Pop liberal theologian Karl Giberson on debate with Meyer
|April 22, 2014||Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Cambrian explosion, News|
Giberson is the author of Saving Darwin (how to be a Christian an believe in Darwin). Steve Meyer is the author of Darwin’s Doubt, on the problem the Cambrian explosion has always posed for Darwinian theory. Giberson writes that ID has no theory behind it, a point Steve Meyer disputes. In any event,
My presentation—crafted with consideration of my non-specialist audience—was dismissed as a “bunch of pictures—characters from The Simpsons (a cartoon of Homer evolving); a baby with a tail, webbed feet, a strange-looking whale creature with legs (ambulecetus, a well-established and very significant transitional fossil connecting sea mammals to their terrestrial ancestors); and a pretty picture taken at [my] vacation home.” In contrast, my debate partner’s presentation was “sleek, professional, and chock-full of evidence and data.” Like the sweat on Nixon’s brow, my homey images and simple questions apparently destroyed my argument.
And so we see why debates accomplish so little. The Virginia audience left that night having learned little about ID, as Meyer’s presentation was very technical, although anything but “chock full of evidence.” My rather serious claim that ID had no theory and thus no evidence at all was dismissed, not addressed. The ID folk are now assuring their readers that their guy won; my defense of evolution was apparently pitiful: “Where was the new evidence?” the reviewer asks. “Where were the cutting-edge studies supportive of [my] view?” Such questions seem profoundly irrelevant, given that evolution has been an established scientific theory for many decades. The theory is long past needing new evidence and new discoveries are never presented as offering new “evidence” for evolution, any more than new photographs of the earth from space provide “new evidence” for its shape.
It sounds as though Giberson didn’t want to debate Meyer’s actual argument in the debate titled “Should Christians embrace Darwin?” (the Cambrian period argues against the Darwinian theory of evolution).
Pictures of babies with tails and webbed feet, yeah, that’ll get attention, but…
I do the occasional debate to remind me what America’s troubled conversation over origins looks like from the “inside.” My debate partner in Virginia was articulate, educated, likable, and familiar with a vast range of relevant scientific research. If important scientific questions—like elections—turned on debate performances ID would fare much better—which is exactly why anti-evolutionists love debates.
Not to worry. Increasingly today, people tell us, “the time for debate is over.” Debates don’t matter, but de boots do.
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