Good morning, everyone! I’m in Fargo, and I need to go home, so I’m looking at a few hours on cold roads next. But I was in a debate with Dr Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe last night, and I said I’d post my opening statement, so here it is.
In general, my strategy last night was to go meta on him. He’s trained as a biochemist, so I expected he’d try to slug it out toe-to-toe with lots of facts about biology, but I didn’t want to lose sight of the fact that he would be trying to use mundane, material evidence obtained by scientists who did not accept his creationist interpretations, and that his job was to provide evidence of the miracles that he would insist must have occurred in the history of life on earth. So I hammered him to give specifics about any divine intervention — to not just say we don’t know what happened in the Cambrian or at the beginning — and to explain how he knew it was definitely a supernatural transition rather than a natural one, like all the other examples he used. I think it worked and wrecked his rhythm and got him to stagger off of his planned script, which was enough.
I can’t declare victory though — as I predicted in the opening, the Christians didn’t abandon their beliefs, the atheists (there was a pretty good contingent of them there) weren’t going to join the church, and all we could hope to do is to get people to think.