This particular discussion has happened so many times in my life now, that I’m wanting to avoid all the frustration of a pointless-ly spiralling process. Truthfully, I don’t think my friend actually wants “the answers to all the evolution questions”.
So, here’s the problems I have currently:
- I don’t know what he *really* wants to know: ie does he really care if a fossil is actually 230 years old or 230 million years old? Even if I answer his question (as I think I am able to do, because I’ve done it before) I’m guessing he still won’t be happy (no-one ever is).
The conversation usually goes something like “Well, fossils occur when… etc” “Ok, then, but what about geological strata?” Then later on, someone will rely on what I’ve just demonstrated about fossils being inconsistent to then ‘prove’ something about geological strata. Not consciously, or deliberately to deceive or anything, but I’ve yet to find someone who will analyse their own arguments rigorously enough to find out how much they are intertwined and dependant on one another.
- Even if I find out what he’s really interested in, I don’t know that he realises that’s what he’s interested in
- I obviously can’t dictate to him what I think he wants to know, but it’s not helping either of us to have a ‘sidelines’ debate about questions neither of us really care about. So I’m keen to avoid that, but don’t then know how to have a more meaningful discussion without seeming irrelevant
- A more fundamental question is whether he is actually wanting any discussion at all, or if it’s just a way for him to justify his own position in his own mind.
So, for the moment, I’ve not really said anything. Not wanting to cop out, or anything, but I’m not exactly sure where to start…!!