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AronRa vs Pastor Bob Enyart

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  We both made several claims relating to scientific research, and we both accused the other of being unread, out-of-date, or of misinterpreting or misrepresenting that data.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.

Comments

  1. Jon Hanson says

    Hoo boy, you’re a very patient man but I myself have absolutely no interest in reading what a pastor thinks of phylogeny. It sounds about as exciting as listening to a janitor lecture on quantum physics, although now that I think about it I’d much rather listen to a janitor since at least they aren’t paid to pretend they know things they have no way of actually knowing.

    • bobenyart says

      Jon, isn’t there a movie about that, called Good Will Duffy, or something like that?

  2. nichrome says

    The League of Reason needs to collaborate with the League of Graphic Design because their site is unreadable with its colour scheme and type selection.

    • 'Tis Himself says

      I gave up on the second page of the Peanut Gallery because one comment had each paragraph written in a different color.

      Hint to website designers: if you make your site difficult to read, people won’t read it.

      • says

        The colour scheme is light text on a dark background. Any coloured text is implemented by the user, usually to illustrate something.

  3. snowylocks says

    That guy will happily keep on ignoring everything you’ve been forced to repeat again and again, secure in the knowledge that most people won’t invest the time needed to find out he’s simply a liar.

    Consistent dishonesty pays his bills, and it takes a lot less effort than actual honesty, so don’t count on him running out of steam.

    Still, the time and effort you put into this aren’t in vain. Some of us do take the time to read all of it. I’ll be linking idiots to this debate for years to come.

    • Jon Hanson says

      But if they’re really idiots won’t confirmation bias take over sot hat they just lap up the pastor’s shit and scoff off Aron’s points? That’s been my experience too many times.

      • snowylocks says

        You have a rather depressing point there. There is, unfortunately, a level of dishonesty at which communication simply shuts down, and reaching people in that state of mind is damn near impossible, not to mention incredibly annoying. We’ve all been there.
        But I still think that for us to stop trying is possibly even more depressing.

        I guess I’m hoping that even idiots can recognize something as primal as the epic butt-kicking Mr Ra is delivering in that debate.

    • Sarah says

      Yeah, way back in the early 90’s when I used to take on creationists on alt.atheism it was credible that they’d never encountered the reason (for example) why input from the sun drives processes on earth and therefore complies with the laws of thermodynamics, but STILL making silly assertions like that in this day and age only shows that the person is either unable or unwilling to understand the principles behind the science. And it just makes arguing with them seem so pointless.

      I’m glad someone is willing to do it, though. I just don’t have the patience any more.

  4. rogue74656 says

    AronRa,

    You said “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. ”

    This is why I think we need to have a “Creationist Debate” document that can be used whenever a debate occurs.

    Not only would it be kept up to date on the current science, each debater could add a note to each creationist argument regarding correcting the debater. That way the next time they use it (and they will…) they can be called on the carpet for KNOWINGLY using a falsehood…

  5. Mike de Fleuriot says

    How many of you spazzed when he said that he grabbed the last copy of Answers from Ken Ham.

  6. feloniuspope says

    Linking to the League of Reason was a great idea! Now more people can see Aron destroy Bob Enyart! I’m looking to forward to Aron’s deathblow (if Enyart replies, that is).

  7. says

    I’ve just read the whole thing.

    If I may indulge in a short quote from The Meaning Of Life:

    Fuck off, I’m full.

    Wow. I mean, Enyart has to realize that he’s getting eviscerated in a most convincing fashion, right?

    How much Dunning can one man stuff into his own Kruger?

  8. Mr. Dave says

    Wow, what a read. My brain hurts now, but at least I satisfied my daily curiosity jones. I’m not particularly surprised that Bob simply won’t come back and address Aron’s points, because his general M.O. is to ignore the truth at all costs in the first place. When you have one side of a debate committed to never, ever change a position in light of any evidence produced by the opposition, it seems that debate is pointless, but it does have a purpose. Such debates can at least be used to show how dishonest some individuals are willing to be and let the audience of the debate make the decision for themselves if they think that such dishonesty is a good way by which to live one’s life.

