... we have a creationist (who holds to the 6-literal day creation and young earth 6,000 year position), (name deleted), coming on our campus challenging someone to debate him.
And, well, I ignored the email as did the others apparently. Then we all got a second email a few days later:
Clearly, they people organizing this were trying to get someone to do the debate. But this strategy just convinced me that debating creationists was an absurdly silly thing. So I wrote back:
The issue is pretty simple to me. There is nothing really to debate. Creationism is not science. It is a religion driven position that pretends (and does so poorly) to be about science. I for one have perfectly pleasant interactions with many creationists and I understand their beliefs at least at some level. But just as I would not encourage physicists to debate with those who deny gravity, and just as I would not encourage chemists to debate with those who claim the periodic table is invented, I think it is inappropriate to evolutionary biologists to "debate" with creationists in this type of setting. Discussing creationism - fine. Discussing criticism of evolutionary hypotheses - fine. Having a reasonable panel discussion of science and religion - fine. Meeting with creationists to discuss their ideas about evolution - ok too. But engaging in a "debate" and thus even for a second implying that creationism stands on the same ground as evolution - completely ludicrous.SincerelyJonathan Eisen
Alas, the people doing the inviting were not particularly impressed with my answer:
You Sir, are a COWARD.I guess they did not get my point. But anyway - I am asking readers out there - what do you think one should do? Should one debate creationists/ID supporters?
If it is so easy in your mind to refute Creationist's arguments, why don't you do it publically? FOR MONEY?!
Your words do nothing to change the standing offer of $250,000 for evidence of Macro-Evolution. How about Actions, not Words only?
By denying there is a challenge, and at the same time refusing to accept the challenge you tell us that you're unable to defend your position.
We know why you are fine with a panel discussion: because there is no Looser or Winner, you are afraid to loose, that is the real reason behind your rhetoric.
your answer is a nonanswer