The Instigator
sherlockmethod
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
InfraRedEd
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Resolution: Scientists should debate young earth creationists in live formats

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
sherlockmethod
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,311 times Debate No: 8170
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

sherlockmethod

Pro

Young Earth Creationists do very well in live debates, but not for the right reasons. Scientists should engage them with a different strategy than they do now. This is my first debate. My opponent can make the opening statement for the con position.
If this is not proper, please tell me and I will withdraw the debate with a lesson learned, and will present a better resolution.
If my opponent can show that debating YEC's is detrimental to science then I will concede.
InfraRedEd

Con

Scientists and creationists are not even remotely on the same page. They have been debating for centuries to no avail.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

The views of YEC are taken from the Bible.

The Bible is not about how old the Earth is.

So the first question is: Who cares? So what? Where are you going with this?

Both the religious people and the scientific people are scratching their heads wondering exactly that.

That's why it is puzzling how YEC can be doing well in debates when they are not even allowed into the debating hall, where the first requirement is value. In debating terms, YEC simply has no value. This is not even addressing its lack of scientific merit.

Quoting now from http://www.farragut.cps.k12.il.us...

Value: The value is usually given in the wording of the resolution. Its purpose is to establish context (what the resolution is about, the topic of debate), and to establish ground (what part of the resolution each side must defend). The value should not be confused with something that most might think of as a value, i.e., something that is necessarily intrinsically good (such as freedom or liberty). Rather, a value should be thought of as a position or a stance of belief within the presence of other positions or stances— it is relational. In this sense, a resolution may have a value of "increased environmental regulation" or "civil disobedience." In short, the value (sometimes referred to as a value premise) is the position that the resolution is asking you to defend. Thus, in the resolution "violence is a justified response to political oppression," the affirmative value is violence and the negative value is political oppression.

The debate should then focus on the contexts in which the choice between the two value positions must be made. Many coaches and debaters think that the value is rarely presented in the resolution. This position holds that a value must be something of intrinsic worth, i.e., something that might be commonly believed to be a value. The result is that debaters very frequently argue values, such as liberty, freedom, or justice, which may sound wonderful but do not necessarily apply to the resolution. In these instances, the debate rarely, if ever, deals with issues of concern to the resolution.

Value objection: An argument used primarily in nonpolicy debate which argues that there exists a competing value to the affirmative value. The argument has to be proven to be more important than the affirmative value.

So the primary objection to debating YEC is the lack of a value premise. Its complete lack of scientific merit doesn't help though.

http://www.venganza.org...
Debate Round No. 1
sherlockmethod

Pro

I thank my experienced opponent for accepting this debate, and appreciate the well reasoned response provided. I will address my opponent's points.

"Scientists and creationists are not even remotely on the same page. They have been debating for centuries to no avail."

Creationists and scientists may not be on the same page, but creationists are selling their own pages concerning science; they have encroached on the scientists' position. If a creationist wants to maintain that all physical evidence does support the scientific consensus but evidence will not change their faith in a selective interpretation of Genesis, then science can provide nothing for them and their view falls outside of the philosophy of science; however, YECs maintain scientific evidence does support their position and the scientific consensus is wrong and deceitful. Maintaining such a position puts the YEC in the field of pseudoscience and outside the realm of mere religion. Science must address pseudoscience in every form. Declaring a pseudoscientific belief as a religion does not change the necessity to address it. On the contrary, religious dogma makes the situation dire.

As for the contention that each has been debating for centuries to no avail; I must disagree. Although the YECs' defense of the church's view of the heliocentric universe requires some constructive historical revisions, they generally agree the earth circles the sun, agree the earth is not flat, and species are not fixed. Dogma fell to reasoned observations and now some YECs maintain the Bible said the earth was round and though species are not fixed they fall within varying "kinds". (See Kent Hovind and Janet Porter, for two horrid examples. In addition, I hate putting quotation marks around words unnecessarily, but the creationists will not define "kinds" so I am stuck with the quote marks.). I understand the YECs will incorporate science into their selective reading of the Bible and dilute the science to a degree, but they accept some scientific hypotheses and are incorporating them into their readings. This fact shows improvement between the two sides, albeit small improvement. This agreement is contradictory to the claim that it, the debate, as come to no avail.

