Matt Young posted Entry 1413 on August 29, 2005 11:35 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1409

My colleague, Steven Mahone, a board member of Colorado Citizens for Science and an engineering professional with the largest utility in southern Colorado, agreed recently to debate the well-known creationist Kent Hovind on evolution vs. creation. As Mr. Mahone describes below, he was snookered into leaving his visual aids at home, whereas at the last minute Mr. Hovind was allowed to present his. As I write, it is still unclear why Mr. Mahone and another debater were prohibited from bringing their visual aids, but it seems likely that the Campus Crusade for Christ, a sponsoring organization, was not at fault, and they have sent Mr. Mahone an elegant and sincere apology, which is reproduced below.

Here is Mr. Mahone’s account of the debate.

My Evening with Kent
by Steven Mahone

On a calm Friday evening at the base of the Rocky Mountains, I marched onto a stage along with physics professor Sam Milazzo and “Dr.” Kent Hovind to debate the question, “Science or Religion?” at the Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado. No, I didn’t heed the advice of the other, more experienced debaters who had come before me and politely decline the invitation. They just didn’t have the passion that I had. They didn’t understand “these people” like me. I was going to make a difference this time I tell you! Four hundred Christians were going to immediately run (not walk) to Borders and buy out the shelves of everything written by Bertrand Russell, Steven J. Gould, and Richard Dawkins after hearing my closing remarks!

Well, it didn’t exactly turn out that way. Perhaps three of the attendees rushed to Borders after the dust settled – but that’s probably because they were late for work. Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience to say the least. Here’s my (admittedly biased) assessment of how the evening unfolded:

First of all, Dale Anderson, the organizer of the debate, sent an e-mail to all of the participants on the preceding Wednesday stating, “Slides and multimedia will not be used for this debate. Your verbal presentation is your only means of communication.” Of course, neither Sam Milazzo nor I brought slides – but guess what, Hovind showed up with his PowerPoint presentation, and the organizers changed the rules five minutes before the debate began to accommodate him! I gave serious thought to bowing out right then and there, but after a deep breath I decided to continue with the evening anyway – mostly out of what I considered to be good manners.

The crowd was decidedly pro-creation. No surprise and nothing unexpected there, since the event was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ. There was standing room only, with probably 400 people in attendance. During my opening remarks, a young man in his twenties sitting five feet from my podium kept heckling me with statements like “There are no intermediate fossils!” and “Newton believed in God!” He was polite enough to stop when I pointed to him and shook my head.

After the opening remarks the questions from the moderator began and all of them were phrased in a way that was critical of evolution. Not a single one put creationism or intelligent design on the defensive. I was really surprised, since I was personally assured by Campus Crusade for Christ that not only would evolution be scrutinized but so would creationism. Just call me a gullible, old-fashioned secularist who expects people (regardless of religion) to keep their word. Additionally, there was no time for audience questions as was promised in the itinerary – I doubt that this omission was purposeful, but it showed how haphazardly the moderator stayed with the debate format.

Hovind has an extensive inventory of slides for just about any subject that could be broached when discussing religion and science – I have to give him pretty good marks for his organizational skills. One of the topics that was brought up was racism and eugenics as practiced by Margaret Sanger. I commented that racism and eugenics had little to do with Sanger, and, in fact, our own “Christian Nation” had an official eugenics department from 1905 to 1945, when it was shut down, not by pastors or religious activists, but by scientists and psychiatric experts who could no longer justify its validity. Hovind then used a rapid-fire succession of slides using quotes and misquotes to claim that evolutionary thinking leads to racism – but he explained nothing!

Another question asked, “How can the evolution of separate sexes (male and female) be explained by evolution, and why are females more complex than males?” Both Sam and I explained that asexual reproduction was how it all began, but when the exchange of genetic material occurred, it provided a distinct advantage to those organisms because a greater range of diversity in the genome was available for natural selection to work with. The male and female sexes grew out of this advantage over the subsequent millions of years of evolution. Hovind simply put up a slide and exclaimed, “God made male and female separate!” Ugh!

When asked about President Bush’s recent statement that students should be taught both sides (which I assumed meant including ID in science classes), Hovind put up a slide about the bacterial flagellum and mentioned Michael Behe as a strong advocate for teaching ID. I countered that Behe does not believe in a young earth, he accepts species-to-species evolution, and he does not support the claim of a worldwide flood occurring some 4,500 years ago – all of which is in direct conflict with what creationists like Hovind believe. I pointed out that ID offers nothing to aid science and asked how would ID even be presented to students, especially if a Hindu, Muslim, etc. was teaching the class. Sam Milazzo also pointed out that he would have no idea how to even teach such a concept. Hovind offered no advice whatsoever on how to address this issue but he did have more slides. Surprise!

Unfortunately, Hovind finally managed to “get the goat” of Sam Milazzo by repeatedly challenging his integrity as a teacher and claiming that Sam is only indoctrinating his students with the religion of evolution. Hovind also accused Sam of labeling all Christians as “dumb.” Sam was (obviously) offended and began walking off the stage, saying that he wouldn’t allow someone to continually put untrue words in his mouth after he asked them to stop. I intercepted Sam and convinced him to finish the debate – which he did. Anyone in attendance could see that Sam is a passionate and concerned teacher whose only intolerance is for misinformation and ignorance.

This was my first time on stage as a participant (I’ve moderated debates before), and I learned a lot about how to approach such events (it’s much different than doing radio, which I’ve done going up against Jonathan Wells, Jay Richards, and James Perloff). I would certainly change a few things concerning my game plan (like more attacking of the creationist claims), but other things I wouldn’t (like remaining composed and respectful even in the face of ignorant statements). When you go into an event like this, you have the expectation of always saying the right thing and having the perfect anecdote at your fingertips – yeah, right! Nevertheless, if you stay the course you’re going to provide strength and inspiration to those already on the side of science, and, every once in a while, you might just make a difference to a mind that is still undecided.

Tiffany Green, student president of the UCCS Chapter of the Campus Crusade for Christ offered Mr. Mahone the following apology for the manner in which he had been treated.

Mr. Mahone,

Thank you very much for your constructive criticism. I want to offer my apologies for Kent Hovind using his slides. It was an injustice I was not directly responsible for, but I am truly sorry for how it unfolded. Further, I would like to tell you that I felt it in no way put you at a disadvantage, as both your arguments and Dr. Millazzo’s were moving and eloquently stated.

Thank you for your participation; I feel the debate was a success for both sides of the argument were supported expertly. I am sorry if the questions seemed slanted, I can assure you that was not our intent, and you are right that some of the questions should have been directed toward creation. I have great respect for both you and Dr. Millazzo, it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs. I also know that you both had the harder end of the deal, because you had to think more on your feet than Dr. Hovind because of his experience in debating this topic.

