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Sad story: Death of a scientist in small doses

Leading Darwinist Richard Dawkins Dodges Debates,

Refuses to Defend Evolution as The Greatest Show On Earth

Seattle – Richard Dawkins, the world’s leading public spokesman for Darwinian evolution and an advocate of the “new atheism,” has refused to debate Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a prominent advocate of intelligent design and the author of the acclaimed Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009) in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.

“Richard Dawkins claims that the appearance of design in biology is an illusion and claims to have refuted the case for intelligent design,” says Dr. Meyer who received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge in England.

“But Dawkins assiduously avoids addressing the key evidence for intelligent design and won’t debate its leading proponents,” adds Dr. Meyer. “Dawkins says that there is no evidence for intelligent design in life, and yet he also acknowledges that neither he nor anyone else has an evolutionary explanation for the origin of the first living cell. We know now even the simplest forms of life are chock-full of digital code, complex information processing systems and other exquisite forms of nanotechnology.”

In Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009) in the Cell, Dr. Meyer shows that the digital code embedded in DNA points powerfully to a designing intelligence and helps unravel a mystery that Darwin did not address: how did the very first life begin?

Signature in the Cell has just entered its third printing according to publisher HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins, and has been endorsed by scientists around the world, including leading British geneticist Dr. Norman Nevin, Alastair Noble, Ph.D. chemistry, formerly Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools for Science, Scotland, and Dr. Philip Skell, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Meyer challenged Dawkins to a debate when he saw that their speaking tours would cross paths this fall in Seattle and New York. Dawkins declined through his publicists, saying he does not debate “creationists.”

“Dawkins’ response is disingenuous,” said Meyer. “Creationists believe the earth is 10,000 years old and use the Bible as the basis for their views on the origins of life. I don’t think the earth is 10,000 years old and my case for intelligent design is based on scientific evidence.”

According to Discovery Institute, where Dr. Meyer directs the Center for Science & Culture, the debate challenge is a standing invitation for any time and place that is mutually agreeable to both participants.

Gosh, I really must find that feather I knock myself over with, defying the law of gravity – to the amazement of my neighbours – whenever I hear stuff like this.

Basically, after he stopped doing serious science and unwisely became a “professor of the public understanding of science”, due to the unwise beneficence of a Microsoft billionaire, Dawkins committed himself to more and more completely ridiculous positions: The selfish gene and the meme are part of the story.

Stuff for the popular press, not for science.

Dawkins won’t debate because he can’t, any more. Microsoft billionaires can’t help him either.

Note: You can win a free copy of Signature by entering Uncommon Descent Contest 11.

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39 Responses to Sad story: Death of a scientist in small doses

  1. Where’s that article from?

  2. Interesting that Meyer thinks that Old Earth Creationists aren’t creationists.

  3. Exactly whom is Meyer’s book acclaimed by?

  4. Heinrich,

    Is it merely a personal issue that you must put words into others people’s mouths? Or is the opportunity to shoot for a cheap shot simply irresistable?

    Dr Meyer simply recognizes the real-world context of the comment. Perhaps you should have as well, or maybe for you context doesn’t matter.

  5. Upright BiPed:

    Personally, I am not sure where I stand on this issue, but I have read in earnest, Hugh Ross and Fazalle Rana. They are both qualified scientists and don’t consider themselves “cheap shot” types of characters. Further, I am reading Meyer’s book and find it, like Behe’s books, factual and intellectually honest. But to dismiss Heinrich’s comment as a cheap shot is incorrect.

    Like any theory of origins, the data simply don’t give themselves a happy home, which is why there is such controversy; it demands some kind of metaphysical explanation.

    Dr.s Ross and Rana appear to be dismissed at UD, but they both bear reading. As I said, I am not personally convinced either way, but one thing seems blatantly true to me. Neo-Darwinism is a dogmatically dead dogma. Engagement with all points of view however, is not only wise, but essential.

  6. Sorry, Upright BiPed,I meant this for Heinrich

  7. toc, np

  8. 8

    Basically, after he stopped doing serious science and unwisely became a “professor of the public understanding of science”, due to the unwise beneficence of a Microsoft billionaire, Dawkins committed himself to more and more to completely ridiculous positions: The selfish gene and the meme are part of the story.

