Creation / Evolution Debates


Creationist Debates

The creationist debate is a long standing staple in the creationist toolkit for their so-called "Creation/Evolution Controversy". As "creation science" was just getting started in the 70's and 80's, two decades before the Internet, creationists used their public presentations and debates, which would usually take place in churches and colleges, as their primary tools to generate awareness and interest while spreading their false claims that creationism better explains the evidence and that the scientific evidence actually favored young-earth creationism and not "evolutionism". And nothing else was as effective at delivering that message than for an audience to see the creationist debater running circles around his "evolutionist" opponent, most usually a local teacher or college or university professor.

The problem is that creationist debates are a dishonest sham which enables the creationist to spew forth a stream of lies while imposing a debate format that keeps their opponent from responding effectively to those lies. The debate format is designed to ensure that the creationist always wins. And that worked for them for a decade, until they motivated their opponents to get organized after which the creationists started losing those debates around 1980. Their use by major creationist organizations has diminished, but they are still popular with local creationist groups and creationists.

One such local creationist is Bill Morgan, a real piece of work who tries to emulate Kent Hovind. He has a mania for debates. He kept pestering me to debate him and I kept insisting that we do it written and on-line, which he kept refusing to do. He continued to pester me for a debate and refused to discuss anything else. Then he offered to let me pick the venue and format, so to shut him up I finally agree to debate him: my chosen venue was on-line and my chosen format was written. His response was to run away, which is common for him. And every time I remind him of our debate, he first tries to lie about it and then he runs away yet again.

A number of Bill Morgan's debates and presentations are on YouTube. I watched one he did on 07 March 2009 against Phil Summerfeld who has a background in physics. I started writing a page critiquing it and realized that I needed to provide a lot of background information explaining the nature of and problems with creationist debates. That resulted in the material for this page and that material is still on that page until I can find the time to edit it. I will refer to it on this page for the examples it provides, since that debate illustrates the problems so well.

Here is a link to that page: Bill Morgan versus Phil Summerfeld, 07 March 2009, Garden Grove, California. That page includes links to the debate videos on YouTube (11 parts).


Much has been written on the matter of creationist debates. In writing this page, I found myself wanting to copy more and more of the text in other articles such that this page would have become huge and unwieldy and be almost entirely not my own writing. So instead I'm listing those links here along with a brief description. Do read them, because they contain a lot of good information.

  • Creation-Evolution Debates: Who's Winning Them Now? (1982)
  • Presents and discusses reasons pro-and-con regarding debating. Also lists and discusses several debates.

  • Debating Creationists
  • Opening remarks at a debate discussing his reasons for being there.

  • Debating Creationists: Some Pointers
  • This is an index page on TalkOrigins.org which links to two other pages:
  • Debates and the Globetrotters
  • Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, argues that public debates with creationists do little to further the cause of quality science education. Among her reasons are that (1) creationists usually fill the audience with their supporters, who are unlikely to have the educational grounding necessary to understand the arguments presented in favor of evolution, (2) evolution is a complex set of ideas that are not amenable to simple explanation in a short debate format, and (3) creationists make many simplistic but convincing-sounding arguments against evolution that take a significant amount of time to refute.

  • Debating the ICR's Duane Gish
  • Richard Trott gives some advice to people who are considering debating the Institute for Creation Research's most prominent debater, Dr. Duane Gish. Among Trott's recommendations are that you know your audience, know Gish's standard presentation, be prepared for his charisma and standard evasions, and avoid being a dull or arrogant lecturer.

  • I Was Suckered into a Debate and Survived!
  • Describes a biology professor's experience with the organizing of a creationist debate and how the organizers (creationists) had incrementally deceived him into debating a national-level professional creationist.

  • Winning the Creation Debate (2004)
  • Describes a set of creationist-debate training tapes from a workshop presented by Dr. Duane Gish, the ICR's "master debater". From that article:

    But more than that, these tapes show that the debate format is not about presenting and evaluating scientific evidence for (or even against) evolution, but rather to present evolution in the most unfavorable light possible without making any affirmative claims for creationism. He expects — and his audiences accept — that creationism wins by default.

    This is why trying to have a scientific debate with a creationist — or more recently with "intelligent design" proponents — is a fool's errand. However, those that insist on embarking on this journey could learn a lot from this set of tapes — both about the opposition they will face and about rhetorical tactics that win the hearts of the general public. Of course, scientists are constrained by a respect for the evidence and complete, accurate descriptions of scientific laws, theories, research, and interpretation. Our opponents face no such strictures.

