Thursday, October 24, 2013
Richard Dawkins explains why he doesn't debate young earth creationists
Evolutionary biologist and atheist author Richard Dawkins has revealed in an interview why he doesn't debate people who believe in the Young Earth creation theory, stating that simply engaging them on a platform allows them to get what they want.
"When the debate is with someone like a Young Earth creationist, as the late Stephen Gould pointed out – they've won the moment you agree to have a debate at all. Because what they want is the oxygen of respectability," Dawkins told Seth Andrews of "The Thinking Atheist" in a recently-published interview about his latest book, An Appetite for Wonder.
"They want to be seen on a platform with a real scientist, because that conveys the idea that here is a genuine argument between scientists," Dawkins continued. "They may not win the argument – in fact, they will not win the argument, but it makes it look like there really is an argument to be had."
The biologist has often defended the theory of evolution in his work, going against creationism and any notion that a divine being might have been involved in the process. While Dawkins has participated in a number of public discussions with faith figures throughout his career, he has largely avoided getting into debates with creationists, or with people who believe the Earth is between 6,000 to 10,000 years old.
"Just as I wouldn't expect a gynecologist to have a debate with somebody who believes in the Stork-theory of reproduction, I won't do debates with Young Earth creationists," he said.
Americans have held contrasting views on human origins, with 46 percent of voters in a 2012 Gallup poll indicating that they believe God created humans in their present form sometime within the last 10,000 years. Another 32 percent said that humans evolved but with God guiding the process, and 15 percent said evolution occurred without any divine involvement.