PZ has posted a some footage from the Ray Comfort + Kirk Cameron vs. Rational Response Squad debate from the other night, and to tell you the truth I wasn’t impressed. Interestingly enough, I received a copy of William Paley’s Natural Theology today and the first few pages more eloquently and coherently express intelligent design than Comfort’s ramblings about paintings. Also, as members of the RRS pointed out, Comfort alluded to the 10 commandements (without actually saying the words), therefore breaching the rules of the debate. In all Comfort’s attempt to explain the existence of God without Biblical authority was stupid; obviously I would contest his claims still but he essentially cut the balls off his own argument by trying to avoid using the Bible to back up his claims.
As for the Rational Response Squad, I wasn’t that impressed; they seemed a bit stiff and lacked charisma, as well as focusing more on attacking religion than providing evidence for evolution. If Comfort and Cameron were suppossed to should scientific evidence for God, shouldn’t the RRS have countered with scientific evidence against the need for divine intervention in nature? Instead it seemed to be more about atheism vs religion than science vs crackpot claims, and I wonder what the reception to the program will be due to this reality. I don’t wish to be too harsh on the RRS speakers at the debate, but I think outwardly antagonizing religion and associating it with science isn’t helping. We can go ’round and ’round on this issue, and I am not suggesting that religious beliefs must always be respected and never questioned, but I do find it interesting that often times debates that are supposed to be about science degrade into atheism vs. religion and how anyone who holds religious belief is somehow irrational or delusional.
In any event, I think Comfort came off as an idiot but the RRS focused more on countering religious belief in general rather than creationist claims specifically. I’m sure science bloggers will all have their own take on this, but we would do well to pay attention to how the general public digests the debate and how they react to it; how can we effectively reach the public if we don’t listen to what they think about this debate?