Why is it always Biologists who debate Creationists?
I just got done watching another train wreck of a debate between Kent Hovid and a group of biologists, and as usual, Kent gave all his plausible sounding but vacuous arguments against evolution, and as usual he made the false assumption that if he can refute evolution that means the bible is right, and as usual, no one called him on this.
What ends up happening with these debates is that the creationist makes a bunch of plausible-sounding arguments, and emotional appeals, while the scientists try to explain the inner workings of their discipline to a bunch of laymen. The result is that while the scientists all make the best arguments, the audience is still won over to the creationist side, because he’s the one who is telling them what they want to hear in a way that is accessable to them.
And this made me wonder, why is it always biologists who debate creationists? I mean, sure, biologists have the biggest stake, since evolution is a biological theory, but it seems to me that there are a lot of other disciplines who could do a better job.
For example, a philosopher would tear Kent apart by simply pointing out all of his logical fallacies.
A psychologist could do a great job of explaining how human morality works within an evolutionary framework. Also, a psychologist could demonstrate to the audience the system of denial and the failure to reality test that is inherent in the creationist worldview.
An anthropologist or sociologist could give the audience a great perspective on just how many belief systems there are in the world, how they have things in common with Christianity, and what exactly is different, so that the audience can see that the bible is a cultural phenomena and not a source for litteral truth about the universe.
Hell, a LAWYER would be able to tear apart a lot of these arguments as well.
In short, I believe that the humanities and social sciences would be a MUCH better pool of talent to draw from than the physical sciences when engaging in formal debates with creationists. It seems to me that the findings of science are less important than the process of science when arguing with a creationist.
The basic difference between science and creationism is the process that each uses for finding the truth. So instead of saying “this is what the evidence says,” our side needs to be saying:
“When science doesn’t know the answer to something we are honest with ourselves, we say “we don’t know” We use language that is honest about the fact that we have margins of error in our data, we admit that there are limits to what we know, and even what we can know. We even go out of the way to have our work peer reviewed so that others can call foul on us and keep us honest.
People of faith are fundamentally DISHONEST. You say “I know that god created the universe, and I know that the bible is the word of god.” This is a lie. The truth is that you have absolutely no way of knowing this stuff, you are just taking the story that was spoon fed to you by the bible, to cover up the fact that you don’t know. This is dishonest and you are the worst sort of liar. You are a liar who believes his own lies.”
I believe that this sort of argument and rhetoric would be much more accessible to the audience, and it would put the creationist on the defensive in a way that they would have a hard time defending themselves from.