On Thursday, November, 10th 2011, I was interviewed by pastor Bob Enyart on a Christian radio talk show with the ironic name of Real Science Friday. The interview was aired in three parts. We continued that conversation a week later, and that one was aired in four parts.
As is often the case in any live discussion of this topic, we both cited points in our favor which the other side was unable to examine or verify on the fly. We both made several claims relating to scientific research, and we both accused the other of being unread, out-of-date, or of misinterpreting or misrepresenting that data. Neither of us should get away with making indefensible assertions just to sound right on radio. Accuracy and accountability matter more, at least they do to me. That is why I challenged Bob Enyart to a written debate in a public forum pertaining to the points raised live on the air. Amazingly he accepted.
We’re nearing the end of that debate now, but I’m sure it’s not over with yet. I’m betting that Bob will post at least one more time. I don’t know how he can. I’ve left him nothing he can do but concede his mistakes, but this is where it gets interesting. Beliefs based on faith have different conditions than those based on reason. If I can’t defend my position, I’ll admit it. That might not be enough for to change my mind, but if you show me good reason to, I will. I’ll even thank you for proving me wrong because I know I’m a little bit more learned for it. I recognize that I may have prejudice and I try to minimize or eliminate my biases, because my position is based on reason. So I have no motivation to defend a position that doesn’t appear to be the best choice anymore.
When a faith-based believer finds himself painted into a corner where he knows his position is indefensible, and he knows that he can’t admit that openly -even if it’s already clearly obvious to everyone else; when his emotional investment in, and financial dependance on doctrinal obligations prohibits him from conceding the point either, but neither can he change the subject, nor escape, what happens then is usually a sort of psychotic melt-down. I would guess that that’s about where we are in this debate now, but it’s really hard to tell with him. He is Enyart. His cognitive dissonance is broad. His confirmation bias is thick.
Anyway his next submission ought to be interesting whatever it is, and a number of participants on the League of Reason have asked that I post links to that debate here, even though it is an extremely long read in whole or in part.
As promised, I posted my first response here:
He chose not to deal with any of that at all, and started his own debate thread here:
And interested spectators may comment from the peanut gallery here:
Hope someone out there enjoys this sort of thing.