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Richard Dawkins Runs From a Good Fight

Today on the Michael Medved show, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins, author of The Greatest Show on Earth, was asked point-blank by Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman why he wouldn't debate Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell. His response? Weak sauce:

I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put.

The objection to having debates with people like that is that it gives them a kind of respectability. If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned.


Hm. Did Professor Dawkins have these same scruples when he went up against John Lennox in 2007?

No matter -- Professor Dawkins made his position clear enough: address young earth creationism, then tell your audience that you've destroyed intelligent design... which of course, even Richard Dawkins admits, is not the same thing as young earth creationism.

Read the transcript of the entire exchange below -- and note Bruce Chapman's great line about Expelled:

Bruce Chapman: ... Dr. Dawkins, this is Bruce Chapman from Discovery Institute calling. [Dawkins, muttering under his breath: "Right."] I was frustrated with this conversation because most of the time I hear straw man arguments about intelligent design. Your new book apparently doesn't really deal with intelligent design. But it seems to me, that in your previous book, you said that it's a question of science, that it is a scientific argument -- I congratulate you for that -- But if it is, how about having a debate with Stephen Meyer, who is the author of another new book, Signature in the Cell, which deals with this question, and have this in a respectful, civilized, scholarly fashion where you look at the scientific arguments, pro and con?

Richard Dawkins: Now, when you say that I don't deal with intelligent design, I do, because I deal with creationism and, of course, intelligent design is simply another name for creationism invented for political reasons.

Chapman: Well, if it's another name for creationism, why did you distinguish between intelligent design and creationism very early in this program?

Dawkins: I don't.

Medved: You did, earlier on, when we were talking about the Holocaust denier analogy, you said you applied that analogy to old earth creationists. Intelligent design advocates are not old earth creationists.

Dawkins: Sorry, um, I applied the history-deniers to young earth creationists.
Medved: I'm sorry, young earth creationists, yes, but you know intelligent design advocates are not young earth creationists.

Dawkins: I do, and that was precisely the distinction I was making. That's why I said that I was not accusing intelligent design people of being history deniers, in that sense.

Medved: But you just said intelligent design is another name for creationism.

Dawkins: It is another name for creationism, but not young earth creationism.

Medved: Bruce Chapman?

Chapman: In that case, you've got an argument with your previous caller also, because that would be a theistic evolutionist proposition, which is also, by your definition, if it's not Darwinian evolution, it's creationism in some fashion. There isn't any other kind of evolution, as far as you're concerned.

Dawkins: Where do you guys think -- do you think that God did it?

Chapman: I don't know, I don't think that the intelligent design people--

Dawkins: That's what you say, you always pretend, you always pretend that an alien in outer space or something, but you know very well that what you mean is God.

Chapman: No, I think that was your line in Expelled. But I think that the thing that you really ought to consider, in all seriousness, is that by your own definition there is a scientific argument. Put that scientific argument to the test, not with somebody who's a straw man that you bring up, but have somebody like Meyer, who has written a very scholarly book, to actually debate this topic with you...

Medved: All right, the proposal's on the table, response from Professor Dawkins, thank you, Bruce.

Dawkins: I will have a discussion with somebody who has a genuinely different scientific point of view. I have never come across any kind of creationism, whether you call it intelligent design or not, which has a serious scientific case to put.

The objection to having debates with people like that is that it gives them a kind of respectability. If a real scientist goes onto a debating platform with a creationist, it gives them a respectability, which I do not think your people have earned.