Richard Dawkins, outspoken atheist and critic of religion, may be losing his nerve. He has just refused four British invitations to publicly debate with eminent philosopher William Lane Craig when he visits the UK this October. The requests came from The British Humanist Association, The Cambridge Debating Union, the Oxford Christian Union and Premier Radio.

Dawkin’s refusal to debate Craig has led Oxford University philosopher Dr Daniel Came to write to Dawkins urging him to reconsider, saying his refusal to do so is “apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.”

Dawkins did not reconsider, but according to the English publication Private Eye, said he would not share a platform with anyone who defended God’s command to kill the Canaanites as recounted in Deuteronomy, which Craig has done. When it was pointed out that Dawkins had shared a platform with Craig as part of a panel discussion in 2010, Dawkins replied that at that time he had not known of Craig’s ‘defence’ of the Deuteronomy passage. But, the Eye points out, Dawkins did know, having written an article discussing Craig’s position in 2008. Craig is a graduate of Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, both in Illinois. More here.