Yahya's challenge to Dawkins for Public Debate

Somewhile back, Jamshed Moidu asked me on this blog: "dear Awais why is Rchard Dawkin scared of Harunyahya? ......why is he not accepting his invitation for debate?" [The challenge put forth by Hurun Yahya can be seen here. I might write some post in recent future as an answer to his questions.] I inquired about this with Salman Hameed, since he is well-informed about these matters. This is what he replied in a comment on his blog, and which i am also posting here:

'Awais,

There is a big difference between scientific debates and public debates. Scientific debates take place in peer-reviewed journals. If Dawkins debates Yahya then this is all the publicity that Yahya needs - remember its not Dawkins who is seeking legitimacy here. This is an old creationist trop - such a debate only elevates the level of creationists.

Lets think about the debate over astrology. There has been not an iota of support for astrology from the sciences - and scientists don't discuss claims from astrologers. It is not worth spending research time on arguments that have been shown to be wrong centuries earlier. However, an astrologer can challenge Martin Rees - one of the top British astronomer for a debate. If Rees and the astrologer are on the stage together - then it gives the appearance that astronomy and astrology are pretty much equal - and this is a hearing of who is right. But that is not the case, and Martin Rees will be crazy to accept such a debate invitation. By simply being on the same stage - Rees will give credibility to the astrologer. In the same way, Dawkins will be crazy to even mention Yahya's work - beyond pointing out almost farcical mistakes in the Atlas.

And for Yahya: He should get training in biology, do research, publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, and then he can debate these ideas in journals. That's how science works.'

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nonsense. Why does Dawkins debate the priests or students? He discusses creationism with them. The only one he does not discuss with is Harun Yahya. Is he afraid of him? I feel tht Dawkins is sure that he will lose the debate!
desiskeptic said…
Here is a video with Dawkins pointing out some of the "farcical mistakes" in the Atlas of creation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L5TD3nwXXA

I used to have respect for Yahya, but now I feel rather shocked that he has the balls to make such ridiculous pseudo-scientific claims. If he is so confident of his claims, the scientific journals and conferences is the place to take your arguments, not the gullible public masses.

I lost all respect for him when I read an article he had written on Buddhism. Not that I revere Buddhism, but he totally misrepresented and maligned it. Since I am not an evolutionary biologist, but did have some knowledge of Buddhism, he lost all credibility in my eyes after that.

According to wikipedia and other news sources, he was apparently sentenced to jail in May 2008 on various charges.
Uni said…
I am about to read "The God Delusion" :D Let's see how much sense Dawkins makes... Hmm, kind of makes me wonder whether Dawkins debates ONLY with people who have publications etc...

Sounds kaaaaaaafi unlikely.

If he does, bad for him. Because this way, he isn't going to convince the general public. He has to have dialogue with the general public in order to convince them of his views...

Weird.
Avizom said…
A biologist at the University of Vermont, Nicholas Gotelli, got an invitation for such a debate from the Discover Institute. Here's his reply:

Dear Dr. Klinghoffer:

Thank you for this interesting and courteous invitation to set up a debate about evolution and creationism (which includes its more recent relabeling as "intelligent design") with a speaker from the Discovery Institute. Your invitation is quite surprising, given the sneering coverage of my recent newspaper editorial that you yourself posted on the Discovery Institute's website:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/

However, this kind of two-faced dishonesty is what the scientific community has come to expect from the creationists.

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no scientific support, and that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars. Creationism is in the same category.

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren't members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.

"Conspiracy" is the predictable response by Ben Stein and the frustrated creationists. But conspiracy theories are a joke, because science places a high premium on intellectual honesty and on new empirical studies that overturn previously established principles. Creationism doesn't live up to these standards, so its proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books, blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don't maintain scientific standards.

Finally, isn't it sort of pathetic that your large, well-funded institute must scrape around, panhandling for a seminar invitation at a little university in northern New England? Practicing scientists receive frequent invitations to speak in science departments around the world, often on controversial and novel topics. If creationists actually published some legitimate science, they would receive such invitations as well.

So, I hope you understand why I am declining your offer. I will wait patiently to read about the work of creationists in the pages of Nature and Science. But until it appears there, it isn't science and doesn't merit an invitation.

In closing, I do want to thank you sincerely for this invitation and for your posting on the Discovery Institute Website. As an evolutionary biologist, I can't tell you what a badge of honor this is. My colleagues will be envious.