Thank you once again for handling the evening like a gentleman and a scholar.

Sincerely,
Tiffany Green

For more background on Mr. Hovind and his scholarly credentials, you may see my essay at http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/08/kent_hovind_and_the_civilized_society.html. Mr. Hovind’s “thesis” is not generally available to the scholarly community, but you may read about it at Karen Bartelt’s Web site, http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/bartelt_dissertation_on_hovind_thesis.htm. If you follow some of my references, you will find that even some creationists consider Mr. Hovind to be unscientific. Finally, Victor Stenger has posted some additional material and an earlier draft of Mr. Mahone’s essay at http://citizensforscience.org/friday_night_debate_in_colorado_springs.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #45423

Posted by Ed Darrell on August 29, 2005 12:29 PM (e)

Is it not true that debates with Hovind almost always end up with such sleazy things happening at the last moment?

An appropriate form of apology for this group would be to invite Dr. Mahone back for an evening of presentation and Q&A, without a debate, it seems to me.

Comment #45432

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

My colleague, Steven Mahone, a board member of Colorado Citizens for Science and an engineering professional with the largest utility in southern Colorado, agreed recently to debate the well-known creationist Kent Hovind on evolution vs. creation.

Why? All such “debates” accomplish is to let the nutters raise money and to give the impression that they really have something to “debate”.

If ID “theorists” and creation “scientists” think they have something scientific to debate, then let them submit their, uh, research to peer-reviewed science journals like everyone else has to.

And if they don’t HAVE any, uh, research to present to peer-reviewed science journals (or, in the case of IDers, can’t keep it there once they get it in), then let them shut up and go away until they DO. (shrug)

Why oh why do we continue to let the nutters set the terms of the “debate”?

Comment #45436

Posted by Albion on August 29, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

These days young people are going to remember stuff they’ve seen in visual presentations a lot more easily than stuff someone just tells them, and I’m sure Kent Hovind is very well aware of that. I wonder if Drs Mahone and Milazzo would have been allowed to present their visual aids if they’d brought them and Hovind hadn’t brought his. Something tells me they wouldn’t. I have a very hard time believing that this wasn’t deliberate.

It’s all very well to stack the deck and then send a private apology afterwards, but that hardly rectifies things. I really doubt whether it was all as accidental as the Campus Crusade for Christ representative claimed, but I suppose that having helped give their guy an advantage with a biased presentation and allowing him to use his slides, they can afford to be magnanimous after the fact.

Comment #45439

Posted by IAMB, FCD on August 29, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

Why in the Hell doesn’t the Evo side of these “debates” ever include Hovind’s “credentials” in their opening remarks, complete with a request that he be referred to as “Mister” Hovind instead of “Doctor”? While I realize that ad hom is bad form, Hovind spends a lot of time attacking evolution as an “institution” that comes straight from Satan, and that all those who believe in evolution are either willing or ignorant pawns of said devil. That makes ad hom fair game, in my book. Debating a lying charlatan is a bad idea in the first place when he gets the option of setting the terms, but playing nice is not exactly working and meanwhile, he continues to take their money. The man needs to be exposed publicly as a cheap illusionist… too bad you can’t press charges on him for calling himself “dr.” when he hasn’t earned the title.

I’m with Albion in thinking that the apology was more or less a lame attempt to cover the CCC’s ass after the fact. Pity the poor bastard if a mod in one of his “debates” actually takes his job seriously and, well, moderates.

Comment #45440

Posted by Grey Wolf on August 29, 2005 1:40 PM (e)

In my opinion, the only way to make a lasting impression in the public of these events is to engage in the same tactics Kent Hovind uses. I would start out by contacting No Answers In Genesis and asking for permission to print and make 400 copies of their list of Hovind lies to use as hand outs. The presentation would be a direct approach: start by saying that the moon is made of blue cheese, and that that proves evolution is true and that the core of the Earth is hot, and that also proves evolution true, not to mention Old Age. You should practice until you can say about 10 of these examples in under a minute. Then go on to explain that that is obviously nonesense, and yet that’s what Hovind will do: sprout hundreds of false claims, which you wouldn’t have time to explain. You might use the “blue cheese moon” as an example of time to say it/time to rebate it.

Then draw attention to the many documented lies of Hovind, and how even though they *are* documented he will probably use them in this very presentation again, changing not a word. Mention that even other creationists have told him that he is lying, and he has done nothing to change his ways. Finally, pull out the list of creationist claims (get permission for that, too) and pass it onto the public. Say that you will make a note of every one of his claims that are answered in that list, and that he knows it and yet continues to lie to the public. Use the second turn of speaking to tell them how many of his claims are answered at talkorigins. You might as well have a single presentation slide, with links to online resources, and hand those out too.

Make a PhD of this whole farse, in fact: Pile it higher and Deeper. Keep hitting the public that anything they hear from Hovind is a lie, with examples if need be. That, of course, leaves only the second turn to cram evolution into your talk, but at least they might listen.

My final step would be to go home and have a cold shower and scrub with a metal sponge, though, because you’d be as dirty as Hovind. And even after all this, you might still not win because Hovind is far more experienced than you are in this kind of cheap carnival tricks. Which is why is far better to refuse to “debate” him in the first place.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

PD: notice that you would need a lorry to carry that many handouts, so unless you had a free photocopy you can exploit, maybe it would be better to carry just ten or so of each and give one per row

Comment #45442

Posted by Grey Wolf on August 29, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

Adding to my comments above, and regarding IAMB’s comments, another cheap carnival trick might be to contact Patriot University a week before the presentation and see if you can convince them to give you a PhD in whatever, presenting anything you’ve written as the thesis. Something longer than 300 pages would be perfect. That way, you can show the people that “Dr.” Hovind’s PhD is completely useless. Lenny, I think, managed to get his “Dr.” for about $6, but not sure if it was at the Patriot University like Kent.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #45444

Posted by Jody on August 29, 2005 1:48 PM (e)

In much the same way that Mr. Mahone and Dr. Millazzo are experts on the subject of science and creationism, people have to remember that Kent Hovind is an expert on debating science and creationism.

Most of us just don’t have the chops to take him on and take him down in a general, public forum debate. The “truth” is at a serious disadvantage in a head-to-head against Hovind and his spew. While we know the science, the history and subject, Hovind knows how to obfuscate, confuse and play to the emotions of the audience. It’s not worth the time to take him on.

