REPLY #32 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
NOTE: This is a compilation of a series of e-mail messages sent to me by the respondent in Reply #29. Rather than respond directly to what I posted, he sent me four long essays (only one of which had anything to do with the subject matter under debate) and demanded a point-by-point rebuttal of all of them. This response contains our discussion over his demand and his lack of any direct response to Reply #29.
[First response, 18 Mar 99]
Well, I must say that the speed and size of your series of messages raised an eyebrow.
(R) This is because they are essays that I have had previously.
(MB) How did you come to write these essays? I don't think they were written as a collegiate assignment since they don't contain any proper footnotes or bibliographies of sources (see the one you copied from Craig for examples). Were they written on behalf of a church group or for a specific occasion?
This, and the fact that the wording and style are so much different from your previous messages, strongly suggests that
they have been prepared in advance and have almost assuredly been copied from another source.
(R) Uh, yeah, thats really not a secret.
(MB) Well, it *was* something of a secret until I started to expose some of the copying done in previous posts. You didn't attribute the Craig essay to its source until I asked.
(R) Only one was copied from another source and that was the teleological arguments for God or the message I titled "Positive Evidence for Theism." This was an essay i found on the web by a man named Dr. William Lane Craig.
(MB) Craig is probably the most famous current apologist. He specializes in debates on the existence of God. However, he is also famous for hand-picking his debate opponents and only accepting debates with non-experts and insisting that they be held in environments that are sympathetic to his side. He is a master at great-sounding speeches that actually say very little of any real substance. Sort of like Clinton.
I'll also have to say that I'm disappointed in your demand that I provide a point-for-point rebuttal to all of this.
(R) Oh really, why is that? Thats too bad, I thought this was what you expect of me so I just assume you would be a good example yourself.
(MB) I was expecting you to answer the questions I asked of you, defend the claims you made, demonstrate that you understood the key terms and concepts that you argued against, and basically fill in some of the gaping holes in some of your arguments. Didn't I do all of that in response to your messages? What better example could I provide?
(R) Maybe I'll learn something. :o)
(MB) I certainly hope so.
This is especially so in light of the massive omissions in your own previous responses. Are you not willing to play by the same rules that you demand of me?
(R) I already explained why these ommissions exist. The questions you ask are not simple questions. They are very complex and would require a huge amount of fact gathering and time to answer in a full and convincing fashion.
(MB) You said that you omitted so much material because it was "rantings and ravings". Also, if you already have pre-written essays and a whole library of supporting material, the majority of my questions and other points would have been easily and quickly addressed.
(R) If you ask me simple questions, I can respond to them.
(MB) I asked a great many simple questions and haven't received answers to any of them. To cite a few examples:
What great amount of research would be required to back up your claim of a 14-step lineage of horses with a list of those steps? What about a short answer for why you believe the Earth to be only 500,000 years old? How long would it take to attempt a harmonization of the contradictions in the creation tales in Genesis or the four Gospels' versions of the details surrounding the resurrection? How difficult is it to surmise why the Pope might not be a "true Christian"?
There are a great many more that would take little time and effort to address. The fact that you choose to send me some canned essays that address all sorts of things other than what we're debating instead of answering my questions directly indicates that you likely can't answer my questions and are more interested in disseminating tracts.
(R) For example, I thought my age was immaterial to the topic at hand so I ommitted it. I am 26 at any rate.
(MB) Was the question "immaterial" when you asked how old I was? Whether it was or was not, why did you ask?
Upon receipt of the proper citation(s) of your source(s) for this series of messages, I will begin to work on a response.
(R) no problem. here are the sources.
Positive Evidence For theism/creation - William Lang Craig
Positive Evidence Against Evolution - [respondent's name withheld]
The case Against Naturalism - [respondent's name withheld]
The evidence for the Resurrection - [respondent's name withheld]
(MB) Those are the authors of the essays and not, except for Craig, the sources of the information and arguments contained within them.
(R) In order for Evolution and atheism to be the most logical, rational, and evidential position, you will have to not only tear down all the evidences and arguments given by the Christian theist position, but *in its place,* you'll have to erect a *positive* case for atheism and evolution.
