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Feedback archive Feedback 2010

Polarized reaction to atheists’ refusal to debate CMI

Published: 27 February 2010(GMT+10)

Photo <www.expelledthemovie.com>

Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Our article Global Atheists reject debate challenge, by Dr Carl Wieland, certainly stirred up passions.

We’ll start off with the submission from Brenda A., United States, who wrote:

I notice that you don’t allow open comments on your site, which is probably wise. I also notice that you took offense to PZ Myers’ picture but failed to present his actual reasons for not debating you: that you have only ignorance and pseudoscience on your side and there is no scientific basis for your views; that you are openly and repeatedly dishonest about evidence and counterevidence when it has been presented to you; and that a public debate would only be seen as legitimizing your fundamentally baseless arguments in other forums. Here’s a way to get them to debate you: have a team of scientists (i.e., people actually capable of evaluating the scientific evidence) monitor the debate, evaluate both sides, and agree to resign your ministry if you lose. You won’t do that, because you’re a coward and you know the balance of evidence is massively against you. And I’m guessing you won’t print this comment because you’re dishonest.

Carl Wieland’s responses are interspersed below:

[Brenda A.] I notice that you don’t allow open comments on your site, which is probably wise. I also notice that you took offense to PZ Myers’ picture but failed to present his actual reasons for not debating you: that you have only ignorance and pseudoscience on your side and there is no scientific basis for your views; that you are openly and repeatedly dishonest about evidence and counterevidence when it has been presented to you; and that a public debate would only be seen as legitimizing your fundamentally baseless arguments in other forums.

[Carl W.] Actually, we provided the link to the blog which had both the picture and the purported reasons. In fact, we actually highlighted the link twice—the first time in the main text as follows …

For the whole response by PZ Myers, bearing all the warnings in mind for younger members of the family in particular, you can see scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/12/a_reply_to_carl_wieland.php

PZ Myers’ comments are a great demonstration of the vituperative emotionalism that so often substitutes for reasoned debate.

… and the second time in the caption to the photo of PZ Myers (again with suitable warnings to our readers as to the nature of the content at his blog). We really wanted readers to see his comments, in fact, because they are a great demonstration of the vituperative emotionalism that so often substitutes for reasoned debate.

Here’s a way to get them to debate you: have a team of scientists (i.e., people actually capable of evaluating the scientific evidence) monitor the debate, evaluate both sides, and agree to resign your ministry if you lose.

Yes, that is a way. But would they debate if the scientists chosen were balanced equally between those committed to an evolutionary paradigm of interpretation vs those with the opposite, and that they agree to resign their careers if they were to be adjudged the losers? Perhaps you could put that to them …

You won’t do that, because you’re a coward and you know the balance of evidence is massively against you. And I’m guessing you won’t print this comment because you’re dishonest.

Once again, invective substitutes for reason. Sigh.

Carl W.


Australian correspondent Wayne R. was similarly forthright:

I’m going to the atheist conference in Melbourne. Frankly, I’m not interested in your brand of lunacy. I have heard it far too often and I don’t want to hear the rubbish again. The Earth is not younger than 10,000 years old, there was never a worldwide flood, there was never a Garden of Eden, and an Adam and Eve. Why don’t you listen to the words of Saint Augustine when he said that a Christian is just demonstrating that he is a fool when he denies what anyone can see is true from science?

Carl responds:

Thanks for your email. Augustine (a young-earth creationist, by the way) has often been misquoted, misused, etc. But your last sentence is important from another perspective, too.

If if it were indeed so obvious from science as you claim, why not take this opportunity to publicly demonstrate the alleged evidential superiority of the evolutionary position?

To someone who saw 800 participants in our January Supercamp in 2009 listening to PhD scientists as one after another they laid out reams of evidence from science over the course of a week, with plenty of opportunity for interaction/discussion/questions, looking at your last sentence leaves one with a surreal feeling.