Sincerely yours,

Nick Gotelli

P.S. I hope you will forgive me if I do not respond to any further e-mails from you or from the Discovery Institute. This has been entertaining, but it interferes with my research and teaching.
Avizom said…
*Discovery
Salman Latif said…
I'd rather say considering the fame Haroon Yahya already has in Muslim world, and maybe in Europe too since now and then I'd learn of him from other sources, Dawkins should not have a problem debating him.
What's more, scientific journals may also not be the best place for pro-creationists to be since, you accept it or not, each of us is biased in favor of what we adhere to and since science embraced evolution quite long ago, a scientist citing someone contrary to it is naturally, by default, not taken seriously in scientific circles.
Abdullah Shahid said…
Dr. Zakir Naik invited Pope Benedict for a live public debate. He hasn't got the reply yet. :-p
desiskeptic said…
Just wanted to clarify a point you raised Salman. Controversies are an undeniable reality of scientific life. People often hold different view points and both the view points get published. Its not a question of bias. A paper is selected for publication based on its own merits, its arguments, its evidence, its methodology etc. If, as you suggest, science was this biased, then old theories would never have gotten revised, and we see it happening again and again; they do get revised.
Shaheryar Ali said…
Dawkins has said it publically that he will not debate with creationists because , its not "worthy" of a scientist to indulge in debates with ignorant. He said "for them its an honour but for me , it doesnt look good on my CV"
Ahmar said…
There is a big difference between scientific debates and public debates.

Indeed there is and I am not supporting anybody here but I have problems with the argument. What Dawkins is known for and the books he has are not peer reviewed stuff. Being trained and being not trained in biology is a difference but just because somebody has papers in peer reviewed journals doesn't really mean that they become authority over anything they have to infer from general audience targeted books (which aren't peer reviewed or journal material)...
by the way, when it comes to this debate, there isn't a consensus among leading biologists on this issue.....
cheers...
Kunwal said…
as respected scientists do not feel it will benefit them to debate with creationists, respected religious scholars (those who are firmly established in peer-reviewed circles)* do not feel any urge to debate with scientists out of similar reasons mentioned in the above comments.

*harun yahya is not one of them.
freethinker said…
I am sick and tired of Harun Yahya being taken seriously in Pakistan. I'd like to bring this article to the attention of all Harun Yahya fans:
http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2833,UPDATED-Venomous-Snakes-Slippery-Eels-and-Harun-Yahya,Richard-Dawkins,page28

Also, the debate among the biologists is not about the theory of evolution, which is now backed by research from various newer disciplines, but about its details.
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
Mr. AWAIS AND SALMAN

DAWKIN WILL NEVER EVER DEBATE WITH HARUN YAHYA BECAUSE HE IS NOT 'INTELLECTUALLY FIT ' TO DEBATE.

Mr DAWKIN IS 'ADAPTING' HIMSELF NOT TO DEBATE WITH HARUN YAHYA AND NOW ONWARDS HE WILL NOT DEBATE WITH ANY OF THE CREATIONIST. HE WILL ONLY DEBATE WITH L.K.G, U.K.G STUDENTS AND WITH PRIESTS.

NOW DAWKIN IS LIKE ''MUTATED'' GENE
GOOD FOR NOTHING...IF HE CAN WRITE MANY BOOKS ON EVOLUTION WHY CANT HE DEBATE HARUN YAHYA?
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
”Douglas Futuyma left the platform in the face of truth. Futuyma found the solution in fleeing, just like Richard Dawkins.”

1. why did he left the platform without answering?

2. if he is” a man of science” why didn’t he respond to the questions put forward by creationist?

THE QUESTION WAS PUT FORWARD BY A NEUROSURGEON

THE ANSWER FOR THIS IS ”’HE DOESN’T KNOW THE ANSWER…..HAHAH…….HAHA

PAGAN RELIGION ( DARWINISM) IS UNDER THREAT…HAHAH HAHAHAHAHA ……
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
PLEASE DO REMEMBER ” THE QUESTION WAS POSED BY A DOCTOR”"

HE LEARNED ANATOMY, PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, PATHOLOGY, PHARMACOLOGY, MICROBIOLOGY,FORENSIC MEDICINE, OPTHALMOLOGY, ENT, COMMUNITY MEDICINE, GENERAL MEDICINE, SURGERY, OBG, PEDIATRICS…..etc….etc TO BECOME A DOCTOR..

””BECAUSE YOU CANNOT GIVE NONSENSE REASON LIKE HE DIDN’T KNOW SCIENCE THAT WHY Douglas Futuyma DID NOT ANSWER”’
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
And for Yahya: He should get training in biology, do research, publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, and then he can debate these ideas in journals. That's how science works.''

FIRST OF Mr SALMAN MY QUESTION TO IS

1. FIRST OF ALL YOU ARE JUST AN ASTRONOMER --WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN POSTING ''EVOLUTION THEORY BASED'' ARTICLE?

2. HAVE YOU LEARNED BIOLOGY?

3. IF YOU CAN POST WRITINGS ON EVOLUTION THEORY THEN WHY CANT Mr. HARUN YAHYA PUBLISH ' ATLAS OF CREATION' BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ASTRONOMER.
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
'If Dawkins debates Yahya then this is all the publicity that Yahya needs - remember its not Dawkins who is seeking legitimacy here. This is an old creationist trop''

Mr. SALMAN
WHAT YOU MENTIONED ABOVE IS YOUR ''TRAP'' TO JUSTIFY DAWKINS DENIAL IN DEBATING WITH HARUN YAHYA....

