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View Diary: Bill Nye Is Making a Mistake (339 comments)

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  •  Two words: "Gish Gallop" (10+ / 0-)

    That's why I think a debate with any creationist is a bad idea.

    I've 'debated' with creationists many times over the decades and always found it to be a frustrating experience because their entire strategy boils down to a constant Gish Gallop, coupled with an assertion (somewhat simplified here) that because the creationist can't be bothered to study and understand actual science, a deity must somehow be involved.

    I've read some of their books in a "knowing my enemy" purpose, and just saw the same thing over and over. "Here's a problem with evolution..." Or cosmology. Or astronomy. Or whatever. The existence of the problem in current theories -- real or not (usually not) -- is used then to assert that the only alternative isn't further study, but replacement of all competing theories with the unproven, untestable, utterly unscientific assertion that a deity's intervention is therefor required and unavoidable.

    Nye might make his point...but Ham will win simply by having his views be granted the perception of legitimacy in scientific debate.

    "Don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine. They fall right out of the sky." -- Kaywinnit Lee Frye

    by Technowitch on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:15:29 AM PST

    •  There are ways to beat the Gish Gallop. (4+ / 0-)

      Watch Obama's second and third debates against Romney for examples, or how Biden ate Paul Ryan for breakfast.

      You call out the tactic early, simply by saying "That's not true." or "That argument isnt' right," then you pivot and narrow.

      Pivot to your own arguments, that you've practiced, and you focus your arguments on narrowing the topic of debate. Don't debunk all of the Bullshit Blizzard. Pick one argument, perhaps the one that's most comically ridiculous, or the one that you're most prepared to debunk, pivot to that one argument, and tear it to pieces.

      If you have to speak about the rest of the Gish Gallop talking points, just say you don't have time to address them all, you're just taking one point (your targeted point) as an example.

      But yes, I'm not much of a fan of debating creationists on their terms - it gives them too much legitimacy. I'd demand third-party moderation, pre-arranged rules of debate (including a cap on the number of points one can make in a time-segment) and so on, though usually the creationists back out when you ask them to debate on a fair playing field.

      •  good point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, Naniboujou

        I think Nye should insist on some rules and then win by seeing the creationist refuse to debate...

        Another shining sphere flies from Feior's hands, and you are frozen where you stand

        by GideonAB on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:38:51 AM PST

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      •  I'd say a ton rests on the format and will there (0+ / 0-)

        be a credible/forceful moderator to keep things in control?

        When there is a structure that must be (generally) adhered to a good speaker can defeat a Galloper.

        However, when there isn't a strong moderator/structure, the knowledgeable person gets whupped by the bullshit artist 90+% of the time (see: any D vs R media segment).

        Retired Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able). Sarcasm for - and derision of - True Believers / Entitlement "Reformers" / NSA cheerleaders (yes, significant overlap) still available 24/7, you betcha!

        by JVolvo on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:17:56 PM PST

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      •  That doesn't help when your opponent keeps (0+ / 0-)

        interrupting you every other sentence if not every single sentence so you can't even call bullshit.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 05:02:31 AM PST

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