Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Friendly Challenge...

Phillip O'Donnell, who I've mentioned previously on here in this post about pterodactyls and as a snarky aside in my recent post about Ed Mitchell's alien silliness, has contacted me and proposed a debate between the two of us. Readers will remember O'Donnell as the YECer who wrote a book about living dinosaurs when he was just 14 years old. He now runs website called Living Dinos on which he attempts to show evidence for the modern existence of dinosaurs, as well as the reality of dragons and a 6,000 year-old earth, in the hope that advancing these positions will challenge the conclusions of evolutionary biology and provide support of a Biblical literalist view of reality.

Phillip has proposed that we do a recorded phone debate, which I admittedly don't have much interest in because I've no desire to, among other things, pay for several hours of long distance charges. I have instead suggested that, rather than debating privately over the phone, we should set up a formal, public debate over at the Internet Infidels Discussion Board. As with all the formal debates on that forum, this would be a moderated one-on-one debate with a mutually agreed upon topic and rules and would consist solely of Phillip, myself, and a moderator. There would be no dog-piling by supporters of either side. Naturally, more specific details about the debate would need to be worked out before IIDB moderators would approve it, but I've no reason to suspect that it would be difficult at all to put such a thing together.

I look forward to Phillip's response and eagerly await the opportunity to debate him on his evidence for the existence of modern dinosaurs.


Jay said...

Normally, at IIDB you'll start off in the Formal Debate Proposal forum hashing out the terms. You'll have to agree on word limits, number of rounds, time to respond, and so forth. You'll also have to come to agreement on the topic to resolve, and that's what often becomes a sticking point, because it's easy to get stuck in the mud on accepted definitions of terms and such.

Written debates are much more under control than phone debates or live debates, but be smart and don't let him box you in from the start with some weird definition of "dinosaur" or something.

The mods of the debate forums over there are excellent, by the way.

Jay said...

And by the way, if he's trying to pull the "I don't have time for a forum debate" card, I might be able to work something out with the formal debate mods to allow it to draw out a little longer than normal. ;-)

Three Ninjas said...

What about recording it via Skype?

Skippy the Skeptic said...

Frankly I kind of suspect he'd prefer a verbal rather than written debate because he doesn't want to have to go into much detail in his defenses, which is one of the reasons I think a public, written debate would be the way to go. I've seen some of his "debates"* online as well as read his "rebuttals" to Talk Origins and whatnot, and honestly all I ever see him do is rattle of a bunch of supposed eye witness accounts (be they from Marco Polo or Nessie hunters) without even hinting at a citation, and I think the lameness of such a response would be even more evident in text.

I've been doing a little halfhearted digging online and apparently he's not big into doing a lot on public forums because he feels like he gets ganged up on, but, again, that's why I'm suggesting a moderated debate on IIDB. That way it would just be the two of us and whatever tiny audience we might attract.

Love and peace,

*I use quotation marks here not out of any particular desire to be snarky, but because his Youtube "debate" consists of two videos of himself reading off a sheet of paper with no actual opposing viewpoint in evidence.