The creationists are very frustrated. That’s a natural consequence of reality denial, of course, but beyond that they seem to be mystified by the fact that no one takes them seriously enough to even debate with them. We’ve discussed this recently in Ken Ham: “Why Won’t Anyone Debate Me?”
Now it’s the turn of the neo-Luddite, neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The Discoveroids’ latest post is Why Darwinists Won’t Debate. It’s by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist.
Neither a lawyer nor a fallen scientist, Klinghoffer plays the role of house mystic — a convenient guise for a retained essayist whose principal job is to enthusiastically function as an unrestrained journalistic slasher whenever his creationist masters assign him to the task. There’s really no conflict between his role as both mystic and slasher. Rather, they’re complementary behaviors. Whenever his mystical view of the world is threatened by science, he starts slashing to preserve his rapturous befuddlement.
In this instance, Klinghoffer is neither slashing nor being mystical. Rather, he’s flailing about as a frustrated slasher, because nobody will play with him. He claims that his non-existent debate opponents are all scaredy-cats. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:
I have written before about what I’ve described as widespread cowardice on the Darwinian side of the evolution controversy (“Darwin’s Cowards”). But with the U.S. presidential debates under way, I’m prompted to wonder if I should have softened that phrasing a bit.
No, David, you should always tell us what’s on your mind. It’s one of our main sources of amusement.
Don’t ask me who I like best in the upcoming election because I won’t tell you (this is a non-partisan, non-political news site). But watching these encounters between the candidates reminds you of what a scary thing a debate is.
If the other guy makes points you can’t answer or can’t answer effectively, when you are right there and everyone is waiting to hear how you respond, that’s devastating.
Difficult questions are never devastating to creationists. They just make stuff up and carry on. They’re very good at it, which is one reason why debating such people is such a grand waste of time. Let’s read on:
That’s especially the case, of course, if the preponderance of the facts and the best arguments aren’t on your side. And perhaps there’s a part of you that senses that.
Klinghoffer is suggesting that this is the reason scientists won’t debate creationists. Not very subtle, is he? Here’s one last excerpt:
So yeah, it’s too harsh to say that prominent Darwinists who duck debates are “cowards.” More likely they sense they’d get creamed, and very reasonably they — I mean the name-brand ones, almost to a man — wish to avoid doing that damage to their own side.
What can we say? To begin with, Klinghoffer is attempting to taunt scientists into debating with creationists. Will anyone be foolish enough to fall for that tactic? We doubt it. For years they’ve been urging schools to “teach both sides,” and backing that up with “What are they afraid of?” That tactic hasn’t worked yet (except for a few moronic legislators), and we doubt that it will suddenly gain traction.
We’ve written several times before on the topic of debating creationists. For example, see Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism, and more recently our Curmudgeonly Collection of Debate Resources. But we won’t leave things there. Instead, we’ll offer you the Curmudgeon’s Challenge Checklist (the CCC) for evaluating debate proposals. If the challenger passes our simple tests, then go ahead and debate him. Here’s the checklist:
1. Is the challenger knowledgeable, rational, and honorable? In our humble opinion, all creationists fail at least one prong of this test, and many fail them all; so there’s no more reason to debate such people than there is to debate someone who thinks he’s Napoleon.
2. Does the challenger agree on the subject to be debated? Creationist opponents usually argue from scripture, or from “creation science” which (even if they don’t admit it) is based on scripture. That’s fine for a theological debate, but that’s not your subject, is it? If you’re interested in science and your challenger’s approach to things is religious, you’ll be talking past each other. The result may be strangely entertaining, but a genuine science debate will never materialize. So why waste your time?
3. Related to the above — Is the proposed topic one that is worthy of a science debate? Creationism (which includes intelligent design), being a totally religious concept, is utterly unworthy of being treated as a scientific subject, so there is no reason for you to participate in such a debate. Religious doctrines should be debated by clergymen, because theology is their topic, not yours.
4. Will participating in the debate be anything other than a degrading experience? Actual science debates are both educational and stimulating, and scientists delight in them. But sharing a debate platform with a creationist offers nothing of scientific value, so why bother?
5. Is the proposed debate merely an attempt for the opponent to gain publicity for himself or his topic? One shouldn’t agree to a debate which, by its very existence, will be exploited for publicity and to claim intellectual legitimacy for an unworthy subject or opponent. All that you will accomplish is to raise them from the bowels of obscurity which is their natural habitat.
And that’s our checklist. But what if your challenger claims that your refusal to debate is based on cowardice? So what? You don’t care if a moon-landing denier, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a faith-healer, or anything comparable claims you’re afraid to debate them, so why should you be concerned about what creationists say? Let them debate an empty chair. Then the two sides will be evenly matched.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.