Toni C., United States, wrote …

Why do creationists exhibit such incredible and continuous ignorance and stupidity? What part of the English language are you having trouble with that you did understand those responses? If and when you publish something scientifically based, then, and ONLY THEN, will you be given a scientific forum. In the meantime, get yourself into the lab or into the field and do some worthy research. Spinning on your thumbs while reading the bible won’t cut it.

… to which Carl responded:

Dear Toni

Thanks for your feedback.

We’ve had that sort of response before, not surprisingly.

When the people concerned then have it pointed out to them that various members of the proposed creationist debating team have in fact published “worthy research”, the next phase is normally to hastily tighten the conditions further, e.g. by saying something like, “only if that research concluded in favour of the propositions you hold.” But given the heavily documented fact that articles that fly in the face of a dominant paradigm in science rarely get past the gatekeepers—let alone the additional documentation, such as in Jerry Bergmann’s book Slaughter of the Dissidents, that shows that creationists or ID scientists are positively discriminated against to an astonishing degree—that begs the question of how such a condition might ever be fulfilled, regardless of the scientific worthiness of the case.

In fact, in the flood of antagonistic email we have received, most of it heavily charged with emotion, there are many indications that the bulk of such email generators are not even aware of the arguments on our site, for instance. Perhaps it is easier to rely on caricatures of how creationists understand the evidence, rather than take the hard road of actually engaging with the evidence. The simple fact is that hurling epithets about ‘lying’ etc. as most of the correspondents are doing, or making it seem as if creationists who are scientists are just sitting on their thumbs quoting the Bible, as you wrote, may be an easy option, but leaves the onlooker with the distinct impression that the emperor does not have the level of clothing that his retinue would like one to think. It does your cause little good.

Kind regards,

Carl W.


Gregory Tingey, of the United Kingdom, wrote:

Lets see if we can nail down at least SOME of the mis-statement, lies, equivocations and other misinformation in your post:
Atheism = faith in evolution / the world made itself.
A deliberate lie, and you know it.
ATheism is an ABSENCE of faith, not a presence.
Evolution requires NO faith, since it is known to happen, has been observed to happen, and makes testable predictions. Furthermore it has nothing at all to do with the making of the world—that is the province of astrophysics and geology.

Professor Dawkins is not running a crusade, since crusades involve murdering thousands of innocent people.
Professor Dawkins is running an information campaign—so you are lying AGAIN.
“The argument is not (and never has been) about “the facts” relating to origins, but rather that they are being interpreted within a framework that begins by rejecting God and His Word.”
More lies.
You reject the facts, and assume the existence of an unproven supposed “god” etc. ad nauseam.

I’m not suprised people won’t debate you if you lie this persistently!

Gregory T.’s letter is reproduced below, this time with Carl Wieland’s responses interspersed:

Lets see if we can nail down at least SOME of the mis-statement, lies, equivocations and other misinformation in your post:

OK, let’s see.

Atheism = faith in evolution / the world made itself.
A deliberate lie, and you know it.

Let’s see if what follows turns out to substantiate your rather emotive accusation.

ATheism is an ABSENCE of faith, not a presence.

I have often said that I wish that there were more compulsory training in logic and philosophy in formal education (that includes my own in the past). It would not permit such misunderstandings to persist. When I was an atheist, I had to believe in some form of evolution, some way in which the world made itself with no interference outside itself. (Richard Dawkins said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, and what I understand him to be saying is that Darwin provided a plausible mechanism to do at least some of the intellectual ‘heavy lifting’ in such a grand claim.)

Now to hold that all of physical reality had generated its own order and complexity is a grand and audacious proposition. Obviously, though I believed it, I had no way of knowing it for absolutely certain. The gap between belief and total certainty is surely reasonably described as faith. That does not mean it is necessarily a blind faith or a dumb faith. Equally, a belief in the full Christian Gospel, though it involves faith, is not a blind or dumb faith, but a reasonable one. [See also Atheism is more rational? for evidence that atheism is an active belief system with a burden of proof.]