    Um, Denyse? Dawkins coined the term meme back in 1976 in the book The Selfish Gene. In other words, about twenty years before he got the Simonyi chair. That book, by the way, was not considered to be for the “popular press”. It was, to be sure, written so a layperson could jump right in, but it was also aimed at experts and students in the biological sciencesand was in fact written with a scientific audience in mind (says so right in the 1st Edition’s Preface). Maybe you’re also not aware that nothing in it is considered all that “ridiculous” or radical and hasn’t been for a long time. None of it was really all that out there even when it was first published, despite persistent myths and misunderstandings to the contrary. The only arguable exception would be memes, but as that brief chapter was quite obviously speculative (as Dawkins has noted many times) and quite separable from the rest of the book, I don’t see what the problem is. Especially since he’s spent very little time pursuing the idea since then. Certainly not to the extent that he could be considered “committed” to it.

    Out of curiosity, Denyse, have you ever actually read The Selfish Gene? I get the impression that you haven’t, as, from reading your writings here over the past couple of years, you appear to have acquired at some point the common misconception (or a copy of the meme, if you will) that it advocates for a form of genetic hyper-determinism and imputes some sort of agency to DNA itself. Despite some of the language used in the text (including the title itself), it’s nowhere near doing anything of the sort. In the briefest possible terms, it simply argues that selection operates at the level of the gene most if not all of the time. That doesn’t sound so “ridiculous” now, does it?

  9. Mrs O’Leary,

    I think you are reversing part of Dr Dawkins’ resume. He became a popularizer of science long before getting the position endowed by Simonyi. The Selfish Gene is from the late 70s.

  10. We agreed awhile ago that the term creationist has no meaning. If you believe in God, then you are a creationist. So nearly all the human race can be called creationists. When someone brings it up it is an example of weakness, namely, they have no cogent argument and are trying to use rhetoric to score points.

    So those who use the term creationist are arguing from weakness or that I don’t have anything so I will sling some mud whatever way I can. The use of YEC or young earth creationist does have some value since it has meaning in terms of the science held but the term creationist does not.

  11. Since we are recycling stories, we might as well recyle the comments as well:

    As others have pointed out, public debates are little more than a spectator sport or entertainment. The only thing they decide is who is the more persuasive public speaker to the audience on the day, and that may have little to do with the strength of the case they presenting.

    There have already been many public debates about evolution going at least as far back as the famous heavyweight match between Thomas “The Bulldog” Huxley and Bishop “Soapy Sam” Wilberforce. They may be good knockabout fun for an audience but they solve nothing. Issues in science are decided in the laboratory or in the field not in the debating hall.

    Richard Dawkins has nothing to gain by debating Stephen Meyer. His reputation as one of the world’s most prominent atheists and champions of evolution is well-established. Meyer’s prestige on the other hand, at least among his supporters, would undoubtedly be enhanced by appearing on the same stage as such a figure. It would do no harm to his book sales either.

  12. I wouldn’t be bothered reading about the selfish gene because it has never been identified. It is an artifact of a science popularizer’s imagination. Same for the “meme.”

    If you told me that there was a gene that predicts likelihood of developing ovarian cancer, do you imagine I would not be interested?

    Dawkins’s genes are the best demo for the existence of the mind, though not the best demo of its use.

  13. Seversky,

    Sorry, Sev. In the mind of any layperson, Dawkins is ducking a debate because he is worried he will get beat up pretty bad.

    As long as Dawkins ducks, Meyers wins. And if he debates, Myers still wins. I predict more pep in Myers’ step: ….’Dawkins ducks, I win. Dawkins debates, I win. Dawkins ducks, I win….

    Let’s wait and see if P.Z., Coyne, et al will take up the challenge. Bet 10 to the 40th, they will make the same excuse.

    Richard Dawkins has nothing to gain by debating Stephen Meyer. His reputation as one of the world’s most prominent atheists and champions of evolution is well-established. Meyer’s prestige on the other hand, at least among his supporters, would undoubtedly be enhanced by appearing on the same stage as such a figure. It would do no harm to his book sales either.

  14. Looks like we have a new nickname for Richard:

    Ducky Dawkins.

    Nice ring to it.

  15. Seversky

    Richard Dawkins has nothing to gain by debating Stephen Meyer. His reputation as one of the world’s most prominent atheists and champions of evolution is well-established. Meyer’s prestige on the other hand, at least among his supporters, would undoubtedly be enhanced by appearing on the same stage as such a figure. It would do no harm to his book sales either.

