Richard Dawkins’ reasoning goes like this:
Some time in the 1980s when I was on a visit to the United States, a television station wanted to stage a debate between me and a prominent creationist called, I think, Duane P Gish. I telephoned Stephen Gould for advice. He was friendly and decisive: “Don’t do it.” The point is not, he said, whether or not you would ‘win’ the debate. Winning is not what the creationists realistically aspire to. For them, it is sufficient that the debate happens at all. They need the publicity. We don’t.
To the gullible public which is their natural constituency, it is enough that their man is seen sharing a platform with a real scientist. “There must be something in creationism, or Dr So-and-So would not have agreed to debate it on equal terms.” Inevitably, when you turn down the invitation you will be accused of cowardice, or of inability to defend your own beliefs. But that is better than supplying the creationists with what they crave: the oxygen of respectability in the world of real science.
Now compare that to the commentary of David Cloud:
There have been many excellent debates between creationists and evolutionists since Darwin’s day. Hundreds of debates were held on university campuses and elsewhere in the 1970s and 1980s between highly educated men on both sides of the issue. I attended one in about 1974 at a university in Florida when Henry Morris and Duane Gish took on a couple of evolutionary professors. Dr. Gish was a great debater.
That was until the evolutionists started hiding behind the smokescreen of “let’s not give creationists legitimacy by debating them.” Actually, evolutionists had discovered that they can’t go head to head on the facts alone. They have to flee for refuge in their secular religion and its presuppositions.
- Dawkins, R. (2006). Why I Won’t Debate Creationists. The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Available http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/119-why-i-won-39-t-debate-creationists. Last accessed 2nd Apr 2015.
- Cloud, D. (2014). Debate of the Century. Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Available http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/debate_of_the_century.html. Last accessed 2nd Apr 2015.