"The views of YEC are taken from the Bible."
Correct, I have no contention with this statement as it is fact. I will not debate the selective reading of scripture necessary to maintain a YEC view as that is not the topic of this debate. I agree with my opponent on this point.

"The Bible is not about how old the Earth is."

I agree, but the YECs do not. Displacing the selective interpretation of Genesis with allegory is tantamount to heresy. This position is one of the strongest arguments they have in respect to influence, and they use this argument when speaking to churches worldwide. The audience for these events does not exist in a vacuum. The members of these churches vote and affect policy from school boards on up to national elections. Although we can agree that the Bible is not about the age of the earth; their captive audience is convinced otherwise by strong rhetorical speeches and debates from the YEC movement. (see Ken Ham, Dr. Kurt Wise for example)

"So the first question is: Who cares? So what? Where are you going with this?"

This statement posits three questions, not one. The first:

Who cares? I do, and I care because pseudoscience supported by political, cultural, and religious dogma is dangerous.

So what? Scientific theories can emerge from unlikely sources. Amateurs can, and have, presented great ideas. We cannot afford to dismiss the number of citizens swayed by pseudoscience in the search for the best possible explanation of some aspect of the natural world. I am not willing to write off Christians, fundamentalists or otherwise. Smart people fall for nonsense sometimes and we cannot afford for children or adults to remain uniformed; science is too important. I care because the next great scientist may be sitting in the audience listening to nonsense and believing it as no one has shown her otherwise.

Where are you going with this? Please see the recent reports on the Texas Board of Education's treatment of evolution to see where the YECs are going with this subject. The YECs are trying to promote a world view that rejects intellectualism, truth outside of strict religious adherence, and secularism as a whole. Science is only one of the victims. YECs want to vilify science and attacks on Darwin, Lyell, Haeckel, etc. serve as good examples. (My opponent is informed on this debate as shown from his previous debates and his reasoned response here, and I do not list all the articles from YECs concerning these scientists as the vilification of each is abundant. I will provide the links if necessary, but I think my opponent will agree each has been treated with distain from the YEC community.)

"Both the religious people and the scientific people are scratching their heads wondering exactly that.
That's why it is puzzling how YEC can be doing well in debates when they are not even allowed into the debating hall, where the first requirement is value. In debating terms, YEC simply has no value. This is not even addressing its lack of scientific merit."

My opponent is basing his con position, at this point, on the contention that YEC has no value in debating terms. I concede the fact that my learned opponent is much more knowledgeable on the terms used in a Lincoln/Douglas debate than I. I reviewed the source my opponent provided and decided to place his contention of no value in a light most favorable to him. Even if I agree the YEC position has no value in debate terms, my position on the resolution does not change as the YEC position poses problems outside of debate terms. The danger posed to science by YECs is best quantified in influence, not debate terms. I am in no way claiming the value definition in the LD debate format is arbitrary, but in this debate influence is more important (as it affects policy for education); therefore, maintaining the position that scientists should not debate the YECs in a public format due to the lack of value, in debate terms, of their position must fall to the undue influence YECs have on the future of science in relation to policy and education.

My position fails if YECs do not have influence on policy decisions. The numerous pieces of legislation concerning evolution in state congresses says they do. http://www.google.com...

In addition to the actions of the Dover, PA school board. http://ncseweb.org...

And the Texas Board of Education.
http://www.youtube.com...

