To the frustration of many of you (as you’ve expressed to me many times over), I’m a huge proponent of talking to people you disagree with — even when you actively work against each other. Especially when you actively work against each other, if for no other reason than it’s easy to create a straw man version of your opponents and you never want to do that. You want to make sure you’re opposing things they really believe. And when they’re willing to have a conversation with you, and when you can get inside their heads and find out why they think the way they do, you should take that opportunity.
It’s possible you learn nothing new. But maybe they become a little more “human” and you can better understand where they’re coming from. Ultimately, that helps us stay on focus with our own activism.
That’s also why I have to applaud what the Miami Valley Skeptics have done.
Last month, they did an interview with Answers in Genesis’ Dr. Georgia Purdom (which was published today). As far as I know, it’s the first time someone from AiG has done an interview like this with an openly atheist group.
Purdom, who has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from a legitimate school, works for the Creationist organization and it would be *easy* to get into a long argument over evolution… but that’s also what you’d expect. I’ve heard that conversation so many times over the years.
Instead, Matt Kovacs took a far more interesting approach, asking Purdom what it’s like to be one of the only prominent female Creationists and how she handled going from a Christian undergrad school to a secular grad school and then back to a Creationist world. (And, yes, they talked about evolution, too.)
To be fair, much of what she has to say isn’t very surprising — when asked whether any evidence would actually convince her to accept evolution, the answer is a firm “no” — but it’s a civil conversation in which they get her on record on a variety of topics. They also find a way to make her fairly likable as a person, even though her responses are often infuriating — which I think speaks very highly of Kovacs.
You should check out their conversation.