I have seen people like Ken Miller overcome Dembski and Behe in a debate, but that’s because Miller knew how to play the game better than those two. Even then, the win really came down to pining the broad ID claims down to a single point – the evolution of the blood clotting factor – and a single paper pulled from Miller’s extensive library on his laptop.

The word needs to get out and be reinforced that debating these guys – in a public, one-on-one forum where the resolution or subject matter is ID vs. legitimate science – is a loosing proposition, except for the most skilled of us.

Comment #45447

Posted by sanjait on August 29, 2005 2:05 PM (e)

On the question of whether we should engage in such debates: It is an unfair format to say the least. However, the evo’s do have an advantage they don’t anticipate. Since probably almost everyone in the room already agrees with creationism, they can only have their minds changed in one direction. The type of reasonable person who actually listens with an open mind at a debate like that, while likely a minority of the audience, would notice the one-sidedness of the format and the ad hom nature of Hovlind’s “arguments”, and be inclined to be more sympathetic to the evo side. We can change a few minds in such a situation, while they can only weakly reinforce ignorance.

On the question of male/female complexity: In what way is a female more complex? If I remember my into biology correctly, it is the male who possesses the X and Y, while the female has two X’s, with expression of one copy often suppressed as a Barr body. This leaves the male with more unique genes and, it could be said, higher complexity. Although, I have no idea why that would be relevant to a evolution/creationism debate.

Last note: Congratulations to Steven Mahone for bravery and education. Not only is it difficult to up against an experienced debater (armed with a powerpoint no less) in front of a hostile crowd, but Mr. Mahone isn’t even a life scientist. I’m a microbiologist and I probably wouldn’t be able to synthesize a coherent verbal argument on this issue in real time. He must have great passion for the cause, and done a lot of extracurricular reading.

Comment #45454

Posted by IAMB, FCD on August 29, 2005 2:20 PM (e)

Something else that struck me as a bit fishy so far in my review of the Hovind “Blue Series” of videos was the part, in session 1, where he accused evolutionary science of making unsupported claims and then challenging others to “prove them wrong”. His entire work, so far, consists of exactly that tactic. I wanted to stand up and scream at all the heads I saw nodding in rapt attention to his every word. Sadly, I don’t think it would have made any difference to them. It’s enough to make a guy want to strike himself repeatedly in the head with a sledgehammer if for nothing more than to hasten the brain’s tranformation to useless mush so the pain will stop. His method takes far longer and is quite excruciating… and I have 8 more sessions to review.

I’d like to see him being forced to stay on one topic for once. I wonder if he, after running out of lies in, say, two minutes or less, would break into an impromptu jig a la Ashlee Simpson on SNL?

Comment #45465

Posted by Tim Chase on August 29, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

I appreciate your idealism, and I can’t say that I disagree with it. I feel the need to debate sometimes, too (at least online). However, even if you were somehow able to keep people like Hovind from using any dirty tricks (although I am not exactly sure what they would be left with at that point), there is the important point that he is playing to his home crowd, not yours, and people will tend to view their spokesman as winning unless it is particularly obvious that he is not.

Then there is a kind of mob mentality to it, where they are reacting not so much to the debaters, but to one-another, out in the audience, and they are coming to the event with a revivalist frame of mind. You might reach a few lonely, questioning minds, or perhaps plant seeds of doubt and curiosity. However, what is just as likely is that you will energize the troops – theirs, not ours. This being the case, the conventional wisdom may in fact be the wisest course of action.

Comment #45466

Posted by Tim Chase on August 29, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

I appreciate your idealism, and I can’t say that I disagree with it. I feel the need to debate sometimes, too (at least online). However, even if you were somehow able to keep people like Hovind from using any dirty tricks (although I am not exactly sure what they would be left with at that point), there is the important point that he is playing to his home crowd, not yours, and people will tend to view their spokesman as winning unless it is particularly obvious that he is not.

Then there is a kind of mob mentality to it, where they are reacting not so much to the debaters, but to one-another, out in the audience, and they are coming to the event with a revivalist frame of mind. You might reach a few lonely, questioning minds, or perhaps plant seeds of doubt and curiosity. However, what is just as likely is that you will energize the troops – theirs, not ours. This being the case, the conventional wisdom may in fact be the wisest course of action.

Comment #45467

Posted by Tim Chase on August 29, 2005 2:58 PM (e)

I appreciate your idealism, and I can’t say that I disagree with it. I feel the need to debate sometimes, too (at least online). However, even if you were somehow able to keep people like Hovind from using any dirty tricks (although I am not exactly sure what they would be left with at that point), there is the important point that he is playing to his home crowd, not yours, and people will tend to view their spokesman as winning unless it is particularly obvious that he is not.

Then there is a kind of mob mentality to it, where they are reacting not so much to the debaters, but to one-another, out in the audience, and they are coming to the event with a revivalist frame of mind. You might reach a few lonely, questioning minds, or perhaps plant seeds of doubt and curiosity. However, what is just as likely is that you will energize the troops – theirs, not ours. This being the case, the conventional wisdom may in fact be the wisest course of action.

Comment #45469

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on August 29, 2005 2:59 PM (e)

Who is Dale Anderson and what organization does he represent? I think an apology from him and his organization is appropriate but I doubt that will happen. The whole debate sounds like a setup to me.

For a fun poke at Dr Dino do a little quote mining. Find some audio/video of Hovind making evolutionary statements and paste them together, all out of context, making him look like a hard core evolution supporter and post the results. I’m sure this could be done for all the other creationists. It would make for a nice closing in future debates.

Comment #45475

Posted by IAMB, FCD on August 29, 2005 3:15 PM (e)

Bruce wrote:

For a fun poke at Dr Dino do a little quote mining. Find some audio/video of Hovind making evolutionary statements and paste them together, all out of context, making him look like a hard core evolution supporter and post the results. I’m sure this could be done for all the other creationists. It would make for a nice closing in future debates.

You’re on. As soon as I finish my video review (October sometime, I think) I’ll get working on that. Could be pretty entertaining.

Comment #45486

Posted by steev on August 29, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

i am one of the creationists that sanjait referred to in his post (45447): i came to a hovind debate at the university of wisconsin about 10 years ago to watch him dismantle the satanic theory of evolution. what i found, however, was that he was an arrogant, foolish, and mean-spirited person. i saw how he used the audience to completely humiliate his debate opponent and that he had the upper-hand from the very beginning due to his rapid-fire approach and colorful slide presentation. never mind that he didn’t seem to understand the science behind the questions; he had enough wacky one-liners and bumper-sticker slogans to out-talk anyone! i was disgusted by hovind and left there with more questions than answers. a decade later, i am still a christian, but now i believe in the truth of nature and of the scientific method. coming from an evangelical fundamentalist family and lifestyle, i now embrace the scientific concepts of evolution and an ancient earth and universe. and i credit hovind, in part, with taking me here.

