I’ve been having this bizarre email exchange with someone who will remain nameless to protect the guilty, as a result of this much-commented post:
Him: I read your article about “Getting Religion out of Science Classrooms” after following the link from Instapundit.com and would like to have an intelligent discussion with you about this. I find your views on what constitutes “scientific” vs. “religious” to be inconsistent. Hopefully we could both benefit from an exchange of emails – but I won’t bother if you would just consider me an know-nothing. Maybe both of us will learn something. If I am wrong in my beliefs, I would like to find out by intelligent correspondence. Something with a little more light, less heat, than occurs on the blogosphere.
Me: I certainly have no reason to think you a know nothing, but I don’t really want to waste my time on a private discussion. I’d be happy to have a public one.
Him: The problem I have with a public discussion is that rarely is something learned. I think you’re sharp enough that I can learn something from you.
Me: I don’t understand why a public discussion will not instruct, but a private one will.
Him: I think I have some really good arguments for intelligent design. I think I have convincing arguments that there must be a God. Such arguments can’t really make it in a public forum because they get too interrupted by chaff. Arguments get better only when tried before true devil’s advocates. I see by your regular contributions that Glenn flags that you have not fallen for the delusion of liberalism.
Me: I don’t know what you mean by “liberalism.” I am a classical liberal (that is, I am not a leftist).
Him: Yet you have a very simplistic, childish view of ID.
Me: Was this supposed to persuade me that I should waste my time engaging in an intelligent private discussion with you? If so, it failed. Completely.
Him: Rand, sorry I offended you. I did learn something.
Me: And if I had told you that your views about evolution were “childish,” you wouldn’t have been offended? Perhaps you need to learn something about yourself.
Him: I don’t know. I have always been one who is so confident about my views that I like debate. I consider when someone calls my views “childish” to be an invitation to debate, not an offense. Sorry, just the way I am. I think in general people who feel they have the minority viewpoint that has not been given a fair shake take any attention, even negative comments, as a positive thing.
Me: If you think that calling someone’s views “childish” is debating at all, let alone doing so “intelligently,” then I have to say that you’re overconfident in your debating ability.
I think now I understand why he prefers to debate privately, though.
[Update mid afternoon]
For those in comments worried that I’m beating up on a kid, if I am, he’s impersonating a professor of physics.