Curmudgeonly Collection of Debate Resources

Thanks to the latest lull in our kind of news, we decided to assemble a few resources in one convenient place — and this is the place.

We’ll start with our once-formidable List-O-Links. We developed that resource at another website, and there was a time when it was just about the best thing going (he modestly said). Alas, we haven’t kept it up, but there’s still a lot of good information there.

For a far more sweeping resource, about which you probably already know, don’t overlook the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims. With a bit of searching, you can find pretty much anything you need there.

Along the lines of the TalkOrigins index, but far less ambitious, is our own Common Creationist Claims Confuted.

If you’re in an aggressive mood and you want to put a question to a creationist that he can’t handle, then consider A Few Questions for Creationists, and also A Few More Questions for Creationists.

But the creationist probably won’t answer your questions. Instead he’ll ask you a question. Usually, that will be something like a demand for the evidence that proves evolution. If you’re faced with that, direct him to this: Where’s the Proof — Evolution’s “Smoking Gun”?

If you find yourself in a debate with a creationist, which is never a good way to spend your time (see Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism), you should first read this and the articles linked at the end: Debating Creationists: The Big Lie. If you’re still going to proceed, here are some responses to the typical creationist nonsense. Oh, as a precaution against quote-mining, our paragraph leads aren’t confessions, they’re just topics. Okay, here we go:

Evolution is atheism. That’s rubbish. First, see The Clergy Letter Project, which now has almost 13,000 Christian clergymen who strongly endorse the theory of evolution. Then see the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution. It’s true that some denominations, including a few big ones, see things differently — but their anti-science posture is denominational, not scientific.

There are no transitional fossils. That’s idiotic. Send the creationist to Wikipedia’s list of transitional fossils.

The Founding Fathers were creationists. Well, duh! Considering that Charles Darwin wasn’t born until 1809, and didn’t publish his theory until 1859, it’s not surprising that the theory of evolution wasn’t very prominent in Philadelphia in 1776. The Founders didn’t even have the science of geology at their disposal to establish that the earth is far older than Genesis suggests. James Hutton, the father of modern geology, had only begun to publish in 1788. Nevertheless, although the information to refute creationism wasn’t then available, the Founders were rational men. Jefferson, for example, rejected the notion of a global deluge (see The Founders Rejected Evolution?).

Historical science can’t produce reliable information about the past. Oh really? Our favorite demonstration to the contrary is The Lessons of Tiktaalik.

Belief in evolution leads to immorality. Fantastic nonsense! See Creationism and Morality and also But They’ll Behave Like Monkeys!

That’s enough for now. We may add more to this post from time to time. Someone may find such a collection useful.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Curmudgeonly Collection of Debate Resources

  1. lover to 귀염둥이

    Many thanks indeed for your efforts to share the truth!
    Just one question if I may,
    Under what evidences, I mean, how can you so competent that the evolution is ready proven fact?
    Because, personally, I think that there are things to be proven more to claim the fact.
    To me, your acusations are more to blame the radical-creationism, which probably nothging to do with the fact.
    Can you simply make your point clear with one or two sentences about our issue which I find very difficult? Which makes myself still stand in-between.
    Once again, I thank you for your endeavour toward the fact, anyway.

  2. lover to 귀염둥 says: “Just one question if I may”

    Read first. Then ask.

  3. @Curmudgeon:

    You expect someone who uses the word “evidences” to read?

  4. docbill1351

    Gwiyeomdung is the translation of 귀염둥 which is also a Twitter handle for RoRo_Pink.

    Who knows? No care.

    What I do care about in a sick sort of sporting way is identifying New Chum, aka Creationist Noobs who troll science sites. The pattern is always the same:

    1. Hey, I don’t know much about evolution and I have some questions.
    2. A little banter passes, a few simple questions, all nice.
    3. Then the zinger: Well, Darwin can’t explain the H1N1 peptodehydrogenase B19 binding site evolution!
    4. Clearly the Noob has no idea what he’s talking about, but some explanations are offered.
    5. The Flounce. Well, evolution Darwin Hitler what are you afraid of ID will rule in 5 (10, 15, 100) years! And exit Noob, stage Right.

    There’s a nice example of this out at Amazon dot Com where the creationist Mark Lutz praises Luskin’s book (having never read it and certainly not understanding anything) gets his clock cleaned by a couple of “afraid” evolutionists and, predictably, flounces.

    I’ve seen this pattern over and over again. So, I always cut to step 5 as soon as possible, unmask the Noob for the cretin he is and move on. Why waste time? Yes, I am a bad person. I evolved that way.

  5. docbill1351 says: “What I do care about in a sick sort of sporting way is identifying New Chum, aka Creationist Noobs who troll science sites.”

    Do not imagine, Grasshopper, that I was unaware of the situation. My Curmudgeon senses are always on full alert.

  6. (As a wild guess Lover to 귀염둥 is not a native English speaker)

    Lover to 귀염둥,
    Evolution is both a Fact and a Theory – the theory explains the fact. Just like Gravity is both a Fact and Theory.