    In the Summerfeld/Morgan debate, the truth of that last paragraph came shining through. Summerfeld is a physicist and yet was required to be expert in all fields of science and have detailed knowledge of all scientific findings outside his own expertise (eg, Bill Morgan's challenge that he "list all hominid fossils"). And he did try his best to be as truthful and accurate as he could be, having to rely on a reference book to accomplish that (not a good debate technique). On the other hand, Bill Morgan didn't have to be expert at anything nor was he restricted to being honest or truthful. All he had to do was to spew forth his false claims and misinformation.

  • ADVICE: The Debate of Young Earth Creationists
  • Here is some very good, detailed advice for anyone who is considering debating Creationists or Young Earth Creationists. David Rice has made an exhaustive examination of Creationists tactics and provides these important points to consider.

  • Debates
  • Another analysis of creationist debates and the tricks they use, plus suggestions for how to organize real debates where the truth can come out; eg:

    Debates on TV or radio, however, are another matter entirely. Here, where the creationists cannot set the forum, it is possible to narrow the debate down to a single topic--the age of the earth, or the fossil record--and then debate it through to its logical conclusion. This defeats the Gish Gallop, and also prevents the common creationist tactic of suddenly changing the subject whenever he gets uncomfortable. It also allows the debater to jump in immediately whenever the creationist makes one of his many unsupported assertions or false statements. Not surprisingly, most creationist debaters will refuse to debate under these conditions.

  • An Account of a Debate with a Creationist
  • Yet another personal account of a debate participant who had been lied to and deceived by the debate orgainzers.

    From my email description of it to Bill Morgan:

    You might want to take a look at that report by Rob Day, "An Account of a Debate with a Creationist", at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/debate-rob-day.html. Towards the end, he describes how the group organizing the debate had paniced when they discovered that he was already familiar with his creationist opponent's claims and arguments and how his opponent had avoided saying anything about creation science. He also tells of two creationists speaking at another event who quickly changed their presentation and avoided saying anything about creation science claims when they learned that two individuals familiar with the subject were in the audience. Sounds rather familiar to me, you know?
    Of course, my last line was a direct reference to Bill Morgan's bad behavior.

    The General Format

    While the details will vary, the general format is as follows:

    1. A 45-minute presentation by each side. Who goes first is usually determined randomly; eg, by a coin toss.
    2. A 30-minute rebuttal to the opponent's presentation.
    3. A 10-minute response to the rebuttal.
    4. A question-and-answer session with the audience with the moderator (usually a creationist) picking which questions to present. The audience member indicates to whom the question is directed and in most cases the other side is not allowed to respond.

    In addition, the debate topic, always set by the creationists organizing the debate, is always kept very general, like "Resolved: Creation is a better explanation that Evolution". That allows the creationist free rein to jump around from topic to topic, most commonly engaging in a "Gish Gallop" (see discussion below). Many of the links given above include recommendations for more meaningful debate formats which require that the debate topic be very specific; eg, the evidence for the age of the earth. That has been tried, but every time a specific topic was proposed the creationists would refuse to debate. Not only would a specific topic allow their opponent to remain within his area of expertise (eg, a debate specifically about the geological evidence would work well for a geologist), but it would restrict the creationist from "galloping" off into other topics.

    How Creationists Exploit The General Format

    The problem with the general format is that it allows creationists to lie freely while hampering their opponents' efforts to get at the truth.

    From Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duane_Gish#Debates:

    Debating opponents said that Gish used a rapid-fire approach during a debate, presenting arguments and changing topics quickly. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, dubbed this approach the "Gish Gallop," describing it as "where the creationist is allowed to run on for 45 minutes or an hour, spewing forth torrents of error that the evolutionist hasn't a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate."

    And from the link above, Debates:

    The subject of biological evolution is so huge and so complex that people spend their whole professional lives investigating just tiny portions of it. It is simply impossible to give an adequate overview of such a complex subject in the space of a forty-five minute presentation, particularly when one understands the often abysmal level of science education among the audience. The creationists, on the other hand, are helped greatly by these time limits. Since they have no scientific model of their own to present, they will spend all of their time in what is known affectionately as the "Gish Gallop", in which they skip around from topic to topic spewing out an unceasing blizzard of baloney and unsupported assertions about evolutionary theory, leaving the poor evolutionist to attempt to catch up and correct them all. It is an impossible task.

