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Atlanta Freethinkers Debate Creationists

by Ed Buckner

Over 700 people in a civic auditorium in Gwinnett County, Georgia, heard "The Great Debate," pitting professional creationist Gary Parker, Ed.D., against myself (Ph.D., like Parker's, in education not science) and Fred Parrish (Ph.D. in Biology). Parker gave the same tired, distorted arguments that creationists have given to thousands before, and we had too little time to explain complex scientific ideas to an audience with little foundation for understanding or much real interest in ideas. Probably few minds were changed, but it's possible to hope that long trains of thought may have begun. Many children got "credit" for attending from home schools or church schools; few of these seemed able to sustain their attention for the whole thing.

The program was too long, but the setting was fine and the host group - WisdomSeekers International, led by John Crayton - was congenial and fair. Parrish and I pointed out Parker's misquotations and misrepresentations, explained what science really is, and explained that the scientific world finds creationism ridiculous. We both enjoyed it and would do it again, despite some reservations. The creationists are slick, operating on emotion rather than rationality - which often works. But at least they weren't able to brag that no one would debate them.

Video and audio tapes are supposed to be available soon, at cost (more or less). Please e-mail me edbuckner@mindspring.com or write (P.O. Box 813392, Smyrna GA 30081) if you want a tape or if you are considering debating a creationist (consider carefully). I can steer you to many sources of information and many people who can help you prepare.

Ed Buckner is the Vice President of the Atlanta Freethought Society.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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