Comment #45489

Posted by Steven Mahone on August 29, 2005 4:01 PM (e)

“Who is Dale Anderson and what organization does he represent? I think an apology from him and his organization is appropriate but I doubt that will happen. The whole debate sounds like a setup to me. – Bruce Thompson”

Good question Bruce … and it get interesting. It turns out that Dale Anderson is NOT with Campus Crusade For Christ, he’s on the board of a group called the Wilberforce Center (a conservative lobbying group that has a close affiliation with Summit Ministries and anti-secularist David Noebel.) In addition, Anderson is student president of the Young Republicans of Colorado. It turns out the he chose the questions for the debate and he gave Hovind permission to use his slides, all without consulting ANYONE else.

Comment #45491

Posted by Bruce on August 29, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Why was the audience so one-sided? What publicity did Mahone and Milazzo employ to get a more balanced audience?

Comment #45492

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 29, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

Hovind is the best liar I have ever seen in action.

He has a massive file of power point slides. I have watched him from behind as he merely clicked on the appropriate “counter argument” on his laptop while he listened to the “science expert” present his argument. (In particular, it was when Hovind demolished Mike Shermer at UC Irvine a year or two ago).

Hovind’s massive income is based on the foolish idea held by some scientists that they are smart, so Hovind must be stupid. This is why con-men get rich. Hovind even has his whole show on the net! The arguemnts and slides are all right in front of us, and we still think that we are able to walk in ‘cold’ and win.

There is no doubt at all that the CCC was an active collaborator with Hovind, and shared part of the “take.”

Comment #45494

Posted by Albion on August 29, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

I wonder if Dale Anderson really sent that “no visual aids” e-mail to Hovind as well as to the others, or maybe added a rider in Hovind’s e-mail “of course, this doesn’t apply to you.”

It’s so convenient being a True Christian - it means that all the lies and deceptions somehow don’t count as such because True Christians don’t lie. The way these people can do one thing while promoting the exact opposite and apparently see no contradiction is quite frightening, but I suppose it shows why they’re so good at politics.

Comment #45497

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 29, 2005 4:43 PM (e)

Frankly that apology isn’t worth a crap.

Was was Tiffany going to do? Admit that they set you up?

She called it an injustice, but that she wasn’t “directly” part of it. One wonders what was her “indirect” involvement was. My, now that was big of her. Its too bad that she apparently is uninterested in figuring out who was responsible and asking them to apologize to you and placing a letter to the school paper admitting that her organization was unfair to you.

And should one be happy with the statement, “It takes courage to stand up for your beliefs “?

So evolution and science is just a belief?

That faux apology was perhaps the lamest excuse I’ve read for anything in some time.

This whole episode should go to show that it is pointless to engage Hovind in this manner. You will never be treated fairly; and to expect that you will only indicates that you’re no less gullible than the creationists themselves.

I’m glad Mr. Mahone is happy with the apology, but I’d rather him stop making a fool of himself and the rest of us. Hovind is only too happy to find saps willing to debate him, expecting it to be fair.

Why people give him the time of day, I don’t know.

Comment #45502

Posted by Andy Groves on August 29, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

Gary says it well above. Hovind has many debates of his available for viewing free on the net. Anyone agreeing to debate Hovind is stupid. Anyone agreeing to debate Hovind, and then not watching his videos to get an impression of the man and his style, is doubly stupid. Anyone who turns up for a debate with Hovind without a flashy, well-rehearsed Powerpoint presentation, as the hapless Mr. Mahone did, is stupid beyond belief.

Comment #45503

Posted by SteveF on August 29, 2005 5:03 PM (e)

I don’t necessarily think that debating Hovind is a good idea (though if people don’t then he can parade his usual lies about evolutionists being scared too). However, I don’t think that someone who at least attempts to stand up for science (albeit possibly misguidedly) deserves to be called ‘stupid beyond belief.’

Comment #45506

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 29, 2005 5:17 PM (e)

I don’t necessarily think that debating Hovind is a good idea (though if people don’t then he can parade his usual lies about evolutionists being scared too).

People won’t pay to watch Hovind whine about how scientists are afraid of him.

What was done in the Kansas Kreationist Kult hearing last spring should become the model for all of us- Do not ‘debate’ do not share the stage. Set up a counter demonstration next door, or the next day.

I think that we must understand that none of the partisipants are “stupid.” Hovind is very very smart, which is why he can take most “smart guys” to pieces. Well, his total lack of honor helps too. He is happy to hide behind a phoney “doctorate,” he dishonorably used his standard powerpoint presentation in spite of the lie told to the science presenters.

Comment #45509

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 29, 2005 5:26 PM (e)

they have sent Mr. Mahone an elegant and sincere apology

You see elegance and sincerity the way IDists see design.

“Further, I would like to tell you that I felt it in no way put you at a disadvantage, as both your arguments and Dr. Millazzo’s were moving and eloquently stated.”

Our cheating and conniving didn’t put you at a disadvantage, sucker.

“I am sorry if the questions seemed slanted, I can assure you that was not our intent”

We had no intention of avoiding bias in the questions, sucker.

“you are right that some of the questions should have been directed toward creation”

But we’ll do the same thing next time, sucker.

“I have great respect for both you and Dr. Millazzo, it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs.”

That’s all it is, dualing beliefs, sucker.

“I also know that you both had the harder end of the deal, because you had to think more on your feet than Dr. Hovind because of his experience in debating this topic.”

But that he we gave him numerous advantages (which didn’t put you at a disadvantage) had nothing to with it, sucker.

“Thank you once again for handling the evening like a gentleman and a scholar.”

Thanks for grinning and bearing it, sucker.

Comment #45510

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

Lenny, I think, managed to get his “Dr.” for about $6, but not sure if it was at the Patriot University like Kent.

No, mine comes from that august institution of holiness, the Universal Life Church. The ordination was six bucks; the honorary doctorate was an extra two bucks, IIRC.

It’s just as legitimate as anything “Dr” Hovind has. (shrug)

But I should perhaps point out that I do indeed hold the legitimate title of “shidoshi” in Tantric mikkyo, which is the equivilent of an ordained Christian minister.

Comment #45511

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

I don’t necessarily think that debating Hovind is a good idea (though if people don’t then he can parade his usual lies about evolutionists being scared too). However, I don’t think that someone who at least attempts to stand up for science (albeit possibly misguidedly) deserves to be called ‘stupid beyond belief.’

“Stupid is as stupid does”.

