Tag Archive: creationism

The Christian News Wire heaps more bullshit on the steaming pile which is the “Richard Dawkins is afraid to debate William Lane Craig” meme:

[Craig’s] upcoming United Kingdom tour has evidently intimidated Richard Dawkins as he has continually refused to debate Craig when he visits his home turf this October.

[…] A war of words has broken out between Dawkins and his critics, who see his refusal to take on the American academic as a sign that he may be losing his nerve. […]

Dawkins’ refusal to debate Craig has become an international issue.

Actually, you lying pieces of crap, it hasn’t become an “issue”, even despite your desperate attempts to use Richard Dawkins’ name to manufacture a controversy and elevate Craig’s profile. Which is, after all, rightfully much lower than that of Dawkins, whose popularity is incomparably more widespread, who has a great deal of respect in the scientific and academic community (even from those who disagree with his assertive approach to atheism), and who has actually, you know, accomplished stuff. (I’d imagine, in fact that many who read this might be asking right about now, “William who?”)

The notion that Dawkins is “intimidated” of debating charlatans like Craig is an utter joke. He has been perfectly clear (see video below) that the reason he won’t debate creationist apologists who are no more than “professional debaters” (as opposed to “a bishop, a cardinal, a pope, an archbishop”, any of whom he says he’d “be happy to debate”): He doesn’t have the tiime to waste on them, or in his words, “I’m busy”. I think it’s reasonable to infer that he considers creationism such a farce that he doesn’t want to give its proponents a platform to preach from.

Furthermore, it seems clear that he has no patience for Craig’s intellectual dishonesty, which Sam Harris aptly described after their “god debate”:

As I observed once during the debate, but should have probably mentioned again, Craig employs other high school debating tricks to mislead the audience: He falsely summarizes what his opponent has said; he falsely claims that certain points have been conceded; and, in our debate, he falsely charged me with having wandered from the agreed upon topic. The fact that such tricks often work is a real weakness of the debate format, especially one in which the participants are unable to address one another directly.

Video of Dawkins’ answer to the question of why he won’t debate Craig is below the fold. Continue reading

The University of California Museum of Paleontology‘s DinoBuzz site presents the question: Are Birds Really Dinosaurs? I encourage you to read the entire piece, which goes into much more depth, but here I have excerpted some key points from the answer:

Ask your average paleontologist who is familiar with the phylogeny of vertebrates and they will probably tell you that yes, birds (avians) are dinosaurs. Using proper terminology, birds are avian dinosaurs; other dinosaurs are non-avian dinosaurs, and (strange as it may sound) birds are technically considered reptiles. Overly technical? Just semantics? Perhaps, but still good science. In fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of birds being the descendants of a maniraptoran dinosaur, probably something similar (but not identical) to a small dromaeosaur.


Today the important issue seems to be specifically which dinosaurs are the closest relatives of birds. The controversy over the dinosaurian status of birds had its heyday in the 1970’s, but the coverage of the issue today by the press might make you think it was still a problematic matter. For those that have actually seen the relevant specimens and considered all of the relevant data (which is a basic procedure for any scientist), it is becoming increasingly difficult to draw the line between “bird” and “non-avian dinosaur”.


The opponents of the theropod hypothesis refuse to propose an alternative hypothesis that is falsifiable. This is probably because there are no other suitable candidates for avian ancestors. “Thecodonts” are often promoted as such, but this is an obfuscatory, antiquated term for a hodgepodge of poorly understood and paraphyletic, undiagnosible reptiles. The problems cited by such opponents for theropods are often more serious for the “thecodont” pseudo-hypothesis. Finally, such opponents also refuse to use the methods and evidence normally accepted by comparative evolutionary biologists, such as phylogenetic systematics and parsimony. They rely more on an “intuitive approach,” which is not a method at all but just an untestable gestalt impression laden with assumptions about how evolution must work.


The facts are resoundingly in support of a maniraptoran origin for birds; certainly a theropodan origin at the very least. So when you see a hawk diving to snatch a dove, or an egret darting for fish, or an ostrich dashing across the African savanna, know that you are gaining some insight into what the extinct dinosaurs were like.

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