Should I Debate a Creationist?

So why don’t you follow your own advice?

Great question. Habit. Stubbornness. Stupidity. Some ridiculous hope that reason might prevail. The only fortunate thing is ultimately no one outside of a handful of online enthusiasts really cares about these sorts of “debates” anyway.

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It doesn’t matter what you call it. The question you asked was whether you should debate a creationist, and the advice you are getting (which is very good) is about that question. A dialogue simply isn’t the same thing.

Then didn’t you just answer your own question?

Of course that’s your goal. That’s not an answer to your question.

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If you enter into this my advice is this (I doubt you care what my advice is but like I said I have a history of engaging in futility).

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you understand the science and can make a well supported scientific argument that this will matter with these people. You have to remember they first and foremost care about justifying their particular religious beliefs and, no matter how much they may say otherwise, the science doesn’t really matter.

I mean look at someone like Jeanson, or anyone else at AiG. He has signed an oath as a condition of employment that explicitly says no conceivable data can sway him from his views. That’s not someone prepared to engage in a debate where the outcome is adjudicated by the evidence. They simply do not possess what Lee McIntyre would call a “scientific attitude”.

The backfire effect is a very real thing with ideologues and science deniers and rock solid empirically sound arguments that to you might seem a slam dunk to them are just more reason to run the other direction.

If it’s the YEC YouTube channel I think it is (SFT) then I wouldn’t bother. They have a tiny audience, and the hosts are the opposite of open minded. They’re bottom-of-the-barrel creationists, pushing the lamest arguments with uncommon arrogance.

If you want to debate some creationists, there are plenty of other, better, channels and moderators who’d be happy to host it. PM me if you want some suggestions that are in the same corner of YouTube, so would reach the exact same audience.

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He had one debate with a user named “Baldy Catz” which introduced me to pertinent topics in evolution.
A humorous summary of the debate is here: https://youtu.be/YdXsXpYZdP4
The topic of ERVs was covered too starting here: https://youtu.be/YdXsXpYZdP4?t=447

Kent needs to retire from debates IMHO.

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A definite NO on Hovind. Not sure about Anderson.

You might consider debates with some YouTube atheists, if you can. They have a bigger audience, and debating them might catch more attention from a wider YEC audience.

Perhaps. I’ve turned down two recent requests for atheist debates. I wasn’t so sure about the particular ones that requested to do it.

If you got a chance to explain how GAE offers a pathway towards accepting science, that might be well received.

Then again, I don’t follow any of those YouTube debate channels, so I my advice is of questionable value here. :wink:

If you are looking to have a discussion, then Kent Hovind would be a poor choice. He has wrote responses, and if the discussion goes outside of those very rigid boundaries he isn’t able to hold up his side of the conversation.

For Young Earth Creationism, it comes down to defending their interpretation of the Bible, not an interpretation of the scientific facts. Their most basic argument is that if evolution and old ages are true then the Bible is false. Those who disagree with their interpretation of scripture are given the “liberal” label, and all of the loaded political, social, and tribal baggage that comes with it. Just be prepared for that.

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There’s the actual debate with these people. If you want to be convincing the science isn’t the first step it’s convincing them to adopt your view of scripture over theirs. That’s the real debate to be had with them, not the science.

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That’s one way, but it usually doesn’t work and it isn’t my approach.

Rather I explain how being more devoted to their own way of reading scripture would make them more open to evolution. That works much better.

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Except the way Hovind or Ham or Jeanson reads scripture leads to conclusions entirely at odds with the science. These people are not open to a Bible that says there were other reproductively compatible beings out there for Adam and Eve and their F1s to successfully breed with nor are they reading the Bible in a way that says Noah’s flood was local or even regional. Until you can convince them to read the Bible more along the lines of how you read it Josh all the science in the world is not going to matter to them.

So you say :slight_smile: . Let’s see how it plays out.

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I admire your optimism.

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I think you will still run into a wall when it comes to the age of the Earth and geologic history. However, like @Herman_Mays, I do admire your optimism.

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Am I optimistic? Depends on which YECs we are discussing. Don’t let the intransigency of the public leaders fool you. There is much more openness under the radar in the broader community, usually outside of forums and facebook groups.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Jackson Wheat: Two Debates on Common Descent

@swamidass

I think you could do well if you have a disciplined response prepared… it can’t be too loosey-goosey.

For example:

You are going to talk about God’s use of evaporation for rain, and evolution for creating kinds.

Then the YEC is immediately going to move to a seductive controversy on how it is impossible for information to be encoded in a Godless universe.

You CANNOT take the bait!

You have to firmly state that just because you are a scientist does NOT mean you have to defend an atheist position on the natural world.

He or she will tease and taunt you further. But in this case, you are not there to debate the logic of science. You are on holy ground now, sir!
And you must defend your religious sensibilities… and how anything is possible with God in the equation - - and with warehouses full of evidence of God speaking to humanity through nature!