Comment #45516

Posted by Grey Wolf on August 29, 2005 5:46 PM (e)

Forgive me if I pry, Lenny, but I wonder (since no wikipedia page exists) how is it like a minister? Do you preach? Have vows? Interpret the sanctified texts? Guide the members of your religion in the spiritual excercises? Care for the sick, maybe? I mean, I am familiar with 4 different forms of Christianity and they all have different “priests”. Not to mention that as a geek son of D&D I also have the image of priest of “armoured guy with a mace and holy spell back-up”. It makes such a mismatch that I can no longer conjure a proper image of what a minister *is*.

What I mean is: what are your responsabilities as a member of Tantric? Mind you, this is definetely not the place to discuss it, so feel free to ignore the question.

Grey Wolf

Comment #45523

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 29, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

SteveF writes: “I don’t necessarily think that debating Hovind is a good idea (though if people don’t then he can parade his usual lies about evolutionists being scared too). However, I don’t think that someone who at least attempts to stand up for science (albeit possibly misguidedly) deserves to be called ‘stupid beyond belief.’”

Under many conditions, I’d agree with your first sentence. However, since Hovind would never allow himself to appear before an audience that doesn’t already fawn over him, he coud tout “evolutionists being scared” as much as he wants and I don’t see that it hurts anything.

Its Hovind who’s the coward, and won’t debate in a format thats not orgnaized by his allies. Lets not lose sight of that.

Mahone isn’t stupid beyond belief, but he sure is naive.

Comment #45525

Posted by Steven Mahone on August 29, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

To my newfound friends Lenny, Andy, and Stuart: The Iroquois have a saying, “It’s not hard to see why nice people who don’t know they are wrong have more friends than mean people who know they are right.”

Comment #45534

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 29, 2005 7:06 PM (e)

Mahone writes “To my newfound friends Lenny, Andy, and Stuart: The Iroquois have a saying, “It’s not hard to see why nice people who don’t know they are wrong have more friends than mean people who know they are right.”

I’m sorry if you’re insulted, but I stand by my comments. What you did was naive, and you’ve been had. I certainly don’t think you’re “stupid” as others have suggested. If it is any consolation to you, you are not the first. And sadly, you won’t be the last.

The question to ask yourself is, is have you learned from this experience? If you think the CCC was nice people who don’t know they are wrong then I’m not sure you’ve learned all that you should have.

I’m sorry, but that they changed the rules just before the talk is no accident, and it was no mistake. It is an example of intelligent design. You’ve been hoodwinked. Again, you’re not the first. As soon as they allowed Hovind to use his powerpoint, you should’ve bailed or insisted that they follow the rules you agreed to. They played you for a sucker; not me. So why get upset at us? Direct your ire where it should be directed. But I suppose its too late for that.

The talk.origins website has a few discussions and transcripts regarding past debates. Its not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with them. Next time you debate a creationist you won’t be blindsided.

Comment #45535

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

To my newfound friends Lenny, Andy, and Stuart: The Iroquois have a saying, “It’s not hard to see why nice people who don’t know they are wrong have more friends than mean people who know they are right.”

Sorry you think I’m “mean”.

Maybe if you had listened to some “mean people” previously, you wouldn’t have had the floor mopped with yourself while helping the nutters raise lots of money.

I’m not mean; I’m blunt. Debating nutters (especially on their own turf) is stupid. Pity that you had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Comment #45539

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

Forgive me if I pry, Lenny, but I wonder (since no wikipedia page exists) how is it like a minister? Do you preach? Have vows? Interpret the sanctified texts? Guide the members of your religion in the spiritual excercises? Care for the sick, maybe?

To be blunt, all it means is that my teacher thought I had learned enough to be able to teach others. “Shidoshi” means “teacher of the way of enlightenment”.

Ironic, isn’t it, since Tantra quite literally has nothing to teach. :>

But in the practical sense, it means I have “official authority” (whatever the heck that means) to do all the things you mention, plus things like weddings.

Comment #45541

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

Its Hovind who’s the coward, and won’t debate in a format thats not orgnaized by his allies. Lets not lose sight of that.

Ditto for the IDers.

Just TRY posting anything critical of Dembski on his blog.

Comment #45542

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 29, 2005 7:21 PM (e)

What you did was naive, and you’ve been had.

Indeed, it’s just another example of why most scientists make absolutely terrible creationist-fighters.

As long as scientists continue to view this as a “scientific conflict”, and as long as they think they can solve it by “educating the rubes”, they will continue to get their gonads handed to them by the con artists.

Let’s be blunt; this is a political fight, not a scientific one. It’s not a badminton match; it’s a boxing match. Punches will be thrown, blood will hit the floor. It’s war, plain and simple. One side will win; one side won’t.

Don’t want to get your hands dirty with that? Then you are in the wrong arena.

Comment #45543

Posted by Schmitt. on August 29, 2005 7:23 PM (e)

I don’t think Mahone was stupid, and naive is pushing it, too. As has already been pointed out, most of the audience already had its mind made up and could only be ‘converted’ one way. If the debate got any people, any at all, to check any of this stuff out then there’s a chance they’ll find a competent source like TalkOrigins, in which case Mahone did good. Moreover, his lack of slides and the lack of interrogation creationism got meant Mahone had the debate format unfairly (and probably dishonestly,) stacked heavily against him and so he’s not entirely to blame.

Were the audience remotely balanced or the outcome crucial in a wider way (for example, the Kansas kangaroo court,) I’d agree such debates lend false legitimacy and are counterproductive, and as such that they’re generally a bad idea.

-Schmitt.

Comment #45547

Posted by Andy Groves on August 29, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

To my new friend Steve:

1. What were you hoping to accomplish by debating Kent Hovind in a forum organized by a Campus Crusade for Christ?

2. Have you watched any of the videos of previous Hovind debates?

The Iroquois have a saying, “It’s not hard to see why nice people who don’t know they are wrong have more friends than mean people who know they are right.”

They also have a saying “If you wear a bullet-proof jacket, don’t complain if you get kicked in the balls”.

Comment #45553

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 29, 2005 8:06 PM (e)

naive is pushing it, too

Ahem. It can hardly be “pushing it” when he admits to it:

“No, I didn’t heed the advice of the other, more experienced debaters who had come before me and politely decline the invitation. They just didn’t have the passion that I had. They didn’t understand “these people” like me. I was going to make a difference this time I tell you! Four hundred Christians were going to immediately run (not walk) to Borders and buy out the shelves of everything written by Bertrand Russell, Steven J. Gould, and Richard Dawkins after hearing my closing remarks!”

And specifically:

“I decided to continue with the evening anyway – mostly out of what I considered to be good manners”

“I was really surprised, since I was personally assured by Campus Crusade for Christ that not only would evolution be scrutinized but so would creationism.”

