What you can say when creationists invite you to debate them

February 20, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula reported on an invitation sent to University of Vermont biology Professor Nicholas Gotelli, as well as Gotelli’s crisp response.  Here’s a piece of professor Gotelli’s response:

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no scientific support, and that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars. Creationism is in the same category.

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish.


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Category: Evolution

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    This echoes what I recently saw in a public television show about the Dover school district lawsuit. In the trial, a key witness for the creationists testified that he believed the school district's defintion of 'science' was too narrow, and that his broader definition would include 'intelligent design.' Under cross-examination, the attorney for the plaintiffs (the parents who were suing to ban intelligent design from the science curriculum) pointed out that the witness' proposed definition of 'science' would be so broad that it would seem to include things like astrology, and he then asked the witness if this were so. The witness answered that, yes, his proposed definition of 'science' would include astrology and other things like it. The witness seemed to see no problem with this result.

  2. Karl says:

    Science has never been scrutinized to the point that it has been bereft of the necessary worldview(s) and perspective(s) of the person(s) claiming to be doing science.

    The best of "objective" science is done experimentally in a limited arena under controlled conditions.

    Simply based upon these stipulations, both evolution and intelligent design fail as objective science.

    Pushing the limits and applicability of scientific laws, patterns, trends and theories into more universal realms and condidtions controlled by simply what one believes to be true by nature is no longer objective science.

    One can try to call it the best a scientist has to go on, but this still leaves the scientist open to their own bias concerning whatever they believe happens to be true about the natural world.

    I would believe in evolution if all I had to believe in and hope in was a natural world without anything else to influence my thought process.

    • Evolution has been observed in lab conditions microbially. Changes (mutations) in DNA chains have been predicted and found. The controlled conditions you wish for are to be found where they seem to have the least impact on Young Earth, antievolutionary thinking. Probably because they are complex and not very well publicized.

      It has also been argued philosophically that evolution as a mechanism can be described as just one more method by which your creator-mage higher power could have done what you claim he/she/it did. So why the konipshions over the irreconcilability of the two?

      Oh. That's right. Because that explanation doesn't make god inevitable and therefore allows people to decide for themselves what to believe. There is still no force of evidence to state irrefutably that god exists and is the cause for all things.

      As I understand it, that's why they call it faith.

      And it is a poor faith indeed that must rest on the destruction of all other possible models for existence.

  3. Chris Grus says:

    I believe in Creationism when it comes to Donald Trumps hair.

    Really, you can't put something like that on science.

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