While on the subject of PZ Myers, an atheist at my blog stated that William Lane Craig uses the Gish Gallup technique and, therefore, Myers is justified in refusing to debate Craig. A couple of atheist sources, such as a Discover Magazine blog post entitled, "Debating William Lane Craig", propose that Craig uses this technique. In his post, "Standing up to William Lane Craig" Myers lauds Richard Dawkins for refusing to debate Craig for moral reasons. In his post, "Why I will not Debate William Lane Crag" Myers states in the comments that he would refuse to debate Craig in any format, verbal or written. I'd like to offer several reasons why the Gish excuse should be considered an extremely poor excuse for Myers to refuse to debate Craig.
Gish galloping definition:
The Gish gallop debate technique refers to the debate style of Duane Gish and the results of the debates. Gish debated atheists at high schools and colleges that may not have had the best debate officiator. He debated on the side of creationism and presented a number of points in favor of his view while opponents claimed they did not have enough time to answer all of his points and, thus, they claim they lost debates because they simply didn't have enough time.
1. PZ's illogical post title. First of all, the title of PZ's defense of Dawkins is a sign that something is wrong. Preemptively finding excuses for not debating someone in any format is not "standing up to" someone. This is an example of Orwellian Newspeak. If a boxer claimed, "I'm standing up to Joe Boxer. I'm stating plainly that I'm refusing to fight him because he uses a flurry of punches and I don't." Or, "I'm standing up to Mr. Chess Expert. I'm stating plainly that I refuse to play him in chess because he plays aggressively, and I don't." Stating excuses for avoiding officiated contests is not and never will be "standing up to" someone.
2. PZ refuses to debate in written form. If PZ Myers believes that live debates don't allow enough time to answer, as Gish critics have claimed, then a text debate would allow for ample time. In preemptively refusing to debate Craig in any format, verbal or written, PZ has eliminated the Gish excuse as a viable one.
3. Professional debates offer predetermined parameters. In a formal live debate, contestants may predetermine the type of subject matter and the scope of the debate. If PZ finds five debate points too difficult to handle, he could request a debate on one or two points. Refusing to debate altogether based on "too much information" should therefore be considered a disingenuous claim.
4. Craig offers standard subject matter. Anyone remotely familiar with William Lane Craig knows that he has five logical arguments for God's existence which have been published in book form and have been used extensively in live debates. If a critic has any logical points to make with any or all of these arguments they may be immediately presented to refute the argument. The fact is, however, atheists tend to avoid logical rebuttals and offer "impressionistic" answers instead, as noted at the Discover blog. Thus, they tend to lose debates.
5. PZ Myers offers a stream of consciousness. As opposed to Crag, to my knowledge PZ Myers has published no books or articles outlining a logical defense of atheism. So, there is no way in which to anticipate and prepare for Myers' arguments. And so if anyone could be accused of debating "on the fly" in a Gish gallop stream of unpredictable information, it would be Myers.
The fact that atheists go to extremes to make up invalid excuses to avoid debate is in and of itself is evidence that atheism is illogical and helps to underscore the truth of God's existence. It can be difficult to tell when a person is simply not aware of true facts, is in a state of denial, or is intentionally deceiving others. People who would claim the Gish gallop technique is an excuse for refusing to debate Christian in any form probably fall into one of the above three categories. It's just not a valid excuse.
The Gish gallop question reminds me of the painting of the galloping horse George Bush was fond of describing to his guests. Bush told visitors it was a painting of a Methodist Minister on a mission to share truth and he named his book, A Chard to Keep after the painting. But, in reality, this painting was discovered to be a portrayal of a horse thief escaping for his life. I would have to point out that any atheist professors who would make the Gish gallop excuse as a reason for not debating certain Christians in any format would not have a logical reason for doing so. It would more seem to be the case that they are attempting to escape for their academic lives. Whether or not Bush is a Christian, God only knows. But considering the amount of laws he's broken, and the fact he and his cabinet insulated themselves from any questioning, these are not signs of the kind of "good fruit" that testifies of sincerity and genuine salvation. In a similar manner, if an atheist is shown to regularly break laws of logic and refuses to have his or her ideas cross examined in a debate with someone who understands logical laws, we probably should not assume the atheist in question is a sincere and genuine truth bearer. Because truth and logic are objective and not relative, we do have a means of discerning truth and those interested in such truth will be open to logical questions.
 Discover Magazine, Debating William Lane Craig, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/04/05/debating-william-lane-craig/
 Pharyngula, Standing up to William Lane Craig
 Pharyngula, http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/08/why-i-will-not-debate-william-lane-craig/ - "If William Lane Craig were to offer a debate in a written format, would you accept?" - No. Why? "appalled at his words" (8 November 2011 at 7:19 pm)
 The Guardian, painting fit for a president, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/01/usa.art
 Templestream, Christian Hugs and Handcuffs for George W. Bush, http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/02/christian-hugs-and-handcuffs-for.html
Thumb image: It was originally commissioned by the Saturday Evening Post by artist W H
D Koerner for a story "The Slipper Tongue" showing a horse thief
escaping a lynch mob.
Tags: definition of Gish gallop, PZ Myers refuses to debate William Lane Craig, PZ Myers fears debate with Craig,William Lane Craig - Gish gallop, evidence atheism is illogical