    Let's do the math. Let's assume that a creationist can make a false claim in 30 seconds on average (that is actually a very conservative estimate, since I've heard them do it at a rate of 1 every 10 seconds). That would mean that in a 45-minute presentation he could spew forth 90 false claims. Then let's say that it takes 10 minutes to respond to one of those false claims (a very generous estimate, since 20 to 30 minutes would be more realistic). So in the 30 minutes alloted to the creationist's opponent to respond, he can only respond to three of those ninty false claims. Clearly an impossible task.

    But it's even worse. In order to respond to many creationist claims, you have to already know that claim, what it's based on, and how to respond to it. As Fred Edwords said in a 1985 speech, "It's not enough to know your evolution! You need to know your creationism better!" Creationists love to quote-mine "scientists denying evolution". In order to respond to one of those mined quotes, you need to have read the original source. Creationists will claim to have a scientific source for a claim, so you need to know what source they are talking about and how they are misrepresenting it.

    For example, in 1985 I attended a debate (ICR's Henry Morris and Duane Gish vs Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites on 28 September 1985 in Long Beach, CA) in which Henry Morris "countered" the usual criticism that they use out-dated sources (which they do) by claiming that a "1976" NASA document, "written well into the space age", showed that if the moon were really 4 billion years old then it should be covered in more than 200 feet of meteoric dust. How do you respond to that? Well, after the debate I wrote to the ICR asking about that claim. I tell that story on my MOON DUST page. It turns out that Morris' actual source, another creationist (who most likely had gotten it from yet another unnamed creationist), had switched the digits around: that "1976" NASA document was actually a 1967 printing of papers presented in 1965. I know that, because I pulled that NASA document down from the library shelf, held it in my hands, and looked at it, something that Dr. Henry Morris had obviously never done. And even though the ICR "officially" dropped that moondust claim a few years later, it's still in their books that they sell to this very day.

    I had to research that after the debate. So how could their opponent have responded to it during the debate? Unravelling the creationist lies after the debate is over is all fine and good, but nobody who attended that debate will ever hear the truth.

    Another example would be what Dr. Duane Gish did on national television (PBS counts as national TV, doesn't it?). In Creation vs Evolution: Battle in the Classroom (KPBS-TV, aired 7 July 1982), Dr. Russell Doolittle told of how his early research in human/chimpanzee protein comparisons had sparked his interest in evolution. Every test they did showed the human and chimpanzee proteins to be identical; the rumor/joke started circulating that the differences between humans and chimpanzees were merely cultural, until they finally found a protein that was different (whew!). Gish's response was to repeat their false claim that some proteins show humans to be more closely related to chickens, or even to bullfrogs. IOW, Gish lied on national TV. As in a debate, there was no time to respond immediately to his preposterous claim, so the rest the affair unfolded behind the scenes. Gish repeatedly claimed to have documentation of that bullfrog protein and repeatedly promised to provide it, but never did. The truth was that Gish had no such documentation, since his bullfrog protein claim was based on a joke he had once overheard. I present the full story and much more on my The Bullfrog Affair page.

    The Summerfeld/Morgan debate contains many examples. For example, Morgan argued that life (including tissue, organs, and systems) is highly complex and that something that highly complex had to have been designed. Summerfeld countered that such a high degree of complexity is indicative of poor design, that the better designs are much simpler. Morgan's "response" was to divert attention away from that problem by declaring that the real criterion of good design is whether it works. That should go without saying, but the format of the debate did not allow Summerfeld to respond. A more honest format, such as in a TV or radio interview or panel format, would have allowed them to pursue that issue and to arrive at the truth, but the creationist debate format prevented the truth from being uncovered.

    BTW, what Summerfeld was apparently not aware of is that experiments applying evolutionary processes to design show that the products of evolutionary processes exhibit a very high degree of complexity. So the high degree of complexity in life does not indicate design, but rather evolution. Bill Morgan may not have been aware of that at the time of the debate, but I have made him aware of it now. His response? Yet again, he ran away from it.

    Another example happened twice in the Summerfeld/Morgan debate. Both times, Morgan "rebutted" Summerfeld by quoting a scientist saying the opposite of what Summerfeld had said. Both times, Morgan explicitly pointed out that scientist's doctorate degree in the pertinent field. But viewing that at home, I had an advantage that Summerfeld did not have. I paused the video and went to Wikipedia to look up that scientist. Both of them were creationists: Dr. Georgia Purdom, PhD Molecular Genetics, is a professional creationist who works as a spokeswoman for Answers in Genesis and Dr. John C. Sanford with a PhD in plant genetics is part of the "Intelligent Design" crowd and also a young-earth creationist. Clearly, in those quotes Morgan gave, they were speaking as creationists and not as scientists. And by over-emphasizing their PhDs and completely neglecting to mention that they are creationists, Bill Morgan was deliberately seeking to deceive the audience.

