Friday, March 28, 2008

My Debates With Creationists Would Go Better If They Didn’t Lie So Much

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My debates with creationists always go better in my head than in real life. Does this happen to anyone else? I always feel like, “How could I lose? Not only are the creationists super wrong, they’re completely ridiculous!” Well, it helps if they don’t need to tell the truth. “Did you hear about the Dinosaur footprints with human footprints next to them? How do you explain that?” Let me give you an example of what I mean.

In High School I went to a very fundamentalist church. I remember we watched a creationist documentary where the interviewers had somehow gotten Richard Dawkins to talk to them. They asked something like “Can you give even one example of a case where a mutation has added information to a genome and not subtracted it?” Richard Dawkins looked stumped and shocked. Ka-boom! Take that Richard Dawkins!

Wow, did that documentary take him down a peg or what? Nailed him! God-1 Atheists-0!

Now even though I was rooting for God at the time I also happened to believe in evolution (It wasn’t my fault, I went to a good High school). I could think of lots of examples where information had been added to a genome. I started to say something about polyploidy where organisms have extra copies of the same chromosome. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty good example adding information? “Well yeah,” The creationists said, “but that’s just copying information that already exists, it’s not new information.”

I imagined myself rebutting this with “You’ve already granted that mutations exist, you even grant that some mutations are beneficial. Clearly, if there are 2 copies of the same gene on separate chromosomes and one of them mutates, that’s an example of new information right?”

But you know I never got that far. It was all “Look, not even Richard Dawkins could think of an example and he’s the High Priest of evolution.” I didn’t know who Richard Dawkins was at the time but clearly, if he can’t think of an example then no examples exist, right? I never got to make my neat argument about how strawberries are Octaploid (8 copies of the same chromosome and delicious!). Nope, none of that mattered because who was I? Just some Kid. I wasn’t a renowned scientist, so obviously I was wronger than Richard Dawkins, and he was wronger than the creationists. That made me the wrongest! There was no other explanation.

Years later, after I had decided that religion was all bullshit, I read Richard Dawkins’ book A Devil’s Chaplin. In the book he tells a story about how some Australian filmmakers came to his house and asked if they could do an interview. He agreed and as they were interviewing him they asked a question that only a creationist would ask, about adding information to the genome. Richard Dawkins stopped the interview and told them to leave and was angry at having been duped but they begged and pleaded, “We’ve come all the way from Australia to interview you.” He eventually let them continue.

Now maybe that’s why he looked so stumped and befuddled before. Maybe not, maybe Dawkins was just trying to cover his ass and it’s all a big conspiracy. It doesn’t really

matter. Who cares whether Dawkins is right or wrong, the theory is correct, and there are tons of examples to prove it.

This is why I always win my imaginary debates with creationists and seem to lose my real life ones. They aren’t allowed to lie in my imagination.

If you have a story to tell about a debate with a Creationist, or an "evolutionist" please share.

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