Bring On the Chiquitas!


In an unsurprisingly ill-informed column in USA Today, top banana Cal Thomas and second banana Bob Beckel, doing their version of Laurel and Hardy, made a proposal:

Cal: Some Christians are trying to water down what they really believe for the wrong reasons. It would be better for them to exit the government schools so they can teach their beliefs without compromise. For those who remain — like you — and want intelligent design taught alongside evolution, why not have a series of televised debates so the public could make up its own mind?

Bob: That’s a start. The scientific community has gone out of its way to depict intelligent design as a religious view. Most people have no idea that serious scientists believe there is a strong case for intelligent design. These scientists have been denied a forum, and a series of public debates would be educational and give the intelligent design researchers a chance to tell their side.

Cal: Surely C-SPAN would carry the debate if the scientists were prominent enough. Anyone opposing the debate would be rightly labeled a censor and anti-academic freedom. That should make the liberals choke. Sound like a good idea to you, Bob (except the part about choking liberals)?

Bob: I’m all for it. I just wonder if the Darwinists will show up.

Cal: Maybe we can offer them some bananas as an incentive. As they eat them, they can contemplate their heritage.

They’re answered in a letter in today’s USA Today:

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel propose a public debate on the scientific merits of intelligent design, and Beckel wonders whether “the Darwinists will show up.”

You bet we will! In fact, we’ll host.

We challenge the top “intelligent-designists” to a debate of the scientific evidence for intelligent design, to be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland the first week of January.

“Doubting Thomas” Cal’s nihilistic suggestion to subject the Bible to scientific analysis is too big a project for this event, but an hour or so sounds like just about how long it should take to dispatch any scientific claims for intelligent design.

The question is, will the designists show? Calls go out every day to present scientific data at scientific conferences. The designists are always busy that decade. Meanwhile, the scientific data supporting evolution continue to pour in on a daily basis and produce spinoff applications that create new medicine, more productive crops, cleaner water and better living for billions of people worldwide.

The Darwinists show up to work every day in thousands of labs around the globe. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Beckel, your guys are the ones who don’t show.

January. Cleveland. The “science” of ID. Put up or shut up.

Patricia Princehouse, Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

Note that the offer is to host a debate on the scientific evidence for intelligent design. Not evolution bashing, not ID of the gaps, but actual affirmative evidence, if any there be, for intelligent design in biology. Wonder if the ID creationists will shake themselves free from the Disco Institute labs in which they’re beavering away at the ID research program and show up.



Man, am I looking forward to this one!

Thank you, Dr. Princehouse, for throwing down the gauntlet!

Oh, and you must invite Cal Thomas! I’d like to see him debate someone like Richard Dawkins…

We don’t have Dawkins lined up, but should some legit ‘top’ IDists show up, there will be legit science-type heavyweights there ready to critically analyze the ID “theory” and “evidence” (if any) that’s offered.

I should remark that “top intelligent-designists” does not include folks like Jerry Bergman or Carl Baugh. :)


I am pleased to see one of the planks of my much-maligned Los Angeles Times editorial, national televised debates, so enthusiastically endorsed here on Panda’s Thumb!

Mr. Balter,

PT is not a monolith. Read the disclaimer on the home page.


PT is not a monolith

Absolutely agreed, RBH. PT is a terrific place for debate and information, and that’s why I continue to hang out.

I can’t imagine any Intelligent Design proponents who show up sticking to the letter of the debate, and they’ll invariably whinge about restrictions to their freedom when the moderator tries to force them to actually stick to the topic. They’re purebred showboaters who for a decade have been making money entirely from their ability to fight science with rhetoric; dismantling the rubbish they’ll come up with is going to require far more time than it took for them to make it up and to the layperson they’re simply going to sound more convincing than the evidence actually suggests. Thomas and Beckel confused matters enough by pretending televised debates take precedence over empirical experimentation, research, usefulness and prediction, and this is only going to reinforce that common belief. It’s going to give a false sense of how science is practised. Princehouse is playing on their non scientific turf and giving them equal time, granting them (and the ‘controversy’) a sense of legitimacy they do not deserve and have not earned.

