One of our commenters thinks not.
I am not “too afraid” to play a tree, to sing the color blue, or to write a stone. I am not “making an excuse” when I explain my reasons for doing so. A tree is not a collection of rules for entertaining gaming. The color blue is not a selections of lyrics put to melody. A stone is not a sequence of letters and symbols.
Similarly, a creationist is not a critical thinker seeking to evaluate the merit and accuracy of his own position, and this means you cannot debate one. Fear has nothing to do with it. Not all verbs can be performed on all subjects.
And Bill Nye isn’t going to “debate” Ken Ham, either. He’s going to explain how Ken Ham is wrong at (not to) Ken Ham, while Ken Ham repeats the same script of logical fallacies and lies that have already been exposed, verbatim, that he always does.
I think it’s a fair point, and one that very much needs to be made, as the great K-Ham begins to crow about how terrified those of us who accept evolution are of him. A debate implies an open exchange of ideas on a given topic on the basis of the evidence available and the arguments presented.
Defending one’s position is one thing, but if a party is completely shut off to any and all evidence that may be offered, well, then I daresay this commenter is right: You can no more “debate” that person than you could fricassee a cemetery.
What do you think?
One quick note: I don’t at all think it’s pointless to discuss matters of evolution, the age of the earth and the proper interpretation of Genesis with all creationists. If I did, I doubt I’d be running a website like this one.
I think there are plenty of creationists — young-earthers, even — in the general public who have been given from trusted sources (like a pastor, or a “respected ministry” like K-Ham’s Answers in Genesis) a severely skewed and incomplete picture of the scientific evidence. Sharing the truth with such individuals in a gracious way can indeed be effective and valuable, as I myself have found.
It is only with those who are quite familiar with the evidence but utterly refuse to accept it that I feel one is flirting with futility.