December 9, 2006

A Showdown in Blog Village: How Not to Debate

I try to stay out of creation/evolution debates for the most part, but it irks me when ignorance goes unchallenged.

I've been entangled in a predictable, laborious back and forth with a young earth creationist on Blog Village (btw, if you haven't joined the Blog Village list yet, you should; it's a great community and Dirty Butter is a gracious host).

My question was very simple originally: How can you deny decades of evidence? It is a sincere desire of mine to know how people can avoid reality in any case. This is but one aspect. My question was honest and I was not searching for a point by point debate.

I should have known better. We've run through the gammit: molcular machines and irreducible complexity, radiometric dating, the exclusivity of the scientific community, the evolution of the eye, the universe filling population, copy/pastes from creationist websites, methodological naturalism, the scientific concensus, the media's two-sides, molecular homology, logic games, etc, etc.

Then I get this last night:

Anyone who is so narrow-minded as to think there are not two sides to this issue really deserves to have their comments deleted; however, being that if I were to do that you would probably begin personal attacks on me I won't do that.

I'm sure you're familiar with the Matthew effect. Being that the science as a whole has closed its mind as you have, evolutionists automatically get more recognition.

Not only am I narrow-minded, I am probably a troll as well. And "evolutionists" have more fun.

I can understand frustration in any debate, but I have a hard time reconciling personal attacks or threats:

I will never take the liberty of a personal attack as you have done, as I do not know you as a person. I respect people's opinions enough that I will hear them out even if I do not agree. I have never deleted a non-spam comment on my blog just because it conflicts with my feelings or opinions.

It is sad that you threaten to do so. When you publish something on the web that you know will spark debate, prepare for it, and accept it when it comes. That's a blogger's (and any writer's, for that matter) responsibility.

I am not arguing to convince you; I know that is not possible. I am arguing to provide real evidence and resources for others that may read your opinions and feelings and construe them as evidence.

When you put yourself out there with an opinion, always expect that someone holds a contrary notion, and potentially will voice their opinion in return. The blogosphere, in particular, thrives on this concept.

To begin threats of moderation because you disagree says something about the confidence you have in your argument. I have no desire to insult anyone, but as I said, I find it difficult to allow the misinterpretation of evidence to propagate.


  1. It bothers me to see science called "narrow minded." Science isn't narrow minded. There are narrow minded scientists, of course, and close-minded scientists -- people who have closed their minds to topics science has not yet been able to address. But science, properly done, is the very definition of open-minded.

    Open-minded doesn't mean you have to tolerate fools, though, and that's what young-earth creationism represents. The outright denial of observed reality is not only close-minded, it's intentional sightlessness.

  2. Anonymous5:11 PM

    I've been busy with family illness, so my BLOG VILLAGE surfing has been minimal lately. Sorry to hear you've been in a "debate" that seems to have gotten out of hand, for both your sakes. I have no idea who the other Villager is, and don't really need to know. I just wanted to express my disappointment, plus thank you for your endorsement of BLOG VILLAGE and kind words about me being a "gracious host."

  3. Anonymous9:13 PM

    I got into a rather strange debate several months ago with an avowed creationist (she wanted to promote creation as an actual science). Since I happen to actually know a good bit about the Bible (all those years of Sunday good were good for something) I asked this person a series of questions about obvious inconsistencies in the Bible. Things like why are there really two creation stories in Genesis? Do you believe the earth is flat because that's what the Bible says? Why is it that many branches of Christianty believe that the creation story is allegory and shouldn't be considered an absolute timeline, but you can't consider that possibility? Etc. I discovered it's completely pointless to try to argue with people who think the earth is only 6,000 years old. Many cannot think for themselves, they can only spit back out nonsense pounded into their heads by religious leaders or from groups like the Discovery Institute. I feel like it's worthwhile to post questions like that on creationist blogs anyway, just in the hope that some lurker will see the questions and really stop and think about the science. To this person's credit, she didn't delete my comments or threaten to do so. You're right, if you post something controversial on the web, expect comments with opposite points of view!