I think this is an extremely bad idea.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

Pardon me, that should be Dr Princehouse.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

yeah Balter GREAT idea

The debate of the Century

Roll-up roll-up

In the Blue Corner a Lady Scientist with the Truth in the Red Corner Gorgeous George in Tight Spandex a Bible in one hand a Cross in the other frothing at the mouth.

Debating .…wait for it.….UFOs vs Science

Gorgeous George dances around waving his arms and wrestles the Lady Scientist to the ground end of debate.

No one hears a word different to their own fixed view of the world and those watching remain convinced the other side is wrong.

Everyone agrees Gorgeous George looked .….well Gorgeous and the Lady Scientist looked smug because SHE thought SHE won the debate and anyone who looks smug *must* be up to no good.

Surveys afterwords indicate more than 30% of people still believe in UFOs and the other 70% complain the debate did not according to plan.

Meanwhile the airwaves light up with both sides claiming victory.

Has it happened before ?

Just about every *political* debate in recent history would seem to indicate this is the natural result of *political* debates.

MB go have a look at the creo websites and their view of the complete destruction of Behe’s daydream on the witness stand in, not an equal time for Truth vs Magic, but several days of teasing out each thread from the veil of obscuration.And they still ALL thought he won.

And while you are at it you might like to explain why you won’t print all the facts behind the DI

I agree with The Rev. Schmitt that this is a VERY bad idea.

Remember, it takes one IDiot to make a distorted “scientific” claim that sounds good to uneducated people, and it takes a true scientist hours to explain why the claim is false. One does not have the time and the ability to go into the detail, as is often needed, to rebut the lies that IDiots/Creationists make. Go over the and have a look at past debates. I can assure you they (ID) will be using dishonest Gish tactics.


Note that the offer is to host a debate on the scientific evidence for intelligent design. Not evolution bashing, not ID of the gaps, but actual affirmative evidence, if any there be, for intelligent design in biology.

I assume that by “actual affirmative evidence for intelligent design” you mean affirmative evidence for the past existence of mysterious aliens with deity-like powers who intentionally effected changes in the genetic material of every species that ever lived on earth.

If that is made clear to the participants and the debate is refereed diligently to avoid the use of false dichotomy argumentation, then the “debate” would be a real hoot (which is to say, the ID schmucks would have nothing to say).

But remember that there are masters of “street theatre” out there ready to make a monkey out of novices like, uh, that journalist dude who hangs out here, if the opportunity presents itself.

I still recommend the question/answer session and final remarks section of the American Enterprise Institute videos if anyone wants to see the difference between honest honorable men like Ken Miller and sleaze artists like the DI gang.

Well, it’s an invitation to present the evidence for ID. And it’s hosted by a University. So they could follow normal academic procedure and set forth guidelines for topics, request submissions in advance, etc.

Of course, then the ID people will shout that the Biologists ‘fixed’ the match by requiring them to present positive evidence, and these requirements have no objective basis but stem from a naturalistic and materialistic world-view. They can counter that 1)the problems with natural selection and 2)’common sense’ inference are enough to support the existence of some form of ID mechanism, even if the exact nature of that mechanism can never be discovered, but ‘evolutionists’ are too narrow-minded to accept such arguments as proof.

Or something like that.

I think most people fighting against ID are making a grave error, you need to fight fire with fire. If most people will be swayed by rhetoric rather than fact then give them rhetoric, rhetoric backed up by fact. This isn’t a war fought in scientific argument and the wedge strategy pretty much spells that out. This is a fight for popular belief in the cultural arena and it will have to be fought with spin and media savvy. They are betting that if enough of the general populace buy it they will win.

Get some expert debators rather than just expert biologists, ground them in the facts and implications then have them take on the ID proponents in the same way the ID’ers are trying to infiltrate popular conciousness. The way I see it this is the only way to defeat this particular Shibboleth. Sure in the long run you want to encourage everyone to adopt critical thinking, to learn about logical fallacies and to accept facts rather than mythology but until then you have to ensure they don’t give up on logic and reason all together and to do that you must craft counter arguements that will be instantly seen as logical and reasonable to the common man.

Hey, if you want to do it properly, _use_ the medium.

Discovery Institute has, what, 28 papers on its list of peer-reviewed publications that might just have something to do with ID? And there are how many peer-reviewed papers on evolutionary theory? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Think what sort of animated graphic could be constructed to get that across in a flash. Ditto the Steves.