    That question-and-answer period can make matters far worse, since it gives the creationist the opportunity to present any claim he wants to, no matter how wild and blatantly false, knowing that his opponent is held powerless to refute those claims due to the arbitrary rules of the debate format. And in the Summerfeld/Morgan debate we certainly do see Bill Morgan taking advantage of that as he presents his argument about the probability of a modern protein falling together by chance (which is his misrepresentation of evolution; there are several things wrong with this claim, including the fact that he knows that it is false since we had corresponded about that claim before) and what appears to be one of his favorites, "The Chicken or the Egg?", in which he appears to argue that the newly evolved chickens, male and female, would have had to have completely re-evolved their reproductive organs. That last one speaks of a really wild misunderstanding of evolution which I have yet to have explained to me; I have asked Bill Morgan and he refuses to respond.

    Another way in which creationists exploit their debate format is expressed by Dr. Francisco Ayala in that OC Weekly article (Bill Morgan Is Captain Creationist: The activist is waging a war against evolution, one lecture at a time by Adam O'Neal, OC Weekly, 30 August 2012):

    [Preceded by the issue of Bill Morgan having falsely accused Dr. Ayala of being very rude in his response to to his daughter's letter. Examination of the actual letters (which Bill refused to produce, claiming he didn't save it, but which Dr. Ayala's office did keep as any honest person would have) clearly show that Bill Morgan had lied.]

    In an interview with the Weekly, Ayala calls Morgan a "liar" and says that he was "sad to see someone distort the facts in the name of religion," particularly given that science and religion should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Ayala added that it was "difficult to comprehend people who make false accusations and lie for the sake of God."

    Before the letter confusion, I tried to arrange a meeting between Ayala and Morgan so the two could discuss their philosophical and scientific differences, with the hopes of finding some common ground. The history between them—along with Ayala's stellar reputation for respecting the religious and reaching out to the public—made the professor seem the perfect candidate to partake in a healthy, casual discussion about the state of the debate with his ideological opposite.

    Ayala thanked me, but he declined; he doesn't think "such debates or discussions are worthwhile."

    Pressed for an explanation, he says that the circumstances of debates or an interview are such that people can't explore in depth any of the scientific evidence. Instead, they just turn into rhetorical exchanges that don't accomplish anything. "Look, the evidence for biological evolution is stronger and more abundant than the evidence for other scientific theories, such as the atomic theory, the heliocentric theory or the expansion of the galaxies," Ayala says. "What is needed is better scientific education, not debate."

    After unearthing the exchange between him and Morgan's daughter, he wrote, "You may understand why I do not want to have public discussions . . . with the likes of Mr. Morgan."

    Having corresponded with Bill Morgan, I know far too well what Dr. Ayala is talking about.

    But I brought that up for the other point, which is that "such debates or discussions are [not] worthwhile." What would be worthwhile would be debates or discussions on specific well-defined topics, in which the evidence would be presented and discussed, and in which the participants would be able to discuss each point raised as far as possible until both parties can agree to move on to the next issue. However, every time that the format of a worthwhile debate or discussion is presented to a creationist, he refuses to participate. Still, some worthwhile discussions have taken place, mostly on TV where the creationists cannot control the format -- that is discussed more fully in the links above.

    The big problem is inherent in most debates, but especially in creationist debates: winning the debate depends almost entirely on presentation and not on the truth. The one who is truthful and presents the facts but is a poor speaker will always lose to the one who lies about everything but has a polished delivery.

    That has been the secret to the creationists' success on the debate circuit from the start. The creationist organizations (with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) being the pioneer, having created Flood Geology and "creation science") trained their debaters led by the stars of the debate circuit, ICR President and Vice President Dr. Henry Morris (PhD Hydraulic Engineering) and Dr. Duane Gish (PhD Biochemistry). They offered their services to local churches, Christian groups, and creationist groups. Those local groups would invite a creationist debater and then organize the debate, which included finding an opponent for the creationist debater -- we see that process described up close and in person in two of the links above. The creationist with the highly polished and well rehearsed presentation would almost invariably make mince-meat of the inexperienced local opponent. There was no contest at all! The creationist press (eg, the ICR's Acts & Facts newsletter) would report those creationist debate victories, building up the ICR's reputation. And if a local opponent were to get the best of the creationist, then the creationist press would ignore that fact and either not report it or else report it as yet another creationist victory (eg, the 1981/82 Tampa debates which the ICR reported as victories even though they had been beaten so badly that the local schools shelved the creationist curriculum they had been planning on implementing -- see description in Creation-Evolution Debates: Who's Winning Them Now?).