    I believe the real reason Dawkins won’t debate Meyer or any other ID proponent of note is because he knows he’ll get his clocked cleaned. He won’t debate Alvin Plantinga or William Lane Craig on the existence of God either. As most of his books and articles so amply demonstrate, Dawkins does not know how to construct a valid, fallacy-free argument to support his position. I haven’t yet read his latest book, but The God Delusion was a logic professors dream for teaching logical fallacies. His fellow Oxfordite Alistair McGrath exposed many of them in his book The Dawkins Delusion. Dawkins has to know how weak his arguments are. His refusal to debate a real opponent is disingenuous!

  16. Mrs O’Leary,

    The Selfish Gene is not about a putative gene for selfishness. It was written long before we had all that hype about ‘the gene for this’ and ‘the gene for that’.

  17. Perhaps Dawkins actually has some reason for not attending. Shouldnt we find out before slinging mud ?

    Or must he make himself permanently available for our convenience ?

  18. Oramus @ 12

    Sorry, Sev. In the mind of any layperson, Dawkins is ducking a debate because he is worried he will get beat up pretty bad.

    At least Dawkins has not agreed to a debate and then pulled out. Unlike Meyer, who agreed to testify at the Dover trial and then withdrew.

  19. If around 85% of the U.S. population disbelieved in something that I insisted to be proven fact, I’d take every opportunity available to plead my case. It’s only logical. I have 85% of the population to gain and only 15% to lose. Throw in the fact that I believe I have an airtight case, and it becomes a no-brainer.

    So then why is Richard Dawkins ducking Stephen C. Meyer?

    Answer: Dawkins is clearly a coward. He knows that Meyer is his intellectual superior and would mop the floor with him. He also knows that the debate would be well publicized and would further educate the public about what I.D. is (the only rational explanation for origins) and is not (Biblical creationism).

    The public becoming aware and educated of Intelligent Design is perhaps the Darwinist’s worst nightmare. Once screaming “creationism!” no longer works they’ll be all out of ammo.

  20. Graham,

    Did you read the article I linked to in the original post? It states that Meyer and Dawkins had two dates in which their book tours coincided in the same city, so, it’s not a matter of asking for Dawkins to make himself permanently availavle, it’s a matter of being already available and hiding.

  21. To Clive,

    Yes, I did read the article, and I noted that their paths crossed, but even if they were in the same room, why does dawkins have to do anything ? Perhaps he is tired, perhaps he has a hot date, hell, I dont know. Why dont you just ask him before slinging mud ?

  22. 22

    Graham, you’d make Bull Conner a proud deputy.

  23. At least Dawkins has not agreed to a debate and then pulled out. Unlike Meyer, who agreed to testify at the Dover trial and then withdrew.

    Dover always reminds me of the Woody Allen line:

    “This trial is a travesty. It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.” :-)

  24. 24

    Denyse, as Nakashima-sama has noted, it’s not about “a” Selfish Gene. That’s merely a book title, a book which makes the case for selection operating primarily on genes rather than on organisms or groups of organisms. The “selfishness” is entirely metaphorical. Dawkins discusses exactly how misleading the title can be when someone such as yourself takes it literally (though you take it even more literally than most, I have to say). Here’s a bit from the 30th anniversary edition introduction, in case you still doubt:

    “The best way to explain the title is by locating the emphasis. Emphasize ‘selfish’ and you will think the book is about selfishness, whereas, if anything, it devotes more attention to altruism.”

    The book is about genes in general, not any specific gene. But then if you’d read it, you’d know that already.

  25. Upright Biped @4 –
    (sorry for not replying earlier: the Real World intervened)

    Is it merely a personal issue that you must put words into others people’s mouths? Or is the opportunity to shoot for a cheap shot simply irresistable?

    My comment was not meant as a cheap shot – I thought it was an interesting point to raise: it seems clear to me what Meyer is saying, although I am not sure what to make of it.

    Dr Meyer simply recognizes the real-world context of the comment. Perhaps you should have as well, or maybe for you context doesn’t matter.

    Could you explain what you mean by this (without putting words into Meyer’s mouth, obviously!)? His statement seems pretty clear: he’s defining creationism in a way that excludes Old Earth Creationism.

  26. Graham1,

    Perhaps he is tired, perhaps he has a hot date, hell, I dont know. Why dont you just ask him before slinging mud ?

