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:
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.'