Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

  • Lawrence Krauss web


    Lawrence Krauss

    Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

  • Michael Shermer web


    Michael Shermer

    Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

  • ian-hutchinson-web


    Ian Hutchinson

    Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

  • Dinesh-DSouza-for-web


    Dinesh D'Souza

    Author, What's So Great About Christianity

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Lawrence Krauss web

For The Motion

Lawrence Krauss

Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He is the Director of the Origins Project and Professor of Physics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Krauss has written several bestselling books including A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012). Passionate about educating the public about science to ensure sound public policy, Krauss has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Michael Shermer web

For The Motion

Michael Shermer

Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (2011). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine, has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, and Charlie Rose. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series Exploring the Unknown.

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Against The Motion

Ian Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Ian Hutchinson is a physicist and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his research group are international leaders exploring the generation and confinement (using magnetic fields) of plasmas hotter than the sun's center. This research, carried out on a national experimental facility designed, built, and operated by Hutchinson's team, is aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. In addition to authoring 200 research articles about plasma physics, Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His recent book Monopolizing Knowledge (2011) explores how the error of scientism arose, how it undermines reason as well as religion, and how it feeds today's culture wars and an excessive reliance on technology.

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Against The Motion

Dinesh D'Souza

Author, What's So Great About Christianity

A New York Times bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, has had a distinguished 25-year career as a writer, scholar and intellectual. A former Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as an Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country” by Investor’s Business Daily, he quickly became a major influence on public policy through his writings. In 2008 D’Souza released the book, What’s So Great About Christianity, the comprehensive answer to a spate of atheist books denouncing theism in general and Christianity in particular. D'Souza is also the former President of The King’s College in NYC,

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:

62% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (31% voted FOR twice, 24% voted AGAINST twice, 8% voted UNDECIDED twice). 38% changed their mind (6% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 2% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 8% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

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    • Comment Link Ron Simpson Monday, 03 December 2012 18:39 posted by Ron Simpson

      If humanity were suddenly to wake with all of the contemporary scientific knowledge we have today, but with none of the historical and contemporary religious beliefs we've been given since childhood, it would never occur to us to create some human centric male god as having any interaction with us or the universe.

    • Comment Link steve w Monday, 03 December 2012 18:24 posted by steve w

      I think as time goes on and science matures, it will compliment god's existence and eventually prove god's existence whatever god is. quantum physics is proving things that were unfathomable just 10 years ago. the fact remains you cannot create something from nothing and yet that is exactly what had to happen for the universe to exist and science cannot get around that fact, and there isn't a scientist on the planet that can tell you anything contrary to that fact. now as far as the various religious books, you can argue those stories, how they came together, whether they are inspired by man or god until the cows come home. that in no way negates the existence of a higher power nor cowers in the face of science.

    • Comment Link Don Daniels Monday, 03 December 2012 17:34 posted by Don Daniels

      Of all the 34 comments posted, I found the one by Mary Wellington to be the most juvenile as she attacks the messenger more than the message. I hope she finds the debate worthwhile enough to attend and perhaps as co-sponsor we will have the opportunity to meet.

    • Comment Link Alan Wright Monday, 03 December 2012 17:21 posted by Alan Wright

      Science does not refute God or faith. Science is a means for evidence-based substantiation of hypotheses, and theology is not. The two studies speak in different languages and demand different proofs, even if both rely on logic.

      In 1951, Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church tacitly endorsed the Big Bang theory as a plausible scientific for the Creation story told in Genesis.

      In Italian:

      "…[I]t would seem that present-day science, with one sweep back across the centuries, has succeeded in bearing witness to the august instant of the primordial Fiat Lux [Let there be Light], when along with matter, there burst forth from nothing a sea of light and radiation, and the elements split and churned and formed into millions of galaxies."
      "Thus, with that concreteness which is characteristic of physical proofs, [science] has confirmed the contingency of the universe and also the well-founded deduction as to the epoch when the world came forth from the hands of the Creator. Hence, creation took place. We say: therefore, there is a Creator. Therefore, God exists!"

      So, science laid down the basis for the creation of the universe, and Church theologians used this to substantiate the beliefs they already held. In that instance, science did not refute faith. It simply does not confirm it.

    • Comment Link Derrick Cavaco Monday, 03 December 2012 14:32 posted by Derrick Cavaco

      Science is our method of understanding the dimensions of reality that GOD has allowed us to sense while in this stage of existence. Wait and see how D'Souza and Hutchinson destroy this debate.

    • Comment Link RB Monday, 03 December 2012 13:20 posted by RB

      VIJAY D: Ever hear of Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al? All atheists!

    • Comment Link carl arnold Monday, 03 December 2012 12:56 posted by carl arnold

      1st & 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics preclude unequivocally spontaneous energy and eternal heat. The universe did not begin and has not been here forever. Unless someone retires the Nobel prize Wed., Krause's formula for "something rather than nothing" is an explicit violation of the 2nd Law..."something" would be eternal.
      Krause not incidentally has not even been recognized for consideration by the Nobel committee...but a non-eternal non-originating universe is a pretty good trick. Let's see him start with that...

