Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

  • Lawrence Krauss web


    Lawrence Krauss

    Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

  • Michael Shermer web


    Michael Shermer

    Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

  • ian-hutchinson-web


    Ian Hutchinson

    Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

  • Dinesh-DSouza-for-web


    Dinesh D'Souza

    Author, What's So Great About Christianity

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Lawrence Krauss web

For The Motion

Lawrence Krauss

Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He is the Director of the Origins Project and Professor of Physics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Krauss has written several bestselling books including A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012). Passionate about educating the public about science to ensure sound public policy, Krauss has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Michael Shermer web

For The Motion

Michael Shermer

Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (2011). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine, has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, and Charlie Rose. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series Exploring the Unknown.

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Against The Motion

Ian Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Ian Hutchinson is a physicist and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his research group are international leaders exploring the generation and confinement (using magnetic fields) of plasmas hotter than the sun's center. This research, carried out on a national experimental facility designed, built, and operated by Hutchinson's team, is aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. In addition to authoring 200 research articles about plasma physics, Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His recent book Monopolizing Knowledge (2011) explores how the error of scientism arose, how it undermines reason as well as religion, and how it feeds today's culture wars and an excessive reliance on technology.

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Against The Motion

Dinesh D'Souza

Author, What's So Great About Christianity

A New York Times bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, has had a distinguished 25-year career as a writer, scholar and intellectual. A former Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as an Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country” by Investor’s Business Daily, he quickly became a major influence on public policy through his writings. In 2008 D’Souza released the book, What’s So Great About Christianity, the comprehensive answer to a spate of atheist books denouncing theism in general and Christianity in particular. D'Souza is also the former President of The King’s College in NYC,

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:

62% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (31% voted FOR twice, 24% voted AGAINST twice, 8% voted UNDECIDED twice). 38% changed their mind (6% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 2% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 8% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

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    • Comment Link Manos Thursday, 06 December 2012 12:32 posted by Manos

      Wow, interesting position that of Dr Ian Hutchinson on miracles (at around the 43rd minute). "Well, what we know as laws of physics from a Christian perspective is how the world normally operates. Miracles are not the normal course of events. "
      I cannot believe what I am hearing coming from the mouth of a MIT scientist. I mean when he does research and publishes a paper does he put a foot note along these lines: "Caution: This is what we believe happens under normal universe operation. If a miracle occurs the thesis of this paper does not apply".
      How can you be reasonably sure of anything and do proper peer reviewed science research if you allow "miracles" in the mix, I have no idea. Is it possible for example that the cause for the faulty cable of the Italian team that initially suggested that neutrinos had traveled faster than light, was the result of a miracle? Do neutrinos or other elements travel faster than light but God intervenes with miracles every time we try to measure it because he likes Einstein?
      I wonder when do miracles occur and when not and how can he know?
      Such a fantastic position would reduce the importance of scientific research to the level of that of astrological predictions on the Sunday paper. I find his position to be ridiculous.

    • Comment Link Mike F Thursday, 06 December 2012 01:40 posted by Mike F

      How can science disprove that my relationship with God doesn't exist?!

      How can you prove it isn't a hallucination, hormonal disorder, or serious mental illness? See how easy that is?

      The point is scientists are willing to learn and change as we go. Religion hasn't learned a damn thing since its inception besides that those who preach it are just as capable of immoral actions if not more capable of them due to a belief that god will forgive the immoral action.

    • Comment Link Lily Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:48 posted by Lily

      Has science truly searched out what it is criticizing? Those who reject God generally have had no personal experience with God. On a scientific level wouldn't that be biased?

      How can science which does not know the mind of God claim that He does not exist?

      I challenge anyone who is serious to do serious seeking into whether or not God does exist! Don't just go along with other people's beliefs without scientifically exploring it for yourself.

      Because all of life everywhere is guided and directed by physical laws, I propose that the "Spiritual Laws," "the Ten Commandments" be considered as a starting point. The mind of God is summed up in the whole of the law, to love God with all your heart, mind, & soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    • Comment Link SallyStrange Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:16 posted by SallyStrange

      I think it's safe to say that science has refuted every god that has been described with the slightest degree of specificity.

    • Comment Link Nik Catalina Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:06 posted by Nik Catalina

      The ultimate question has to be: Why is there anything? And if there were nothing... what is nothing but the absence of something? Even the word "nothing" constitutes "something" so it seems impossible to answer this question.

      The best concept I've heard to describe our existence is that reduced to the purest essence... everything in the known Universe is intelligent, formless energy vibrating... and since "it" has no form... creates form in order to experience itself and maintains absolute power and authority over it all.

      Old Socrates once expressed profound wisdom when he replied to a question posed by one of his followers who asked:
      ( paraphrased ) What is the meaning and purpose of Life? To which Socrates answered: " If there is one thing that I know... it is that I know nothing" I believe this to be true of everyone including myself

    • Comment Link Lily Wednesday, 05 December 2012 22:41 posted by Lily

      All creation are based on various systems, (for example the human body has many systems that work together) and the laws in which all life operates. If there are many laws that are unseen, however they still affect life on earth and in space. Is it not logical that there are even greater laws that control them, namely the Law of God. To believe is not enough, just like to believe in gravity, but to see and experience gravity then one has an experiential knowledge, that is defined by law. How is it that my experiential knowledge of God, is refuted, because of those that have never experienced Him? I know that God exists, because of the nature of the universe and everything in it operate on laws, from the macro to the micro. Jehovah is a God of law, and those laws that govern our minds, and hearts, which are the "Ten Commandments." Love of God and love of fellow man, participate in the mind of God, which is above science.

