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J.W. Wartick’s summary of the debate between Michael Ruse and Fazale Rana

Details of the debate:

The Origin of Life: The Great God Debate
Fuz Rana vs. Michael Ruse

Michael Ruse and Fuz Rana square off to debate the question “Are natural processes sufficient to explain the origin and the complexity of the cell?” The debate will be moderated by Craig Hazen. Sponsored by The Well Christian Club at UCR, Come Reason Ministries, and Biola University.

Format of the debate:

  • Opening Arguments: 20 minutes each
  • 1st Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side
  • Rebuttals: 10 minutes each
  • 2nd Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side
  • Concluding Arguments: 5 minutes each
  • Q &A: 40 minutes (Questions can come from Twitter and SMS)

Here on J.W. Wartick’s blog, I found a summary of the debate (video above).

Excerpt:

Michael Ruse Opening

Michael Ruse was careful to note that he is not keen on saying design is not possible. Rather, his claim is that naturalism is the most plausible explanation for the origins of life.

Ruse’s argued that design is implausible. Specifically, he noted that if design is the hypothesis put forward, there are any number of ways that one might consider that hypothesis. Is the designer a natural being within the universe or a supernatural being like God? Is there only one designer, or was there a group of designers (and he notes that a group of designers seems more plausible because automobiles require many designers to bring them about)? Finally, he raised the issue of bad design choices. He asked why, if there were a “hands-on” designer, would that designer not grant immunity to HIV and the like.

Ruse also argued that one can fall into the fallacy of selective attention- if one focuses upon only one example in isolation, then one might come to a conclusion that certain laws/theories may not be correct. But placing these same problems in context shows that they can be explained against “the background of our knowledge.”

Finally, Ruse ended with a number of examples for how problems which were seemingly insoluble were explained by naturalistic means. He also argued that one of the popular arguments for design, the flagellum, has so many different varieties (and is sometimes found to be a vestigial organ), and so cannot be shown to be designed.

Fazale Rana Opening

The problems which must be accounted for within an origins of life model are numerous. One must account for self-replication, the emergence of metabolism, the formation of protocells, the synthesis of prebiotic materials, the formation of life’s building blocks, and more.

Rana then turned to some primary models used by researchers to explain origin of life (hereafter OOL). First, there was the replicator-first model, which was problematic because in order for a molecule to be a self-replicator, it must be a homopolymer. But the complexity of the chemical environment on early earth rendered the generation of a homopolymer on the early earth essentially impossible. Next, the metabolism-first model runs into problem due to the chemical networks which have to be in place for metabolism. But the mineral surfaces proposed for the catalytic systems for these proto-metabolic systems cannot serve as such; Leslie Orgel held that this would have to be a “near miracle” and Rana argues that it is virtually impossible. Finally, the membrane-first model requires different steps with exacting conditions such that the model is self-defeating.

Rana argued positively that OOL requires an intelligent agent in order to occur. The reason is because the only way that any of these models can be generated is through the work on OOL in a lab. Thus, they can only be shown to be proof-of-principle and the chemistry breaks down when applied to the early earth. The fact that information is found in the cell is another evidence Rana presented for design. The systems found in enzymes with DNA function as, effectively, Turing machines. Moreover, the way that DNA finds and eliminates mistakes is machine-like as well. The fact that the needed component for success in lab experiments was intelligence hinted, according to Rana, at positive evidence for design.

Finally, Rana argued that due to the “fundamental intractable problems” with naturalistic models for the OOL and the fact that the conditions needed for the OOL and the processes required to bring it about have only been demonstrated as in-principle possible with intelligent agents manipulating the process.

He’s got a summary of each of the speeches, and it rings true with what I saw when I watched the debate.

Live stream: Dr. Fazale Rana debates Dr. Michael Ruse on evolution vs design

UPDATE: Video posted:

A debate on origins happening TODAY! (May 16th)

Details here. There is a free live stream!

The Origin of Life: The Great God Debate
Fuz Rana vs. Michael Ruse

Michael Ruse and Fuz Rana square off to debate the question “Are natural processes sufficient to explain the origin and the complexity of the cell?” The debate will be moderated by Craig Hazen. Sponsored by The Well Christian Club at UCR, Come Reason Ministries, and Biola University.

May 16, 2013

Thursday Night
Time: 7:00 pm, PDT
Cost: $10 ($5 with student ID)
Parking $5
Live Stream: FREE

Event Registration Information Here!

Live Stream Information Here!

Location:

University of California Riverside Campus
Gymnasium
900 University Ave,
Riverside, CA 92507

Format of the debate:

  • Opening Arguments: 20 minutes each
  • 1st Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side
  • Rebuttals: 10 minutes each
  • 2nd Cross-Examination: 6 minutes each side
  • Concluding Arguments: 5 minutes each
  • Q &A: 40 minutes (Questions can come from Twitter and SMS)

Dr. Fazale Rana has written a number of books on intelligent design, and is a biochemist by trade. Dr. Ruse is a philosopher.

Dr. Rana will also be doing a lecture on the origin of life tomorrow evening. Details here.

William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens debate LIVE FEED

UPDATE: My play-by-play transcript of the April 4, 2009 debate at Biola is here.

Got this in e-mail from Biola University, regarding the upcoming William Lane Craig vs Christoper Hitchens debate.

YOU MUST ACT FAST—to set up a viewing site for your church, Bible study, family, or neighborhood! Debate takes place on Saturday, April 4.

The “Does God Exist” Debate is almost completely sold out at Biola University . Nearly 4,000 people will be seeing it live. But the demand is tremendous from all over the world to view this debate as it happens between one of the finest Christian philosophers alive today, Dr. William Lane Craig, and Christopher Hitchens, who is one of the most outspoken atheists in a century.

Live Broadcast:

  • Saturday, April 4
    7:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time (10:30 pm Eastern)

Re-broadcasts:

  • Sunday, April 5
    4:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (7:00 pm Eastern)
  • Wednesday, April 8
    5:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (8:00 pm Eastern)

Deadline for sign up:
Monday, March 30, 11:59 pm PDT.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?
1) Just log on to the registration web site: http://www.apologeticsevents.com/debate
2) Agree to the terms, pay the viewing fee, and receive a code to log into the broadcast
3) Use your equipment to put it on a nice monitor, screen, or projector, invite everyone at your church, and enjoy!

Look here for more information, FAQ, and pricing information ($98):
http://www.apologeticsevents.com/debate

If anyone’s church is hosting a feed, please post a comment below.

UPDATE: I analyze Hitchens’ case against God here, from his debate against Frank Turek.

UPDATE: Audio and video from a  panel discussion with Hitchens, Craig, etc. is linked here.

UPDATE: Information about live-blogging of the debate is here.