Evolution requires NO faith, since it is known to happen, has been observed to happen,

Only if you define it with equivocation, in such a way that the observation also fits a complete Genesis creation model. For example, if an evolutionist defines evolution as change in gene frequencies (CIGF), then points to an observation that demonstrates CIGF, it is utterly self-serving and scientifically bankrupt, if one is honest with oneself, to then say that, “Voilà, this shows that the whole sweep of ‘goo to you’ is thereby demonstrated.”

and makes testable predictions.

Indeed. And so does the creation model. Each, however, are very flexible major models that are capable of having auxiliary hypotheses added to protect the main paradigm from having to be abandoned (as shown by the philosopher of science Imre Lakatos). Science philosophers are also aware that incorrect models are capable of the occasional fulfilled prediction. That has to be the case, since both creation and evolution have had testable predictions fulfilled, and they are polar opposites.

Furthermore it has nothing at all to do with the making of the world—that is the province of astrophysics and geology.

Not correct. The expression ‘the world’ is obviously being used as a term for the ‘whole box and dice’, and under ‘evolution’ sensu lato it is quite legitimate to include the concepts (and their tenets) used to explain what are known, respectively, as geological evolution and cosmic evolution. You are choosing to narrow the definition to only biological evolution.

Professor Dawkins is not running a crusade, since crusades involve murdering thousands of innocent people.

Running a crusade is understood by most reasonable people as a metaphor for running a campaign (in this day and age, normally a program of disseminating information, despite the fact that the word ‘campaign’ is a battle-derived metaphor) which is carried out with religious fervour and which involves overcoming a perceived enemy using tactics and strategy.

Professor Dawkins is running an information campaign

There you go—you have used the same battle-derived metaphor

—so you are lying AGAIN.

Doesn’t this seem, even to you, over the top given that you yourself engage in the same metaphorical use of language? How absurd would it be if I accused you of lying about Dr Dawkins because campaigns in WW2 killed people, so he cannot be running an information campaign? Of course, if Bible believers are correct, then Dr Dawkins’ actions would be serving to help block access to the means to eternal life, which is surely serious

“ argument is not (and never has been) about “the facts” relating to origins, but rather that they are being interpreted within a framework that begins by rejecting God and His Word.”
More lies.

By now, one is growing used to the repetitive issuance of accusations lacking evidence.

You reject the facts,

I’ve yet to see you bring up any evidence of any ‘facts’ of science we are supposed to dispute. It’s fairly clear that you are not familiar with the arguments on our website, for example.

and assume the existence of an unproven supposed “god” etc ad nauseam.

Actually, it’s not unhealthy as an intellectual exercise, if nothing else, to try to do so for the sake of the argument. I.e. assume that the Bible really is what it claims to be. What would you expect to find? And so on. There is nothing wrong with making a priori assumptions (axioms or presuppositions—all reasoning starts on such a basis) to see how the evidence fits the framework that arises from such axioms, which can be abandoned of course if they turn out to be so utterly and repetitively inconsistent with reality that it’s obviously a futile exercise. It seems clear to me (stated with respect) that you have never really bothered to do that, to calm down long enough to work through the evidence on that basis.

I’m not surprised people won’t debate you if you lie this persistently!

There you go again. Many of us in the creation movement have been ‘on the other side of the fence’, as it were, working with different presuppositions, and so are familiar with wearing each of the sets of philosophical ‘glasses’. Could I gently and respectfully encourage you to dip a toe in the water, as it were? To see why it is that reasonable, intelligent, educated people (many of whom are actively involved in doing real science) can come to a totally different conclusion about the same evidence. Jesus Christ Himself said that those who are genuinely seeking will find Him. My sincere wish is that you may be one of those.

Sincerely,

Carl W.