When I used the term live debate, I did not necessarily mean a LD debate, specifically. I used the term more loosely in the resolution. My lack of a concise definition of the term "debate" in the resolution should count against me and not my opponent. If my opponent took the con position due to my lack of definition, this should also count against me. By "debate" I mean a confrontation involving a pro and con of the resolution provided and each presenting their respective sides and the evidence supporting each position. I will accept that by "debate" I meant "confrontation" and that confrontation needs to take place in a live format in front of church groups/ civic forums/ and college campuses. If my opponent agrees with the resolution now, then I will withdraw from the debate with a lesson learned to clarify better. If my opponent still maintains that scientists should not debate YECs in any sense - then I will hold my position and state: Regardless of the value of the YEC position in debate terms, scientists must debate them due to the influence they (YECs) have on policy.
InfraRedEd

Con

This debate about debates can get messy. The YE guys and the scientists have a debate, and we are having a debate about their debate.

It is the arguments put forth by the YE people that have no value.

Are there any (Young Earth) Scientists?

The captivity of the "captive audience" is the problem.

The Universal Truth In Religious Claims Act as well as the Universal Maniac On The Loose Control Act are applicable here.

The Universal Truth In Religious Claims Act provides a religious forum for the debating of religious issues.

Both of these imaginary acts are implemented worldwide by imaginary means.

The Rude Comedian Act requires all points of view to be expressed including the Flying Spaghetti Monster believers.

http://www.venganza.org...

Nobody wants that, we will tell them. But IF we have to, and I stress if...
Debate Round No. 2
sherlockmethod

Pro

I will address my opponents points:

"This debate about debates can get messy. The YE guys and the scientists have a debate, and we are having a debate about their debate."

Agreed.

"It is the arguments put forth by the YE people that have no value."

As I previously stated, even if the YEC arguments have no value, the falsifiable arguments they do present are pseudoscience backed by religious, cultural, and political dogma; therefore, no value or otherwise, the arguments must be shown to be incorrect and deceitful. Doing so in a live format is necessary as the YECs are most influential in such formats.

"Are there any (Young Earth) Scientists?"

Not in a legitimate capacity, no, but they do practice pseudoscience, hence my issue with them. The YEC movement claims to have scientists, but their work would not meet the basic requirements needed for scientific study. Although some YECs have degrees from secular universities, the work they conduct cannot be called science due to their reliance on a supernatural entity to support their overall conclusions. Another weapon used by YECs is to create fields of study in faith based schools and provide unaccredited degrees in those fields. (see Patriot university, for example) This is one of the more important claims that needs to be exposed in a debate. I have an idea as to how to do this, but my opponent is still contesting the debate in the first place so I do not see a need in addressing how a scientist should respond to false degrees as I need to show the legitimacy of the debate in the first place.

"The captivity of the "captive audience" is the problem."

This contention is vague. I do not know if my opponent has issue with my claim that the audience is captive or agrees that YECs do have a captive audience when speaking at churches and that poses a problem. If the contention is the later, then I agree. If the former, then I will add that church, at least in my experience, is a community gathering. Some people attend for social networking, some for faith based study of the Bible (Sunday school), some for charity organization, and others because they feel it is required by religious doctrine. Church attendance is hardly mandatory in mainstream organizations, I agree. But attending church functions to be closer to other Christians and God gives the YEC a perfect forum to spew false scientific claims and to vilify those who disagree. Such a charged atmosphere creates a captive audience in some sense and one that will be more prone to believe the YEC pseudo scientific claims. Scientists must reach these people and confront YEC at the same time.

"The Universal Truth In Religious Claims Act as well as the Universal Maniac On The Loose Control Act are applicable here.
The Universal Truth In Religious Claims Act provides a religious forum for the debating of religious issues.
Both of these imaginary acts are implemented worldwide by imaginary means.
The Rude Comedian Act requires all points of view to be expressed including the Flying Spaghetti Monster believers.
http://www.venganza.org......