“Just call me a gullible, old-fashioned secularist who expects people (regardless of religion) to keep their word.”

What the heck does being “old-fashioned” or a “secularist” have to do with being gullible? He’s called gullible because he is/was.

“Hovind then used a rapid-fire succession of slides using quotes and misquotes to claim that evolutionary thinking leads to racism – but he explained nothing!”

How shocking!

“Hovind simply put up a slide and exclaimed, “God made male and female separate!” Ugh!”

Ugh! Mahone was expecting something more substantial!

“I intercepted Sam and convinced him to finish the debate — which he did.”

Too bad.

“Anyone in attendance could see that Sam is a passionate and concerned teacher whose only intolerance is for misinformation and ignorance.”

Oh yes, I’m sure that’s what all those fine folk who think evilutionism is the Devil’s work concluded.

“When you go into an event like this, you have the expectation of always saying the right thing and having the perfect anecdote at your fingertips — yeah, right!”

This is downright schizoid. Mahone knows these are ridiculously naive expectations, but has them anyway. It’s like someone expecting to win at Three Card Monte even though they know the game is rigged.

Comment #45564

Posted by steve on August 29, 2005 8:42 PM (e)

They also have a saying “If you wear a bullet-proof jacket, don’t complain if you get kicked in the balls”.

That is some ancient indian wisdom, right there.

Comment #45569

Posted by Matt Young on August 29, 2005 8:59 PM (e)

If I had been asked, I would have opposed Mr. Mahone’s or anyone else’s debating with Mr. Hovind. As I argued in an earlier entry on PT (http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/11/debating_with_evolution_deniers.html ), debating just gives evolution deniers credibility.

Still, whether to debate or not is a matter on which reasonable people can disagree, and Mr. Mahone and Prof. Milazzo decided to debate. Mr. Mahone is knowledgeable and articulate, and he assured me before the debate that he knew Mr. Hovind well. He was snookered into leaving his overheads home, but that fact does not imply that he did not acquit himself well.

The debate was organized by Dale Anderson, a UCCS student with whom I had a short correspondence. Mr. Anderson told me that he had invited Mr. Hovind because Mr. Hovind was already in the area and would come cheaply. He added, “I am working on this debate as part of my own invested interests, but I have invited the cooperation and sponsorship of the following student clubs: Anthropology Club, Philosophy Club, Biology Club, Campus Crusade, Navigators, and the Catholic Club.” All but the Campus Crusade had the good sense to decline the invitation.

Mr. Anderson e-mailed Mr. Mahone and Prof. Milazzo (and maybe Mr. Hovind as well), telling them that visual aids would be prohibited. We have no evidence that the Campus Crusade was involved in that decision. Thus, Ms. Green’s apology to Mr. Mahone may reasonably be taken at face value.

Thus, if there was any skulduggery, the prima-facie evidence points to Mr. Anderson. It seems to me that Mr. Anderson owes Mr. Mahone an explanation and an apology.

Those who have intemperately called Mr. Mahone names for having had the guts to defend science and reason before a hostile audience and against an accomplished con man also owe Mr. Mahone an apology.

Comment #45573

Posted by Albion on August 29, 2005 9:17 PM (e)

I wonder how Mr Anderson manages to reconcile his and Hovind’s behaviour with these Christian ethics that creationists are so keen on claiming are superior to those of the wicked godless. “The end justifies the means” is the only way to describe these antics, and it’s every bit as despicable when used in attempts to bring people to Jesus as when used for any other reason. The fact that these people apparently don’t see it that way is part of what makes their brand of fundamentalist zealotry so worrying.

Comment #45575

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 29, 2005 9:34 PM (e)

It seems to me that Mr. Anderson owes Mr. Mahone an explanation and an apology.

You’re already mouthing Anderson’s rationalizations; good luck waiting for an apology. And even if you get one, it will be like Ms. Green’s, and I’ve already fisked that for it’s insincerity: “I am sorry if the questions seemed slanted, I can assure you that was not our intent” – yeah, right, despite their best efforts to formulate unbiased questions, they didn’t come out that way. God must have edited them after they wrote them out.

Those who have intemperately called Mr. Mahone names for having had the guts to defend science and reason before a hostile audience and against an accomplished con man also owe Mr. Mahone an apology.

Snore.

Comment #45577

Posted by Albion on August 29, 2005 9:38 PM (e)

I wonder if Mr Anderson is as courageous as Mr Mahone in appearing before a biased audience to explain his views. If he is, perhaps he’d like to come here and explain what on earth he thought he was doing with the way that debate was set up and conducted.

Comment #45579

Posted by Dave Harmon on August 29, 2005 9:47 PM (e)

Commenters: I agree that debating IDers is futile, but calling Mr. Mahone “stupid” is just being nasty. Naive and idealistic, yes, but his rueful tone suggests he has learned the usual lesson. emember, naivete is curable. ;-) Of course, many of the posters on this board still have the bad habit of “feeding the trolls”….

Steven M: I agree with prior posters, that any attempt to “debate” IDers et al is at best useless, and at worst gives them more ammunition: “Our speaker tonight has debated the evolutionist Dr. Famous at Prominent University!” Even on boards like this, attempts to seriously respond to creationist arguments tend to *ahem* devolve rapidly into flamefests and/or drivel. On the other hand……if you really feel the need to face the lions again, don’t even try treating it as a “straight argument”. As others have commented, above: research your opponent and prepare, play to the crowd rather than to “science”, and use any tactics available to public rhetoric. As you found out, you should bring your props even if you supposedly won’t be able to use them, and otherwise be prepared for last-minute “surprises”.

Also, stock up on examples of evolution that people can understand and empathize with. Some ideas:

- the domestication of dogs (a tad peripherial, but you get to show slides of cute doggies and wolf puppies)
- the common skeletal plans among mammals (more obvious demos)
- pesticide/antibiotic resistance (“we can help you with vermin and disease, the IDers can’t”.)
- sickle-cell-etc vs. malaria (shows tradeoffs)

Likewise, stock up on flip ways to make their stock lines look stupid, like “do you know any buildings with no designer?” gets answered with “Do you know any buildings that reproduce?”. Preparation is key! Remember, this won’t quite be the Jerry Springer Show, but the level of discussion will be lower than you’re used to, so play to that.

Comment #45582

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 29, 2005 10:03 PM (e)

Albion, These are the sort of people that will kill you inorder to “save you.” In Viet Nam villages were burned to the ground in order to “deny the enemy a target.” We also learned there the value of “preemptive retaliation.” Before that, we had the biblical justifications of slavery, and never forget the Spanish Inquisition (I don’t mean “commfy cushions).