  9. Mick Imfeld says

    Aronra,

    Why don’t you set forth some sort of a resume, telling us about your educational credentials, since you attack so many as lacking intelligence, and any occupational accomplishments which qualify you to express opinions anyone should listen to.

    If you want to say something meaningful about evolution, instead of just listing people who support evolutionary theory, and suggesting that smart people will follow without explanation, then suggesting that everyone else is unintelligent, won’t don’t you address the discussion of the fossil record set forth in Phillip Johnson’s book, “Darwin on Trial.”

    I would be interested in seeing a comparison between Phillip Johnson’s credentials, as professor at Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley, who clerked for a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and yours.

    Mick From Napa

    • says

      Mick Imfeld, could you show where I have attacked anyone for lacking intelligence? I don’t think I did that, because defense of creationism isn’t a matter of lacking intelligence; it’s a matter of lacking honesty. For example, dispite your false accusations, I have never suggested that smart people could or should follow anything without explanation -the way creationists do. Neither did I waste my time listing evolutionary advocates -as if truth were determined by popular vote.

      I should explain that authority doesn’t matter here; only what we can show to be true. Science is a meritocracy. Your credentials are meaningless if you don’t have the facts to back them up. If your observations are sound and backed by evidence, then it doesn’t matter what your credentials are either. Fortunately we’re not talking about mere opinions here. We’re talking about demonstrable reality, and I don’t need qualifications if I can already prove that I’m right.

      On that point, -since you brought it up- perhaps could you explain why Johnson’s credentials are so much more impressive than his arguments -which I have already addressed and refuted in my video series on the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism. In that series I did exactly what you suggest; I said meaningful things about evolution, actual factual things which can be objectively verified and proven correct. Can you do that in support of ANY of your religious beliefs to the contrary?

      • Mick Imfeld says

        Aronra,

        The relegation of everyone who does not support evolution as a simpleton I encountered in your video:

        “1st Foundational Falsehood of Creationism”

        In that video, or maybe I found it on your blog, you do present a very long list of people who support your position, I presume for the reasons listed in my email to which you responded.

        You assert in that video that the voices supporting creationism are tel-evangelists and people who don’t understand science or how scientists test theories before adopting them.

        Please respond to my question about the lack of a resume. If you don’t have any kind of educational qualifications, it doesn’t mean you are wrong, but you should admit it so that we can evaluate you the way you ask your adherents to evaluate the creationists.

        If you really want to discuss this issue, and your writings, videos and blogs are more than just another Internet rant, read Phillip Johnson’s “Darwin on Trial” and present some evidence, if you have any, on the failure of the fossil record to show the evidence Darwin himself said he expected the fossil record would eventually show: skeletal evidence of the evolution of one species into another.

        Adaptive changes “within” a species have been demonstrated. I have no argument about that.

        I got to your site in a genuine inquiry into whether there was evidence that wasn’t available when I looked into the issue more than 15 years ago, that skeletons documenting at least one species having evolved into another species, which was nonexistent 15 years ago, had been discovered since Phillip Johnson published his book. I agree with you that God could have created the world using evolution.

        The above mentioned video was silent on the subject and I wondered, “who is this guy?” Looking on your sites, if you actually have any expertise on the subject, you were silent regarding any credentials.

        I don’t want to trash you. I’m still a Leon Russell fan. (excuse the inside joke but I thought as a Texan you would appreciate it.)

        I was just very surprised going to college in the early 70’s that everyone was talking about the “missing link,” but I never heard in college that the skeletal evidence didn’t show even one species gradually evolving, through natural selection, which is a theory of advantageous birth defects producing a superior creature that becomes the dominant version because it reproduces more successfully due to the positive adaptive benefit of the mutation, thereby advancing evolution through the advancement of one species into another up until man.