(MB) This is not true. If you knew anything about basic logic, you would know that tearing down a position's opponent does not provide support for the position itself. It just means that the opponent has been torn down. In other words, an incorrect theory does not become a correct one just because an opposing view can be shown to be wrong. It is entirely possible that *both* are wrong.
Also, it is not necessary to tear down *all* evidence and argument for a position in order to defeat that position. It is only necessary to show one fatal and unarguable flaw with a central tenet of that position. Finally, you suggest that atheism and evolution are connected when that is not the case. They are two separate issues and support for one is not support for the other.
(R) Until you do those two things, to me, its clear which way the evidence points.
(MB) Well, what to *you* is clear on this matter is not necessarily held in the same regard by the majority of educated individuals. Your demand that I provide and publish point-by-point rebuttals to your essays is clearly an attempt to avoid having to answer the questions that have already been put to you. In formal debate, when it is your turn to speak, you must answer the questions that are on the table. You can't change the subject and demand that your opponent do the same. Any attempt to do so is considered an admission of defeat and your opponent is not required to answer the unrelated new material.
I will read your essays to see if they do provide any answers to the questions that are on the table. If answers are found, I will address them. I will not be obligated to rebut unrelated material unless I choose to do so. In the meantime, you have a standing obligation to answer the questions and address the points that have been put to you. I am not interested in how much time or effort might be required to do so. Take as much time as you need and do a proper job. If you refuse, then you have no right to place any demands on me.
[Second response, 24 Mar 99]
(R) Actually, I wrote the essays because of my own personal interest and research. I don't belong to any church groups. Would you like a copy of my bibliography? I provide one later in this email.
(MB) You had no intended audience or other purpose for them? I don't think you wrote them to convince yourself of your own views.
Well, it *was* something of a secret until I started to expose some of the copying done in previous posts. You didn't attribute the Craig essay to its source until I asked.
(R) I didn't attribute it to myself either. All I said was it was a positive case for theism.
(MB) In academic circles, if a paper does not cite its sources, it is assumed that the material within is the author's own work.
(R) Besides, I was certain you'd ask for the source anyways.
(MB) Then, why not give it up front? Please understand that I've been doing these sorts of debates for over 20 years now. Over that time, it has been all too common for opponents to present invalid arguments as if they were common knowledge or to deliberately obscure their sources since many of those sources are somewhat less than reputable. In addition, if proper source citations are given, it allows me to consult those works to determine whether or not the arguments have been altered or have been taken out of context. Examples of these problems have already cropped up on several occasions in previous responses -- most notably the quotes from Darwin (whose source has yet to be identified).
(R) I would never try to lie about something so obviously scholarly and attribute it to a layperson like myself. I simply didn't give that particular info, thats all.
(MB) Is there any reason not to give it? If Craig's arguments are so powerful and if he is so respected, his name should be trumpeted loudly in association with the arguments of his that are presented.
Craig is probably the most famous current apologist. He specializes in debates on the existence of God. However, he is also famous for hand-picking his debate opponents and only accepting debates with non-experts and insisting that they be held in environments that are sympathetic to his side. He is a master at great-sounding speeches that actually say very little of any real substance. Sort of like Clinton.
(MB) What do you mean "whatever"? If you'll read some of the commentary on Craig's books and debates that is posted on the Internet Infidels site, you'll find I am certainly not alone in this opinion of Craig. You'll also find many detailed and powerful refutations of his work.
(R) You have nothing good to say about anybody who does not agree with you.
(MB) This is not correct. If arguments are wrong, I will refute them. If people act in intellectually dishonest ways, I will challenge them. The two do not necessarily correlate. Simple disagreement does not open somebody up to having his character attacked. Ad hominem attacks do not win debates.
(R) It is blatantly obvious that you are an arrogant twit.
(MB) It would appear that you have nothing good to say about anybody who does not agree with you.
(R) Besides, since everything you say has so much "substance," I am expecting a point by point expose on Mr. Craig's lack of substance.
(MB) Seems like I've heard that line somewhere before.
(R) For the record, are you familiar with Quentin Smith and/or Frank Zindler? He has debated both of those men and I would hardly call either of them non-experts.
