The Instigator
oheesak
Pro (for)
Tied
5 Points
The Contender
airmax1227
Con (against)
Tied
5 Points

Creationism and Evolution

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,248 times Debate No: 19965
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

oheesak

Pro

Full Resolution: Debates Between Creationism and Evolution Cannot Be Won and Therefore are not Necessary

Rules:
There will be 3 rounds.
1) Acceptance
2) Rebuttals
3) Cross Exam./Closing Argument

The question of whether or not scientists should debate creationists is far from settled among those actively opposing creationist efforts. Though many support debates, many oppose them.
In this debate, my opponent and I will decide whether or not these debates are necessary.
airmax1227

Con

Accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
oheesak

Pro

I thank my opponenet airmax1227 for accepting my debate and hope for a sophisticated debate.

Two leaders in the effort to make an effective response to creationism have recently spoken out against the practice of debating. One is Dr. Maxine Singer, a leading biochemist at the National Cancer Institute. The other is Professor Steven Schafersman of the Department of Geology at Rice University and liaison for the Texas Committee of Correspondence on Evolution. They have individually raised some provocative points, which, when combined, make an impressive case against debating. The reasons are:

  1. A debate implies a win-or-lose situation, which is not scientific.
  2. A debate misleads people into thinking that creation and evolution are somehow equal in standing, that the scientific community is equally divided on the issue, and that the whole matter is far from being resolved scientifically.
  3. Creationists wish to debate scientists, particularly well-known ones, in order to legitimize themselves and creationism in the eyes of the public. Thus the mere occurrence of such an event, regardless of the outcome, tends to make creationism seem more respectable.
  4. When creationists claim that a given debate is about science and not religion, they imply that creationism is science and not religion. For a scientist to debate them on those terms is to concede a major part of the creationist case before the debate has even begun.
  5. A debate suggests that the matter can easily be decided by the public within a couple of hours.
  6. Debating is a creationist idea, and scientists play by the creationists' standards and on their terms when they cooperate with this activity, thereby allowing themselves to be manipulated toward creationist ends. The very fact that creationists, campus fundamentalist groups, and, recently, Jerry Falwell have collectively committed millions of dollars to promoting such debates should sound a warning that they understand that they will benefit regardless of the debate's outcome.
  7. Public debates are actually political moves by creationists, not sincere efforts to argue or teach science. For, if creationists were really trying to be scientific, they would be stating their case before the scientific community instead of adopting a method common to charlatans, namely that of going to the public with claims of conspiracy and discrimination by the scientific community.
  8. Debates are often publicity stunts for the benefit of the sponsoring fundamentalist campus groups or for the purpose of spreading creationist ideas. Debates, therefore, have been major vehicles for the growth of the creationist movement.
  9. Debates are spectacles—not reasoned and fair examinations of both sides of the public controversy.
  10. Debates accomplish little for science, since the issue is largely a matter of faith for many, no matter how much science is discussed.
  11. Creationists often distort evidence in their debates and present persuasive but actually illogical and fallacious arguments. However, they do so in a manner that makes creationism appear plausible to a public poorly trained in the sciences. Yet, if the scientist points this out, the creationist charges him or her with insulting the audience and being patronizing. If creationists use distortions or falsehoods in their arguments, it is difficult to call them down for it without seeming discourteous or appearing to be engaging in ad hominem attacks on them. Yet, if one does not risk this, then such distortions or falsehoods will appear to be legitimate scientific arguments.
  12. Doing well in a debate often requires that one "beat creationists at their own game," which often means compromising either science or one's integrity.
  13. Preparation for such debates is time consuming and distracts greatly from more important scientific work.

As one can see, there are significant arguments that show that spending time debating between creationism and evolution is unnecessary. [1]

Sources:
[1] http://ncse.com...;

airmax1227

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate.

As Con, it is my position that it is worth debating these concepts. In almost all cases, it makes no difference what is being debated for the debate to have value. In instances where the topics may seem ridiculous, there still exists a scenario for critical thinking and inherent potential for advancing the pursuit of truth.

Not all debates are equal, there are some moderated and organized poorly, but it's worth holding all debates nonetheless, regardless of whether or not they are scientific. As my opponents correctly asserts, there are negative agendas that can be associated with these debates, however that still doesn't mean they shouldn't happen.

There are always going to be people who will attempt to reinforce their view with everything they hear, and it clearly happens on both sides of every argument. The best way for us all to fight this natural inclination is to constantly hear as many views as possible, and debating them is one of the best ways to do that.

This is true whether is it a publicly held debate or a debate someone is having with them self. Even if they are simply exploring an issue they have already come to a conclusion about, critical thinking of our own beliefs and ideology allows us to change or reinforce them.

Regardless of the subject, I can find no time when questioning anything can be considered a negative thing. As for this specific case, regarding creationism versus evolution, I find no definitive contradiction between the two, and therefore believe that debating them is even more important.

