information, and dispel myths clung to by both sides, it will be worth my time regardless of any technical score.By that measure, I think I modestly accomplished my goal. And my prediction came true, of course: I'd estimate he had more than twice as many arguments (mainly in rebuttals) left unanswered as I could respond to. But even with that in mind, I wasn't happy with my performance. My rebuttals were disorganized, I stumbled over sentences too often, and my time management was poor (I didn't hit all the points I wanted to). On all three points I learned a great deal, which will improve my proficiency in future debates considerably. I fully acknowledge Craig's skills as a debater are far more polished than mine (or anyone's), but I knew that going in.
I also made at least one serious mistake in the debate. Dr. Craig quoted my old online work, which I had completely forgotten about, and I accused him of misattributing a "Casper the Ghost" analogy to me, that in fact I had used way back in 1998. When I responded I was thinking of my work in The Empty Tomb (where I don't use that analogy) and subsequent material (like the O'Connell debate and my Spiritual Body FAQ), which I thought he was responding to. I apologized to Craig the next morning. He was quite alright with it. In fact, we got along well. Having lunch with him the day before, then driving to the airport with him for more than an hour the day after, I found Dr. Craig quite friendly and understanding. I can say I understand him better now than I did before. Another big side benefit for me was that thinking over Craig's position against my key argument regarding the Gospels inspired a "eureka!" moment on the plane ride home. I landed with a rock solid Bayesian proof of my position, scribbled out on the hotel writing pad I'd been using for notes the whole trip. I'll be able to include that in my book, which will make it a great deal stronger than even I had expected.
To summarize my end of the debate, my tack was that Craig only has two sources of evidence: the Gospels and the Epistles. But the Gospels can't be trusted (because they exhibit a different authorial intent than recording fact) and the Epistles don't tell us anything sufficient to make the case (since they never mention anyone finding an empty grave, and only confirm that a group of fanatics who hallucinated regularly saw Jesus after he died, which hardly requires a miracle to explain). Craig barely rebutted the latter argument. He focused almost entirely on protecting the Gospels as historical sources, and it was there that his shotgun of arguments got well ahead of my ability to catch up. There were a few side issues we sparred on as well, such as the relevance of the evidence in Acts (he defended the street sermons, I defended the silence of Acts on any accusations or inquests by the authorities concerning any missing body), and whether his theory predicts anything differently than naturalistic theories do (e.g. whether Jesus would have appeared more widely to communicate his message).
If anyone agreed with my first fact (the Gospels can't be trusted on historical details), many of Craig's arguments automatically became irrelevant (since they depended, overtly or covertly, on the Gospels as sources of information). And my second argument he pretty much left intact. But he still made many relevant arguments I failed to get to. Although I fully expected that would be the case. Afterward, Q&A offered some good chances to shore up my argument. I would say Q&A was rather important this time--usually I find it doesn't advance matters much, but I think it did in this case.
There were close to a thousand in attendance (certainly no fewer than eight hundred), almost all Christians, mainly from the MSU campus and the Northwest Missouri area, plus near a hundred or so from farther off or out of state. Despite the hostile audience (who took delight in Craig calling me a krank, for example, or belittling my ability to interpret texts), the questioners were all polite and mostly asked really good questions, and many Christians came up to me in polite conversation afterward. Overall it was a good experience for me, but not my best debate. There are too many things I would have done differently in my rebuttals, if I had time to rethink what points to hit and when (though my opening I still wouldn't change).
Many already responded to the debate in comments to my previous blog announcing the debate. Instead of there, I will answer some of those responses in comments here (below).