Saturday, January 02, 2010

Creationist "Kooks" Offer Debate Challenge

Creation Ministries International-Australia (hereafter "CMI") has issued a debate challenge to representatives of the "New Atheism" who will be speaking at the upcoming Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia March 12-14, 2010. The conference organizers told CMI representatives that they would have to contact the atheist representatives themselves if they wanted to debate, and so they did. Here was Dr. P.Z. Myers' response: A reply to Carl Wieland. Dr. Myers response reminds me that "a picture is worth a thousand words"; simply scrolling down to the bottom of his response for his calculated and offensive ad hominem will help you see what I mean. That fact being set aside for the moment, he says that "to organize a debate for a bunch of grandstanding kooks . . . would be an exercise in futility . . . they have no evidence to debate . . .". CMI also wanted Dr. Richard Dawkins to be part of this panel debate since he'll be preaching at the atheist conference, but as usual, no response has been forthcoming. Given Dr. Myer's response to the creationist "kooks" and in light of Dawkins' history of being unwilling to debate creationists in moderated, public debate, the following quote from his book The God Delusion is quite interesting since he approves of it so much that he "never tire[s] of sharing" it,
Douglas Adams put it so well, in an impromptu speech made in Cambridge shortly before his death, that I never tire of sharing his words: "Religion . . . has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allwoed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'. Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the universe began, about who created the Universe . . . no, that's holy? . . . We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be." [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 20-21. Bold mine for emphasis - DSS]
Dawkins is quoted on the homepage of the Global Atheist Convention as saying,
The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science … We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance . . .
One of Dawkins' godless co-presenters at the conference, Catherine Deveny, is quoted on the homepage right under Dawkins reporting this,
The number of churchgoers in Australia is about 9% and dwindling, the diversity of spiritual belief is flourishing and atheism is going off like a frog in a sock.
O.k., so if the creationists are such "kooks", that are undermining "reason", "truth", and "science" why not take the opportunity to put up your intellectual dukes and "[defend] it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance" via public, moderated debate with equal time and multiple atheologists? Why not wipe the floor with these creationist "lackwits", especially wiping the floor extra squeaky clean with this participating Ph.D. level scientist? It ought to be easy, especially since these are "grandstanding kooks" that have "no evidence to debate".

But you also don't want to give them a platform to present their "kook" ideas? But Dr. Dawkins, you quoted approvingly that when it comes to the ideas of religious dullards "there is not reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other," and again, "We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance . . .". So, why not take a few hours to show the rest of the world just how silly these "lackwits" really are? Remember, they have "no evidence to debate", and not only that, but you'll have the rights to freely distribute the DVDs at your leisure (i.e., YouTube,, etc.)! This would greatly promote the specific agenda of the conference (The Rise of Atheism) because you could then actually record the floor wiping and then promote your efforts to get rid of the supposed vestigial remains of the 9% of Australian "lackwits" that still foolishly believe that the universe didn't make itself out of nothing!

Seriously, I contend that the "New Atheists" need to put their ideas to the test against those "kooks" who think otherwise and they need to do it in multiple, moderated public debates instead of continually writing books that ignore the best that Christian apologetics has to offer and hiding behind their keyboards writing ad hominem responses. We encourage the former and are sick of the latter. The more you ignore our best scholarship, the more ridiculous you make yourselves look. This is neither good science, nor is it being intellectually honest. It actually reeks of close-minded fundamentalism, the very thing you proclaim to detest. While Australia may indeed have meager church attendance statistics, there are plenty of Americans that still believe that God created the universe ex nihilo. So hear me well when I lay down this gauntlet for you:

Show us where we are wrong and stop ignoring our best scholars and best arguments. Many in the Christian world want to see your supposed intellectual goods if the evidence so heavily favors naturalism. This means that you must stop turning down debates with Ph.D. level creation scientists that can hang on your level intellectually. Your refusal to debate such people reeks of cowardice and insecurity and shows that you are unwilling to test, refine, and rethink your own presuppositions because you have an a priori agenda to protect them, just like any other close-minded, religious fundamentalist.

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)


  1. This post has a good argument, one that I've seen quite a few times before. And I'm sure I'll see it again in the future.

    The atheist materialists have to choose their poison, the one with the least amount of loss of face:

    (1) Debate and lose. Or

    (2) Refuse to Debate and look like chickens.

    They now usually choose option 2.

  2. Along with option 2, they add vigorous hand-waving and banshee-screaming ad hominem invective to reduce the loss of face.

    And it would not surprise me if such tactics not only reduce the loss of face for them, but that it actually gains them adherents to their position from the "neutral" fence-sitters because who wants to be targets of such mockery and disdain? Better to disavow and distance yourself from the kook creationists than to defend them from unfair and unwarranted name-calling.

    Bully the Christians, bully the creationists, and make weak-willed people afraid to be associated with Christians and creationists.

    It's an all too effective tactic.

  3. Spend countless amounts of dollars about it it, spent countless hours writing books, articles, and blogs about it, fly all over the world lecturing about it, appear on all major TV and radio outlets talking about it, but just make sure that you completely refuse to debate it at all costs.

  4. Next time you listen to or read the likes of Dr. Richard Dawkins, just remember that atheism is to religion what protestantism is to the Church. The remarks by Dr. Dawkins could have been made, with few modifications, against the Catholic Church by James White or Steve Hays.

  5. "The remarks by Dr. Dawkins could have been made, with few modifications, against the Catholic Church by James White or Steve Hays."

    Yes, there is indeed a striking similarity between the willingness of the latter two to discuss and explain all things pertaining to religion and the cowardice of the former to not even interact with those whom he criticizes...

    Does somebody need some attention?

  6. Ryan,

    I'm thinking someone's just got an adjusted dose...