Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

  • Lawrence Krauss web


    Lawrence Krauss

    Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

  • Michael Shermer web


    Michael Shermer

    Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

  • ian-hutchinson-web


    Ian Hutchinson

    Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

  • Dinesh-DSouza-for-web


    Dinesh D'Souza

    Author, What's So Great About Christianity

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

See Results See Full Debate Video Purchase DVD

Read Transcript

Listen to the edited radio broadcast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to the unedited radio broadcast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Subscribe to the Podcast
Lawrence Krauss web

For The Motion

Lawrence Krauss

Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He is the Director of the Origins Project and Professor of Physics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Krauss has written several bestselling books including A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012). Passionate about educating the public about science to ensure sound public policy, Krauss has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Learn more
Michael Shermer web

For The Motion

Michael Shermer

Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (2011). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine, has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, and Charlie Rose. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series Exploring the Unknown.

Learn more

Against The Motion

Ian Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Ian Hutchinson is a physicist and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his research group are international leaders exploring the generation and confinement (using magnetic fields) of plasmas hotter than the sun's center. This research, carried out on a national experimental facility designed, built, and operated by Hutchinson's team, is aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. In addition to authoring 200 research articles about plasma physics, Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His recent book Monopolizing Knowledge (2011) explores how the error of scientism arose, how it undermines reason as well as religion, and how it feeds today's culture wars and an excessive reliance on technology.

Learn more

Against The Motion

Dinesh D'Souza

Author, What's So Great About Christianity

A New York Times bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, has had a distinguished 25-year career as a writer, scholar and intellectual. A former Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as an Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country” by Investor’s Business Daily, he quickly became a major influence on public policy through his writings. In 2008 D’Souza released the book, What’s So Great About Christianity, the comprehensive answer to a spate of atheist books denouncing theism in general and Christianity in particular. D'Souza is also the former President of The King’s College in NYC,

Learn more

Declared Winner: For The Motion

Online Voting

Voting Breakdown:

62% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (31% voted FOR twice, 24% voted AGAINST twice, 8% voted UNDECIDED twice). 38% changed their mind (6% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 2% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 8% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

About This Event

Event Photos

PrevNext Arrows
    PrevNext Arrows


    • Comment Link Kevin R Thursday, 06 December 2012 22:05 posted by Kevin R

      A miracle is an event that is not explicable in terms of natural cause and effect which serves as a sign of divine presence for those who see it.

      The atheist clearly doesn't have room for this, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

      The belief that miracles are impossible is experimentally indistinguishable from the proposal that miracles can and do happen, since they cannot be repeated and independently confirmed except by different witnesses. There is no experiment that can be done to prove or disprove miracles. All you can have is the testimonies of multiple independent witnesses.

      Ian Hutchinson is correct. Scientists can consistently believe that miracles happen without believing that science has the competence to adjudicate the matter.

    • Comment Link Michael S. Green Thursday, 06 December 2012 19:30 posted by Michael S. Green

      GOD BASED MAGNETISM explains it all.

    • Comment Link remnantofjoseph Thursday, 06 December 2012 19:04 posted by remnantofjoseph

      Those demanding "evidence" "proof" or "signs" are the first to reject them when they see them because they do not understand them! Science cannot explain the spiritual because it does not understand the spiritual. It's limits are the walls of understanding or "knowledge".

      Proof will continue to surface but rather than evaluate, hard line athiests will search for "plausible" reasons to reject. They can't understand the spiritual.

      Many arguments I hear in these types of debates against God or religion are based on incorrect interpretations or understandings. If I had the same incorrect assumptions about God and His plan (understanding of why) and I had not had any personal experience with God, I would fall to the same arguments.

    • Comment Link John Thursday, 06 December 2012 18:13 posted by John

      This debate didnt even reference the work of Stephen Meyer ( "Signiture in the Cell") This new research showing how the cells function is programmed with digital code. As far as I see it , it has turned the origin of Species upside down. Watch the lecture and see for yourself:

    • Comment Link TJ Thursday, 06 December 2012 17:33 posted by TJ

      Here. The Trinity is binary...1 + 0 = 1. The plus is activity. The 1 is the same as linguistic I, and the 0 well, nothing. How do you create something out of nothing...just add I to it!