    Especially in the beginning (ie, in the 1970's), the local opponent would enter the debate not knowing what was about to happen. He would think that they were going to talk about the science, but instead he would be exposed to "creation science" false claims for the first time and wouldn't know how to respond, especially since he was constrained by the creationist debate format. In her article, Debates and the Globetrotters, Dr. Eugenie Scott used the analogy of the Harlem Globetrotters who would come to town and be matched against a local team, the result of which would always be that the local team would lose spectacularly while the Globetrotters would be running circles around them. And the audience would come expressly to watch the local team get beat. But out of those defeats grew the state-level Committees of Correspondence and their national-level clearing house of information, the National Center for Science Education.

    We also see that in the Summerfeld/Morgan debate. Bill Morgan has been doing this since about 1990, starting with presentations. He started out doing poorly, but improved his speaking abilities with experience and learned to augment them with visual aids, starting with an overhead projector which has evolved into a 500-slide PowerPoint presentation. His presentation in the debate was well-polished and supported with visuals and he knew how to keep the audience entertained, even though virtually nothing in his presentation was the slightest bit true.

    In contrast, this was Phil Summerfeld's first time at the rodeo. He was uncomfortable as a speaker, but still did his best. He didn't have any visuals. He was able to talk about things he was expert in, namely physics, but apparently not that experienced with presenting that information to members of the general public, which is a definite skill. For answering questions about things outside his expertise, such as hominid fossils, he had to rely on a book which he would read from, though stumbling over the pronounciation of some of the words.

    Since the winner of a creationist debate is decided by how they perform in their presentation and not by the contents of their presentation, the well practiced presentation of Bill Morgan clearly won. Evil triumphed over Good. Of course, Bill Morgan was helped greatly by the debate format, which is rigged to work in his favor. Indeed, reviewing this debate made me realize how much the format allows the creationist to lie without any constraints while his opponent is restricted from presenting the truth to the audience. The opponent is constrained to be truthful, whereas the creationist is not.

    Of course, Bill Morgan's debate "victory" doesn't prove that his "creation science" is superior to evolution. Nor does it disprove evolution in any way or manner. For that matter, Bill Morgan never did actually address evolution, but rather his "evolution model" which is a misrepresentation of misconceptions about evolution.

    All the debate proved was that Bill Morgan -- and creationists in general -- is good at bullshit lies.

    How to Deal with Creationist Debates

    As you can plainly see, creationist debates are rigged for their opponents to lose. Because of that fact, prospective opponents are generally advised to not participate in a creationist debate. As Dr. Eugenie Scott advised in her Debates and the Globetrotters:

    Sure, there are examples of "good" debates where a well-prepared evolution supporter got the best of a creationist, but I can tell you after many years in this business that they are few and far between. Most of the time a well-meaning evolutionist accepts a debate challenge (usually "to defend good science" or for some other worthy goal), reads a bunch of creationist literature, makes up a lecture explaining Darwinian gradualism, and can't figure out why at the end of the debate so many individuals are clustered around his opponent, congratulating him on having done such a good job of routing evolution -- and why his friends are too busy to go out for a beer after the debate.

    . . .

    And however well the evolutionist thinks he may have done, the probability is that he was just fodder to inspire the local fans. I have been invited on many occasions to debate, and have always turned them down. The purpose of a debate is to rouse the local troops, to stir them to action, and inspire them to go forth and support the teaching of creationism.

    Why should we help?

    Before you accept a debate, consider if what you are about to do will harm the cause more than promote it. Many scientists justify the debate by saying, "creationists will claim that scientists are afraid to debate them." So what? Who are they going to make the claim to? Their own supporters? A letter in the local newspaper that will be read by how many people, and remembered for how long?

    If the alternative is to show that scientists are not afraid of creationists by having some poor scientist get beat up on the debating stage, are we better off?

    And let's face it -- some scientists do it out of a sense of ego. Gee, I'm really going to make mincemeat out of that creationist, they think. Well, are you such a big shot debater that you can guarantee that people in the audience aren't going to go off after your debate and make life miserable for the local science teacher? "Gee, Mrs. Brown, I went to this neat debate the other day. You'd be surprised at how weak evolution is. Are you going to teach it this year?" Want to lay odds on Mrs. Brown teaching evolution again? Is your ego more important than students learning evolution? Think about it.