    He’s already been asked by Meyer, and his answer was not that he was tired or had a date (he’s married), but that he doesn’t debate Creationists. Even if Meyer was a creationist (he’s not), Dawkins does debate creation in his books, so why not in person?

  27. OT:

    He’s already been asked by Meyer, and his answer was not that he was tired or had a date (he’s married)…

    It is a sad state of affairs when hot dates and marriage are considered incompatible! ;)

  28. Why didn’t you cite the source of (or attribute?) the article you quoted in its entirety (?) above?

    It looks really weird to just have a giant block of text with no source or author identified.

  29. Here’s a small segment from the Wall Street Journal article Dr. Dembski posted in his latest entry:

    Mr. Gore is simply doing what any propagandist with a weak case would do — avoiding serious debate or exchange. To quote the late William F. Buckley, “There is a reason that baloney rejects the grinder.”

    Sounds like Richard Dawkins.

  30. Mr JamesBond,

    The text was written by “Staff” of the Discovery Institute, and published on their CSC site on Oct 6. That does appear to be the entire text.

  31. 31

    So the idea here is to take someone who, for years now, has stated that they will not take part in these kind of debates, and then challenge them to a debate? The outcome was obvious and Dr. Meyer knew before the question was asked what the answer would be.

    In any event, I guess I can acknowledge that ID was right all along. I am detecting design here. Dr. Meyer designed this sad little charade to get his name in the papers and sell his book.

  32. So the idea here is to take someone who, for years now, has stated that they will not take part in these kind of debates, and then challenge them to a debate? The outcome was obvious and Dr. Meyer knew before the question was asked what the answer would be.

    In any event, I guess I can acknowledge that ID was right all along. I am detecting design here. Dr. Meyer designed this sad little charade to get his name in the papers and sell his book.

    Dawkins has debated Oxford mathematician John Lennox three times*. I’m not sure Dr. Lennox’s exact views on origins and evolution, however I know that he is a Christian. Under Dawkins’ criteria, this would make him a “creationist”.

    He’s broken his own policy against debating creationists, therefor his excuse for declining a debate with Stephen Meyer fails.

    If he had any integrity he’d give up what’s left of the charade and debate Meyer. He could show the world just how bankrupt I.D. is by taking Meyer apart. He could win over a portion of the (approx.) 85% of America that thinks Darwinism is a complete joke.

    Yet he does none of this. Instead he continues spouting out the same proven lie. How anyone can respect, even admire such a dishonest coward is mind-numbing. How someone like Dawkins could cling to a world-view which he’s too insecure to defend is perhaps even more mind-numbing.

    *Dawkins vs Lennox Trilogy

  33. Shawn Boy,

    You’re exactly right about Dawkins debating Lennox but not Meyer. By the way, the Lennox debate, I think, is fantastic.

  34. Winston Macchi,

    In any event, I guess I can acknowledge that ID was right all along. I am detecting design here. Dr. Meyer designed this sad little charade to get his name in the papers and sell his book.

    Prove it.

  35. I’m not sure Dr. Lennox’s exact views on origins and evolution, however I know that he is a Christian. Under Dawkins’ criteria, this would make him a “creationist”.

    This is an odd assertion to make – do you have a reference?. In all that I have read of Dawkins’ books I have never seen him conflate ‘Christian’ with ‘creationist’. Indeed, he endorses a book by devout Christian Kenneth Miller in The God Delusion (p158, my paperback Black Swan edition), and he even defines himself as a “cultural Christian”.
    However, looking at some of the comments above:

    As long as Dawkins ducks, Meyers wins. And if he debates, Myers still wins.I predict more pep in Myers’ step: ….’Dawkins ducks, I win. Dawkins debates, I win. Dawkins ducks, I win….

    and

    I believe the real reason Dawkins won’t debate Meyer or any other ID proponent of note is because he knows he’ll get his clocked cleaned.

    also

    Dawkins is clearly a coward. He knows that Meyer is his intellectual superior and would mop the floor with him.

    Taking these comments at face value – essentially Dawkins is thinking “Heads he wins, tails I lose” – surely he is doing the logical, pragmatic thing in not debating Meyer, no?
    Finally, you continue:

    Yet he does none of this. Instead he continues spouting out the same proven lie. How anyone can respect, even admire such a dishonest coward is mind-numbing. How someone like Dawkins could cling to a world-view which he’s too insecure to defend is perhaps even more mind-numbing.