(MB) Frank Zindler is a biologist and not a philosopher or Bible scholar. How he qualifies as an "expert" to Craig is a mystery. His is an especially interesting case. Craig has a history of turning down potential debate opponents for various and sundry odd reasons. For example, he turned down an opportunity to debate atheist philosophy expert Doug Kreuger since "he does not yet have a Ph.D.". Yet, Craig eagerly accepted a debate with Zindler -- who *also* does not have a Ph.D. The tapes and transcripts of the Craig/Zindler debate are widely publicized and promoted by Christian groups and by Craig himself. Yet, Craig absolutely refuses to allow publication of transcripts of the debates he has had with stronger opponents.
Quentin Smith is a renowned athiest philosopher who has run rings around Craig in the past. Needless to say, Craig is not eager for any rematches.
I was expecting you to answer the questions I asked of you, defend the claims you made, demonstrate that you understood the key terms and concepts that you argued against, and basically fill in some of the gaping holes in some of your arguments. Didn't I do all of that in response to your messages? What better example could I provide?
(R) You did none of that in your responses.
(MB) Perhaps you need to go back and reread them (or read them for the first time, as the case may be). Which terms have I left undefined? Which questions have been left unanswered? Which points have been left unaddressed or undefended? Whether or not you agree with what I've said, there is no possibility that you can make a correct claim that I have not fulfilled my obligations in my responses.
(R) You took my reponses apart carelessly, would interupt paragraphs in my responses before a point was made, and pretty much would babble and rhapsodize with many blanket statements, and then treat me with every doubt imaginable.
(MB) First, you demand point-by-point rebuttals. Now, you complain when I do exactly what you want. If you can't answer a specific point, you avoid it by calling it "psycho-babble" or by labeling it a "blanket statement" without explaining why or offering anything specific of your own in response. Your responses are rife with logical fallacies, unsubstantiated claims, and nonsense which has been refuted for decades and you wonder why they are met with doubts?
Furthermore, while I do dissect some paragraphs to better be able to address them point-by-point, I *do* print and answer them in their entirety. This is not something that you can say for your own responses. I documented more than a few instances where you have left out substantial parts of one of my responses and chopped selected sentences out of others in order to respond only to them while ignoring the rest -- usually resulting in an out-of-context rebuttal.
(R) You are by far one of the most discourteous, rude, and arrogant debaters I have ever come across.
(MB) I think you need to go back and read some of your own responses and determine whether or not you should be throwing stones inside your glass house. It really doesn't matter one whit what you think of me personally. If you are going to hope to get your point across, you *must* answer the questions and address the issues that are directed towards you. Calling them "rantings and ravings" or labeling in other bogus and meaningless ways won't the job done and does not free you from the responsibility of answering them if you have any hope of defending your position. You can lob all the insults you want at me and they'll just be like water off a duck's back.
If you don't like my style, perhaps you should take your arguments over to the Talk.Origins newsgroup and try your luck there. If you can't handle the heat in my forum, I guarantee that you will fare even more pathetically amidst that group of subject matter experts. I wouldn't recommend that you begin any such effort with the sort of belligerent challenges you launched at me in your initial salvo. They've heard it all too many times before and will likely not be amused.
On a side note, just how many of these debates have you engaged in and were any of them in a forum such as mine?
(R) Yeah, I am learning about how arrogantly articulate, yet stubstantively void a man name Mark Bakke's can be.
(MB) If I'm so void, yet you can't defend yourself easily against me, what does that say for your own position? Once again, you don't have to take my word for it. Take your act over to the Talk.Origins newsgroup and see how it plays among the heavyweights.
If it is arrogant to speak the truth, to ask for explanations rather than speeches, to rely on the available evidence, to not blindly accept religious dogma as bedrock fact, and to recognize logical fallacies when they occur in arguments, then I am guilty of being arrogant. It would be A Good Thing if more people developed that same sort of arrogance.
You said that you omitted so much material because it was "rantings and ravings". Also, if you already have pre-written essays and a whole library of supporting material, the majority of my questions and other points would have been easily and quickly addressed.
(R) Most of what I did answer were relevant questions.