I will now respond to each of my opponent's arguments individually:

1. A debate does not need to be scientific to be beneficial.

2. Debates do not need to be on equal footing (regarding what is being debated), though ideally the debaters should be of similar qualification and/or ability if it is in a public forum.

3. The behavior of some does not mean we shouldn't continue debating.

4. The claim of some creationists does not mean we should never debate about creationism and evolution. The credibility of those who act unethically will be apparent to those who want to follow a debate objectively.

5. A debate suggests that two people will take an opposing view for an allotted time with no guarantee of any resolution at all.

6. All debates on a topic cannot stop simply because of possible bad intentions by some. These debates have no effect on science, and can often be dismissed as ‘pseudo-philosophical theater'. Ideologues will reinforce their view regardless. Therefore simply having the debate can be worthwhile for those who do want to learn about two different points of view.

7. Debates on philosophy often feature very little science and can still be productive.

8. Agenda driven debates that are unfair should be discouraged, but this does not include all debates on the subject.

9. Some are, some aren't. Nothing is gained by completely avoiding a popular subject of contention. Debates with more credibility will attract those who wish to look at the issue objectively.

10. A debate does not have to be scientific to have value. It simply needs to present various ideas. The listener should always be thinking critically, especially when the debate's organization stacks against either point of view.

11. We should encourage people to follow debates objectively (and recognize propaganda), we shouldn't end them simply because some are unable to.

12. Looking past the charismatic nature of the debaters is the responsibility of anyone who is listening. Those who want to gain something from any debate will think critically about each point. Those who want to reinforce their point of view will not. Should we cancel all debates because of the latter group?

13. The time spent on such things is up to the discretion of the individual. If their goal is to argue from either point of view in a public forum, it would seem to be an efficient way to be sure they understood their position, and thus is not wasted time.

To summarize my arguments:

1) All debates should continue unopposed as nearly all hold some value.

2) Creationism and evolution are not necessarily contradictory concepts and therefore require an infinite number of debates to potentially reconcile these major ideas.

3) Those who are interested in exploring these concepts objectively will listen critically, and avoid certain debates outright.

4) We do not need to stop debating this topic simply because there are those who are misguided or intend to misinform.

I would like to thank my opponent and look forward to his response.
Debate Round No. 2
oheesak

Pro

I thank my opponent for a quick reply.

"In almost all cases, it makes no difference what is being debated for the debate to have value."
I would like ask if my opponent would give me the source of that. As he clearly stated, I showed that "there are negative agendas that can be associated with these debates." In turn, I would like some reasons as to why my opponent believes his claim to be justifiable.

"Regardless of the subject, I can find no time when questioning anything can be considered a negative thing. As for this specific case, regarding creationism versus evolution, I find no definitive contradiction between the two, and therefore believe that debating them is even more important."

"A debate does not need to be scientific to be beneficial."
That was not my point. My point was that creationism is not scientific yet evolution is. Therefore, we're not debating between two non scientific ideas. They are different. My opponent's main arguement seems to be that debating reinforces our beliefs. You cannot get yourself a ink jar in one hand and dice in the other hand and ask yourself, "which one is correct?" There are an infinite amount of interpretations and analyzing all of them would not just be time-wasting, it would be illogical; furthermore, I do not see how this debate can be seen as beneficial especially if lead by lead scientists.

I believe there are actually many contradictions. [1]

Similarly, my opponent agrees with my 13th point that preparation is time consuming (although he believes it is not a waste). Therefore, he agrees that preparation "distracts greatly from more important scientific work."

"To summarize my arguments:

1) All debates should continue unopposed as nearly all hold some value.

2) Creationism and evolution are not necessarily contradictory concepts and therefore require an infinite number of debates to potentially reconcile these major ideas.

3) Those who are interested in exploring these concepts objectively will listen critically, and avoid certain debates outright.

4) We do not need to stop debating this topic simply because there are those who are misguided or intend to misinform."


1) My opponent makes an empty claim.

2) Creationism and Evolution are not contradictory. My point was that these two are uncomparable and spending any time arguing over it and building hatred towards the other side seems pointless.

3) I did not understand my opponent's claim.

4) So my opponent would be supporting the spread of lies and false education.

I thank my opponent for participating in this debate with me.

Sources:
[1] http://atheism.about.com...;
airmax1227

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, as it has been an interesting topic in which to exchange opinions.

My opponent incorrectly asserts that my main argument is that debating ‘reinforces' beliefs. This is not my argument at all. Simply that debating ‘challenges' our beliefs. Some will reinforce their views, while some could potentially change their view. Naturally the result of a debate is subjective.

That the potential for challenging any held belief is possible by debating is enough reason to hold them, in my opinion. My opponent would like a source for this, and I am unable to provide one. It is simply my opinion. I'd like to point out neither of the links my opponent sourced worked for me.

