Pharyngula

Another debate with creationists

Oh, when will we learn? Michael Shermer and Donald Prothero duked it out with a pair of Discovery Institute charlatans recently, to predictable results: the creationists cried victory afterwards. It simply doesn’t matter that they had no evidence.

Anyway, a couple of things struck me as too typical in these affairs.

  • The creationists changed the topic the morning of the debate, from the general “Origins of life” to the “Adequacy of Neo-Darwinian natural selection and mutation to explain the origin of life”, which already skews the subject. It’s amazing how common it is for creationists to pull this tactic of shifting the goalposts the day of the game. It’s also surprising how often we let them get away with it.

  • Despite their change of topic, the creationists ignored it! One guy yammered on about “information,” despite not understanding it; the other made the impossibility of whale evolution the centerpiece of his argument. Whale evolution is cool, but it’s a fact…and note that there were no whales around at the time of the origin of life.

  • As usual, our side is all about the evidence. Their side is all about rhetoric and appeals to biases. Guess which side fares best in the debate format? It’s even true in their books: note that Meyer’s book is subtitled, DNA and the Evidence of Intelligent Design, and he couldn’t gasp out any evidence at all for their theory, which they cannot even state.

Oh, well. We’re game, at least, and willing to charge into their playing field no matter how much they have to stack the odds against us. Now if only they would try to do likewise…but of course, they can’t. They’ve got nothin’.