Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Scientists debating Creationists - pro's and cons

From here.
First, to scientists it is “rigid application of the scientific method that counts, not oratory skills.” To a largely uninformed audience, it is “the emotional rapport, public speaking skills, likability and believed authority of the debaters” that counts, not the scientific evidence they have to offer.

Second, the creationists have nothing to lose. “If a scientist debates, it’s ‘proof’ to many listeners that a scientific controversy actually exists.”

Third, “creationists can churn out more scientific misinformation in 30 minutes, than I could possibly refute in a week.” They know that their audience “does not have the necessary experience in evolutionary biology, historical geology, anthropology and paleontology to be able to separate scientifically solid evidence from halftruths, poor logic, outdated references, misleading quotations, selective data and outright falsehoods.”

Fourth, debates allow equal time. The scientific method is not about equal time but about all the evidence, which is overwhelmingly on the side of evolution. “To require science teachers to ‘teach the controversy,’ to give equal time to evolution and ID [intelligent design] is, in essence, to require teachers to lie to their students.”

Fifth, the debates are publicity stunts that increase the membership of campus clubs that spread falsehoods regarding evolution, “thus creating serious obstacles to the ongoing science education of students.

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