Mr DAWKIN IS NOT A ''MAN OF SCIENCE'' HE IS A '' MAN OF IDEOLOGY'' AND HIS IDEOLOGY IS ATHIESM..
JAMSHED MOIDU said…
'There is a big difference between scientific debates and public debates. Scientific debates take place in peer-reviewed journals.''

1. WHAT ARE THOSE ''BIG DIFFERENCE''?

2. WHO SAID SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ONLY TAKES PLACE IN ''PEER-REVIEWED'' JOURNALS?

3. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DECEIVE YOURSELF JUST FOR THE ''SAKE OF JUSTIFYING' DAWKIN?
Anonymous said…
As you can see Jamshed moidu is a shill for Adnan oktar and his silly manipulative messianic patter.
Adnan Oktar has demonstrated time and again that he knows nothing about evolution. Why should Professor Dawkins waste his time even talking to such a witless person as Oktar, who is in jail at the present time?

Ms. Seda Aral ( Cultist Research Foundation)
TURKEY, Istanbul



Oktar could make up any old rubbish, or steal American creationist stupidities, without backing up those claims and Dawkins would have to waste time wading through Oktar's lies to refute such ignorance.
If Adnan Oktar had any real evidence against evolution then let him become an evolutionary biologist and publish a peer reviewed paper on his, or rather the American creationists he plagiarises, ideas.
Anonymous said…
JAMSHED "SHOUTY" MOIDU SHOUTED:


1. WHAT ARE THOSE ''BIG DIFFERENCE''?

2. WHO SAID SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ONLY TAKES PLACE IN ''PEER-REVIEWED'' JOURNALS?

3. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DECEIVE YOURSELF JUST FOR THE ''SAKE OF JUSTIFYING' DAWKIN?


1. You know the difference Jamshed. You just want the publicity of an acknowledged scientist on an equal footing with a cult leader that is promoting his nutty conspiracy theory.

2. The scientists said. This stops any old nutter like Adnan Oktar from strolling up and causing a huge waste of time with his unsubstantiated fantasies of creation.
3.WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DECEIVE YOURSELF JUST FOR THE ''SAKE OF JUSTIFYING' HARLOON YOYO? BECAUSE HE IS YOUR CULT LEADER AND YOU KNOW NOTHING OF BIOLOGY OR ZOOLOGY EVEN AT A BASIC LEVEL.

I encourage anyone with some time to waste to read Harloon Yoyo's books. They will show you that he, and his ghostwriters, have zero knowledge of evolution, and are attacking the simplistic straw man that they think is evolution.

Iblis O'Hara;)
Abuthahir said…
Darwinists are always scared of debate.They will demand a "PHD" from any one who wants to debate the likes of Dawkins as if even the basics of Evolution is only taught for post doctoral students.
On 2005 when several PHD holders (esp in Molecular Biology) wanted Evolutionists to appear on the Kansas evolution hearing,the darwinists still refused.

Even last month when Stepeher Meyer (who holds a Phd on origin of Life theseis from Oxford).Mr Dawkins - the all knowing refused to debate him.

On what grounds Mr.Salman Hameed is giving out his opinions on Evolutionary biology?The last time ,I heard about Salman Hameed was he is a professor of Astronomy.

Harun Yahya has indeed demolished Darwinism,but if you keep insisting for Phds in biology to refute Darwinism,then please find hundredes of eminenets biologists listed here who called Dawrwinism a scientific MYTH.

http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/scientists/
Abuthahir said…
Darwinists are always scared of debate.They will demand a "PHD" from any one who wants to debate the likes of Dawkins as if even the basics of Evolution is only taught for post doctoral students.
On 2005 when several PHD holders (esp in Molecular Biology) wanted Evolutionists to appear on the Kansas evolution hearing,the darwinists still refused.

Even last month when Stepeher Meyer (who holds a Phd on origin of Life theseis from Oxford).Mr Dawkins - the all knowing refused to debate him.

On what grounds Mr.Salman Hameed is giving out his opinions on Evolutionary biology?The last time ,I heard about Salman Hameed was he is a professor of Astronomy.

Harun Yahya has indeed demolished Darwinism,but if you keep insisting for Phds in biology to refute Darwinism,then please find hundredes of eminenets biologists listed here who called Dawrwinism a scientific MYTH.

http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/scientists/
Anonymous said…
Abuthahir wrote:

"Harun Yahya has indeed demolished Darwinism."


If he really has can he please tell all those scientists still working in biology. And can he also answer the paragraph Richard Dawkins writes demolishing Yahya's ignorant assertions, in The Greatest Show on Earth. otherwise you are just another Yahya cultist with feverish fantasies of your cult leader's false supremacy.


Scorcher;)