    • Comment Link Jake Wednesday, 05 December 2012 22:05 posted by Jake

      Shawn, You will never reach the end of counting how many people were killed by atheistic/communistic regimes.
      As a believer in Christ, who taught, "love your enemies", not go kill them, one must not judge the truth with false religion. All but one of Christ's own disciples were killed by false religious people. Let's not call white black or black white,

    • Comment Link jim Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:13 posted by jim

      i am against the motion as stated, "science refutes god" and i offer as my argument, the very argument offered in favor of the motion. where the motion refers to god, the argument in favor, correctly, points the finger at the deficiencies of religion. religion is not god any more than god is religion.
      the holders of knowledge and the greatest advances in science leading right into the industrial revolution were by men of faith who wanted to explain god's work, to investigate, to understand, to be closer to god, not confront him.
      science is evidence and proof, not belief. faith is belief without proof or evidence. they are, ever were, and should remain mutually exclusive, parallel tracks, possibly traveling in opposite directions, but distinct and separate regardless of what some wish were true. i would also warn against praising science as a religion. too many people buy into the conclusions of 'a recent study' with no more knowledge or authority than a believer in a fully interventionist god. while religion doesn't change its opinions, science is never satisfied with its conclusions and the way some people grab one piece of information from one snapshot in the continuum of acquisition of knowledge is just as ignorant of science's purpose.
      i am a believer in science - an engineer - and haven't gone willingly to a house of god in 40 years, but i have absolutely no problem anyone of faith or their opinions - on anything except facts of the physical world. to me, religion is a tool, neither good nor bad. if religion offers motivation for research, then so be it.
      i thus reject the very premise of the debate, because although religion has been an excuse to make a mess of one society after another, that's man's fault, and there is still not an answer for what was before time began and so a theory that supposes some higher power or accidental creator that set the ball rolling with or without laws set in stone remains a possibility of what lies beyond our ability to investigate.
      or not.

    • Comment Link eric Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:51 posted by eric

      why can't people just be amazed at the universe around us? figuring out how it works makes us more amazed and curious to know more. discovery is the birdsong of man. god is some stuff we just made up to justify our ignorance and appease our insecurity.

    • Comment Link Everett Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:44 posted by Everett

      Just think,without God you can cuss or anything you like! Powerful motivation to believe in atheism don't you think?

    • Comment Link Rana Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:37 posted by Rana

      Man created god..not the other way round..that is what is logical...and rational :)end of story.

    • Comment Link Jennifer Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:35 posted by Jennifer

      Christianity never thought me not to ask questions :)
      The argument is whether or not i agree when the 'revelation' is presented.

    • Comment Link Jorden Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:34 posted by Jorden

      I would consider this to be a program that more intelligent people watch. I find it funny how a vast majority of the people, off the bat, voted that science does refute god. Not to mention the fact that a majority of the most intelligent scientists, in recent years, are in fact athiest. I also think that it is funny how Denish keeps attacking how old Darwinism is and how it is "the only strong argument." Which belief is older, Darwinism or Christianity?

    • Comment Link Jason Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:31 posted by Jason

      The arguments against the motion are propose that they are consistent with reason. This is deeply misguided as we can see how conditional that so-called reason is by borrowing a rhetorical tool to re-frame those arguments.

      In constructing the arguments against motion you have no tools that can clearly distinguish that Science fails to refute God without also equipping the individual with tools to say that Science fails to refute Unicorns, Russel's teapots, Flying Spaghetti Monsters and other such claims which could always be grounded in experience, but are not. If we think they are not by something other than pure happenstance, we are asking a how question, and we would not want our answer to come from a religious epistemology, we want an epistemology that can speak directly to reality.

    • Comment Link Mark Spendel Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:11 posted by Mark Spendel

      Rabbits in Precambrian

    • Comment Link hilaryfox Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:02 posted by hilaryfox

      Following the debate from Mexico and so far so good! D'Sousa makes good sense!

    • Comment Link Ned Carter Wednesday, 05 December 2012 19:56 posted by Ned Carter

      The dark ages are proof of the churches destruction of science. The idea that the Church propelled science forward is absurd. They funded science, they decided what was or was not true, and they destroyed what they did not like. We could be intergalactic explorers if not for the 500+ years of darkness and despair brought to you by Monotheism, its wars, its murder, and its dishonesty.

    • Comment Link Fabiodej Wednesday, 05 December 2012 19:29 posted by Fabiodej

      evolution is a fact: half true. the point of dispute is darwnism and its mechanism. that's not sill established at all.

    • Comment Link hilaryfox Wednesday, 05 December 2012 19:24 posted by hilaryfox

      Following the debate from Mexico and so far so good! h

    • Comment Link Joe S Wednesday, 05 December 2012 19:21 posted by Joe S

      @Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:14
      posted by Craig Manoukian
      "If we evolved from apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?"

      Craig, under evolutionary theory, today's monkeys and apes likewise evolved from an ancient predecessor. At some time in the distant past, what we see today as "modern" humans, monkeys and apes all shared a common ancestor. It's not that "modern" apes have been around unchanged for millions of years and "modern" humans splintered off on their own separate path.

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