    • Comment Link Isa Monday, 03 December 2012 11:57 posted by Isa

      Everyone has a religion. If you react to anything it is usually because of your beliefs. If you react in a jerk motion such as when you place your hands over your face when someone is throwing something at you then that is a law of science itself ; either way it is to protect you in your infinite amazing-ness. I vote for a creator whom actually designed and cares and has a great sense of humor watching these debates and all of its diversity. .

    • Comment Link Barb Monday, 03 December 2012 11:48 posted by Barb

      Judge not lest ye be judged --for doing the very same things! Morality does come from our Creator--and His people do sin -- Dinesh said he didn't spend the night with his fiancee before divorced after 2 year separation -- Few Christians can claim that these days. But he was in the same hotel and the news guy for World said Dinesh told him they DID share a room without intimacy. I believe Dinesh says now he did NOT share a room. in a full hotel. Hotel records should prove, but no one has verified to my knowledge. We don't know anything about his divorce --was his wife glad to see him go -- or broken-hearted --if the latter, he is to blame for breaking faith with her --as though in midlife crisis --or did she dig her heels in and refuse to follow him from CA to NYC position with King's College?? with whom he was supposed to have been praying for reconciliation. All I know for sure is that Dinesh is a great debater for the side of faith. And that grace is greater than all our sin.

    • Comment Link JIM GUIRARD Monday, 03 December 2012 11:41 posted by JIM GUIRARD

      Does it interest any of you that determined atheists insist that they HAVE NO SOULS -- no God-parts -- in their being and are, therefore, of no more eternal significance than a similarly soulness rock or block of wood? And is this what any of you truly believe about your own clearly meaningless self, your parentage and your progeny?

      JIM GUIRARD --

    • Comment Link M Monday, 03 December 2012 11:08 posted by M

      Is this debate going to introduce post modernity? I think religion and science go hand in hand and should be working together to further our understanding of knowledge and reality.

    • Comment Link Paul Holmes Monday, 03 December 2012 08:51 posted by Paul Holmes

      Robert Williams: It's crazy hard to prove a negative, says the person who never took a basic real analysis course in his life.

    • Comment Link Steve Saturday, 01 December 2012 10:01 posted by Steve

      The one debate I saw Dinesh D'Souza in he was brilliant. As these comments attest, atheists hate him because they hate anyone that does not agree with them and are willing to say so. I'd love to see this one.

    • Comment Link Jaynarayan Saturday, 01 December 2012 00:21 posted by Jaynarayan

      It is good that atheist are also interested in GOD, although they want to disprove his exitence. The debater must first of all go through at least some of the prominent religious text like Bhagavad Gita, Koran, and Bible. Then the debate would bring some fruits, otherwise this will just go on and create more confusion in society of human being. Till now as far as I know who ever have gone through the religious text carefully never expressed any doubt on exitence of GOD. Although there is different definitions of GOD among different people.

      We should also keep in mind that GOD is not like electron, proton, or galaxy that we can perform a controlled experiment and prove its existence. GOD is a person, he has personality, so its depend on his mercy on the sincere seeker who want to see GOD, GOD will reveal himslef to such person. This fact is known from past examples. If some one wants to prove the exitence of GOD by contemporary scientific method; for such seeker GOD is just this wonderful NATURE. Such people admire and worship the nature without fail, just like our modern scientitsts. If some one wants to rise above the NATURE he has to seek for the blessings of LORD.

    • Comment Link Tx Skeptic Wednesday, 28 November 2012 13:00 posted by Tx Skeptic

      This is a near re-match of the debate last March, only with physicist Lawrence Krauss replacing physicist Sean Carroll. Search for 'Ian Hutchinson debate' to see a preview for this one. I've not watched it yet myself, but plan to. I expect IQ2 to provide a better forum for this match-up though, since I've never heard a bad debate here.

      I've heard all but Hutchinson speak and/or debate multiple times, including Carroll. I look forward to another great debate with the exception of having to suffer through the blathering on by D'Souza.

    • Comment Link Mary Wellington Tuesday, 27 November 2012 20:26 posted by Mary Wellington

      Dinesh D'Souza makes a living lecturing us all that MORALITY comes from his god and and we should get fell in behind the thoughts and sayings only he channels from Mr. super hero. Then BOOM! He's fired as head of a Christian college in Manhattan for adultery. Now he's gonna tell me that is god exists but doesn't give a fig about his immorality! What a wanker.

    • Comment Link frederic Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:35 posted by frederic

      I find it detestable to have Dinesh D'Souza as a debater. This man is a proven prevaricator and opportunist. I could care less what he thinks or believes. Next!

    • Comment Link VIJAY D Tuesday, 27 November 2012 13:20 posted by VIJAY D

      A debate between monotheism (Judaism, Islam and Christianity principally) and a belief in god and/or spiritualism is more germane. The root cause of the world's misery including the worst wars mankind has known is due to proponents of one or the other of these three religions.

      Also, why pick on science? A debate between atheism and religion is a better topic.

    • Comment Link richard valeriani Tuesday, 27 November 2012 11:44 posted by richard valeriani

      I don't know if there is a God. Neither does anybody else.

    • Comment Link lauren Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:02 posted by lauren

      it's disappointing that so many of these debates offer only male perspectives. females are sorely underrepresented.

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