Think how much evidence there is for evolution: paleological, morphological, genetic… the whole TO stuff. Think how it all links together. Think how that might be turned into a compelling visual metaphor. Now think how much evidence there is for ID. They have a single metaphor -[…]e_Chapel.png - which they can’t use anyway.

Or consider how evolutionary thought has grown since Darwin, all the fields it’s touched and informed. Evolutionary theory and practice is an extraordinarily rich and productive part of modern science: you can’t hope to explain that, but you can illustrate it.


Supreme Martian Overlord That is a good point

But why stop there

Get right down into the swamp with them and pull ‘em out hold them up to the cold hard light of day and just keep showing what a bunch of lying disreputable and dishonorable scum they are.

Over to you Balter OR ARE YOU ONE OF THEM ?

As I have asserted before, Intelligent Design isn’t a scientific alternative to evolution; it is a metaphysical alternative to science. Science isnt something you “believe in”, it is something that you do. Most often it is something that you do for a living. The theory of evolution is attacked because it is the most “hated” scientific theory of importance. The “materialism” or “naturalism” involved in the day-to-day operation of any scientist’s job is a critical feature because it is a methodology that produces useful results. There is nothing in the realm of the scientific workplace that mandates athiesm or philosophical materialism on the part of the individual or institute involved. I am not sure how debating Intelligent Design is going to address this fundamental aspect of “what science is” in such a way as to preserve this now-crumbling key aspect of science education. Solving scientific issues by debate is exactly what Philip Johnson wants. This reminds me of the broadcasted debates in the ’50s between Fred Hoyle of the Steady State and George Gamow of the Big Bang. Hoyle “won” the debates not on substance but on personality just like our Presidential debates. He was glib and British while Gamow was tentative and Russian. At least he won until Edwin Hubble came along making it all moot. Now it’s come to our lawyers vs. their lawyers, and I agree don’t send a biologist to debate a lawyer. About anything.

I’m not sure what the objective would be of such a debate. Win over the hearts and minds of the great unwashed? Good luck. At the very best, all you can hope is to show the rare well-educated individual who has been duped into beleiving ID is legitimate science, that it is instead one more iteration of creationism. Maybe that’s enough. On the other hand, you risk further legitimizing ID in the minds of those, like Cal Thomas and President Bush, who ought to know better.

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel propose a public debate on the scientific merits of intelligent design

There has already been one. It was called “Kitzmiller v Dover”.

It’s the only “debate” that counts.

Any other is a waste of time.

Cal: What has been set up is a false premise: that the Bible and science are in conflict and that nothing in Scripture can be tested scientifically. That is just not true. But when God asks Job — “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” — the question should make scientists humble about their certainties concerning the origins of the earth and of human life.

Bob: There you go again mixing science with the Bible. We both want to see intelligent design introduced into the scientific debate. Can’t we leave the Bible out of this while we’re trying to convince the public that this is a debate about science? It’s a means-ends issue, Cal.

Dear Mr. Beckel. Please read about creationism since the 80’s. Then you will understand that the whole point of Intelligent Design is to pretend the bible’s not the point. Also, you will understand that Intelligent Design is legally doomed, because its advocates can’t go five minutes without bringing up religion.

Sincerely, Steve S

RupertG, you have a good point, and it lends itself to a simple slogan. “The sistine chapel is pretty, but it’s not science.”

I agree with Lenny. Who needs a debate? Just go through the Dover trial records to find out the truth on the matter. That and the Kansas hearings should be enough for anyone.

Western culture has benefited in countless ways from science and the scientific method - technology, medicine, agriculture, and so on. Compare our modern societies to others that have not been able to develop a science-orientated and technologically-based culture (or have been forbidden to carry out science) and you will see the obvious truthfulness of this statement.