    I know the man is no friend of ID, but to my mind your cartoonish put downs – “dishonest coward” – and inability to understand how Dawkins has won the respect of mainstream scientists as well as a large portion of the book buying public speaks more of your attitude than his.

  36. Seversky wrote:

    Richard Dawkins has nothing to gain by debating Stephen Meyer. …

    Obviously true. He would lose badly. It would be quite embarrassing for him and his supporters. I suspect he realizes this. He doesn’t have an effective counter case, or else he would have given it in his books that focus instead upon arguments applied to Young Earth Creationism. Why should Dawkins of all people hold back on giving sound anti-Meyer arguments?

    Seversky wrote:

    … Meyer’s prestige on the other hand, at least among his supporters, would undoubtedly be enhanced by appearing on the same stage as such a figure.

    I cannot imagine why you would think any supporter of Meyer would think it enhanced someone’s prestige “by appearing on the same stage as” Dawkins. Really, why would you think such a thing?

    Now if person A cleans the clock of person B in a debate, that is another matter.

    Seversky, does Dawkins believe he is person A or person B?

    If A, then he should debate Meyer. Meyer would be discredited, not increased in prestige. This is the clash of ideas.

    The best reason for Dawkins not to debate Meyer is if Dawkins doesn’t believe he can convincingly show that Meyer and his ID position are wrong.

    He doesn’t have a case against Meyer’s actual position, or he would already be using it in his books. The best he can do is knock someone else’s position, call them both “creationists” and hope people never learn the difference and that he can’t refute Meyer.

  37. ericB @ 36

    Richard Dawkins has nothing to gain by debating Stephen Meyer. …

    Obviously true. He would lose badly. It would be quite embarrassing for him and his supporters. I suspect he realizes this. He doesn’t have an effective counter case, or else he would have given it in his books that focus instead upon arguments applied to Young Earth Creationism. Why should Dawkins of all people hold back on giving sound anti-Meyer arguments?

    Since it sounds as if Meyer has nothing better to offer than New Paleyism, Dawkins has been answering that argument at least as far back as The Blind Watchmaker.

    Intelligent Design theory amounts to expressing amazement at the complexity of living things, proclaiming that such things could not possibly have come about through natural processes therefore they must have been designed.

    Tests have been proposed by which ID could be detected such as the Explanatory Filter or the measurement of some ill-defined property such as Complex Specified Information but they have yet to be rigorously tested for accuracy and reliability themselves. As far as I am aware, for all the talk about CSI, it has yet to be calculated for any object, not even a banana.

    I cannot imagine why you would think any supporter of Meyer would think it enhanced someone’s prestige “by appearing on the same stage as” Dawkins. Really, why would you think such a thing?

    Because Meyer – and, quite clearly, his supporters here – are so desperate for such a debate to take place?

    Why did Meyer not challenge someone like me to debate? He should be able to beat me quite easily after all. Could it be that there would be no kudos in such a victory, no benefit to himself, his prestige and his book sales?

    Richard Dawkins on the other hand is a leading proponent of evolution and one of the world’s most prominent atheists. Besting him in debate would be a tremendous coup and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

    Now if person A cleans the clock of person B in a debate, that is another matter.

    Seversky, does Dawkins believe he is person A or person B?

    I have no idea. You should ask him not me.

    If A, then he should debate Meyer. Meyer would be discredited, not increased in prestige. This is the clash of ideas.

    The best reason for Dawkins not to debate Meyer is if Dawkins doesn’t believe he can convincingly show that Meyer and his ID position are wrong.

    As I wrote before, public debates are nothing more than an entertainment, a spectator sport.

    How do you measure success in such a debate? How do you decide who cleaned whose clock – or even watch? Do you have a panel of judges who hold up scorecards awarding points for content, presentation and style? Do you have a “clapometer” to measure the volume of audience applause for each debating point scored? Do you poll the audience before and/or after the debate and, if so, how do you ensure the audience is not ‘packed’ with supporters of one side or the other who will vote for their man regardless of the perceived outcome?

    The simple answer is that Meyer wants the debate because he has a book to sell. Win or lose, going head-to-head with Richard Dawkins would be great publicity.

    Dawkins, on the other hand, has nothing to gain by debating a lightweight like Meyer and why should he want to help promote Meyer’s book?

