Comments are still trickling in and I still get email about this article, where I explain why debate is a poor strategy for dealing with creationists. I definitely don’t argue that we should avoid engaging the public, but that there are a number of reasons why the debate format doesn’t work for resolving conflicts between legitimate science and discredited malarkey. However, I missed one.
Some of you may know that a couple of commenters here resolved to have an off-site written debate on the dependency of the universe’s existence on, specifically, the Abrahamic god. The debate is at the Topical Octagon, but after The Physicist AKA Equus Pallidus put up his first rambling shamble of a post, the debate was terminated for a very common reason: plagiarism.
There is almost no creative, original work on the creationist side. I sometimes wonder if the only reason that ID gets so much attention is that one thing the ID creationists did accomplish was to infuse a collection of new arguments into their side’s corner — over and over again, the same old arguments, even down to the same words, show up in creationist debates. It’s like the scholarly tradition in creationism is a glorified version of cut & paste, lifting paragraphs from other works and stringing them together, and Behe and company at least provided some new source texts from which to steal words.
Although IDists don’t have much new to add. The last talk I heard by Behe was virtually identical, right down to the same old jokes, to the first talk I’d heard from him, ten years before.