I feel confident that most people in the US and other technologically advanced countries would also agree that science has benefited Western society in innumerable ways (I don’t mean to ignore third world countries that have also benefited from science and technology, but I’m trying to draw a distinction here). However, I often wonder how concerned the average person on the street is about the current Evolution vs. ID debate, since most people likely have other (more pressing) priorities in their lives: raising children, earning enough money to put food on the table, paying the rent or mortgage, and so on. A public debate of Evolution vs. ID is not going to change this, unless we are able to draw a connection between Joe Average’s personal life and direct benefits he gains from science and research (and ultimately, the scientific method which is the foundation of scientific research). In order to make such a connection, the general public must either have, or be provided with, the necessary tools and knowledge, which I believe, are currently insufficient. Most people probably make a vague connection here and there, but nothing that would motivate them to passionately embrace the true (some would say, magnificent), power of science and the scientific method.

Look .… in time, ID will transform into some other beast and the whole problem will begin somewhere else, again! We need a strategy to deal with this constantly changing beast, not just ID by itself.

Overhauling the educational curriculum from bottom to top (grades 1 - 12) is one solution (a daunting task, to say the least). Right from the first grade, our educators need to focus much more on all the sciences, the scientific method, and critical thinking skills (all the way to grade 12 - especially on fundamental scientific principles). I’m not an educator, so don’t ask me how this would be done, but wouldn’t you agree that this seems to be a reasonable suggestion? The cost may be staggering, but more importantly, is the public ready (or willing) for such an enormous undertaking and investment?

Our world is becoming more complicated and sophisticated in the 21st century. It will be to our advantage, indeed to the world’s advantage, to equip the next generation with the scientific knowledge and thinking skills necessary for future problem solving (hey, things are getting more complicated, not less complicated, e.g. global warming), making new discoveries, developing technological spin-offs, and developing new scientific theories. In this way, students with a more directed science education (compared to today’s h.s. graduates) will automatically reject superstition and myth using improved critical thinking skills while embracing logic and scientific reasoning. How else are we going to finally slay the ever-changing ID beast?

Actually, I would love to see a major biological or other scientific journal invite ID advocates to submit papers making their best case FOR “intelligent design” (or at least arguing how and why ID is real science), and for the same issue invite papers by anti-ID scientists explaining the major flaws of ID, i.e., why they think ID ISN’T science or can’t be scientifically tested. Then allow rebuttals of each paper by the other side and publish the whole thing in a special issue. (If this has already been done, somebody please point me to it.)

The main caveat would be that this issue isn’t about critiquing evolutionary theory, it’s about making the positive case FOR ID and saying how and why ID explains certain things better than evolutionary theory does. If the ID side does not provide actual data, they should at least be able to propose specific experiments or tests that would allow a truly scientific examination of ID, i.e., how ID hypotheses can be tested, what predictions they should make, and how they can be falsified.

Cal Thomas Wrote:

Cal: Maybe we can offer them some bananas as an incentive. As they eat them, they can contemplate their heritage

Aren’t these remarks just as disparaging and offensive (if not more so) than those by Paul Mirecki? Will we be seeing an apology from Cal Thomas, and a withdrawal of his debate proposal? I’m not holding my breath waiting for this. Apparently, ridiculing science supporters is perfectly O.K., but deriding religions supporters of ID is blasphemy!

Aren’t these remarks just as disparaging and offensive (if not more so) than those by Paul Mirecki? Will we be seeing an apology from Cal Thomas…

Nah, let’s get a couple of lab-coated goons to ambush him and beat him severely with textbooks and lab equipment.

I’m curious to know how the requirement to present the evidence for ID will be enforced. I have never seen any of the big guns of ID explain such a thing – as you know, it’s all about whining about gaps in our knowledge – so they aren’t equipped to handle it.

If Mike Behe, for example, agrees to it, shows up, starts yammering about irreducible complexity, no evidence published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, whining about Doolittle, and showing Gary Larson cartoons, will you have somebody with a hook drag him off the stage?

If Dembski were to go on and on about probability calculations showing that evolution is impossible, would there be buzzers? Would you turn off his microphone?

If Paul Nelson were to wave his arms about vitalism and Cambrian complexity, do you have a squad of ninjas who will leap unto the stage and practice a little kinbaku/shibari on the guy before hauling him away?

I think the idea of pinning these guys to the wall and demanding that they show the evidence in support of their hypothesis is a good one in principle, I just don’t know how you’ll carry it out in practice. I suspect that any that show up would just give the same ol’ predictable song-and-dance, our side will let them do it and declare afterwards that they failed to meet the challenge, while the IDists will simply declare victory and preen over the fact that they got invited to a university to make their case.