Correspondent Michael C. (United States) entered into a bit of back-and-forth with Carl Wieland. Michael first wrote …

This seems to be a ridiculous complaint. how often would I, or any other supporter of the scientific method, rational thought, and logic be welcomed into a church during services to debate the pastor? If I contact your church and ask to debate your pastor during services, would I be welcomed?
Scientists debate creationists often. It is not as if you are given unfair treatment and denied the right to present your ideas. This event is not a debate. It is a convention for atheists. We know your arguments well. They have no merit. If you want a debate, host one on your dime and time, and invite those you wish to debate. Don’t cry because you are denied the privilege of intruding on a conference of freethinkers with an antiquated and backwards argument.

… to which Carl responded:

Thanks for your email—your comment about pastor and services appears to have missed the point, though.

We were not expecting the atheists to interrupt or modify their convention—nor, from the official responses received, was it taken that way. The obvious point is that there they are gathered together in Australia, a unique opportunity to have a ‘team’ debate (whether before or just after the convention) that would otherwise be prohibited by the economics, the so-called ‘tyranny of distance’, for both sides.

Michael then replied …

Dear Carl,
I enjoy a good debate. When two opposing sides have valid arguments, debate can be a great way to learn about the positions of each side. I can’t honestly say that in this case you have a valid argument. There is not much to debate. Creationists deny testable scientific fact, not only the theories that explain them. The bible cannot be used as proof that the bible is true. Science only supports your claims when you lie about its truths.
Perhaps your goals for opponents should be less lofty. You are asking for the biggest names at the convention. For the record, though, you are ignoring the fact that PZ and Dawkins and many others quite often debate creationists and other deniers of evolution. If your group could show that maybe they have some fresh insight into the matters, rather than just the same arguments with far more charming accents, you might receive a more satisfying response.
Thank you for responding to my comments! I wish you a happy and healthy new year!

Sincerely,
Michael C.
human

… which Carl briefly acknowledged:

Thanks, Mike — same to you.
Regards,

Carl W.


It’s worth adding though, that every Christian ought to be aware of two key points to remember when answering the likes of Michael C.’s statement that “The Bible cannot be used as proof that the Bible is true”. See Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s article Using the Bible to prove the Bible? Also, far from Dawkins often debating creationists, as Mike seems to think, he has in fact stated clearly and repeatedly why he refuses to debate them.

Offsetting incoming comments from atheists were a number of contributions from Christian correspondents. Their comments were generally (though not universally) supportive.

Fiona S., Australia, wrote:

Dear Dr. Wieland,
Thank you for trying to initiate this debate.
I, also, cannot understand why the atheists want to run from a scientific debate on origins, when they are SO SURE that they have the scientific evidence to back up their position. It’s just not logical IF they really think that they have evidence.
So, by default, creation-based science wins again, and ‘evolution’ is again shown to be just a mindless religion.

Justin S, United States, wrote:

All main stream scientific journals, as any informed reader knows, refuse to publish creationist materials for fear of reprisal from the likes of these individuals.

Science is not debate? If your theory can only stand when in the presence of its supporters, it isn’t a scientific theory.

It seems that with each passing day, atheists rage all the more against the truth with all the bluster they can manage.

Jeb S., also of the United States, wrote:

This is great news—I love the way CMI defends the Bible against these atheists.
I enjoy debates very much and think CMI should be involved in more debates when they can find PhD-level opponents.

Tim W., of the United Kingdom, wrote:

See how they run eh?

This is truly a dark age of science. Having had the discipline hijacked by those who mistake science for naturalistic philosophy, and confuse hard evidence for untestable presupposition-based extrapolation, there is now no way to enlighten these people of their ignorance (although seeing as that ignorance is mostly willful, it’s really not surprising). They won’t debate, and thus they flee from having their strawman arguments exposed. They promote peer-review, but then dictate what will or won’t qualify for publication, and thus flee from science—perfectly sound in its application but which dares to question their axioms and interpretations, even if it’s not about Creationism but merely comes from someone they know to be a Creationist.

They claim to know enough about your position to dismiss it outright, but repeatedly come up with incorrect nonsense, whilst denying you any ability to respond and correct them, and thus flee from learning the truth and becoming properly informed, even if they ultimately choose to reject it.