    • Comment Link Sarah Bright Thursday, 06 December 2012 17:03 posted by Sarah Bright

      What about the Shroud of Turim Scientists "Jesus rose from the dead" Amazing Proof on youtube! What about carbon dating video response to that? What about that you do not know if x years ago there was carbon 14 (which changes into 13 then into 12) or 2 times x years ago there was 14 which changed into 13 or that 6000 years ago there was x of 14 and x of 13 both made? I am sure if you look you can find the empirical evidence to support Creationism by just looking at things that do not change into different isotopes and turning time and seeing if all that was enough for humans to be; plus flood happened; plus Daniels 490 years prophecy + + +. I think the mutation idea that cells mutated and towards order is fallacious. What is the reaction that caused the change/mutation? Only a force. A force from nothing? Now that's nothing, not a force. And nothing is not a force and thus no change and mutation is sad. . .(away, inexisting, is it not? I mean. . . )

    • Comment Link Kathleen Berger Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:39 posted by Kathleen Berger

      I think we should replace the word GOD with the word GOOD!!!
      Do I believe in Good! You darn well bet I do!!! I BELIEVE IN ONE GOOD, IN GOOD WE TRUST, GOOD DOES EXIST!, The mind of Good is summed up in the whole of the law, to love Good with all your heart, mind, & soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. You see we have forgotten an O which by the way represents why don't we all agree that God=Good and it is everywhere...

    • Comment Link Bill Jager Thursday, 06 December 2012 13:56 posted by Bill Jager

      God is a recent invention in the universe. The universe is about 13.7 billion years old and the earth about 4.6 billion years old. Our last surviving relative, Homo neanderthalensis, died out about 24,000 years ago. The human race is recent being in the scale of the universe and when was God ever mentioned before human beings came into the picture? God is a recent invention in the universe.

    • Comment Link novocaine Thursday, 06 December 2012 13:18 posted by novocaine

      reading these comments makes me lose faith in our species..

    • Comment Link membersolrtion Thursday, 06 December 2012 13:12 posted by membersolrtion

      In many instances, that may prove true, but what about the large numbers of people who have no ability to write in this manner? Are we going to discard them simply due to the fact that they have little influence in this earth?

    • Comment Link Manos Thursday, 06 December 2012 12:32 posted by Manos

      Wow, interesting position that of Dr Ian Hutchinson on miracles (at around the 43rd minute). "Well, what we know as laws of physics from a Christian perspective is how the world normally operates. Miracles are not the normal course of events. "
      I cannot believe what I am hearing coming from the mouth of a MIT scientist. I mean when he does research and publishes a paper does he put a foot note along these lines: "Caution: This is what we believe happens under normal universe operation. If a miracle occurs the thesis of this paper does not apply".
      How can you be reasonably sure of anything and do proper peer reviewed science research if you allow "miracles" in the mix, I have no idea. Is it possible for example that the cause for the faulty cable of the Italian team that initially suggested that neutrinos had traveled faster than light, was the result of a miracle? Do neutrinos or other elements travel faster than light but God intervenes with miracles every time we try to measure it because he likes Einstein?
      I wonder when do miracles occur and when not and how can he know?
      Such a fantastic position would reduce the importance of scientific research to the level of that of astrological predictions on the Sunday paper. I find his position to be ridiculous.

    • Comment Link Mike F Thursday, 06 December 2012 01:40 posted by Mike F

      How can science disprove that my relationship with God doesn't exist?!

      How can you prove it isn't a hallucination, hormonal disorder, or serious mental illness? See how easy that is?

      The point is scientists are willing to learn and change as we go. Religion hasn't learned a damn thing since its inception besides that those who preach it are just as capable of immoral actions if not more capable of them due to a belief that god will forgive the immoral action.

    • Comment Link Lily Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:48 posted by Lily

      Has science truly searched out what it is criticizing? Those who reject God generally have had no personal experience with God. On a scientific level wouldn't that be biased?

      How can science which does not know the mind of God claim that He does not exist?

      I challenge anyone who is serious to do serious seeking into whether or not God does exist! Don't just go along with other people's beliefs without scientifically exploring it for yourself.

