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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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