You need a strategy to enforce topicality if you’re going to do this. I don’t know how you’ll do it, since that kind of thing is well outside the usual bounds of academic discourse.

Behe spent three days on the stand in Dover (well, Harrisburg) and when he finished, both the DI and the PT regulars were absolutely delighted that the other side had been clearly and publicly humiliated. And the core of that humiliation lay in the demonstration of lack of science/actual hard science behind ID. Number of minds changed: zero, to my knowledge.

If this Case Western debate takes place, the “winner” will depend on who reports (that is, gets to spin) how it went. In other words, the winner depends on which commentator can command the larger audience. Any actual content in the debate is pretty irrelevant, except where sound bites can be extracted from context.

It is one thing for your “average” American to hear a brief description of ID and a few superficial arguments in its support and then, liking what he hears, decide to add it to his mental model of how everything works. ID does not contradict anything that he knows about the world (I’m talking about car salesmen here, not scholars) so he doesn’t see the need to bother himself with a critical evaluation of the premises and consequences; after all, he has more pressing matters to attend to.

A public debate, however, is another matter. If a public and critical examination of the premises and consequences takes place the public may start to realize that it doesn’t really fit in all that well with their theory of how everything works. After all, they like being able to go to the doctor and get a flu shot: that’s science that benefits them even if they haven’t bothered themselves with the details.

And perhaps the scientific community (vs IDers) should employ some inflammatory rhetoric and “gotchas”. I would never recommend that in a scientific debate, but this is not strictly a scientific debate. Keep in mind that your average American does not want to look like a fool nor look like he is aligned with fools.

I’ve just been listening to Dembski on the audiomartini interview. Several times, the host tries to pin Dembski to giving predictions from or evidence for ID. Every time, Dembski uses it as an annoying opportunity to go on and on about the usual arguments the creationists make against evolution. He says that he predicts barriers or limits to evolution. He talks about flagella and blood clotting systems being unable to evolve. Not once did he provide a bit of evidence, and he seemed completely unaware of his failure.

That’s what you can expect from these clowns if you give them a forum.

So the Darwinists don’t have the cajones to accept the Thomas/Beckel challenge which was for Darwinists and ID’ ers to go head to head, making and defending their respective cases before the public. Instead, you all want to change it to putting ID on the stand alone. Won’t defend Darwinism before a large public audience, eh? Interesting.


You are sadly misinformed. Didn’t you read the article at the top? Scientists (only IDists/Creationists call them Darwinists) *are* willing to debate IDists.

Evolution has been on trial every day of the year for 150 years. The evidence is overwhelming, the Science supports it, it is used in productive research in other fields, etc.

Evolution *has* proved itself.

Now it’s time for ID to try to live up to its own propaganda and show why ID should be seriously considered.

On an aside why do you want a debate so badly? Winning a debate no more turns ID into science than winning a debate over who’s more powerful Superman or the Green Lantern turns these fictional characters into real people.

Science does not demand that ID win debates, it just wants ID to show some evidence, come up with a good definition of itself, some experiments, and how other researches can “observe ID” objectively. When that’s done (they’ve failed to do this over the last 17 years!), then we can discuss the “science” of ID. Until then, it’s just a bunch of opinions and hand waving.

noesoti: I’d love to debate you before a “large public audience.” Say the word, and I’ll open a thread on the ABC forum.

Watching insufferable smugness just… disappear can be so rewarding.

BTW, your tone makes your handle somewhat questionable, and further BTW, to a first approximation everyone who comes here spouting their “lack of a side” on the issue turns out to be an embarrassingly ignorant creationist, and proud of it.

noesoti wrote

So the Darwinists don’t have the cajones to accept the Thomas/Beckel challenge which was for Darwinists and ID’ ers to go head to head, making and defending their respective cases before the public. Instead, you all want to change it to putting ID on the stand alone. Won’t defend Darwinism before a large public audience, eh? Interesting.