(MB) Your few "answers" normally involved insults and brushoffs and only rarely got to the heart of the matter under discussion. In addition, the vast number of unanswered questions and unquestions answers that I documented most assuredly point out a plethora of relevant material that you simply abandoned without even offering a coherent excuse. Until they are addressed, your case is in deep trouble in the eyes of anyone who reads it.
I asked a great many simple questions and haven't received answers to any of them. To cite a few examples: What great amount of
research would be required to back up your claim of a 14-step lineage of horses with a list of those steps?
(R) The answer to that is simple. I don't have the article in which I read that lineage of the horse. It was an article published in one of the Scientific Journals from a year ago.
(MB) Well, that certainly narrows it down to a few tens of thousands of sources. Even at that, since the claim is wrong in the first place, I have some serious doubts as to whether it was actually published in any such journal.
(R) I no longer possess the article, so I could not refer to it in detail, but I do specifically remember the 14-step lineage.
(MB) If it's scientific fact, it should be listed in any book which details the evolution of the horse. Since this is a common subject in books which defend evolution and since you claim to have a library full of such books, it should be a simple and quick task to consult one or more of them and find the data.
What about a short answer for why you believe the Earth to be only 500,000 years old?
(R) Because of some of the Carbon 14 dating results of fossils found in rock layers from supposedly 2 billions years ago.
(MB) Carbon-14 is not used to date rocks or fossils, nor is it used to date anything that is billions of years old. This is because the half-life of C-14 is only 5730 years and because it collects in organic matter rather than in rocks. Claims for C-14 dates of objects more than 10,000 years old are often made and advanced as refutations of evolution, but only display a glaring ignorance of how it can be and is really used.
(R) I have seen some interesting cross-datings between Carbon 14 on fossils, and Argon dates of the rocks in which they were found. They don't line up, and one of the best explanations I have heard for this paradox is that the earth is 500,000 years old, not 4.5 billion. If you have a better explanation for this paradox which keeps the earth at 4.5 billion years old, I will openly except it.
(MB) Even 500,000 years would be too old for reliable C-14 dating. There is no paradox here since trying to use C-14 for old Earth dating is using the wrong tool to do the job. There are numerous credible and acceptable radiometric and isochron dating techniques that are used to verify the old age of the Earth. There are several FAQs on the Talk.Origins web site that supply the information you'll need to be able to understand these techniques.
Where did you "hear" the explanation of the Earth being only 500,000 years old? Certainly, there must be some justification for that date other than just picking a random number out of the blue simply because it sounds better.
How long would it take to attempt a harmonization of the contradictions in the creation tales in Genesis or the four Gospels'
(R) You see, your question is assuming that the APPARENT condradictions are REAL contradictions.
(MB) No such assumptions are necessary. When, for example, Genesis 1 says the other living creatures were created before Man and Genesis 2 says that Man was created before the other living creatures, there's nothing "apparent" about the contradiction except that it is undeniable. Of course, that doesn't mean that apologists still won't try to deny it.
(R) If you are truly asking honest questions, then go to this site for a good exposition on how historians use event-reconstructions in almost all ancient literature, and how this method works with the 4 Gospels:
(MB) There are two major problems with the methodology used in this harmonization. First, we have the logical fallacy of working backwards from the conclusion one desires to the details which supposedly will produce that conclusion. But, by far, the biggest absurdity is the notion that differences in the Gospel accounts actually *prove* that they are accurate! Real historians do not alter or fudge the events used in their reconstructions. Resurrection apologists *must* do this, however, and the author of this article admits to doing so in order to produce the desired conclusion -- which, by circular reasoning, was used to justify the "reconstruction". The fact that anybody can actually believe in this illogical and nonsensical claptrap is further proof that the larger story itself is far more important than any details it might contain.
(R) And go here for a comprehensive exposition on the harmony of the Gospels.
(MB) This article only attempts to put the various Gospel narrative accounts into a chronological order. It does not attempt to harmonize the contradictions between them. This can be seen right from the top of the listing where the two contradictory genealogies of Jesus are listed, but where no attempt is made to resolve the differences and problems between them. Putting stories in some sort of order is no proof that the stories themselves are true or that there are no contradictions contained within or between them.
How difficult is it to surmise why the Pope might not be a "true Christian"?