  7. NeonNoodle

    (As a wild guess Lover to 귀염둥 is not a native English speaker)

    Yes, but that probably nothging to do with the fact.

  8. Ceteris Paribus

    Hey, docbill wait a minute you may be on to something. Has anybody seen a post from Aturingtest lately? I’m speculating that this evolution skeptic troll is merely a clever computer generated algorithm contrived to imitate human dialogs. C’mon Aturingtest, fess up!

  9. Glad to see the old List-O-Links is still around Curmy. It was a damn good resource.

  10. Brings back memories, doesn’t it, Tundra Boy?

  11. Tiger of Malaysia say
    “No matter what other person do,
    only master what you
    also, why are there still monkeys?
    A: so vendor in Davao can sell barbque monkey
    on stick”
    Komodo dragon send

  12. @SC:

    Is this somewhere among your links? Of the 100s (1000s?) of books and articles I have read in the last 15 years, nothing better exposes the tactics and motivations of the ID peddlers. This article practically predicts the Wedge document that appeared 2 years later.

    It’s a no brainer why they approach the designer’s identity with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but why in the designer’s name would they resort to that for the testable “what happened when” claims? Especially since such claims are exactly what they need to back up the pretense that ID is science and not “creationism?” The only answer that makes any sense is they know that, even if their other claims had merit (& they don’t), it’s still 4 billion years of common descent with modification. Especially since they either admit it outright (e.g. Behe) or refuse to challenge their own that do.

  13. Frank J, those are good, and I’m glad you mentioned them. I don’t recall now, but I’m sure I must have read the one in Reason when it came out. But my links are (I like to think) more than a list of good articles. They’re organized by issue, so not everything I read and like fits in.

  14. @SC:

    Here’s another link that ought to be in your collection if it isn’t. It’s Eugenie Scott’s reply to William Dembski’s masterpiece of wordsmithing that pretends to show that ID is testable and “Darwinism” is not. To make his case Dembski admits that ID can accommodate all the “results” of “Darwinism.” Add his later statement about how IDers (my paraphrase) “don’t need to connect no stinkin’ dots,” and you can almost hear him saying “Yeah, we Discoveroids are pulling your leg, but your technical refutations and ‘lying for Jesus’ complaints can’t compete with our word games.”

  15. Some people say that the most common argument against evolution is “If monkeys evolved into humans, how come there are still monkeys?” The most comprehensive discussion of that that I’m familiar with is at RationalWiki:
    How come there are still monkeys?”

  16. Curmie writes: “Brings back memories, doesn’t it, Tundra Boy?”

    As long as you are reminiscing, why not write about it?

  17. @TomS:

    The “why are there still monkeys” misconception is one of several that I am convinced that, with years of patience and dedication, can reduce by half the ~45% that answers those idiotically worded poll questions with evolution-denial. The reason I’m convinced of that is that most people react to patient correction of common misconceptions with “I never thought of it that way,” not “you’re wrong” or “la la la I can’t hear you.” A few simple questions are enough to tell if you’re dealing with one who is willing to learn, or beyond hope (including in-on-the-scam). Why waste energy on the latter when the former is cooperative?

  18. SC: Thanks for the compilations and list of links! Many of us know of most of these, but to have them in one place is very helpful. To that end, may we use the list for handouts to students in Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) teachers workshops we present over a week end each year, with due credit to The Sensuous Curmudgeon of course. Also we would like to place the list on our web site ( ) perhaps.

    Thanks for all your efforts!

  19. vhutchison says: “Also we would like to place the list on our web site”

    You got it. Permission happily granted.

  20. The OESE workshop is described on the OESE web site.

  21. @FrankJ:The “why are there still monkeys” misconception…

    I’ve found that it is most effective to counter with, “If Americans are descended from Europeans, why are there still Europeans?”

  22. @Gabriel Hanna: I’ve not found that to be effective. There is too much misunderstanding about evolution for many people to grasp how this relates to evolution. The next time I hear this, I’m going to try the Lamarckian answer, “After monkeys turned into humans, shrews turned into monkeys to fill in the gap. Then opposums turned into shrews, …”
    But all of this is covered at RationalWiki.

  23. @TomS:

    I’m curious as to how that was not effective, meaning what “kind” of deniers did you use it on, and what was their reply. Note that your “Lamarckian answer” is a still “ladder” model. I think that, for all but the most hopeless ~25%, any approach where the main point is “it’s a tree, not a ladder” should get a positive response.

  24. BTW, this is another opportunity to drag in the “when” issues that “big tenters” want to cover-up. Technically there aren’t “still monkeys.” The monkeys (and yes I know most people “think ape and say monkey”) that evolved into us have not been around for ~30 million years (~6 MY if they really mean apes). Today’s monkeys are different species from their ancestors just as we are. While the denier is pondering the concept of speciation, ask point blank: “You do think there was a 30 MY ago, don’t you?” If they say no or play dumb remind them that many (most?) self-described creationists do think so.

  25. @Frank J: I’m joking when I suggest the shrews-to-monkeys thing. See the RationalWiki site.

  26. @TomS

    I figured that, but missed the “next time” part.