Pure blather. This is an opportunity for IDists to have a major university forum in which to present their actual evidence. IDists can actually try to make their empirical (you know, as in data) case in front of genuine scientists who know evolutionary theory and who know the ID “literature”, and who themselves have substantial experience defending their own ideas in scientific venues ranging from graduate colloquia to professional conferences to the peer reviewed professional literature. In other words, IDists are invited to provide their best evidential case in the same general kind of venue that genuine scientists inhabit, where other scientists are sitting just waiting for the opportunity to take our ideas apart and critically examine them. We’ve all faced it, from final Ph.D. orals to journal submissions.

IDists are big proponents of “teach the controversy” in high schools. Here’s a chance for them to put their ID-derived data where their mouths are.


Posted by not on either side of this issue on December 8, 2005 03:31 PM

So the Darwinists

Yawn. Why are do so many ID supporters lie about their stance and pretend to be neutral? And do such a bad job of pretending?

Maybe I’m to embroiled in this thing, and can’t see a middle way, but what would it even mean to be “neutral” on the subject, beyond being just irremediably ignorant?

I dont think its possible to be neutral having examined as much of the evidence as is freely available to the public, since (of course) i reckon that unless you were very close minded, you would agree with Evolution. That said, I think there is, as has been pointed out before, a large number of people to whom evolutionary biology is one of those things that goes on in labs and since they are selling cars/ looking after the kids/ bossing an office about, they dont have time or inclination to read up on it. So something else that comes along to challenge Evolution is regarded neutrally, perhaps like you might regard a political argument in an obscure African country.

These people can be won over, but they dont like to be talked down to. The trick is (I think) to engage their interest and act in a non threatening manner. Which is what quite a few people here do, and some dont.

I said above that I don’t think a meaningful debate is possible (comment #61952), but what difference does a public debate make anyway? It won’t make ID science (as jim said in comment #62117). Anyway, no IDiot would ever consider showing up, knowing that the debate would have strictly enforced moderation. If they can’t spew their empty rhetoric, they have nothing to say, and they know it.

Why ID is scientific

Why is it that, in this big long argument about why ID is scientific, I never saw the scientific method utitlized, even once?

If Id is scientific, then there must, prima facie, be a scientific theory of ID that can be tested using the scientific method.

Would you mind telling me what that is, please?


So the Darwinists don’t have the cajones to accept the Thomas/Beckel challenge which was for Darwinists and ID’ ers to go head to head, making and defending their respective cases before the public. Instead, you all want to change it to putting ID on the stand alone. Won’t defend Darwinism before a large public audience, eh? Interesting.

Um, in case you don’t read the newspapers or something, there already HAS been such a “public debate”. It’s audience was, uh, pretty large. Indeed, it was, literally, worldwide — reporters from as far away as Japan, China, France, the UK and India covered it. Not only did both sides go head-to-head, to make and defend their respective cases before the public, using whatever witnesses they wanted to call and whatever evidence they wanted to introduce, but ALL of this was even done UNDER OATH, so anyone lying (as several witnesses for one side apparently did) risked later being charged with perjury. The Discovery Institue, leading light of ID, brought two of its top guns to make their case. They spoke over a period of several days, describing all of the scientific evidence that they say supports a scientific theory of ID and falsifies evolution.

That massive month-long public debate was called “Kitzmiller v Dover”.

For some odd reason, IDers don’t seem very happy with that “debate”. Maybe it has something to do with the simple fact that over the past 50 years there have been almost a dozen major cases involving evolution and ID/creationists ———- and ID/creationists lost every single one of them.

Apparently, ID/creationism hasn’t been able to convince one judge anywhere in the United States of America that it is legitimate science. Not a one. I wonder why that would be. … . .

So I’m a little curious now —- in this NEW “big public debate” that you and other IDers now seem so eager for, what NEW argument or evidence for ID or against evolution would you plan on presenting that, uh, isn’t ALREADY FOUND in the transcript of “Kitzmiller v Dover”? What do you have to argue now that hasn’t already been argued then?

Or is this just an ID version of the age-old cry of the six-year-old playground loser – “DO OVER !!!!!!!!”

This is an opportunity for IDists to have a major university forum in which to present their actual evidence.

