I've responded, in effect, to a challenge put up by Vox Day on the blog Vox Popoli. I left the following on his blog:

"Hey, Vox! I will be happy to debate the evidence supporting evolution or creation with you on-line at your blog, or mine, or both. I'm an enthusiastic Darwinian and a serious Christian.What terms would you like for the debate? Be prepared, I think, to provide citations and evidence from the scientific literature, because that's what I'll do while I'm attempting to wipe the floor with you....:) Cheerfully....Scott Hatfield"

Vox, to his credit, accepted, requesting that we begin the actual exchange after August 15th (he has a book project that is pressing). His last sentence suggests that we should have a lively exchange:

"Since biology is entirely outside my areas of both interest and expertise, I think this should be an interesting experiment as to whether decades of science is enough to trump raw intellect."

You can't say that the fellow lacks self-confidence!


Teodoro said...


visit this blog:

Andre Benjamim

Scott Hatfield . . . said...

Welcome, Teodoro! I regret that my Spanish is dreadful, and my Portugese non-existent! So I'm afraid my greetings must be limited to English...nevertheless, welcome!

Farris Thorne said...

Feel free to tell Vox how science has been trumping raw intellect since the days of Ptolemy and the Pythagoreans. What's that, a couple of millennia? ft

Scott Hatfield . . . said...

Welcome, Farris Thorne! A history of science lesson may come up at some point, along with the philosophy of science, etc. Vox may surprise us...who knows?

nicole said...

As a fan of yours from Pharyngula (and an anti-fan of Vox), I am looking forward to this! Bloggers must have some ego just to blog, but Vox really takes being full of oneself to a whole new level.

Ian said...

So who is that joker? And are you sure this guy has "graduated" from homeschool yet?

The most valuable thing about formal education is having people tell you that you're wrong. Without that, you develop an unrealistically inflated self opinion. Even if this guy is a true genius, there's a power in the scientific method, in thousands of minds working to critique and hone ideas.

I'm curious to see how this will turn out.

Scott Hatfield . . . said...

Welcome, Nicole! I don't have much prior experience with Vox, but he strikes me as a good example of the 'unrecognized prodigy'. These folk tend to be pretty capable in areas where it's all on them, but (due to how they developed) not all that appreciative of (as Ian says) the value in the collective practice of science.

I'm inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, because an exchange of views, even in a debate setting, could be seen as a sort of collaboration, and that could lead to real dialogue.

We shall see!

The Factician said...

Wow, raw intellect, huh? Or cooked?'

It's been my experience that new graduate students who have a high opinion of their own talent end up taking the longest to graduate. They end up spending their first few years stumbling around in the lab, never asking for help, never accepting a critique, and end up reinventing a lot of stuff, or just plain doing stuff wrong.

Vox may be bright (or not, who knows?) but given his overconfidence, I expect this debate to be ugly...

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt,

Scott, this guy argues that rape is the same as consensual sex. It isn't doubt I'd be giving him.

- Graculus

Anonymous said...

Ian said "The most valuable thing about formal education is having people tell you that you're wrong." Hits it on the head! I will be using you as a source, Ian.

Scott, I'm looking forward to your exchange. Drop a line at PZ's to remind us, would ya?


Scott Hatfield . . . said...

I understand that Vox is an equal-opportunity contrarian, but I'm going to try to focus on his objections to evolution and proceed from there. A fella could hold views that I find obnoxious in some other department and yet have a good argument elsewhere. Conversely, there are some wonderful people that I find personally delightful in the pews who harbor anti-science sentiment.

By the way, welcome, and I hope that we shed more light than heat!

plunge said...

I've already read some of Vox's comments on science and evolution, and I don't see raw intellect: just the same old same old crank arguments you would expect to find from any run of the mill WorldNetDaily writer.

I doubt any good will come of it. I doubt he'll even ever let you nail down what evidence is or means, much less seriously look at the evidence for evolution.