        I first learned of the lack of such evidence in the Phillip Johnson book. I wasn’t clear whether you had learned of this lack of evidence over the course of your studies, or found what you thought was a satisfactory explanation. If you know what I’m referring to and have found such an explanation I would be interested to learn what it is. Most of the explanations proffered by the evolutionist community, that Mr. Johnson cited in his book,I found unpersuasive, as did he.

        One such explanation was that the evolutionary jump caused by the advantageous birth defect caused the advanced creatures to be shunned by their less advanced contemporaries, who drove them out of the camp. Therefore, so this explanation goes, their advanced skeletons were deposited buried, or left to rot, outside the camp, so paleontologists didn’t find any of these “missing links.” You might think if this was the case, that evidence of at least one would have been unearthed.

        If the advantageous birth defect caused them to produce more offspring than their “less fit” contemporaries, it would seem that the advanced skeletons would be more plentiful in the fossil record. The fact that there are many species, and not one “missing link” showing the transition from one species to another, would cast doubt on the theory, were it not so heavily relied upon for reasons other than pure scientific inquiry.

        As Phillip Johnson, a brilliant man I have met, described in his book “Darwin on Trial,” Darwin himself said that if he had to rely on what scientists call “saltations” defined in Wikipedia as: “a saltation (from Latin, saltus, “leap”) is a sudden change from one generation to the next, that is large, or very large,” that he (Darwin) would abandon the theory of evolution.

        Simply put, if the skeletal record does not show the gradual transition from one species to another, then you could as easily explain these saltations as the creation of a new species as you could explain them as an evolutionary jump, both requiring an equivalent “leap of faith.” Check it out and see what you think.

        I found the argument that the small, creature by creature combination of birth defects necessary to create an organ such as an eye, which would not operate to increase the reproductive success of the creatures bearing the initial advantageous birth defects, until a multitude of such advantageous birth defects had accumulated to result in the assembly of all of the components of an eye capable of sight, persuasive that the theory of evolution makes less and less sense the more detailed an analysis is performed.

        When Darwin formulated his theory, we had no idea how complex living creatures were, especially human beings. The more we learn, the less likely it appears that this level of complexity came into existence due to a random accumulation of birth defects.

        I’m surprised that so many people can get up on their soap boxes to proclaim that ideas such as I have expressed above should be suppressed, and that children in school should be taught that evolution has been irrefutably proven, despite the fact that the issues I have raised remain unanswered.

        Mick from Napa

        • says

          You misunderstood the 1st FFoC. While it is true that creationism relies on ignorance, ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity. Ignorance isn’t just what you don’t know; it’s also what you won’t know; ignor-ance is what is ignored.

          For example, in the 1st FFoC, I didn’t list anyone who supports my position, although I did list a number of evolutionary scientists who still hold to the religious beliefs of their childhood. The leaders of the creationism movement are not all tele-evangelists, but many of them are, or they are of that type. None of them have an adequate understanding of the science involved. A few, (like Andrew Snelling and Kurt Wise) seem to understand it, yet they have rejected science in favor of dogmatism. The nicest thing I can say about Phillip Johnson is that he is disingenuous. He even admitted that his agenda depends on deliberate misrepresentation and misdirection.

          Far from being ‘silent’ about my credentials, I have repeatedly revealed in many of my videos that I am an autodidact. I describe myself as a recurrent student. I’ve had several classes in relevant subjects, following a lot of personal research, but no advanced degrees. I’m not a professional scientist. I work for a corporate multinational -which changed contracts, and no longer allows me the schedule necessary to complete my geoscience degree.

          Once again, you evaluate someone’s argument based on the data presented, not who they are personally. Amateur scientists have made many profound contributions disproving the contentions of established authorities. That’s why I do not ask anyone to evaluate creationists based on their credentials, but rather on the substance of their claims.

          For example, Phillip Johnson’s allegation that the fossil record failed to support evolution: I presented all the evidence necessary to disprove that comment many times in the latter part of the FFoC series, starting from the 9th episode. But you’re not likely to understand that until you grasp the information in the 10th episode too. You should watch them before telling me to read what Phillip Johnson doesn’t know again. Let me show you what you don’t know first.

