April 24, 2008

Drawn In

A relative sent me a video of a debate between an evolutionary biologist and a creationism advocate. Better yet, a young-earth creationist. I've sent him back a rather detailed critique of what I saw -- suffice to say here that it was more of a farce than a debate.

The biologist was quite simply a terrible speaker, and the creationist spent most of his time playing word games and avoiding the issue while tossing out cheap shots. I'd like to say that I did my best to approach the debate with an open mind, but the word games set me on edge right away. As far as I could tell, the creationist conceded every significant factual issue about evolution raised by his opponent, at least as a functional matter, but he found a way to fold his concessions into phrasings that made it look like his young-earth creationism made more sense. Fundamentally, he missed the central point -- the subject of the debate was whether there was scientific validity to evolution, not whether young-earth creationism is an 'equal' theory. But the bulk of his time was spent either making semantic maneuvers or positing young-earth explanations of phenomena like coal column or the Grand Canyon.

Here, I want to opine that I need to learn to not get drawn in to that sort of thing. I was up until quite late writing about the astonishing number of intellectual problems I found with the creationist's presentation, when I should have been getting some shut-eye. I learned a lot of stuff about how young-earth creationists think, which was worth my time, but I could, in theory, have extended the project out over several days instead.

I think it'll be more or less straight to bed after dinner tonight.

(Cartoon by XKCD.)

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