This doesn't seem to be that important however, as this debate is not scientific. It is simply my opponent's opinion versus mine. My opponent seems to assert that having debates lacking in science serves no purpose, does he believe that this debate (the one he and I are having right now) is pointless as well?

My opponent does make reasonable arguments, and points to reasons backing up his point of view, however it still remains unscientific. Perhaps my opponent only believes it is foolish to debate when the things being debated are as dissimilar as are evolution and creationism. But since it hasn't been proven that these things are indeed contradictory, or serve no purpose by contrasting, we should conclude that debating them serves at least some purpose.

Once again, that purpose is to challenge widely held beliefs that people take for granted. The most interesting debates are often ones that seem unwinnable or don't seem to have any greater goal than the debate itself.

I believe this is the case regarding this debate topic, as the two are rarely brought up to be reconciled and instead often exist simply to propagandize or mislead as my opponent asserts.

But just like ‘free speech' in the west, it is impossible to single out certain speech or debates that can be characterized as such and denied, because it is entirely a subjective opinion. And it also isn't necessary, these debates do no harm other than, at worst, wasting people's time.

If a scientist is concerned with his time being wasted, he will not participate. But perhaps like myself, the scientist believes it is worth taking part in simply because it creates an opportunity to learn, hear various ideas, and most importantly, challenge widely held beliefs, and nothing could be more important in academic, or informal settings, than constantly challenging what people believe.

It is only through constant analysis and challenges to our own ideology that we can adjust and modify ourselves. This is as true in philosophy as it is in science, and therefore no institution that facilitates such a thing should be outright dismissed.

Finally, I will respond to my opponent's response to the 4th summarization in my last round.

I state:
"We do not need to stop debating this topic simply because there are those who are misguided or intend to misinform"

My opponent's response,

"So my opponent would be supporting the spread of lies and false education."

In a sense, my opponent's response is accurate. I would indeed be supporting the spread of lies and false education. This is the unfortunate inevitability of allowing all points of view, without silencing those we disagree with.
Yes, I have to allow Nazi's the right to their lies, so that other groups can spread their truth. The only way that truth can be spread, and lies to be exposed, is to allow all speech, all debates, and let people ultimately decide for themselves.

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, and everyone who took the time to read it.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by oheesak 5 years ago
oheesak
Defensor. Please keep in mind that I just copied that line from the source I cited. Go write a letter to them please.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 5 years ago
Defensor-of-Apollo
Please don't fool onlookers, oheesak. By saying that you imply creationists aren't scientists. It may be a fact but it implies a bias. I never said it related to the resolution just didn't think nyone would come out so loud and mighty proud saying "I have a bias!" No the only instance where it wasn't so painfully obvious.
Posted by oheesak 5 years ago
oheesak
Bias is not necessarily a bad thing and if has nothing to do with the resolution, most bias can be ignored.

But still I don't see where you think I have bias. Even YOU stated "The fact that you say scientists debate creationists shows extreme bias..." That creationists debate scientists IS a FACT. So please, get that through your head.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 5 years ago
Defensor-of-Apollo
Never thought I would see such evident bias so willing put forth and not ashamed to be seen. Just wow.
Posted by oheesak 5 years ago
oheesak
Yes phantom. But I am arguing about the debates between Creationism and evolution.

logicrules. Precisely. However, that is what CON is trying to argue against.

Defensor-of-Apollo. Sorry but you are mistaken. I am talking about the DEBATES between creationists and Evolutionists. The fact of whether they are scientists or not doesn't matter. I think the terms creationists and evolutionists are concretely implied in my argument however, yes, I will keep this in mind for next time. Thanks

Sorry about the misleading title people as I see that is causing some problems.
Posted by Defensor-of-Apollo 5 years ago
Defensor-of-Apollo
"The question of whether or not scientists should debate creationists is far from settled among those actively opposing creationist efforts."

The fact that you say scientists debate creationists shows extreme bias and that you don't think there are creationist scientists. Also define terms.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
I would take this with more days to post each round. Christmas tends to be too busy for me to allow a 24-hour post cycle.
Posted by logicrules 5 years ago
logicrules
There can be no cross without direct. This for allows for neither.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
There is such a thing as creationist evolutionists, so might want to change the resolution.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
You mean acceptance - opening statement, closing statement.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
oheesakairmax1227Tied
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Total points awarded:52 
Reasons for voting decision: eh I understood what pro implied: a creationist and evolution debate cannot be won because seldom do minds change. SO he gets that. He gets sources too because he had some. But con gets grammar and spelling, need I explain that part of the vote? I will throw in conduct to con because he did well too.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
oheesakairmax1227Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate. Pro did not make a singe argument that evolution debates "cannot be won" and therefore did not make a prima facie case in support of the resolution. As to what was debated, Con had the better of it. Debate is an option so as Con pointed out, the wisdom of debating or not will depend upon the circumstances. Educating the public is one worthwhile objective, and scientists can be useful educators.