(R) From all outward appearances, someone may look, act, and smell like a Christian but may really not be. Judas comes to mind as an example, so does Baker and Swaggart. How can I judge if a person's genuity if I don't even know them???
(MB) You certainly seemed confident in your statement when it was first offered. Also, that was far from the first time that I've heard a "real Christian" put down either the Pope, in particular, or Catholics, in general. What is the ultimate litmus test that will determine beyond any reasonable doubt whether or not somebody is a "true Christian"?
There are a great many more that would take little time and effort to address.
(R) Yeah, and most of those questions were immaterial to the evolution/creation debate weren't they?
(MB) Absolutely not. This sounds like you're trying your best to continue to avoid them. Why don't you go back and look at all the unanswered questions and unquestioned answers and tell me which ones are "immaterial" and why? Then, why don't you provide responses to the rest of them?
The fact that you choose to send me some canned essays that address all sorts of things other than what we're debating instead of
answering my questions directly indicates that you likely can't answer my questions and are more interested in disseminating tracts.
(R) Actually, thats not true. You have asked me to give support for God's existence, how naturalism differs from science, specific problems I have with evolution. And with these essays, I believe I have done what you asked.
(MB) No, you have just sent me several essays. How could they address my specific questions when they were prepared before our debate even began? If they do answer any of my questions, it should have taken you no time at all to pull out the relevant material and send direct and devastating answers to each of those questions, rather than clogging up my inbox with 200K of other stuff. Instead, you mumble and shuffle about not having enough time to do it or not having the required references any more while demanding that I provide point-by-point rebuttals to those essays.
I submit that you are acting like the bell ringer on the street corner who tries to shove Bible-thumping tracts into the hands of all who pass by and who has no real idea of what the tracts say. When asked any questions, he can do little but say "read the tract for your answers" or "open your heart to God".
(R) Not to mention in this email, I have now also provided you with sound information that confirms the harmony of the Gospels and resurrection accounts. Lets see if you take the time to read them.
(MB) I will most certainly read them. I'm sure that they will provide several good laughs. In fact, I may just forward them along to Farrell Till and Dennis McKinsey and the scholars on the Biblical Errancy mailing list (although I'm quite sure they've heard and refuted it all many times before). Who knows? They may even be featured in a future installment to be posted to my Religion section -- in which case I'll thank you for your contributions to the continued growth of my web site and its content.
Was the question "immaterial" when you asked how old I was? Whether it was or was not, why did you ask?
(R) I didn't really expect you to answer. I raised the question in light of the massive amount of time you feel so confident about stating events happened as "FACT" 4 billion years ago, so in that regard, it was material to the great ages of time we were discussing.
(MB) Your point was to try to claim that we can't know what happened at some time in the past if we were not there to be eyewitnesses to those events. If this is true, then you certainly can't claim as fact the idea that God created the universe since you weren't there to witness it.
(R) Here is my bibliography for my evolution essay: [lengthly list snipped]
(MB) The references to specific pages in most of your bibliography are where the common Creationist misquotes are taken from (as I've already shown). Since these are given in the Creationist materials from which they are drawn, this indicates copying rather than personal research. It's amazing that you still list Darwin's Origin of Species even though all of the misquotes you have listed have been decimated. The most instructive reference is probably the one you listed first -- the infamous Creationist manual "The Answers Book". This one is likely to have pointed to most of your other references.
I think you may also want to credit at least one apologist web site. Your essay contains a reference to a "list on the main page" which strongly suggests that at least part of it was copied verbatim from a web site (to include that reference) and is, therefore, not your own work. A keyword search using Infoseek uncovered a matching site at www.findingchrist.org (interestingly enough). Unfortunately, the referenced page is no longer on that site, but if you did this essay some time ago, it is certainly possible that the source page could have gone down in the meantime and Infoseek hasn't yet removed it from
(R) As far as the evidence for the resurrection essay, my references were from various sources. Some references from the net, others were from the Christian Research Journal, and the book "More Than A Carpenter" by Josh McDowell.
