A reader writes:
I take issue with your use of the phrase "get pissy" to describe Nick Gotelli's refusal to debate members of the Discovery Institute on evolution. The DI has a proven history of antipathy towards sound science. Their behavior a few years ago around the Dover, PA trial on teaching intelligent design in public school classrooms is ample evidence. The Discovery Institute has consistently displayed the same degree of integrity towards evolution that the Family Research Council does towards human sexuality. Why reward such behavior with a debate?
Because I'm a firm believer that debate exposes the flimsiness of arguments, and debate is always preferable to mere stigmatizing. That's why I was happy to publish the Bell Curve alongside many criticisms of it; and why I've gone to major Catholic colleges to debate homosexuality; and why I think the questions of, say, Obama's birth certificate and Palin's bizarre pregnancy stories should not be hushed up - but debated, with evidence provided as far as possible. It's always better to put everything on the table and fight over it, than posture about which subjects are worthy of debate or scrutiny.