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.

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