They have no problem lying. It is an act of restraint that they haven’t returned us to the 14th century.

Comment #45585

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 29, 2005 10:20 PM (e)

Dave Harmon, I am nearly in complete agreement with you on this.

What I would like to suggest is a modest project:

Hovind’s whole scam is on his videos. This includes all the slides I have seen him use. I suggest that a power point file be produced that counters every single point Hovind makes.

Factual material is not even hard to come by as considerable work has already been done via Analysis of Kent Hovind, even the Answers in Genesis übercreaionists have rebuked him. Also, the “Index of Creationist Claims is another valuable resource.

Comment #45586

Posted by Albion on August 29, 2005 10:23 PM (e)

Well, I know they have no problem lying; that they have no problem lying seems to be one of their more common characteristics. I’m just really puzzled by the mindset that’s so obviously comfortable with lying while simultaneously claiming the moral high ground. I’ve wondered for a long time if these people are so mentally fragmented that they don’t see the problem with this attitude or if they know very well what they’re doing but think that “lying” has some different sort of meaning when it’s them doing it.

Comment #45590

Posted by steve on August 29, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

I second what Dave says, and add: If it’s Kent Hovind you’re debating, make fun of his fake doctorate.

Comment #45595

Posted by Keith on August 29, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

Steven Mahone wrote:

Hovind also accused Sam of labeling all Christians as “dumb.”

I find that quite ironic. I have seen one too many of “Dr. Dino’s” videos, not by choice (long story), and it seems to me that he treats his own audience as ‘dumb’. He treats his own target audience as school children. It was really sad to see him do that. Looking at the small smattering of audience shots, it’s clear the audience was not a group of Sunday school children. It was his high and mighty attitude that I observed in the first video that really angered me.
In any event, this is my first post here. This place kept me sane while viewing said videos above. Please keep up the good work.

Comment #45596

Posted by sanjait on August 29, 2005 11:55 PM (e)

If Mr. Mahone is still reading this thread past the drubbing he has taken from some posters: I still admire your intent. I doubt it lends tremendous extra credibility to Mr. Hovlind for having debated and engineer and a physicist on biological evolution. And I think many posters here underestimate human nature when they assume that all Campus Crusaders are monolithic and syncophantic. “The meek shall inherit the Earth” they are taught, and while many revel in the groupthink such an event provides, at least a few others (like the one in comment 45486) are replulsed by that sort of spectacle. It is tough to decide which lends more credibility to IDers; engaging in staged debates or refusing to participate. However, from what I saw of the press coverage from Kansas, the decision not to participate just gave them more ammunition. Certainly Mr. Mahone should have researched Mr. Hovlind’s tactics extensively, but in the long run I think our only path to success will be to express a quiet confidence and competence in what we know, and a willingness to share it.

Comment #45597

Posted by ts (not Tim) on August 30, 2005 12:07 AM (e)

I’m just really puzzled by the mindset that’s so obviously comfortable with lying while simultaneously claiming the moral high ground. I’ve wondered for a long time if these people are so mentally fragmented that they don’t see the problem with this attitude or if they know very well what they’re doing but think that “lying” has some different sort of meaning when it’s them doing it.

You’re treating lying as inherently bad, or consistently applied standards as inherently good, but many people don’t think that way. Lying in the service of the Lord is holy. To defeat the great deceiver Satan, you have to fight fire with fire. etc. It’s really not hard to come up with rationalizations for any sort of behavior when one lacks an internal facility of self-judgement.

Comment #45600

Posted by steve on August 30, 2005 12:29 AM (e)

I have seen one too many of “Dr. Dino’s” videos, not by choice (long story), and it seems to me that he treats his own audience as ‘dumb’. He treats his own target audience as school children.

he might not be talking down to them. If this review of Hovind’s “dissertation”
http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/bartelt_dissertation_on_hovind_thesis.htm
is accurate, he’s just not a smart guy to begin with. Maybe he’s just talking on his level.

Comment #45602

Posted by steve on August 30, 2005 12:36 AM (e)

Hovind himself won’t permit his “dissertation” to be released. What’s that tell you. Me, I would love love love to read it. If that review is accurate, it is hilarious. From the review:

Voltaire’s connections to Abbe de Chateuneuf are mentioned, only to observe that the latter might be a homosexual….

Erasmus Darwin is described as a very fat, immoral doctor. The number of legitimate children (12) and illegitimate children (2) are listed, as is this Darwin’s tendency to have affairs….

The chapter concludes as Hovind blames Shintoism (which Hovind claims is based on evolution), for what Japan did in World War II.

100 pages of that would make my sides hurt. That is High Octane Crazy.

Comment #45610

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on August 30, 2005 1:57 AM (e)

Matt writes “Those who have intemperately called Mr. Mahone names for having had the guts to defend science and reason before a hostile audience and against an accomplished con man also owe Mr. Mahone an apology.”

I didn’t give Mr. Mahone a hard time because he had the “guts” to defend science. Guts is one thing, but discretion is the better part of valor. He was warned that Hovind was an accomplished con-man. He’s a few other things too, many of which aren’t printable.

A number of us here have been defending science for years. But know thy enemy as well as thy know thyself. You can asked anyone in the UH Geology and Geophysics Dept that I was warning people 12 years ago, that what is happening today, would happen. And I’m sure other people here had an inkling well before then. Some of the faculty thought I was nuts for going on a radio program several years ago defending evolution, Big Bang theory etc. several times taking on all comers. But they listened (some of them anyway), and realized that creationists weren’t mythological bozos, but they exist, and exist in numbers and are well financed.

In 2000, stealth creationist school board members tried to sneak creationism into the Hawaii High School curricula. However, the scientific opposition was well prepared and organized and there hasn’t been narry a mention of ID or creationism with respect to High School curricula in Hawaii since. That was a blood bath from which they’ll need a few more years to recover.

I suppose what bothered me most is that Mr. M was warned, but ignored it. At any rate, I’ve said my piece, Mr. M took his lumps, and its time to shove on.

I hope that despite the rough treatment Mr. M got here, he still maintains his passion and enthusiam for the cause and I look forward to his contributions here.

Comment #45620

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2005 2:57 AM (e)

100 pages of that would make my sides hurt. That is High Octane Crazy.