(MB) One ought to be a little careful in hanging one's hat on McDowell's arguments. He is a bit of an embarrassment even to the apologist community. A detailed refutation of McDowell entitled "The Jury is In" (obviously, a response to "The Evidence is In") can be found at:
I will, of course, expect a point-by-point rebuttal...;-}
This is not true. If you knew anything about basic logic,
(R) You see its those type of comments that are totally unnecessary. "If I knew anyting about logic." (If you knew anything about manners)
(MB) This has nothing to do with "manners" or what you think is "necessary". Debates deal in facts and logic. When you make egregious blunders of logic on a continuing basis and found your entire position upon them, it must be a fact that basic logic is not a part of your debating repertoire. If you can understand the principles of logic, you can easily see where most of your arguments fall apart. Taking offense at this will not change one single thing about the outcome of the debate.
Finally, you suggest that atheism and evolution are connected when that is not the case. They are two separate issues and support for one is not support for the other.
(R) Right, just like theism and creation are too different issues.
(MB) They are related issues since creation is a tenet of Christian theism. Evolution does not require atheism, nor do people adopt atheistic views simply because they wish to believe in evolution. The two are not related issues. In fact, evolution does not prohibit the existence of a Creator.
(R) A God could exist that didn't create anything, yet you have asked me support both theism and Creation.
(MB) Since your religion is a theistic one which posits God as the Creator, that theism and its tenet of Creation are inextricably linked. If either is refuted, the other must also go down.
(R) So I am asking you to support both atheism and evolution. Why are you so evasive? With every chance you get, you turn the burden away or try to push the burden back on me.
(MB) What's to be evasive about? Am I "evasive" because you aren't getting the answers that you want to hear? Must I defend a linkage between atheism and evolution that simply does not exist? On the other hand, you've made a lot of grandiose statements about how "God did it" when it can't even be demonstrated to any degree of proof that God even exists! Your entire case is based upon an initial premise for which there is not the slightest shred of objectively observable evidence in support.
I don't have the burden of proof here. You are making the positive existential claim that "God exists". Basic logic places the burden of proof on he who affirms such a claim. If the burden is not shouldered successfully, then the claim's logical negation (i.e., "God does not exist") is the more reasonable position. That, essentially, is atheism. Atheism is the absence of a belief in God based upon the total lack of evidence to support the positive existential claim that he does. Atheism is no more "evil" than is the non-belief in leprechauns or in the Tooth Fairy based upon the same lack of evidence.
Well, what to *you* is clear on this matter is not necessarily held in the same regard by the majority of educated individuals.
(R) Thats not true at all. Did you know that 91% of Americans believe in God? And over 46% believe in Special Creation and not evolution? Are you calling 91% of America "uneducated?" YOU are the minority my friend. The world is 95% theist in some form or another, and most of that 95% believe they were created by a god.
(MB) Since when does "theism" equate to "education"? Since when does a proposition become true based solely upon the number of people who believe in it? Was the Earth flat back when nearly 100% of the population believed that it was? In one survey, about one-third of college students didn't know which side won the American Civil War. In another, over 60% couldn't find or identify European countries correctly on an unlabeled map.
94% of the American public is scientifically illiterate. I think that stat alone speaks volumes about the "education" of the general public. If 91% believe in God, that's an interesting correlation of numbers. It's also instructive to note that dozens of surveys on the correlation of belief in God and intelligence have all concluded that belief drops as intelligence rises. While most Americans believe in God, most scientists do not. Only 7% of National Academy of Science members profess a belief in God.
If you want to play the numbers game a little more, explain why we must accept that Jesus is what you claim he is when over 2/3 of the world's population doesn't believe in him or in his divinity.
Yes, when it comes to education and to non-belief, I am most definitely in the minority -- and I'm proud to say it!
Your demand that I provide and publish point-by-point rebuttals to your essays is clearly an attempt to avoid having to answer the questions that have already been put to you.
(R) No its not. You asked me to present positive evidence for what I believe and I have done JUST THAT! What is your problem?
(MB) None at all. You just demonstrate that you can continue copying the same stuff you copied into your earlier responses. You also demonstrate that your entire case relies on this prepared/copied material and that you are completely unable to answer any questions about it. How are you going to be able to respond to any rebuttals (point-by-point or otherwise) of these essays when you can't respond to much of anything that's already on the table? If you're not trying to avoid anything, when can I expect to see responses to all the things in Reply #29?
