West meets his match

Mark Borrello is a good mate of mine and an historian of biology. Greg Laden has an account of Mark publicly handing John West his ass regarding his expectorations re Darwin and eugenics.

PZ was there as well. Apparently West called him "America's Richard Dawkins"!

Nice job, Mark! It will be interesting tedious to see how the DI will spin this.

Update (12/1): And here comes the spin.

Update (12/2): And PZ responds.

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Having read the "report" by Bruce Chapman at Evolution News & Skews, I am left wondering just exactly John West was supposed to have won? Obviously, Chapman's reporters somehow presented to him that the exchange was a "debate," and I wonder if one of them may have been West himself.

It wasn't a debate; it was a powerpoint presentation with a short rebuttal and a truncated Q&A dominated by West being fed a softball request to respond to Borrello. Borrello had to fight again for time to respond, and this is when he inserted his observation about "scapegoating." And the scapegoating was the real focus of the presentation, with "Darwinism" thrown into to try to draw a crowd.

Had it been a "debate" there may have been a reason to claim victory, as it was Borrello minded his time properly. Despite the miniscule preparation time given to rebut someone who has been prepping this "tour" for over a year, Dr. Mark scored some decisive blows.

Don't even think about Creationists winning in Minnesota. Our Claque is too brawny.

But here lies the problem of engaging these people in anything with a semblance of debate. They declare victory no matter what, and will say later, "look, Darwinism is being debated at our universities." It's a lose-lose situation. While the people in the room who weren't already brain dead were probably convinced, the role such a debate has more broadly can be very damaging.

I like that PZ and other showed up to ask questions and embarrass them. But to participate in the planned rebuttal, with the format stacked against you, and their inevitable cries of victory afterward was probably an error. There is no honest debate to be had with these cranks.