Losing the Debate
Every once in a while, some scientist who accepts the view that the universe, life, and human beings have developed slowly over billions of years through evolutionary processes is lured into a debate with a "creationist" who insists that the universe, life, and human beings have been brought into existence only a few thousand years ago, in just about its present form, by supernatural action.
To serious students of science, it would seem that a scientist must win such a debate. After all, on the side of the scientist are vast numbers of all kinds of observations, to say nothing of careful argument and unassailable logic. On the side of the creationist, there is, from the scientific point of view, exactly nothing.
And yet, somehow, in such debates, the creationist often appears to have it all his own way, while the scientist is reduced to an ineffective defense. Why is that?
No mystery! The scientist has generally spent his professional life in scientific debate with other scientists. The weapons in such debates are evidence and careful reasoning. Opposing points of view are maintained unemotionally, and all participants follow the rules of the scientific method. If one or all of those taking part in a scientific debate are not good speakers, that does not matter very much. It is the content that counts.
The creationist, however, is often a showman, and usually a polished speaker. He has no concern for scientific evidence or careful reasoning and is on the stage in order to win debating points with the audience. He sounds much better than the scientist as a matter of course. What he says is worth nothing, but it invariably sounds good. The scientist usually is untrained in handling such showman-tactics and cannot respond effectively.