In formal debate, when it is your turn to speak, you must answer the questions that are on the table. You can't change the subject and demand that your opponent do the same.
(R) Lets see. Theism, evolution, and supporting evidence for Christianity. How in the world are those essays a digression!!!!!!!
(MB) Because they are not direct answers to the questions and points that have been put to you. They are prepared/copied material that is of peripheral relevance to what still remains unaddressed. They may be worthy of separate debate, but they do not satisfy the pending requirements.
Any attempt to do so is considered an admission of defeat and your opponent is not required to answer the unrelated new material.
(R) Thats fine but that not what I'm doing.
(MB) Then, what *are* you doing if not trying to skirt the pending issues?
(R) But so far it seems that you are trying to evade these essays.
(MB) Absolutely not. How else would I have uncovered the points I've already addressed about them? At least I've bothered to read through them. I've already shown where it is doubtful that you even looked at some, if not all, of the links I've provided. Perhaps I should demand point-by-point rebuttals of all of them, too?
I will read your essays to see if they do provide any answers to the questions that are on the table. If answers are found, I will address them. I will not be obligated to rebut unrelated material unless I choose to do so. In the meantime, you have a standing obligation to answer the questions and address the points that have been put to you.
(R) So its okay for you to have the ability to decide what is "material" and what is not, but I cannot do the same? You're being hypocritical.
(MB) Not at all. We were having a debate. I asked questions and made points. You failed to answer them and decided to spin off into introducing other things in an attempt to steer the debate into more comfortable territory and avoid being nailed. If you wish to concede all previous questions and points, you are free to do so and then we could concentrate on your essays. Until then, the pending questions and points are the current topic on the table and anything else is a side issue.
I am not interested in how much time or effort might be required to do so. Take as much time as you need and do a proper job. If you refuse, then you have no right to place any demands on me.
(R) That sounds fair. So far in this email, I have answered the questions you have insisted be answered. With the essays, I have presented a positive case for what I believe. Its your move.
(MB) Wrong. The only question you've given any real answer for was the one about how old you are. The rest were either brushed aside with some excuse about not having the source material any more or presented standard (and erroneous) Creationist chestnuts without explanation and which have generated additional questions. Not to mention that you only addressed the very few samples I presented of the large number of questions and points which still remain unanswered. So, it is not my move until you have completed yours. (Point-by-point, of course).
[Third response, 25 Mar 99]
(R) Okay, I will answer each and every question still left unanswered on Response #29. I will continue to work on each one and do my best to present a complete answer. Expect it soon.
(MB) Please feel free to take as much time as you need to do proper research for your responses.
(R) As far as my essays are concerned, the reason it said "back to main page" is because I have posted my essays on my own website and copy/pasted them from my site. I must have forgotten to extract the "back to main page." It is my work, and my purpose in writing them was for distribution to some of my many atheist/skeptical friends both on the net, and ones I know personally here in Portland, Me.
(MB) Fair enough. I do wish you would have told me this up front and just sent me the links to your essays rather than e-mailing them all to me. That would have avoided any misconceptions about them.
(R) (Final note) You have the tendancy to be very opinionated in your responses. Sometimes your response to just ONE of my sentences will be two or three paragraphs long or one huge paragraph.
(MB) Don't you do the same thing in your rebuttals to Cabrutus? Why should this be a problem in the first place? In order to properly refute an argument, it may be necessary to go into detail. Otherwise, one might have to resort to superficial blanket statements that really don't do anything to address the question or point that is on the table.
(R) There is usually a great deal of opinionated ideas communicated.
(MB) How do you classify something as "opinionated"? Perhaps you could show a few examples and demonstrate why they have no place in a debate.
(R) In my responses to the remaining unanswered questions, I will try to abstain from responding to your subjective opinions and concentrate on responding to just the empirical facts you have presented.
(MB) The "rantings and ravings" defense, again? No problem. If you choose not to respond to any given question or point, how am I to know whether or not you are conceding the point, are unable to answer it at all, or are just blowing it off by arbitrarily classifying it as a "subjective opinion"?