Nobody wants that, we will tell them. But IF we have to, and I stress if…"

I enjoyed my opponents satirical Acts (and request permission to use them in the future, with credit given of course) and his reference to the FSM, but each misses the point.

The debate is not about their religion so much as their scientific claims. Scientists should not go after their religion, just their science. The YECs do make falsifiable claims outside of religion and the scientist must show those claims to be false. For example:

Claim: Geological evidence shows the earth is 6,000-10,000 years old. This is a falsifiable claim outside of a religious context that can be, and has been, refuted. The claim is based on an interpretation of a biblical chronology, not geological evidence. The scientist can regulate the belief in a young earth to a pure faith position which is the place she stops.

Claim: Geological evidence shows a world wide flood occurred 4,000- 5,000 years ago. This is a falsifiable claim outside of a religious context that can be, and has been, refuted. The claim is based on a belief that Noah's flood, as depicted in a selective reading of Genesis, was world wide and accurately portrayed in scripture, not geological evidence. Again, the scientist can regulate the belief in a world wide flood 4,000 years ago to a pure faith position outside of science.

The scientist needs to focus on falsifying such claims and leave the debate at the point. If the scientist wishes to go further into the spiraling hole of the divinity and absolute truth of scripture then the FSM becomes fair game and the debate will go nowhere, as it will be a battle of pure faith based beliefs, but scientists should push the YECs to that point. Once there, the deceitful, rhetorical arguments from the YECs will be exposed; therefore, the debate to this point is necessary. I see no need to mention the FSM when dealing with falsifiable claims that science can answer.

YECs can have only one honest position and that is simply that all geological, cosmological, biological, and physical evidence refutes their claims but they have faith that the earth is young, once here - the scientist's work is done.

My opponent makes a solid claim stating the YEC argument, in debate terms, has no value, but policy and influence are not subject to the realm of the formal debate. Dismissing a YEC due to ivory tower rules will only embolden them and increase the influence of their false, albeit simple, claims that the average person can find plausible. Science is too important to ignore this influence due to a strict debate policy used in academia. YECs may not be allowed in debate halls, but they are making their own and are doing well (outside of debate terms, but in the area of influence) in the forums that scientists shun. This practice, by scientists, is a mistake.
InfraRedEd

Con

Yes YEC should be debated in public fora.
No scientists should not be the ones debating them because

It is not what scientists do.

Scientists have other much more important things to do like science.

My opponent is doing just fine and maybe my opponent is the one who should debate them.

Maybe in schools if teachers were bright enough. They can't teach it but they can moderate a debate.

Or in your local church, or on any of those many religious shows on television, or on the evening news.

Or at religious retreats or summer camps or on Sixty Minutes.

Or on Sesame Street.
Debate Round No. 3
sherlockmethod

Pro

"Yes YEC should be debated in public fora. No scientists should not be the ones debating them.."

The con position has agreed to one portion of the resolution so I will not belabor the point further as we are in agreement that the debate should happen in a public forum.

"No[,] scientists should not be the ones debating them because [i]t is not what scientists do. Scientists have other much more important things to do like science"

I disagree with all three points concerning scientists and science. Scientists have an obligation to ensure science is not being distorted by fringe groups. Distorting science for religious reasons has the potential for far reaching abuse; the scientists are best equipped to challenge fringe science and distortions as they are embedded in the subject and have to most to gain by confronting pseudoscientific claims. In addition, doing science must include education and not just in a classroom. Public debates showing the absurdity of some YEC claims provides a perfect opportunity to educate others by showing how misconceptions lead to false conclusions. YEC depends on the ignorance of the audience concerning many scientific theories and laws; the scientist can expose those misconceptions and provide the most accurate scientific answer. Although she will be debating, the scientist will be educating and that is what scientists do.

"My opponent is doing just fine and maybe my opponent is the one who should debate them."