          Yes, evolutionary changes have been documented within species, and also between species too, as I showed in the 11th FFoC.

          While there has been a paleontological boon in the last several years, many of the important finds were already known many decades ago, (see the 12th FFoC). Creationists have been lying about them from the start (see the 13th FFoC) and continue making up new lies about that today (14th FFoC).

          For example, what you call a ‘lack’ of evidence is actually a profound abundance. I have several hundred specific examples to show. while the first of the “missing links” was discovered in 1974, likely after you were already out-of-college, there have been many more discovered since, including several complete sequences. However I would caution you against using terms like ‘superior’ creatures or ‘upward advancement’. Evolution can go both ways at the same time in a single organism.

          If you’re learning evolution from deceitful lawyers like Phillip Johnson, it’s no wonder you’re so confused. You’ve been lied to. It is not even possible to defend creationism honestly. Would you like to help me demonstrate that? Because I can do something Phillip Johnson can’t; I can prove my point even to your satisfaction. Care to take that challenge?

          I’m surprised that so many people can get up on their soap boxes to proclaim that ideas such as I have expressed above should be suppressed, and that children in school should be taught that evolution has not been irrefutably proven, despite the fact that the issues you raised were all refuted again and again a long time ago, and are still being consistently rebutted today.

          • mick from napa says

            I received a comment from “over the edge” which was emailed to me. In exchanging comments with “over the edge,” I thought I was still on your blog but apparently that wasn’t true. I thought if you responded I would have received another email. This is a topic I find interesting, but I don’t have time to go through 14 of your videos and the other links I have received on the other blog where people were responding, at this point. I need to leave for work in a few minutes. I’ll pick this up in a couple of months when I get the time to look at the resources which suggest a different status of the record of research than what I have seen. While Jay Gould and other evolutionists recognize a lack of fossil evidence for one species gradually becomming a new species, the blogasphere contains many voices which say there is no lack of transitional fossils for Gould and others to try to explain. I’m willing to give that claim a look, although it doesn’t make much sense that leading evolutionists acknowledge the problem and offer solutions which, as I stated on whatever other blog I was on, Darwin would have considered saltations, which he rejected as valid data to support his theory. The jist of it is that if you have to just have faith that natural selection operates as Darwin said it does, even though the expected fossil evidence, which should be found for very evolution of one species into another, is almost totally lacking except for a few unusual creatures like e.coli, which don’t produce offspring with the full genetic set from the partents, and a few other disputed transitions which seem, from what I saw on Dawkin’s whale video, to discuss similarity between species rather than a fossil record showing the transition from one species to another. As to Phillip Johnson being a deceiver, that is far from the case.

  10. mick from napa says

    I received a comment from “over the edge” which was emailed to me. In exchanging comments with “over the edge,” I thought I was still on your blog but apparently that wasn’t true. I thought if you responded I would have received another email. This is a topic I find interesting, but I don’t have time to go through 14 of your videos and the other links I have received on the other blog where people were responding, at this point. I need to leave for work in a few minutes. I’ll pick this up in a couple of months when I get the time to look at the resources which suggest a different status of the record of research than what I have seen. While Jay Gould and other evolutionists recognize a lack of fossil evidence for one species gradually becomming a new species, the blogasphere contains many voices which say there is no lack of transitional fossils for Gould and others to try to explain. I’m willing to give that claim a look, although it doesn’t make much sense that leading evolutionists acknowledge the problem and offer solutions which, as I stated on whatever other blog I was on, Darwin would have considered saltations, which he rejected as valid data to support his theory. The jist of it is that if you have to just have faith that natural selection operates as Darwin said it does, even though the expected fossil evidence, which should be found for every evolution of one species into another, is almost totally lacking except for a few unusual creatures like e.coli, which don’t produce offspring with the full genetic set from the partents, and a few other disputed transitions which seem, from what I saw on Dawkin’s whale video, to discuss similarity between species rather than a fossil record showing the transition from one species to another. As to Phillip Johnson being a deceiver, that is far from the case.

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