When we first planned to publish Jim Lippard's "Examination of the Research of Creationist Walter Brown" in Creation/Evolution XXV, we contacted Walter Brown and gave him the opportunity to reply. Furthermore, we accepted Brown's standard of what would constitute a fair word count for his response. As a result, we were able to publish the two sides of the exchange in the same issue. When Lippard wrote a second critique of Brown's research, we again offered Brown the opportunity to respond, and the debate was continued in issue XXVI.
After two installments of this dialogue, we have received many letters to the editor. Some have criticized us for continuing the debate, and all have disputed Brown's arguments. At the conclusion of his last response, Brown himself criticized the debate, suggesting that Lippard was unqualified to challenge him and proposing alternative individuals who he would find more suitable.
As editor of Creation/Evolution, I take that to mean that Brown has stepped out of this particular ring. Since Lippard has not, however, we have published his final critique. Letters from our readers follow, providing additional comments.
In fairness, we want you to know that Walter Brown maintains a standing offer to debate in print one or more evolutionary scientists who have doctoral degrees in technical fields. Should any such scientists feel that Brown is a qualified opponent, the proposal is that such a debate be long enough to release as a book (Brown knows of a potentially interested publisher). We therefore reprint Brown's proposed "Statement of Agreement" below:
Statement of AgreementFeburary 10, 1987
- The two principle debaters are:
Phone: ( )
Dr. Walter T. Brown, Jr.
5612 N. 20th Place
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: (602) 955-7663
The intent of this debate is
- to provide a nonconfrontational vehicle for an exchange and interpretation of data on both sides of a heated issue in which little constructive dialogue is occurring.
- to make available to interested readers a clear and unemotional enumeration of the major scientific evidences on both sides of the creation-evolution issue. The disciplines would include: the life sciences, the astronomical sciences, the earth sciences, and the physical sciences.
Each debater will present the evidence which he feels supports his model (or theory) of origins and refutes the opposing model of origins. These models will be defined by each side and submitted with this signed agreement. (POSSIBLE EXAMPLES ARE GIVEN BELOW.)
- The Creation Model of Origins:
- Everything in the universe, to include the stars, the solar system, the earth, life, and man, came into existence suddenly—in essentially the complexity we see today.
- The earth has experienced a worldwide flood.
- The Evolution Model of Origins:
- Over billions of years, the universe, the solar system, the earth, and finally life developed from disordered matter through natural processes.
- Mutations and natural selection brought about the development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds.
- Man descended from a common ancestor with apes.
- The Creation Model of Origins:
- The debate will consist of scientific evidence and the logical inferences from that evidence. Religious or philosophical ideas and beliefs, while possibly correct, will not be allowed. The umpire will strike such ideas from the record. Scientific evidence consists of potentially repeatable observations or measurements which are the basis for drawing conclusions on some proposition. Religious and philosophical ideas, on the other hand, are not derived from physical observation or measurement. Each debater will define his terms, organize his evidence, and present his arguments in whatever way he feels will add clarity to his case.
- The umpire is:
Phone: ( )
- The debate will consist of four submissions by each side of up to 20,000 words each. Each figure or graph will be considered the equivalent of 200 words. These submissions will be sent by registered mail at three month intervals to the umpire. They will be postmarked not later than the fourth of the month beginning in __________________. After the umpire receives both submissions, he will delete any religious or philosophical ideas and any personal attacks, inform the author of any such deletions, and then mail each debater's paper to his opponent so that both papers arrive on about the same day.
- The umpire:
- will make whatever rulings are necessary to help accomplish "2" above.
- will resolve any disagreements brought to his attention by either debater.
- will direct debaters as necessary to address the more important unanswered points made by the other debater, to include new issues raised during the last submission.
- will write a preface to the final written debate stating these agreements, whether or not both parties adhered to them, and any other observations that would contribute to "2 b."
- will terminate the debate if in his opinion one side is not participating adequately in the debate.
- will act as editor and organizer of the final written product.
- Both debaters will bear their own expenses and share equally in the phone and mailing expenses of the umpire up to $200 each.
- Outside parties who do contribute ideas, data, or logic to the written product must be referenced. Those who do contribute substantially to the debate may become joint participants. However, the lead debater for each side (whose signature appears below) is responsible for integrating all viewpoints on his side into one coherent view.
- References will be cited but will not contribute to the word count. Short statements taken from those references, which capture the thrust of that source, may also be considered part of that reference. This will reduce the need for a reader to look up that reference and will enhance the readability of the final written debate. Also in the interest of readability, footnotes and computations will contribute to the word count but they will be placed at the end of the book.
- One side may feel that insufficient documentation has been given by his opponent. If the umpire concurs after consulting with each side, the debater who omitted the reference will have what the umpire feels would be a reasonable time to provide the reference.
- If one debater feels that his opponent has quoted an authority out of context, he will notify both his opponent and the umpire of this in writing. If the umpire concurs and the opponent does not want to modify or qualify his quotation, the umpire can rule that a sufficiently large portion of the quoted material become an appendix to the written debate.
- From time to time, each debater will have difficulty locating certain technical papers cited by his opponent. Each debater should make these needs known to the umpire who will then direct that each debater supply specific documents to the other. The umpire, after considering the number and costs involved, will use his judgment to balance the burden placed on each debater.
- Each side will be permitted three extensions of one month each. The debater requesting the extension should notify the umpire and his opponent as soon as possible but not later than the first of the month that the submission is due.
- If one party withdraws from the debate, as confirmed and explained in writing by the umpire, the other party will have exclusive rights to publish any or all of the partially completed debate.
- Within one month after the fourth submission has been made, each debater can notify the umpire if he feels new issues were raised in that submission. If the umpire concurs, he may permit that debater to answer those new issues.
- Each side is encouraged to correct errors in its case when it discovers them. Corrections or deletions of previously made arguments are allowed as long as they do not exceed the word limit. If, however, a correction is suggested by an opponent's rebuttal, that error can only be changed as described below.
- When the fourth submission has been made and all new issues have been answered, each debater can propose that certain of his arguments be deleted or modified. This "bartering process" between the debaters is intended to aid the reader by eliminating, in balanced fashion, earlier statements which they feel are superfluous, have been effectively rebutted, or are of questionable accuracy.
- The final form of the written debate should be as clear and readable as possible. Therefore, after the fourth submission, the umpire will direct the debaters to assemble into one coherent argument any scattered arguments dealing with a narrow topic. No new ideas can be added. In this way, the opposing arguments can then be most easily compared and studied by readers. The completed written debate will be in the format directed by the umpire and will include, insofar as possible, the evidence and arguments placed side by side and point by point. It will consist of two main parts: (1) the evolutionist case with the creationist rebuttals placed immediately below each argument, and (2) the creationist case with the evolutionist rebuttals placed immediately below each argument. The shorter of the two will be placed first in the final book.
- After the debate is completed, each debater will have the right to publish the debate or release it for others to disseminate. Printed copies of the debate must contain the entire debate in final form, including the umpire's preface.
- This agreement can be modified by mutual agreement of the two debaters.
(INITIAL IF APPROPRIATE) Although I disagree with one or more of the above conditions, I am willing to have a __ person __ panel (choose one) adjudicate the matter. I will abide by this ruling and participate in the written debate. My disagreements and suggested changes are listed below.
Walter T. Brown