I appreciate my opponent's confidence in my knowledge of this subject, and if the scientists will have me, I will do it. I am not a scientist, but I can claim knowledge of some aspects of evolutionary biology. I would gladly help the scientists with handling rhetoric and ridicule, in addition to dealing with some debate tactics, but I am not sure I can take their place at the podium as a proper representative of the scientific community. But I would love to try.

My opponent mentions some forums and I have ideas as to how to deal with each forum listed, other than Sesame Street; Big Bird owns and scientists should avoid being targeted by her yellow fury, but debate strategies for each is not really to topic of this debate.

I have shown that YEC should be debated in a public forum.
I have shown that scientists should debate YEC.
I urge voters to support the Pro position and comment.
I thank my opponent for a solid debate and appreciate his candor. I look forward to debating him again. Thank you and please vote.
InfraRedEd

Con

http://en.wikipedia.org...

It is a public forum. It is a debate. Besides the whole

http://www.talkorigins.org...

evolution thing.

It's too enormous a topic to even get near in a single debate.

And it's a gigantic waste of time. If people want to believe in stupid things I believe my opponent would argue that they should be allowed to.

Try and make up a story that someone won't believe.

I can't be running around correcting everyone that makes a mistake although I try.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 8 years ago
sherlockmethod
Thank you for the comments LM. They are helpful.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Oh . . . and in the future, I'd ask you (PRO) to be more willing to argue in your first round. Or rather, make the first round the greeting round as well as the round in which you list the parameters.

After all, you're the instigator, thus the burden of proof will always belong to your side. When initiating a claim, you ought to be the one to initiate support. :D
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
CONDUCT: This goes to PRO. CON kept changing his position.

SPELLING AND GRAMMAR: No clue. I might evaluate this later.

CONVINCING ARGUMENTS:

First, CON argued that YEC should not debate because their position does not have a value (which doesn't make sense. LD debate structure is not something which you'll note in scientific debates or even most live debates for that matter. It is a weak format which you'll only see in schools), but PRO aptly refuted this by pointing out that this was irrelevant.

Second, the claims in R2 didn't even make sense. Essentiall, PRO's response to this can be boiled down to CON not being on topic (which I agree).

Third, in R3, CON argues that scientist are just too busy and should be doing science things rather than debating YECs. PRO responds by pointing out that scientist are in fact benefiting science by demonstrating the errors of YEC to YECs and their audience

CON's R4 does nothing to respond to PRO's R4.

So yeah, PRO gets convincing arguments.

REALIABLE SOURCES: PRO's sources actually contributed to the topic quite a bit moreso than CON's, thus I give this to him.
Posted by sherlockmethod 8 years ago
sherlockmethod
Thank you animea. I appreciate the kind words, thank you. I enjoyed this debate with InfraRedEd.
Posted by animea 8 years ago
animea
Con was all over the board bringing up new arguments in every speech, while pro successfully stood his ground. I voted pro as he articulated his arguments well and was able to point out flaws of cons ideas.
Posted by InfraRedEd 8 years ago
InfraRedEd
So you see the topic cannot be covered in any amount of time.
That's the best reason.
No it's not. Scientists should not be labeled. There are many kinds of scientists and it is not fair to make blanket statements about them. Some of them may be YECs but just not very good at either.

Anyway it might be a good idea to keep them occupied instead of blowing us all up. The scientists too.
Posted by InfraRedEd 8 years ago
InfraRedEd
Anyway you are not being fair to all those other creationists.

http://www.talkorigins.org...
Posted by InfraRedEd 8 years ago
InfraRedEd
http://en.wikipedia.org...

It is a public forum. It is a debate.
Posted by sherlockmethod 8 years ago
sherlockmethod
Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is not scientifically sound, I agree. But debating pseudoscience in a public area, correctly, can and needs to be done.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by pcmbrown 8 years ago
pcmbrown
sherlockmethodInfraRedEdTied
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
sherlockmethodInfraRedEdTied
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Vote Placed by animea 8 years ago
animea
sherlockmethodInfraRedEdTied
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