Dude, they’ve ALREADY HAD their chance to present whatever actual evdience they wanted to present. In COURT, UNDER OATH, no less. Behe testified for hours about all his arguments and data. So did Minnich. What argument or data can ID possibly present at any university debate that wasn’t ALREADY PRESENTED at Dover? What good does it do for them to simply repeat the SAME STUFF over and over and over again?

The Dover judge heard ID present the best that it HAD to present. And he will rule on whether or not it is science or religion.

And that’s the only opinion that counts. IDers can repeat their arguments to every university or church audience in the country. It won’t change diddley-doo. (shrug)

Above, there’s a comment from “not on either side of this issue”. Useful data: From the same IP address, there was “Kiwi” being a fan of Guillermo Gonzales.

John Marley Wrote:

I said above that I don’t think a meaningful debate is possible (comment #61952), but what difference does a public debate make anyway?

I think this is a political tactic. The reason for declaring a debate on evidence for ID is to try and force the issue. There are two possibilities:

1. an IDist accepts and presents their evidence. In this case, we get to advance the debate by seeing what their evidence is (well, hopefully: can we take the “they won’t present any” comments as read, and move on please). 2. Nobody accepts. If this happens, the web will collapse due to the large dollops of smugness eminating from PT.

I think it’s a very good strategy: the IDists say they’re doing science, so call them on it. Patricia Princehouse and her colleagues are probably bright enough to have foreseen the possible tactics to shift the debate (they’re biologists, so they must be bright), and have some strategy in place to counter.


Similarly, I offered to set up a debate between Sal Cordova and someone who will argue that the Discovery Institute are a bunch of liars with a religious agenda and Sal refused. I even offered to pay Sal’s plane ticket.

I know for a fact a similar offer was made to Casey Luskin and he also refused.

What’s the matter with these guys? Didn’t they get Bruce Chapman’s hysterical memo?

I jest. We know what the matter is and so do they. They are fakes.

What magician enjoys having his schtick exposed in public?

Bob O’H

You may not have had the ‘pleasure’ of debating a brick wall but I suggest you find the nearest one and see if you can change it’s opinion. Now if you keep it up for 45 years and still don’t change it’s opinion then you have a rough idea what the process and the end result is debating creationism. The ID movement have all the intelligence of a brick wall. Their view of science looks like a brick wall to them. If a brick wall could talk it would make as much sense as the ID crowd. Each brick only knows about other bricks, the glue that holds them together is stronger than mortar, it is a mass psychosis. A fundamentalist idea. And we all know how powerful those are don’t we, think Middle East, some people will kill for an idea. Some bricks believe they are descended from Adam less than 10,000 years ago, some bricks think the earth is flat, some think that heaven is a dream postponed, some think that bricks are not descended from apes.

How’s this

Get a Camera crew to go into the DI labs that show their biological experiments say Behe’s and get him to show what predictions his theory makes and the evidence to support those predictions. Less than 30 seconds of actual time to show no evidence Oh and ask them if god did it and ask them if ID is ready for the classroom.

Then go to a cross section of labs with real scientists with vignettes of the predictive power of evolution ask them if god did it and ask them if ID is ready for the classroom.

Go into 30 different churches and ask them if science should be taught in church and go into 30 different science classroom and ask if religion should be taught in science class.

Suggested Debate format 1. Did god do it?Yes or No end subject. any answer will do strangely. 2. Is Science a Religion Yes or No 3 Is Religion a Science Yes or No. Debate the predictive power evolution vs the predictive power of Creationism

You say ID is not creationism and therefor a religion ? …wait till the Dover result if you can’t say it is.

k.e. Wrote:

You may not have had the ‘pleasure’ of debating a brick wall but I suggest you find the nearest one and see if you can change it’s opinion.

You’ve totally missed my point: the actual debate is of little significance, unless some evidence for ID is proposed. If none is, then we all get in a tizzy about it here, and it’s then forgotten by most people in a few weeks: the “there is no evidence for ID” line will continue to be trotted out anyway.

If you’re going to change large-scale perceptions of science and evolution, you need to be thinking at the large scale, and be thinking politically (i.e. in terms of power). This is what the Wedge Strategy does, and it’s something that scientists will have to do as well (we’re learning, but slowly). A single debate won’t do that, but if the ID side don’t show, then we can repeatedly point it out. It’s a simple message “We asked the ID side to give their evidence, and they refused”, and it’s more effective than “ID doesn’t have any evidence”, for which it’s difficuolt to provide positive evidence (as a rebuttal the DI will list some publications, and the response is to go explain that they’re not about ID, and by the time you’ve finished, nobody is listening).


