Strange debate experience

Yesterday I was at REASONFEST 2012 at Lawrence, Kansas, where the organizers had set me up to debate whether Islam and science can coexist.

It was a strange experience. My opponent, a Muslim social scientist called Leila Chahine, turned out to be more of an illustration of my thesis than anything else. From creationism to science-in-the-Quran apologetics, she endorsed all the stereotypically conservative Muslim pseudoscientific nonsense. She kind of made my point for me; I should have turned my time over to her.

Oh well, I don’t think much of these sorts of debates anyway. If it were up to me, I’d set up not a formal debate but a discussion between people who are close enough to each other to have lots of common ground but yet have some interesting disagreements.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10636946789639265506 Rev

    I'd also be happy with a more Socratic style of debate. There'd still be some structure- each participant would have at least N minutes to control the conversation, ask questions, etc. I'm usually more satisfied by a more direct conversation than a formal debate, even if it is between a Christian apologist and an atheist.


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