. . . a few hours after I mentioned our forthcoming debate on this blog, you posted a comment on your website essentially accusing me of making the whole thing up. So first you accuse me of having a Hitler voice, and now you accuse me of misrepresentation.
Dinesh D'Souza seems to have all the facts here:
Here's what happened. Al-Jazeera contacted me a while ago, asking me to appear in a point-counterpoint format with a leading opponent. I said I was writing about God and atheism, and suggested I appear with a prominent atheist. They chose you. Then the producer Zeresnaey Abraha confirmed that you were ready to do it. Late last week I got a studio notice from Al-Jazeera giving me the time for me to arrive at their rented San Diego studio. The other guest was listed as "Richard Dawkins" and your studio details at Oxford were given.
Apparently when you found out that the two of us were booked on the same show, same segment, you rushed to the producer to insist that we appear separately. Your pretext according to Abraha was that you have a long-standing pledge not to debate "creationists."
But . . .
The only problem with you invoking this pledge is that I believe in evolution and am not, nor have I ever been, a "creationist."
. . .
To be honest, I find your behavior extremely bizarre. You go halfway around the world to chase down televangelists to outsmart them in an interview format that you control, but given several opportunities to engage the issues you profess to care about in a true spirit of open debate and inquiry, you duck and dodge and run away.
. . .
I have done several debates with your fellow atheists Michael Shermer and Christopher Hitchens (and have just scheduled my second debate this fall with Peter Singer) because all of them have consistently found me a serious and worthy opponent. . . .
You are supposed to be the public champion of science and reason and enlightened discourse. This is basically what your title at Oxford says, right? This is why the Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi is paying your salary, isn't it? So are we to believe that despite the seriousness of the issues involved, issues that engage your whole life's work, you won't even stand up and defend your views even in a hospitable setting like Oxford or any other venue of your choice?
Many years ago I read The Selfish Gene and was deeply impressed. What especially struck me was your intellectual audacity, your willingness to jump into a big debate and take on the big questions, and of course your literary eloquence. If you are so confident that your position is right, and that belief in God is an obvious delusion, surely you should be willing to vindicate that position not only against Bible-toting pastors but also against a fellow scholar and informed critic like me!
If not, you are nothing but a showman who takes on unprepared and unsuspecting opponents when you yourself control the editing, but when a strong opponent shows up you manufacture reasons to avoid him. Somehow, I would have thought the author of 'The Selfish Gene would be made of sterner stuff. .