    My recommendation: above all else, do no harm

    I have no objection, by the way, to appearing on radio and TV with creationists, and have done so many times. In this format, it is possible to have some sort of point-counterpoint which is (though it seems odd to say it) not possible in a formal debate format. On the radio, I have been able to stop Gish, et al, and say, "Wait a minute, if X is so, then wouldn't you expect Y?" or something similar, and show that their "model" is faulty. But in a debate, the evolutionist has to shut up while the creationist gallops along, spewing out nonsense with every paragraph.

    It is possible to defeat a creationist in a debate, but you really have to know what you are doing. As Dr. McCoy said about Good defeating Evil, in order to do so Good has to be very careful.

    Dr. Eugenie Scott was Executive Director of National Center for Science Education (NCSE). The NCSE grew out of state-level "Committees of Correspondence" whose members were mainly scientists and educators, many of whom had participated in a creationist debate in the 1970's and had been turned into mincemeat. They went into those debates thinking that they'd be talking about science and instead got hit by "creation science" claims that they had never heard before. They immediately knew that those claims were ridiculous, but you can't just say, "But that's ridiculous!" You need to be able to explain to the audience why those claims are ridiculous, something that they were not prepared to do on the spur of the moment in the middle of a debate. Especially since they would have needed to research the scientific sources that the creationist had misrepresented or misquoted in order to have made that claim.

    When AHA President Fred Edwords said in a 1985 speech, "It's not enough to know your evolution! You need to know your creationism better!", he was speaking from the experiences of those debate opponents. After having been chewed up and spat out, they did what any academic would, they hit the books! They researched the problem! They learned everything they could about "creation science". They researched the claims and wrote rebuttals to them. And they communicated the results of their studies with each other, hence their name, the Committees of Correspondence, after the pre-Revolutionary War Committees of Correspondence. They also shared strategies for winning debates and presentation materials (eg, a slide detailing the evolution of triceratops which followed the creationists from city to city). And they also shared news of the new debates with each other, publishing them in their newsletter, the Creation/Evolution Newsletter, and their findings in their technical journal, Creation/Evolution. By around 1980, the tide had turned as described in Creation-Evolution Debates: Who's Winning Them Now?, which also describes several individual debates.

    Fred Edwords described his winning approach when debating Duane Gish. One of the disadvantages of the creationists' well polished presentations was that they would give the same presentation each time. Gish had his presentation that he would give and was determined to give come hell or high water. By knowing Gish's presentation in advance, Edwords prepared a well worded rebuttal to each of the points that Gish would raise. He wrote each rebuttal on a loose-leaf sheet of paper and as Gish presented each claim Edwords would take that sheet out of his folder. Then in his rebuttal, Edwords just went through each sheet of paper and rebutted every one of Gish's claims. Then Gish demanded the format be changed to allow him more time to respond to Edwords' rebuttal.

    In another debate, the opponent had prepared overhead slides with a quotation made by Gish on one side and the orginal source on the other so that he could point out how Gish had misquoted and misrepresented his sources. The audience was appalled at how Gish had lied.

    The other creationist vulnerability is creationism itself. They never present it, they never talk about it except to say that they've proven it by disproving evolution. All they ever do is to attack evolution -- actually, their "evolution model" which has practically nothing to do with evolution. Their opponents have found that in order to discuss creationism they have to introduce it into the debate themselves, which the creationists object to because "that's bringing religion into a scientific discussion!"

    The links above contain much more information about successful approaches to debates.

    Even in my attempts to discuss "creation science" with Bill Morgan, he has steadfastly refused. We know that he is a staunch young-earth creationist (as he is identified as being in that OC Weekly article), but in all the nineteen years I've been trying to have a discussion with him about young-earth claims, he has steadfastly refused to talk about it (by ignoring my requests) and he has never once admitted to being a young-earther. The closest he had ever come was to challenge my to provide evidence that the earth is old, but then he ignored what I had presented him. So then Bill Morgan is also well aware of how weak and vulnerable his position and his claims are.

    Even though creationists are no longer as formidible in debates as they used to be, on the local level we still have the situation described by Dr. Scott in which an ill-prepared local opponent will sally forth and get chopped off at the ankles. And the local level appears to be where most of the debates still go on.

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    First uploaded on 1998 December 07.
    Updated on 2017 January 20.