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Exposing "Scientific" Anti-Evolutionists
With my earlier post, "The Case of Dr. Isaac Betech," some people were wondering why I was wasting my time and stooping beneath my dignity with a closed-minded zealot. The answer is that I thought it instructive to show how to deal with such people and to how to expose them.
Dr. Betech wanted to debate the scientific merits of evolution with me. I refused, for several reasons. One reason was that it really doesn't make a difference to my book if evolution is true or not. While I personally am convinced that the evidence for common ancestry is overwhelming, I don't understand how evolutionary mechanisms work and I have many questions on it. But what difference does it make? I haven't studied it all that much and I'm not a biologist. More fundamentally, the fact is that it does NOT contradict Torah, and many people will believe in it regardless or what either I or Dr. Betech say. So it doesn't make a difference what I believe about evolution; what matters is whether it contradicts Torah - and there is no reason to believe that it does.
Another reason why I refused to debate evolution with Dr. Betech was that such a debate is a charade, since it is a religious issue for him, not a scientific one. In science, one draws conclusions from the evidence, regardless of one's religious beliefs. In response, Dr. Betech was forced to say that he would agree to draw the requisite conclusions. But as I pointed out, of course he has to say that, but the question is whether he is trying to fool other people or himself. Perhaps he is like those people who, for religious reasons, refuse to accept that man landed on the moon, and find a way to wriggle out of any evidence for it.
Personally, I think it's clear as day that he is exactly like that. In his latest comments, to the earlier post, Dr. Betech has the following to say on the topic of falsifiability: "My position would be falsified very easily if someone presents me just one irrefutable proof; in that case, I would say: I accept that I was mistaken." Of course, this is a statement that is so meaningless that it becomes ludicrous. A moon-landing denier would say the same thing. The point is that they would claim to have refuted any and every argument.
So is Dr. Betech like a moon-landing denier, or not? Is he truly willing to draw honest conclusions from the evidence, even if the evidence is in favor of evolution, or will he just wriggle out of it? One way to clarify this is to ask him what those conclusions would actually be. After all, one indication that he is fundamentally religiously opposed to those conclusions would be that he is unwilling and/or unable to spell out what those conclusions actually are. If the evidence is in favor of evolution, would this mean that evolution can actually be reconciled with Torah? Or would it mean that Torah is not from Heaven, and that his religious self-identification is baseless? Dr. Betech has been noticeably reluctant to answer this. He has also not addressed the issue of the moon-landing deniers.
This is a strategy that I used previously with other evolution-deniers. But Dr. Betech also led me to something new. He insisted that he searches for truth, and that such scientific debates are a way to attain it. It occurred to me that while debates about the scientific merits of evolution can be found all over the internet (and Dr. Betech has apparently never published anything new on the topic), Dr. Betech's own model of recent special creation has never been critically analyzed or even explained in detail. So I proposed that Dr. Betech explain his model in detail, and subject it to critical appraisal. And I even offered him the advantage of having the final word (which I doubt he would offer to me in a debate about evolution).
And what was the response? For a long time, there was silence. He hasn't accepted my proposal and hasn't refused. If I understand his latest comments correctly, he realizes that refusing to reply is effectively refusing to have the debate, so he is on a strategy of pushing it off. Dr Betech has come up with all kinds of excuses as to why he cannot discuss anything with me until he has debated evolution with me, knowing full well that I will never debate it with him, for the reasons that I gave.
Of course, all of his excuses have no bearing whatsoever on the debate regarding his model of creation. According to the statements that Dr. Betech had previously made, he should have leaped at the opportunity to debate his model, regardless of any shortcomings that he alleges me to personally have. After all, he believes that his model is the truth; why not teach it? Most people are entirely unfamiliar with his model; even I am unsure as to the exact nature of it (are physical processes speeded up, or was the world created to look old? When did the Jurassic dinosaurs live, and when did the Cretaceous dinosaurs live? Etc., etc.) It has never been discussed and analyzed, as evolution has been endlessly discussed and analyzed. Dr Betech also professes to believe that public debate on these topics is a way to attain truth, and that attaining truth is one of his main goals in life. And here I was presenting him with a forum to present his True Approach, to subject it for the very first time to critical appraisal (which according to him, it should surely stand up to perfectly), and to let him have the final word!
So why did he refuse? I think that his refusal is for several reasons. One reason is that, especially when dealing with complicated topics, it is always much easier to throw out a list of objections to one's opponent's view than to subject one's own view to objections. Another reason is that he probably really hasn't thought very much about his own model in the first place, and how it addresses the available evidence. I don't know of anything in writing anywhere, from Dr Betech or anyone else, which discusses his model in detail and explains the various aspects of the history of life on earth in light of it. As a former evolution-denier myself, I know the mindset. One obsesses over the shortcomings and difficulties with the evolutionary model, rather than figuring out one's own approach and subjecting it to scrutiny, working with the assumption that if there are unanswered objections to evolution, this means that recent creation is true. Of course, there is no basis for this; the question is not whether there are unanswered objections to evolution, but rather whether evolution or recent creation better addresses the available evidence. But this would mean developing a theory of recent creation and subjecting it to critical scrutiny (just as a detailed theory of evolution was developed and subjected to critical scrutiny).
That's why Dr. Betech is terrified to do it.