      Because all of life everywhere is guided and directed by physical laws, I propose that the "Spiritual Laws," "the Ten Commandments" be considered as a starting point. The mind of God is summed up in the whole of the law, to love God with all your heart, mind, & soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    • Comment Link SallyStrange Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:16 posted by SallyStrange

      I think it's safe to say that science has refuted every god that has been described with the slightest degree of specificity.

    • Comment Link Nik Catalina Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:06 posted by Nik Catalina

      The ultimate question has to be: Why is there anything? And if there were nothing... what is nothing but the absence of something? Even the word "nothing" constitutes "something" so it seems impossible to answer this question.

      The best concept I've heard to describe our existence is that reduced to the purest essence... everything in the known Universe is intelligent, formless energy vibrating... and since "it" has no form... creates form in order to experience itself and maintains absolute power and authority over it all.

      Old Socrates once expressed profound wisdom when he replied to a question posed by one of his followers who asked:
      ( paraphrased ) What is the meaning and purpose of Life? To which Socrates answered: " If there is one thing that I know... it is that I know nothing" I believe this to be true of everyone including myself

    • Comment Link Lily Wednesday, 05 December 2012 22:41 posted by Lily

      All creation are based on various systems, (for example the human body has many systems that work together) and the laws in which all life operates. If there are many laws that are unseen, however they still affect life on earth and in space. Is it not logical that there are even greater laws that control them, namely the Law of God. To believe is not enough, just like to believe in gravity, but to see and experience gravity then one has an experiential knowledge, that is defined by law. How is it that my experiential knowledge of God, is refuted, because of those that have never experienced Him? I know that God exists, because of the nature of the universe and everything in it operate on laws, from the macro to the micro. Jehovah is a God of law, and those laws that govern our minds, and hearts, which are the "Ten Commandments." Love of God and love of fellow man, participate in the mind of God, which is above science.

    • Comment Link Jake Wednesday, 05 December 2012 22:05 posted by Jake

      Shawn, You will never reach the end of counting how many people were killed by atheistic/communistic regimes.
      As a believer in Christ, who taught, "love your enemies", not go kill them, one must not judge the truth with false religion. All but one of Christ's own disciples were killed by false religious people. Let's not call white black or black white,

    • Comment Link jim Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:13 posted by jim

      i am against the motion as stated, "science refutes god" and i offer as my argument, the very argument offered in favor of the motion. where the motion refers to god, the argument in favor, correctly, points the finger at the deficiencies of religion. religion is not god any more than god is religion.
      the holders of knowledge and the greatest advances in science leading right into the industrial revolution were by men of faith who wanted to explain god's work, to investigate, to understand, to be closer to god, not confront him.
      science is evidence and proof, not belief. faith is belief without proof or evidence. they are, ever were, and should remain mutually exclusive, parallel tracks, possibly traveling in opposite directions, but distinct and separate regardless of what some wish were true. i would also warn against praising science as a religion. too many people buy into the conclusions of 'a recent study' with no more knowledge or authority than a believer in a fully interventionist god. while religion doesn't change its opinions, science is never satisfied with its conclusions and the way some people grab one piece of information from one snapshot in the continuum of acquisition of knowledge is just as ignorant of science's purpose.
      i am a believer in science - an engineer - and haven't gone willingly to a house of god in 40 years, but i have absolutely no problem anyone of faith or their opinions - on anything except facts of the physical world. to me, religion is a tool, neither good nor bad. if religion offers motivation for research, then so be it.
      i thus reject the very premise of the debate, because although religion has been an excuse to make a mess of one society after another, that's man's fault, and there is still not an answer for what was before time began and so a theory that supposes some higher power or accidental creator that set the ball rolling with or without laws set in stone remains a possibility of what lies beyond our ability to investigate.
      or not.

    • Comment Link eric Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:51 posted by eric

      why can't people just be amazed at the universe around us? figuring out how it works makes us more amazed and curious to know more. discovery is the birdsong of man. god is some stuff we just made up to justify our ignorance and appease our insecurity.

    • Comment Link Everett Wednesday, 05 December 2012 20:44 posted by Everett

      Just think,without God you can cuss or anything you like! Powerful motivation to believe in atheism don't you think?

    Leave a comment

    Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.