The hate that is vomited out from P Z Myers and his sheep is pitiful but yet entirely predictable, and as Christians we shouldn’t be at all surprised. I’m sure neither he or any of his followers have stopped to think for so much as even a minute as to why they are so hateful of something they don’t even think exists! The more they rant the more they show the Bible to be correct in its analysis of fallen humanity’s attitude to its Creator. Can any sane person consider Myers’ final response in that article to be that of a man of sound mind and rational disposition?

Leon B., Australia, made an important point:

Not that you will ever get them to admit this, but it is clearly a faith issue for the Atheists.

They are not ALLOWED to admit that Creation might be possible any more than you or I would allow for the possibility that a house-brick released at shoulder-height might spontaneously slam through the ceiling into the roof space.

It follows that they are not ALLOWED to say (write) anything which could remotely be interpreted to mean that they were taking any Creation supporter at all seriously.

So … there truly is freedom in Christ!

South African engineering student E. van Niekerk observed an interesting reaction from a non-Christian friend who was an admirer of PZ Myers:

CMI did the right thing to link PZ Myers’ gutter response to the debate invitation. In a follow up article, he was unhappy that CMI did that, because there were 1100 comments on that response of which a lot was from Christians. He had to eventually close the thread.

Second, I showed his response to my agnostic friend who usually goes on his site, and has admired him as an academic. When I showed him the Jesus-like figure pointing the middle finger and the sarcastic remarks from PZ just above it, he was disgusted and felt that PZ went too far. I did not even have to ask what he thinks about it. He said that it was the response that one would expect from a teenager! And it is. It is hardly thinkable that he has higher education, because that is not what one would expect from a biology professor! It was uncivilized.

Derek H., who was alerted to our article by a CMI Email News (“Infobytes”), wondered why we should concern ourselves with such “unsaved people”:

Thank you for the Info-bytes, but why the concern over unsaved people and the refusal of to atheists to debate?
First of all only a “remnant will be saved”—these are the words of Jesus. Certainly I agree that the seed should be sown but only GOD can give the seed life.
Secondly, Psalm 53 says “that a fool says in his heart that there is no God” and again in Proverbs. But also in Proverbs it says that we shouldn’t argue (debate) with fools.
So I say, leave the waverers and the fools who say there is no GOD, continue to sow the seed which is all we are asked to do and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit, He knows what He is doing, (been doing it a long time now), and who He must ‘draw’ to Jesus carry on the good work.
Yours in Jesus and I do sympathize with those who won’t make it,
Derek H.

Carl’s responses are interspersed below:

Thank you for the Info-bytes,

That’s a pleasure.

but why the concern over unsaved people

That is because we are commanded to be concerned, and to ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28).

and the refusal of to atheists to debate?

Part of the reason we do this is to show those who do have a seeking heart, or are Christians needing encouragement, that they do not need to be afraid of ‘scientific-sounding’ reasons for not believing the Bible—because when push comes to shove, here are the world’s leading anti-Godders backing away from a scientific debate on the issue. So we see this as something very important to make known.

First of all only a “remnant will be saved”—these are the words of Jesus.

I believe they are the words of Paul, quoting the prophet Isaiah, in Romans 9:27. Scripture also says (2 Peter 3:9), “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Certainly I agree that the seed should be sown but only GOD can give the seed life.

We agree that our human efforts alone are not enough. In that sense, this debate matter and the seminar mentioned is part of the seed-sowing. However, it should be remembered that, in His sovereignty, God has chosen to use earthen vessels and the ‘foolishness of preaching’ to be part of the process by which He brings people to Himself.

Secondly, Psalm 53 says “that a fool says in his heart that there is no God” and again in Proverbs. But also in Proverbs it says that we shouldn’t argue (debate) with fools.

A minor correction—the 2nd “a fool says in his heart that there is no God” scripture is not in Proverbs but appears earlier in the Psalms (Psalm 14). Re the Proverbs reference to debating fools, Proverbs makes two seemingly contradictory statements on the subject, the resolution of which may be of interest to you—see The enemy revealed.

