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Evolution vs. Creationism at UL
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About a week ago I attended an Evolution vs. Creationism debate sponsored by the UL philosophy club. It was pretty lame, all things considered.

The man defending creationism was a local retired lawyer, who blasted through an hour of PowerPoint presentation that featured stunning logic like "You can't have a dog and a cat mate" [pictures of a dog and cat on either side, "...and get, a Dat!" [picture of a giant question mark]. He followed the basic argument from design, the second law of thermodynamics, and so on and so forth, all showing a pretty stunning lack of basic junior high science knowledge.

But...then the evolution guy, a geology professor there at UL, got up to speak, and wasn't really a whole lot better. He spent the first 20 minutes or so telling stories about his daughter and trying to dispel the idea that religion and evolutionary theory are incompatible. It was at least a half hour before he got around to finally rebutting any of the other guy's points, and he didn't do a great job at that.

All a matter of strategies and personalities, I suppose. Some people think it's wrong to even engage the creationists in dialogue, since it implicitly legitimizes them. Others take the soft, gentle approach, like the professor at the debate.

Personally, I think you hone up a nice sharp blade and slice their idiotic arguments to pieces. If someone were arguing for a geocentric theory, they could say "common sense" things like "Folks, you see the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening. Does it feel like we're spinning around a big giant ball of gas!"

The way to confront such stuff is not to talk about how to reconcile religion and science, but to point out how such a view is counter to mountains of empirical evidence and yes, common sense.

Even worse, the lawyer was a young-earth creationist. So he believed the earth was about 6,000 years old. Yep, the Grand Canyon wasn't formed by geological forces over millenia...god made it in a day. Dinosaurs and humans apparently coexisted, and stegosaurs and T. Rex were all wiped out by the flood (dunno why Noah didn't save some of the smaller ones, though). This is the theatre of the absurd. You don't treat the absurd with gentleness and point out that it's fucking absurd.

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