Dude, you ain’t seen *nothing* yet. Hovind not *only* thinks the government is spying on us through our TV’s, and that the federal building in Oklahoma City was blown up by the government so it could blame the militias, that AIDS was made by the military, that Disney movies are “pagan”, that vaccination is the work of the Devil, and that black helicopters from the UN are going to take over the United States – he is just chock FULL of things that are genuinely nutty. As in “lunatic”. As in “stark raving mad”. As in “paddded room time”. Check out:

http://www.kent-hovind.com/

Not to mention my alltime favorite “Dr” Hovind quote, which should be featured prominently in **every piece of literature handed out at every Hovind “debate”**, in bold italics and 48-point type:

“Democracy is evil and contrary to God’s law.” – K Hovind
(http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=205)

Let’s see “Dr Dino” wave *that* one off with a PowerPoint slide.

Comment #45622

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2005 3:00 AM (e)

I hope that despite the rough treatment Mr. M got here, he still maintains his passion and enthusiam for the cause and I look forward to his contributions here.

Indeed. Me too.

Experience may be a hard teacher, but she is also a very thorough one.

The trick is to learn from OTHER people’s experiences, rather than repeating them for oneself.

Comment #45798

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 30, 2005 7:33 PM (e)

Well, I have located tapes of all of Hovind’s public domain BS, and some software that can do screen capture of his power point slides. There are around 14 hours of tapes.

Volunteers?

Comment #45804

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on August 30, 2005 8:24 PM (e)

Kudos to Steven Mahone for a good try and a clear report.

Bonus points to those suggesting a powerpoint-by-powerpoint rebuttal of Hovind’s materials - genuinely constructive proposals outweigh self-righteous flaming every time.

That said, I agree with the others emphasizing that these events are much more about argumentative skills than science (or religion, if you consider that anything besides oratory). To approach them otherwise is an embarrassing social faux pas, equivalent to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Guerrilla debating strategies ‘n’ tactics go far beyond the tips listed above, and are virtually always necessary when confronting christocrats in public (I speak as a veteran of numerous verbal duels on abortion rights: the antis are even slipperier than creationists, having many more emotional buttons to press). On the strategic level, never forget that your audience’s attitude is the prize, and your opponents’ words are secondary, to be considered only as potential springboards to reaching that prize. As for tactics: bring not only lots of handouts but a detailed knowledge of your opponent’s weak points, and a handful of well-prepped hecklers and planted questioners.

Comment #45874

Posted by Rob on August 31, 2005 10:02 AM (e)

I’ve said it before, I agree with NCSE’s Eugenie Scott on this one - we shouldn’t debate these charlatans. The reason? By using the forum of public debate you automatically confer an advantage to the opposition, because it takes a lot less effort to spout out a lie than to debunk one - you can’t possibly falsify a series of creationist lies in the span of an hour-long debate.

The proper forum for scientific debate is the peer review process. The only point that should be debated with creationists is the value of peer review by the mainstream science arena; they don’t have a leg to stand on there and can be effortlessly debunked on those terms. We should always be glad to explain science, but if the request for an explanation turns into an argument, our opponents should be quickly directed to the appropriate forum (in effect, usually ending the conversation - most creationists are understandably not eager to discuss the value of peer review).

Comment #45926

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 31, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

“Kudos to Steven Mahone for a good try and a clear report.”

I concur with Pierce R. Butler, at least in regard to his honest report of the event. This is in contrast to the self-deluded account written by Michael Shermer regarding his Hovind encounter. I was there at UCI the evening in question, and Shermer was squished just as flat as any frog in heavy traffic. (And he had the use of his PowerPoint slides).

By the way, there have been no volunteers yet for the Hovind project. Some people seem to be all bark.

Comment #45951

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 31, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

By the way, there have been no volunteers yet for the Hovind project. Some people seem to be all bark.

As I’ve pointed out, all of Hovind’s “best and brightest” have already been gathered here:

http://www.kent-hovind.com/

Read ‘em, then laugh, then weep, then let the whole world know about them.

Let’s see the good “Dr” PowerPoint his way out of THESE.

If someone is gonna “debate” the guy, then don’t play to his agenda. Let him preach to the choir all he wants. (shrug) Then go straight for his gonads. Show all the fawning faithful just how nutty their hero really is.

It may open a few eyes.

However, since the political scheme of things Hovind is an insignificant little nobody, I doubt that de-gonading him is actually worth the effort anyway. Save it for bigger fish like Moon-cult-worshipper Wells and HIV-denier Johnson.

Comment #45988

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 31, 2005 10:55 PM (e)

I know Lenny, I had already linked that site. The advantage would be to key directly into Hovind’s patter. He lives by those PP slides.

What ever. I am going fishing tommorrow.

Comment #46041

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 1, 2005 8:51 AM (e)

I am going fishing tommorrow.

I’ve been on vacation all this week. Ahhhhhh, I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to do … well … nothing. ;>

Good luck with your worm-drowning. :>

Comment #46074

Posted by Paul Flocken on September 1, 2005 11:27 AM (e)

While not forgetting Flank’s Dictum that this is a political fight not a scientific one, I wondered.

I don’t live in a fantastically advanced part of the country, but things like this colloquia are available. However that is in physics. The university biology dept. has nothing available. 150 years ago Michael Faraday had huge crowds hanging on his every word. Instead of debates (or perhaps using the debate format but subverting it to this purpose*) why can’t there be more public lectures from university scientists, especially on biological subjects? Or more pertinently, do Americans care anymore to attend such things? If anyone tried to offer such lectures would there be no one attending aside from students? I can imagine local newscasts reporting on them, especially if they included really cool, photogenic props for use in demonstrations.

Paul

*Instead of a debate on something as ridiculously and ambiguously broad as Creation versus Evolution, why not argue much narrower topics as how overthrusting (the Matterhorn in Switzerland) works, the science of pollen grain and atmospheric isotopic analysis in mud- and ice-cores, how the bacterial flagellum evolved, how invasive species are displacing the native flora and fauna of the Hawaiian Islands, the first bilaterian flatworms, magnetic evidence for sea-floor spreading, related species on opposite sides of the Atlantic. All of these have creation/evolution/old earth angles. And if presented by experts in detail could be little challenged by cre’s who only know the Galloping Gish style.

Comment #46082

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 1, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

Or more pertinently, do Americans care anymore to attend such things?

I very much doubt it. Stuff like that can’t even survive on TV, because nobody wants to watch it.

Comment #50416

Posted by lakercub on September 30, 2005 9:37 PM (e)

I have never posted to this site before but I am moved to do so now. I know Dr. Milazzo. He was my Physics instructor in 1992 and 1993. He was a wonderful teacher. People attended his classes whether they signed up or not. No matter the major students wanted to attend his classes. So when I see this sort of disgusting, but not unexpected, debate tactic from Hovind, it gets my blood boiling. Also, as this is Colorado Springs and an extremely religious town, I can almost guarantee that this event was highly under advertised outside of the church community to ensure just such an audience. Disgraceful.