So I say, leave the waverers and the fools who say there is no GOD,

Having shown that they are unwilling to debate, we’re not exactly wasting much effort on them. Our efforts in showing that their arguments are baseless will obviously only benefit those whose hearts are receptive. By doing so, we do not discount God’s work in salvation.

continue to sow the seed which is all we are asked to do and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit, He knows what He is doing, (been doing it a long time now), and who He must ‘draw’ to Jesus carry on the good work.
Yours in Jesus and I do sympathize with those who won’t make it,
Derek H.

It is very much a part of our mission to help people overcome roadblocks to faith.

The reformer John Calvin believed that getting people saved was totally God’s doing. Yet Calvin sent out missionaries, in obedience to the biblical command to take His message of salvation to people. Calvin did not see his belief in God doing the saving as in any way contradictory to him doing his best to get the message out there. Equally, part of the God-given mandate and command to get the message out, as realized by the Apostles (2 Corinthians 10:5) is to engage in the marketplace of ideas, which very much involves using arguments. As Paul says of their activities (2 Corinthians 10:5a): “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God”. It is very much a part of our mission to help people overcome roadblocks to faith. That is not the same as ‘arguing people into heaven’, which we would agree cannot be done. If God chooses to use some of these feeble human efforts, we are pleased, but we recognize that the glory and credit is His at all times.

Sincerely in Christ,

Carl W.


Canadian correspondent J.S. stated:

It is unfortunate that the atheists were afraid of the debate, but understandable. It is one thing to lose in a debate in front of a Christian audience, and quite another to be defeated in front of Atheists worldwide. Their followers have certainly been misinformed about the outcome of previous debates but are being protected from seeing their heroes defeated.

However, having read many of the letters from the atheist website, aside from being appalled by many grammatical and spelling errors, I can see that their audience is not interested in facts anyway and that it is composed of a group of disturbed people who simply want to get together to lynch Christians … a fact that is somewhat frightening considering their assurance of superiority. If they only looked inward they would see that their group base more closely resembles ravening wolves and appears (from their letters) to be motivated by out-of-control hatred and seething passion. This is exacerbated by incredible paranoia. They are led by a few cool headed men (i.e. Dawkins) who seem to have no idea of the fury they are spearheading. [Emphasis in original.] Perhaps they will eventually see that, like Martin Luther the 16th century German (not M-L KING), their leaders are unleashing a mob ruled by unbridled hatred and bent on destruction.

I bet that a visit to their convention would be most informative and suggest that some ‘unknown’ CMI journalist apply him/herself to reporting to your readers about the content of the meetings, particularly the behaviour of the audience.

Their hero Freud only got it right about religion in regards to the religion of Atheism. Atheism is indeed a bankrupt religion of nothing more than wishful thinking.

Their agenda seems to be fixated by a neurotic anger toward Christ and His people and a wish to remove us from what they believe is THEIR world. Is the world ready for yet another bloodbath?

United States correspondent Joseph F., though supportive of CMI, felt that Carl’s choice of words was unhelpful:

Specifically for Dr. Wieland, I read with interest your email trail concerning a debate with the GAC speakers. After reading your initial email, I was not surprised at the answer you received from the organizer. Though I’m sure it was his standard deflection for all things non-atheist/evolution, your initial email contained too many "snide" comments, in my humble opinion.
You should have simply requested a public debate between their speakers and your speakers, plain and simple.
While this may not have done much more to get them to concede the idea, I don’t think they would have responded as pointedly as they did. It is clear that they cannot debate truth because their worlds would fall apart, and you were right in asking, but peppering your request with the remarks you did was not good "sportsmanship".
With that said, you still have a couple of months to convince them to allow a debate of some type. I pray that God opens the doors for this debate and that your team crushes them in evidence and God’s Word!

