A few months ago, I opined about the problems of using public debate to determine the value / validity of science. I think, now, this is even more “true” than I did previously.
Over the internet there are a variety of blogs, both theist and atheist, which have looked at the recent Nightline debate between the Rational Response Squad and the trained monkeys (Comfort and Cameron). With a few exceptions from the more dogmatic, fundamentalist, Christian blogs, most commentators agree that the RRS had a more convincing argument and that the trained monkeys were drowning under their own poor logic.
Sadly, most of the blogs also agree that the poor RRS duo came across very badly. This is not a reflection of them as people and it certainly is not a reflection of the subject matter they were presenting. The fact of the matter is that public speaking is not second nature to most people. Doing so on TV is more daunting and being able to talk without demonstrating nervous habits is something which takes practice and training. Comfort and Cameron are not really hampered by this (one being an actor and the other a preacher), and during the debate, the “comfort” with which they spoke was apparent. Now, they were let down by their inane nonsense and condescending attitude, but it could have been a close call.
Imagine a similar debate, this time not between such highly polarised topics where people have pretty much all made up their own minds. If this were, say, a debate between the Ekpyrotic theory and the Big Crush theory would people be swayed more by the evidence or the skill of the presenters?
[tags]Atheism, Science, Theism, Physics, Ekpyrotic, Big Crush, Belief, Christianity, culture, debate, Faith, Kirk Cameron, Philosophy, Rational Response Squad, Ray Comfort, Religion, Society, Stupidity, woo[/tags]