Bob ok I have had too many completely useless conversations with IDiots that the only way forward is to play their stupid game. Most really need professional help, some are the most calculating liars you will ever run into in your life.

Large scale perception’s you are right are the key. One wonders why the Wedge document was not headline news and the subject of a feeding frenzy by the Fourth Estate.

Did you know the Rev. Moon, one of the most vile promoters of mass brainwashing on par with past greats like Stalin and Hitler owns the Washington Times and is neatly in bed with the prez’s Brother.[…]9/32347/6058

One would almost think that there is some form of censorship going on.

This thread is too long for me to read through in the little time I have, so forgive me if it was mentioned already, but why must any debate be one-on-one? Why can’t there be teams of scientists who have prepared themselves against the multiple lines of attack that IDiots would use? Since any given scientist is probably not going to have the experience in the debate format that any given IDiot would have, wouldn’t extra scientists act as force multipliers. And wouldn’t a team of representatives from every discipline, perhaps even subdisciplines, present a broader public face to the audience establishing, especially, the principle that all of science is in favor of ‘science only’ in the science classroom and not just those evil, atheist, evolutionists.

Additionally, is there an equivalent to the “galloping gish” on the science side? Who says that we have to throw the equivalent of 2 or 3 battleship shells, full of precise explanation, history, and complete references? Since the debate format doesn’t actually show that method off well, wouldn’t it be better to lob a million tennis balls (to mix metaphors) simultaneously?

Sincerely, Paul

Oh, and to the idea of televised debates, if they lasted for more than a single night(a la a ‘miniseries’) then scientists could carry on a galloping format for weeks on end, when the IDiots would last maybe an hour. Two at the most. Since their ‘argument’ consists of nothing but repetitive criticisms of evolution and no actual evidence for ID their side of a debate would start to sound very boring in very short order.


Paul Flocken asked

This thread is too long for me to read through in the little time I have, so forgive me if it was mentioned already, but why must any debate be one-on-one?

It won’t be. We don’t know how many (if any) IDists will take the plunge, but there’s a team of scientists with varied backgrounds and considerable experience with ID arguments ready to appear.

In that vein, I note that no IDist has appeared in this thread or AFAIK in any other communication medium proclaiming his (“his” used advisedly) readiness to present the affirmative case for intelligent design.


“I don’t have to take the bait… (mumble)… pathetic level of detail… (grumble)” –WmAD

Evolution is a substantial part of biology. It’s ridiculous to believe a person with no science background can understand enough from a televised debate to evaluate its merits. So “why not have a series of televised debates so the public could make up its own mind?” is based on an error.

If a layperson asked me how to learn enough about evolution to decide one way or the other, I’d give them a list of books. Among them,

What Evolution Is[…]amp;n=283155

The Selfish Gene[…]amp;n=283155

A basic biology text[…]amp;n=283155

Abusing Science[…]amp;n=283155

Evolution and the Myth of Creationism[…]amp;n=283155

and then I would tell them when some dumbass started talking creationism/intelligent design, just look up, and they’d almost certainly find the answer.

steve s I think u might b forgetting the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

Otherwise known


Evoluttionis causal;rekigion is teleological .The 2contradict each other.Teleology assumes the end result was foreoredaines,thus ‘ : “pputting the futureinto the past,the effect before the causr,teleology negates time”.Theists waant to use Omphalos to reconcile teleology with evolution!Even atheists state Omphaalos might be okay! I don’t!Don’t say Omphalos is metaphysical, whereas causatyis otherwise-the conRespond.tradiction is still there.[causality]respond

Dr.Dawkinshas good repllies in religion and science [the Tempelton newsletter].Theistic evolutionists want to say that evolution has no purpose-right-, but [GrouchoMarx]ourlyingyes sh;ould see purpose!Teleology is nonsense.Causality,not a godholds sway!

“it is a metaphysical alternative to science.”

Define metaphysical.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on December 7, 2005 12:12 AM.

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