  38. Seversky, fyi I respect Allen MacNeill, for example, far more than I have ever thought of Dawkins. That is because respect, which is earned, comes not from books or title or position or public visibility or other empty markers of “prestige”. Allen engages with others on the issues, and typically does so with exemplary courtesy. But Dawkins…

    Seversky:

    Besting him [Dawkins] in debate would be a tremendous coup and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

    Ah, but I didn’t suggest otherwise. In fact, you’ve agreed with the very point I made. My point was that prestige doesn’t come “by appearing on the same stage as” Dawkins. On the other hand, I said “Now if person A cleans the clock of person B in a debate, that is another matter.” Or as you put it “Besting him”.

    “Intelligent Design theory amounts to expressing amazement at the complexity of living things, proclaiming that such things could not possibly have come about through natural processes therefore they must have been designed.”

    If those who are willing to debate Meyer share that view, it will be all the easier for Meyer, since they won’t be prepared to deal with his actual position. But if you want to keep shooting blanks at straw man targets, go ahead and exercise your freedom.

    How do you measure success in such a debate?

    One listens to both sides, endeavoring to understand what each is saying. I also recommend noting such things as who is playing games with words (e.g. “creationist”) to try to dodge issues or distinctions rather than deal with differences. Or resorting to vague hand waving (just some more New Paleyism).

    Each individual who listens has the opportunity to see who is dodging and obfuscating and who is making a persuasive case. Each person gets the opportunity to be persuaded, if they are willing to listen, learn, and consider.

    Meyer is not afraid that they will hear whatever Dawkins could say. Too bad it seems we apparently cannot say the same for Dawkins.

    Win or lose, going head-to-head with Richard Dawkins would be great publicity.

    Not true. If Dawkins could rip Meyer’s position to shreds, it would be terrible publicity for the book. People would come away realizing it would be a waste of money — if Dawkins could do that. Sales would be hurt most among those who are not already fans and not already committed to buying Meyer’s book anyway. So Meyer has much to lose if Dawkins can demolish his position.

    Dawkins, on the other hand, has nothing to gain…

    Again clearly not true. This is a prime opportunity to curtail some of those nasty ID memes by showing how empty they are — if Dawkins can do that.

    You concede that Dawkins is interested in opposing those Paleyism ideas. Here is his chance to scrutinize Meyer directly and show what is or isn’t there before people are seduced by the one-sided presentation in Meyer’s book. (But then, Meyer would get the same opportunity to scrutinize the claims of Dawkins. Too bad about that part.)

    Meyer is not afraid that the audience will hear whatever Dawkins could say. Too bad it seems we apparently cannot say the same for Dawkins.

  39. ericB @ 38

    Seversky, fyi I respect Allen MacNeill, for example, far more than I have ever thought of Dawkins. That is because respect, which is earned, comes not from books or title or position or public visibility or other empty markers of “prestige”. Allen engages with others on the issues, and typically does so with exemplary courtesy. But Dawkins…

    Perhaps you should suggest to Stephen Meyer that he challenge someone more accommodating to a debate. There must be others who would be more receptive, such as Kenneth Miller or Francis Collins.

    My point was that prestige doesn’t come “by appearing on the same stage as” Dawkins.

    And my point is that it does. Meyer would not have issued the challenge otherwise.

    You concede that Dawkins is interested in opposing those Paleyism ideas. Here is his chance to scrutinize Meyer directly and show what is or isn’t there before people are seduced by the one-sided presentation in Meyer’s book. (But then, Meyer would get the same opportunity to scrutinize the claims of Dawkins. Too bad about that part.)

    That sounds like the sort of bluster we heard after the Kansas hearings and before the Kitzmiller case.

    I therefore await the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas that compel evolutionists to be deposed and interrogated at length on their views. There are ways for this to happen, and the wheels are in motion (e.g., Congressional hearings over the teaching of biology in federally funded high schools for military kids). For such hearings to have the desired effect, however, will require that evolutionists be asked the right questions.

    What I propose, then, is a strategy for interrogating the Darwinists to, as it were, squeeze the truth out of them.

    Unfortunately, that isn’t quite how it turned out at Dover.

    Actually, if Meyer is really interested in an exchange of ideas rather than a public spectacle why not issue a challenge to a written debate. That way each side can set out their cases at the sort of length and in the sort of detail to do them justice. Stripped of rhetorical tricks, crowd-pleasing presentations and rabble-rousing exhortations, it will focus attention exclusively on the arguments and evidence and enable both to be subjected to searching scrutiny. That is, after all, what both sides claim to want.

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