Richard Dawkins' ruses for refusing to debate creation scientists

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Phillip E. Johnson, Professor of Law, was a cofounder of the Center for Science and Culture

In 2006, Richard Dawkins maintains that he will not debate creationists (which according to Dawkins's includes holders of the intelligent design position) because supposedly evolutionist have plenty of publicity and respectability and creationists do not.[1][2] However, Dawkins has shown inconsistency regarding this matter and recently debated John Lennox.[3] Also, in 2007, "Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture today announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution."[4] In addition, as noted earlier, creation scientists and members of the evolutionary community have criticized Richard Dawkins for the various instances that he promoted pseudoscience, so Richard Dawkins claiming he will lend respectability to creationists by debating them is certainly a claim that can be challenged.

Also, as far as public support for the evolutionary viewpoint, an article by CBS News begins with the observation that, "Americans do not believe that humans evolved, and the vast majority says that even if they evolved, God guided the process. Just 13 percent say that God was not involved."[5] A 2005 poll by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Social and Religious Research found that 60% of American medical doctors reject Darwinism, stating that they do not believe humans evolved through natural processes alone.[6] Thirty-eight percent of the American medical doctors polled agreed with the statement that "Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement." [7] The study also reported that 1/3 of all medical doctors favor the theory of intelligent design over evolution.[8] In addition, there is evidence to suggest that the evolutionary position is gradually losing public support in the United States.[9] The prestigious science journal Science reported the following in 2006 concerning the United States: "The percentage of people in the country who accept the idea of evolution has declined from 45 in 1985 to 40 in 2005. Meanwhile the fraction of Americans unsure about evolution has soared from 7 per cent in 1985 to 21 per cent last year."[10] In January 2006, the BBC reported concerning Britain:

Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll.

Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.[11]

Recently, a Christian apologist called Richard Dawkins a "cowardly clown" for refusing to debate apt debate challengers such as the creation scientists at Creation Ministries International.[12] Dr. Jonathan Sarfati recently published the book The Greatest Hoax on Earth which rebuts Richard Dawkins' recent book The Greatest Show on Earth.[13]

Intelligent design advocate John West offered the following commentary behind the decline of public support of the evolutionary position: "The Darwin-only crowd is losing public support. There seems to be a backlash against the strong-arm tactics that have been used in recent years to censor and intimidate scientists, teachers, and students who raise criticisms of Darwin.”[14]

Reason for not debating creationists is the same for not debating strong theist debaters

As can be seen above, there are plenty of scientists, medical doctors and members of the public who hold the evolutionary paradigm in low esteem so Dawkins excuses for refusing to debate creationists simply have little to no weight and they are certainly not the best explanation for Mr. Dawkins' behavior in this matter. In addition, given that atheism is held in low esteem in many parts of the world and it is a minority position worldwide, Dawkins' refusal to debate strong theistic debaters is quite odd given his allegation that he doesn't debate creationists because he doesn't want to give them respectability and publicity. Furthermore, the Rabbi Boteach debate and the events surrounding it, shows the great lengths that Dawkins will go to avoid letting the public know about a debate loss to a theist (As mentioned previosly Dawkins lost his video taped debate to Rabbi Boteach and then claimed the debate never took place). The reason why Dawkins refuses to debate creation scientists is that generally speaking, creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates.

See also