Behe, Axe, and Swamidass: Invitation to "Debate" Received!

Last night, I was contacted by an apologetics groups, home turf for ID.

They wanted to know if I would be willing to debate Behe or Axe. It is an interesting idea. I told them I’d think about it and to let me know what Axe and Behe want to do. I suppose, if they are willing, I might be up for it. Axe and Behe, they tell me, received their invite last night too.

What do you all think? Should I accept an invitation like this? Should Behe and Axe? Will they agree? Normally I avoid debates, but that might the context that ID prefers.


I can’t answer until I know which apologetics group.

Why does it matter? What criteria would you use?

because not all apologetic groups are created equal. I’ve had many friends who have debated and the groups gave them every possible disadvantage. One even changed the debate question an hour before. But I know of some good ones too who really want both sides equally and fairly presented. So for me I’m looking at track records and how they have responded to opposing viewpoints in the past


Ah I see what you are saying. Let us imagine for a moment that this is an apologetic group that would strive to be fair to both sides. I think that is the case, but I’ll do my homework on it.


Why not have a moderated discussion rather than a debate? It would be really great to have someone sit and flesh out the areas of agreement. In a debate format it is more difficult to seek agreement because it can come off as weakness. Just a thought.


I did put “debate” in quotes, because I"m not sure what is best. Who knows? Maybe Behe will insist on a debate format. At this point, he has a lot to lose, so I might defer to him somewhat.

I wonder what the @discovery_institute would prefer?

I did find the written back and forth between Behe and Moran to be much more instructive than many oral debates, for what it’s worth.


For technical details, the written format is best. We’ll see if Behe is ready to engage on the substance:

  1. An unsigned post from DI answers Arthur Hunt and me on several long-standing objections to the Edge of Evolution , Behe’s prior book that his current book relies upon. To Behe’s credit, this post appears to concede several major points. Our surprise is muted because Behe himself was not credited for this article. To move forward, we request that Behe publicly state he agrees with this article in entirety, or write an article of his own. There has been a reoccurring pattern of well-meaning DI supporters misrepresenting Behe’s work. We want to avoid a misfire by hearing directly from Behe on this point.

A Fair Hearing for Behe

That will take us right back to where the Moran/Behe exchange left off. The concessions in that last article from ENV are large, directly contradicting Behe in the past when he dismisses the Summer’s et al paper. I’m curious to see if he stands by that post, or if he disavows it. Very interesting bind they are putting themselves in here. Red pill or blue pill? I wonder which path Behe will choose. (What do you think @Art?)

That, of course, is not what an oral debate would hash out. We’d do other things.


What could possibly be a better opportunity for you!?!!?

We should prepare ourselves for the declaration of VICTORY by the I.D. side… but who else but YOU, Joshua, can better parse out the questions and the distinctions on all the nuanced discussion points you have been crafting for more than a year?!?!?

Even if you, purportedly, LOSE the debate, it could shape the course of discussions for decades!!!


Yup, which makes it difficult for them to manage this. I predict they will say “no.” They both have too much to lose. They both work by avoiding and discrediting legitimate critique. They are most likely to keep their distance because of this.

Though, maybe I have them wrong. If they really have discovered what they claim, perhaps I really missed something big. They could and show me wrong. That would great in its own way too.

I suppose we will find out their confidence level by their response.


Behe responds! Sadly, no confidence. They tell me he says that he is happy to discuss his book with them, but not with me. Seems like I was right on this:

Let’s see if Axe is more or less certain of his case.


Has Behe ever done a live debate/moderated discussion? Or Axe?

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@art knows the answer to this question, and so does @sfmatheson! :slight_smile:

Axe responds! Sadly, no confidence. I am not surprised. He is unwilling to talk to me. Last time I tried, he said he was only willing to talk to atheists, like @art, because they were more fair to him. He doesn’t want to talk to @art though. Strange. Let’s see how things develop from here.


Very disappointing. Shame


This is why I have so much respect for @Agauger . She puts herself out there knowing pretty much everyone is going to be against her and flood her with questions and say mean things. She’s talking with you. Seems like she’s always game. Axe and Behe are kinda acting like primadonnas.


That was Meyer, not Behe.

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Here is Doug Axe’s challenge to a debate an actor who plays a scientist on TV, Mr. Bill Nye: Doug Axe Challenges Bill Nye — Come Visit Us in Seattle, Why Don’t You? | Evolution News. Entertaining, nonetheless, but it shows that Axes wants to debate people.

Yes, that’s right. So here is a Behe debate. He certainly debates people. There are several online.

Axe doesn’t want to debate you because with you he can’t couch his arguments in the frame of “atheistic evolutionary nihilism and meaninglessness” vs “intelligent design and a life of meaning and morality”.