Carl responds:

Dear Joseph

Richard Dawkins released his book The Greatest Show on Earth


Richard Dawkins’ latest book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution is probably the most significant of all of his books so far, as he says it is the first time that he has attempted to present a defence of evolutionary theory—the very foundation upon which his previous books were based. For CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati, the challenge was too much to resist. His response text, The Greatest Hoax on Earth?, tackles the Dawkins book head-on, right in the arena of the scientific evidence. E.g. see Dr Sarfati’s refutation of Dawkins’ claims about supposed evolution of guppies, and also re Darwinopterus.


Jonathan Sarfati, the greatest hoax on earth

Thanks very much for your feedback—I really do appreciate it when someone takes the trouble to respond, especially when they are not afraid to express constructive criticism. I will try to avoid the ‘knee-jerk’ tendency to defend one’s choice of words, and assure you that I am not reluctant to take it on the chin as appropriate.

I was a bit puzzled, I admit, even on rereading it, but I think part of the different perceptions may be cultural; an Australian like Nicholls would, I think, understand the subtle touch of Aussie larrikinism that is taken for granted in many such interactions. I’ve had a lot of interaction over the years with some of Australia’s leading ‘anti-Christians’, including Skeptics leaders, and the interactions are cordial and they respect me [and vice versa]—each of us has those little ‘Aussie digs’ at each other’s position in a spirit of ‘friendly opponents’. Having spent some time in the States, I understand that down-under style can often come across differently, and it looks like I should have kept this in mind for a global audience.

Thanks for your kind words, and for your willingness to make helpful comments. It doesn’t look likely for there to be a debate now, but one never knows. [Note that by now there is insufficient time for either side, of course—note added 26 February 2010]

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Carl W.


Robert D., of New Zealand, wrote to say we’d missed an important point:

I read with interest the recently published article concerning the communications with the organisers of the atheists convention in Melbourne.
A point which I respectfully suggest Dr Wieland has missed in his responses to the patronising ignoramus who is running the conference is that atheism takes a stand against theism, not "alien abductionism" or any other ism. The whole raison de etre of the atheist movement is one of taking a negative stance relative to theism. Atheism relies completely on theism for it’s very existence! To treat the theist position with such hysterical dismissiveness is to a large extent detracting from the validity of his own philosophical standpoint. Why be so vehemently and angrily opposed to a belief that in his view isn’t even worthy of discussion or debate and is only worthy of being categorised with belief in alien abductions or were-wolves???
Keep up the good work. You guys are the real intellectual heroes of our times. The sheep used to follow church leaders, now they follow scientists. We’re not a well species!!

Reminder: The special Melbourne creation event at the same time as the Global Atheist Convention

In Melbourne, Australia, on the same weekend as the Rise of Atheism convention featuring Richard Dawkins and other atheist ‘stars’ who refused CMI’s offer to debate, we will instead be presenting a special multi-session Countering the Rise of Atheism seminar:

We would ask for your help in making this event widely known, e.g. by email. People outside Australia can contribute to this effort, too—e.g. by mentioning the link below in an online creation/evolution forum, or in various blogs. Even if only one of the people reading your contribution is in a position to attend the Melbourne creation seminar, it can have a life-changing effect.

[Melbourne residents in particular; why not write a calm, ultra-brief letter to your local or state paper pointing out e.g. that the scientists whose challenge to debate the world's leading atheists while they were down under for the Melbourne global convention was turned down, will be presenting their arguments free to the public instead. This will be on the same weekend as the global atheist convention (March 14, 1 pm at Life Ministry Centre in Chirnside, a 900-seat venue). One of the 3 presenters, a Ph.D. scientist, has just released a book powerfully refuting point by point the arguments in Richard Dawkins' latest book, "Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution". This is the chance for people to be able to say that they have heard the other side of the issue firsthand, rather than relying on the all-too-common media and antitheistic caricatures about scientists who believe that the evidence supports Genesis creation. (WTTE)]

For seminar details: see Countering the Rise of Atheism: the evidence for creation

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